Decoding the Electronics Amazon Sales Rank Code

photoMost resellers rely on Sales Rank when making purchasing decisions. For reasons known only to Amazon, the category of Electronics (sometimes called Consumer Electronics) often does not provide a category wide sales rank. Many times when scanning an Electronics product, a scouting app (like Profit Bandit or ScanPower) will return a sales rank of N/A (Not Available or Not Applicable). In almost all other categories, a rank of N/A really means that the sales rank is zero. To read more about why an item would have a zero sales rank, click here. Sometimes, however, the scouting app will return a numerical sales rank, but be very careful what you decide to do with that number.

PB Buy AllWhen an Electronics sales rank number is given, it’s almost always the rank of an Electronics subcategory. One time I was out scouting and found multiples of an item that showed a rank of 92 in Electronics. The store clearance priced them at only 50 cents each! With over 27 million items in the Electronics category, 92 looked like an amazing rank. I bought a few of those items and brought them back to the house. I was preparing to send them in to FBA when I noticed that the sales rank was now showing N/A. I looked back on my scouting app and it still was showing a rank of 92. I did some more research and found out that the item I had was not ranked 92 out of the 27,000,000+ items in Electronics, but was ranked 92 out of 120 in the subcategory of Electronics > Accessories & Supplies > Blank Video Media > Minidiscs.

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I was curious if this item could still possibly sell well on Amazon. I went to check CamelCamelCamel to see what information they could provide about this product. CCC is a website that provides sales rank and pricing history for most Amazon products. Their data is not perfect, but it can give the reseller a good idea how often and for how much an item might sell. When I checked CCC, there was no current sales rank or pricing history, so that was a dead end.

Since CCC lead me nowhere, I decided to look at the reviews on the item’s sales page on Amazon. At first, things looked good. This item had over 100 reviews, mostly 5 star, but then I noticed that the most recent review was from 2009. The review before that was from 2008. The bulk of the reviews came from 2006-2007. Even a well-reviewed product might not still be selling today.

I concluded that this item was not worth sending in to Amazon. I now do this research (checking CCC and product reviews) on almost every electronic item I might purchase to sell. Needless to say, I was glad I only bought a few of these items as they quickly were added to my garage sale pile.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 4.50.23 PMOk, now it’s your turn to try this out. I’m going to give you an Electronic item, and I want you to do the research yourself. Check out CamelCamelCamel, the product reviews, and anything else you might think would help, and see if this is an item you would like to purchase for resale.

Product: Adonit Jot Pro Fine Point Stylus – Silver
Clearance price at Target: $3.94
Total available for sale: 20

No really, don’t just keep reading. Do the research. I promise… it’ll only take you a few minutes and will help you tremendously in the future when you are sourcing and come across electronic items. Bonus points if you practice doing the research on your smart phone instead of the computer.

In the comments below, let me know if you would buy the item, how many, and why. I can’t wait to read what you have to say. And no cheating! Do your own research before reading what others have to say.

UPDATE: To find out what I would do for this item and what my thought process was when I made my decision, click here.


Sales rank is easily the most misunderstood aspect of selling on Amazon. What is a good sales rank? What does a sales rank of zero mean? What do I do with sales rank for sub-categories?

Why does sales rank have to be so confusing so much of the time?

I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way! You can finally get the clarity you need on the issue of understanding Amazon sales rank numbers. We at Full-Time FBA have launched a mini-course called The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank: Understanding Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Maximum Profits. The mini-course is a combination ebook (30+ pages) and video course (almost 2 hours). 

Check out The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank mini-course to see how you can master the concept of best sellers rank and be on your way toward smarter sourcing decisions for your Amazon FBA business!

23 responses to “Decoding the Electronics Amazon Sales Rank Code

  1. Pingback: What Does a Sales Rank of Zero Mean? | Full-Time FBA

  2. No, I would not buy it. No sales data on CCC.

  3. Excellent post – the reason behind the article gives us the answer but before reading the post here would be my answer. I’d buy at least 10 (too risk adverse to take them all). Profit Bandit showed a rank of 6 and CCC shows a lot of upticks in the price chart. Profit is over $15 per unit! So I’d buy 10 at least.

    After the post, I checked sales rank in CCC and found nothing! So now I’m concerned. But I’ve already bought them..smiles. Great post – interested to see your answer.

  4. Leigh Emerson

    I would leave these, due to the customer feedback. There are so many reviews where the product damaged the customer’s devices that the return rate would be way higher than normal.

    • Second Leigh here. Upon close examination, there looks to be more bad reviews votes than good. Brings up another question though, is one a responsible seller or just one that focus solely on your own profits?

  5. Andrew Cassinelli

    I would buy them all!
    1) The ROI is fantastic.
    2) there were several reviews within the last few days.
    3) With the Target debit or credit card, you get an extended return period of 120 days. The only risk is inbound and return shipping.

  6. Thanks Stephen and Jordan, let me dance with your great tool.

  7. Yes, I would buy. There were a lot of reviews this month, mostly good. Since most don’t bother to leave a review, I think sales are really good.

  8. i would buy all of them.lots of recent review tells me the selling activity

  9. Thanks Jordan and Stephen for this. Yes Cleer, worked. Maybe it will be better if available on Safari, and Check on sold instead of completed listing…

  10. I would buy a small amount and test the Amazon Marketplace, I agree with Jordon Malik with expecting to sell certain merchandise over a 9 month period, I don’t think this product is a bad investment, but maybe a slower payoff

  11. At first I thought yes, but the category is showing as personal computer on my phone, but it actually drills down on Amazon 4 more sub-categories. So the rank is good in that last sub-category. Then I searched “fine point stylus for ipad” and compared what else is available. If it had come up at the top of the list I would say yes. Maybe I’m way off. CCC shows pretty consistent sales with some severe drops. I’m torn, but I think I would say no to these.

  12. Dianne Wheaton

    I would buy them all. 1) Sales data on CCC shows a mostly consistent price above $25 for the past 6 months. 2) Keepa data shows the same data. 3) Most reviews are 4 and 5 and a lot of those reviews are recent. 4) There is only one other FBA seller plus Amazon. I would be able to price competively with Amazon however to get the BB.

    The rank is 28 in graphic tablet stylus. The only question in my mind is how fast this might sell because although it seems to be a popular product for its application.

  13. If I am cash strapped I would buy 10 or less because ccc shows that only one sells every two months.

  14. Yes only because the last part of the post. The stylus is 17# out of 7,097

  15. No. I would not buy it. The reviews are from 2012 and 2013. No sales rank on CCC.

  16. Okay, I’ll play. A little late to the game so I’m probably not seeing the same data as everyone else but I have to confess I did read the comments first before deciding to play.

    My head tells me I should buy them all but the risk-adverse part of my brain would make me put 10 back. In reality, I would most likely end up with a trial run of 3-6 and hope there’d be some left to buy if they sold quickly. There are 4 sellers on the item, only 2 of which are Buy Box eligible, Amazon and the manufacturer of the product, Adonit. AZ controls the Buy Box but the secondary Buy Box is up for grabs since 2 of the sellers are priced totally out of range to even be considered. I did check CCC but did not find the information to be reliable. It shows a current 3rd party low price of $24.99 but on AZ there are no merchants at that price. Only thing I can think of is there was another seller and they just happened to sell out today?

    I thought this item was pricey but similar items by the same manufacturer are even pricier so I feel somewhat confident that I can price slightly lower and get the sale. From what I can tell, AZ has 999+ of this item and Adonit has 300+. They have both been holding steadily at the same price for quite a while so I don’t think they will be lowering their price if I come in with 10 units. They will probably just wait me out. The item appears to be selling 1-2 units a day so I shouldn’t be holding onto 10 units that long. Hmmm, maybe I’d buy all 20 since shipping and storage will be negligible on this.

  17. LOL. It looks like I have the longest comment. Maybe I’m overthinking this 🙂

  18. Pingback: Case Study – Electronics Sales Ranks and Competing Against Amazon | Full-Time FBA

  19. I’m really late to the game, but at this time, based on the following criteria, I would definitely buy this item to sell on Amazon even though the sales rank listed is in a sub-category. Here’s my criteria:

    Things to Check When Purchasing
    Sales Rank (if there is one)
    Number of Reviews
    Quality of Reviews (# of stars)
    Number of Reviews in the last year
    Number of Sellers
    Number of FBA Sellers

    For this product, I found the following data related to the list above:

    BSR – N/A
    # of Reviews – 1536
    Review Quality – 3.5
    # of Reviews in last year – 355
    # of Sellers – 24
    # of FBA Sellers – 1 (Brand Owner)
    MSRP – N/A
    Price – $14.99

    Out of the gate, I’d buy 10 of theses and ship them to FBA. Here’s why…the demand for these is fairly decent (there’s nearly one new review per day in the last year, most that I scanned were not product reviews in exchange for a discounted product) AND there appears to be some competition, though only amongst the merchant fulfilled sellers. I could easily get in the game as an FBA seller, even though the brand owner is the only one listed as a seller of these products via FBA. FBA would help me eliminate the competition. Lastly, I know that my account has a 99% feedback rating – well above the brand owner, which would help me control the buy box, as long as I’m priced competitively to the brand owner.

    And at around $5 profit per unit sold after all Amazon fees, I’m making a healthy return on my investment. It’s all about the data! Looks like a good product at this point (though the last comment on this thread was almost 18 months ago).

  20. Pingback: Spring Cleaning for a Profitable FBA Business - Full-Time FBA

  21. first time on this site brilliant!.

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