Sales rank on Amazon can be one of the most perplexing aspects of selling on Amazon. In today’s episode, we clear up the confusion by unpacking this phenomenon, describing what it is and how it works so that you know how to best leverage this information to make faster sales and more profits.
Sales rank numbers can be arbitrary since the same number can mean different things depending on the category: what is considered a good rank in one category might be deemed below average in another. Tune in to our conversation today and you will learn the top eight things you should know about Amazon sales rank, including its changeability, the relevance of a single sale, what role the seller and condition of the item plays, how to differentiate between the main sales and a sub-sales rank, what constitutes a “good” or “bad” ranking, and much more!
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Key points from episode 21:
- Why a product’s sales rank should be an important consideration in your buying decisions.
- Hear about the free tool we have developed to bring clarity to the sales rank dilemma.
- What exactly a sales rank number tells you about an item.
- How often a sales rank number is updated (and what that means to your sourcing strategy)
- How a single sale can have a significant impact on sales rank.
- Sales rank can improve regardless of the seller and the condition of the item.
- When an item may have no sales rank, but still be able to determine its future “saleability.”
- Distinguishing between the main sales rank and a sub-sales rank and an example of each.
- What a “good” or “bad” sales rank comprises and how it should inform decision-making.
- And much more!
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
- “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play” by Kobe Bryant
- Free Updated Sales Rank Chart
- The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank: Understanding Amazon Best Sellers Rank For Maximum Profits
- Remember the price of the above course is going up soon!
- Full-Time FBA on Instagram
More Episodes from The Full-Time FBA Show podcast:
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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!
Episode 21 Transcript:
[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Full-Time FBA Show. In each episode, it’s our goal to help you turn part time hours into a full-time income, selling almost anything on Amazon. Now, your hosts of the show, Stephen and Rebecca Smotherman.
[0:00:21.3] REBECCA: Welcome to Episode 21 of the Full-time FBA show. We’re really excited that you’re here with us today, we are looking forward to diving into our topic for the day which is the top things you need to know about Amazon sales rank and I want to welcome to the show my cohost, Stephen, I’m Rebecca, I didn’t say that at the beginning but I’m sure you were probably aware that I’m Rebecca and my cohost is Stephen.
[0:00:47.4] STEPHEN: Hey there, we are both really glad to be here and talking about sales rank which is what I think one of the most confusing things about selling on Amazon really. I mean, the sales rank of 500,000, that’s a good sales rank in the books category but a sales rank of 500,000 in the toy category, not so good but it’s the same number, it can be confusing and we want to bring some clarity to you today.
[0:01:11.9] REBECCA: When you’re looking for inventory to sell on Amazon, when you say that after you are looking at the profit that you would make on a certain item, that most people use sales rank as the next most important thing that they’re trying to base their decision on for whether or not this is a good item to resell, they look at their profit, they look at this sales rank.
That’s because the sales rank gives you an idea of how this item is performing on Amazon, it’s confusing though, it’s hard to wrap your mind around, especially when you’re first getting started, sales rank is so important as a buying factor, as a factor that goes into how you’re making your decision.
[0:01:54.5] STEPHEN: That’s absolutely correct and we’ve actually created a tool that will help bring some clarity to that sales rank and kind of give you some perspective. It’s a sales rank chart which breaks down the main Amazon categories and how many items are in those categories and then we break down the percentages of how well an item is selling in that particular category, we look at the top 1%, top 2%, top 3%, top 5%. We break out on all the main Amazon categories with their percentages and this will help you see.
O, 500,000 rank in books, that’s in the top 1%. Okay, that sounds like it’s awesome and you can see the sales rank of 500,000 is in the top 10% of toys and so you know, okay, that’s not as good as the top 1%. But we have this as a free download for you if you go to fulltimefba.com/salesrank, you can download this for free and it will help you make better decisions when looking at sales rank and after learning the things that we’re going to talk about in this episode, you’re going to be better equipped to make better sourcing decisions.
[0:02:54.1] REBECCA: That’s exciting news, the sales rank chart is back we’ve had a couple of years now that we have not been able to update this sales rank chart, this was a really popular chart that we’ve had in years past and since – what was it, early like January 2018, right?
[0:03:09.7] STEPHEN: Yeah, January 2018 was the last time we were able to get the information from Amazon to update the sales rank chart and we probably had like two years’ worth of charts before that, a lot of people got really used to it and then Amazon kind of pulled the rug out from under us, made it impossible for us to get that information but we found a way to still get that information two years later so we have that information and can start updating those sales rank charts again.
If you sign up to download that chart or if you just want to be a newsletter subscriber, you’ll start getting that emailed to you once a month as we continue to update it throughout the year.
[0:03:44.9] REBECCA: Yay, that’s exciting. Okay, back to our main content for the show, today’s episode, we’re talking about sales rank and we wanted to summarize for you the top things that you need to know about Amazon sales rank and this is really good information if you’re getting started, it’s also good information to kind of clarify some things, the further along you get in your journey of selling through Amazon FBA.
Stephen, first of all, I want to ask you, we have a list here that we’re looking at, we’ve got notes for our show. Are the things that we’re talking about in order, is this like a top 10 we’re working down to the most important where we’re working the first one is the most important or are these just random?
[0:04:26.9] STEPHEN: They’re actually random, and in fact, I could not probably order these in rank of importance because they all are very important for you to know. Stick around for all of these and because they’re all going to be really important for you to know.
[0:04:40.0] REBECCA: Okay, what is the first thing you want to talk to us about?
[0:04:42.3] STEPHEN: The first thing is that sales rank, the number is like a snapshot in time, telling you how an item has recently sold and the best way I can explain this is what would you say, Rebecca, is the number one selling book of all time?
[0:04:57.7] REBECCA: I have no idea, Harry Potter. No. Is it the Bible?
[0:05:02.0] STEPHEN: It’s the bible, you should see the look you just gave me.
[0:05:04.5] REBECCA: You don’t know the bestselling book of all time?
[0:05:06.5] STEPHEN: Sorry, my gosh, I said Harry Potter.
[0:05:12.6] REBECCA: I was not thinking of the Bible, sorry.
[0:05:15.0] STEPHEN: I probably should have prepared you beforehand, I asked that question.
[0:05:17.0] REBECCA: Please nobody judge me based on my answer.
[0:05:21.1] STEPHEN: Yes, the Bible is the number one bestselling book of all time but it’s not going to show up as number one on Amazon because Amazon sales ranks only show you how well an item has recently sold on Amazon.
The bestselling book right now as of recording this is Kobe Bryant’s book The Mamba Mentality. That’s the latest number one selling book because of his recent tragic death. You know, recording this in February of 2010, this episode releases in March.
[0:05:52.3] REBECCA: 2020. You’re like 10 years behind man.
[0:05:54.9] STEPHEN: I am, okay, we’re recording this 2020 of February and it releases in March of 2020 and so what we have as the number one book right now, might even be different from what the number one selling book is when you listen to this podcast.
[0:06:07.9] REBECCA: I mean, it might be different tomorrow.
[0:06:09.0] STEPHEN: That’s true, it is. But the sales rank number that you see when it’s connected to a product is how well it’s been selling recently and that’s important to know when understanding sales rank.
[0:06:19.8] REBECCA: Okay, along those lines, I realize now that the second item on our list, the second point that we wanted to talk about is related to what I just eluded to with it might be different tomorrow. What if we got there for the second point that we wanted to make?
[0:06:34.4] STEPHEN: One thing that’s really important to know is that Amazon updates the sales rank of almost every item on Amazon, once every hour. So, 24 times a day, the items on Amazon, their sales rank numbers are changing, it’s recalculating, it’s recalibrating the top bestseller list and things are changing all the time. The sales rank that you are looking at when you are actually deciding to whether to source that item or not to add to your Amazon inventory.
That’s just one snapshot in time and it changes all the time. 24 hours a day, it’s important to realize that those change.
[0:07:09.6] REBECCA: Okay, how does one sale impact the sales rank number? Talk to us about sales, how do sales effect sales rank?
[0:07:19.4] STEPHEN: Anytime an item receives a sale, it’s going to improve the sales rank. The sales rank improves every time that there’s a sale. The more sales you get, the better sales rank you get obviously and I wanted you to understand that just one sale can have a big impact, immediate impact on a sales rank.
If there’s an item that hasn’t sold in two years and has a super high sales rate number, just one sale could potentially move that product into the top 1% for a very short time. The top 1% of that particular sales rank category. Just one sale can improve that sales rank immediately and if you happen to be looking at that sales rank just after it sold, you might not have a correct understanding on that sales rank number because it just has a good number because it’s sold just an hour ago.
Whereas one week later, that number might have increased to be a really high sales rate number and so it’s just good to understand that.
[0:08:15.3] REBECCA: When we’re talking about sales of an item on Amazon, what difference does it make if Amazon’s selling the item, if Amazon as a seller, versus you and me or another third party seller and also, does it matter if we’re looking at a new item or a used item, how do those factors play into sales rank?
[0:08:38.9] STEPHEN: The cool thing is that it doesn’t matter if the sale on Amazon was from Amazon or if the sale was a third party seller like you and me or if the sale was a new book or a used book or a new toy or a used toy or a used toy or whatever it is. No matter the condition or who is selling it. A sale of an item is a sale of an item. It will improve the sales rank of that particular item the same no matter who is selling it or what condition it’s going to be in.
If you’re looking at an item to sell on Amazon and you’re looking at that sales rank number, you don’t have to worry about trying to figure out who sold it or what condition it was in that caused that to be a good sales rank or a bad sales rank and so that helps you understand that better.
[0:09:20.2] REBECCA: Okay, so the fifth thing that we had on our list, we’ve gone over the first four, sales rank is like a snap shot in time number one. Number two, Amazon is updating sales rank often. Number three, one sale can have a huge impact on the sales rank number. Number four, sales rank of an item can improve no matter who the seller is and no matter what the condition is. Number five, talk to us about an item that has no sales rank. What does that mean?
[0:09:47.8] STEPHEN: So it means a few different things. One reason an item has no sales rank is because it is never sold. So whether it’s a new item, brand new to Amazon and it just hasn’t sold yet, well it is not going to have a sales rank or maybe it could be on Amazon for a year or two and still never sold. No, it’s not going to have a sales rank or it could be an item that potentially is over two or three years old and the Amazon sales rank has fallen off.
I mean it’s been so long since it’s had a sale that the item is just not going to have a sales rank anymore. So it’s good to look into that a little bit more. If you have seen an item with no sales rank you can look and see when the product page was created, how long it’s been offered on Amazon and that will give you a better idea if the item is going to sell in the future or not.
[0:10:33.6] REBECCA: Okay so that was number five. Number six is concerning items that don’t show a sales rank for the main category but show a sub-sales rank number. What does that mean? What does that look like?
[0:10:47.0] STEPHEN: Yeah, this is important to know because if you are using a sourcing app like the Amazon app or Scoutify.
[0:10:53.6] REBECCA: It was on seller app I mean you could use the Amazon app of course or the Amazon seller app.
[0:10:59.0] STEPHEN: Yeah you could use the Amazon app, the Amazon seller app or you can use a sourcing app like Scoutify, which is what we recommend. Sometimes the sales rank number that is shown to you on the screen is actually a sub-sales rank and not a main sales rank. All the sales ranks that we list on our Amazon sales rank chart focus on the main sales ranks and that is the number you’re supposed to be looking for but sometimes you can be deceived by Amazon bringing back the information about a sub-sales rank.
And so it might look good to you at first but then you realize it is a sub-sales rank and it is pretty deceiving. So it is good for you to know what the main Amazon sales rank categories are and then you get that on our sales rate chart and you can get that for free at fulltimefba.com/salesrank.
[0:11:41.7] REBECCA: So just as an example what’s a good idea of an item that would be showing us sub-sales rank and not the main category, what would a sub-category be?
[0:11:51.5] STEPHEN: So, the main category that this usually happens in and again, it happens in other categories too but the main one is the electronic category and so the electronics category will show you instead a sub-sales rank and let me give you an example of what that looks like. Say that the main category is electronics and the sub-sales rank is computers and then there is a sub-sub-sales rank for computer mouses, is that the right way to say that? Computer mouse.
[0:12:17.6] REBECCA: I would say computer mouses instead of computer mice. It sounds weird.
[0:12:20.9] STEPHEN: Right and then there is a sub-sales ranking for that for bluetooth connected computer mouses.
[0:12:28.9] REBECCA: Mice, mees, I don’t know anyway.
[0:12:31.6] STEPHEN: And so Amazon would say, “Hey this is rank number 10 in sub-category” but it looks good to you because it is rank number 10 but it might not be so good in relation to the main category. When you are looking at a sales rank it is important to look at it in comparison with the main category and not the sub-sales rank and not the sub-category.
[0:12:52.0] REBECCA: Okay, so that was number six. Number seven, talk to us about if an item has had a “good sales rank” in the past. How does that affect our decision?
[0:13:03.0] STEPHEN: So when an item has what we say as a good sales rank and most Amazon sellers agree that if a sales rank of an item falls in the top 3% of that particular item’s category, sales rank category that it is a good sales rank that it will be expected to sell again sometime soon. Well just because an item happens to have a good sales rank and it falls within that “good sales rank percentage” of being under 3% of the main Amazon category doesn’t necessarily mean it’s guaranteed to sell again in the future.
Again that might have just sold yesterday and only has a “good sales rank” because of that one recent sale but things change overtime. Amazon is recalculating those sales ranks once an hour and by a day or two later that one sales rank might have fallen into just the top 10% of that particular sales rank category.
[0:13:56.2] REBECCA: And the flip side of that, so that was number seven and I guess the flip side of that is our number eight, if an item has a bad sales rank. You are looking it up and it’s got a “bad sales rank” let’s say for the purposes of this, it is over that 3% percentage, what does that mean about the potential to sell again in the future?
[0:14:15.1] STEPHEN: Yeah it is a good perspective shift because just because something has a bad sales rank, let us take a toy. If there is a toy and it’s ranked 800,000 well that’s a high number that most Amazon sellers would stay away from but just because it is ranked at 800,000 doesn’t mean it’s never going to sell again. There are opportunities where you can buy a toy with a sales rank of 800,000 that it will sell again that might sell soon.
I mean the item might be priced way too high that customers are not going to be purchasing it at that higher price and you can offer it at a lower price with still having a nice return of investment and a nice little profit margin for you but the item actually sell because of the price or maybe an item has been out of stock for a long time and that’s why it’s got no sales. So there is no sales, no sales rank and with you have an opportunity to purchase that and put it back into stock you might get the sale even though it has a higher sales rank.
[0:15:09.3] REBECCA: Or even if it’s been in stock but it’s only been in stock by a merchant fulfilled seller and you are able to send it to FBA that’s another good reason why you might get the sale a lot quicker and looking at that quote bad sales rank doesn’t really give you an idea. Somebody is just waiting for it to be offered as a prime item they’re not wanting to purchase it from a third party merchant fulfilled seller.
[0:15:32.0] STEPHEN: That’s right. Some customers only purchase prime items. They have it set up on their account to only see prime offers. So there might be other people trying to sell it as merchant fulfilled but the customer is never going to see it because they have that filter turned on all the time to only see prime offers.
[0:15:48.3] REBECCA: All right, so that wraps up our top eight things that you need to know about sales rank and those are again, just the basic if you boil it all down what is the most important thing that you need to know about sales rank. We think those are the top eight things that you need to know but there are more things that you can know about sales rank. So talk to us about that for a second.
[0:16:09.2] STEPHEN: What we have talked about in this episode is just the tip of the iceberg of what we have to share with you about sales rank and we’ve said before, it is one of the most confusing aspects of selling on Amazon, well we’ve got a lot of clarity that we’d love to share with you and teaching for you to make better sourcing decisions based on sales rank and based on selling on Amazon and we have a course. It is a mini-course. It is called The Resellers Guide to Sales Rank.
And we just updated it for 2020 and if you are listening to this soon after the episode launched, we are actually going to be increasing the price of this soon. So you want to make sure that you take advantage of this before the price goes up. It is our most affordable course and man, I think we’re just charging too little and it’s just been helping a ton of people get a lot of results and we’re going to increase the price soon. So be sure to go to fulltimefba.com/salesrankcourse.
To take advantage of this offer before the price goes up and you can learn so much more about sales rank and increasing your sales on Amazon.
[0:17:06.5] REBECCA: And that link for the mini-course on sales rank will be in the show notes for this episode along with other links that we have mentioned including the link for the sales rank charts that is updated every month that you can get delivered to your inbox, which is at fulltimefba.com/salesrank. Those links and more will be in the show notes for this episode. You can find that at fulltimefba.com/21 that is the number 21 and you’ll find everything you need to know from this episode.
Including a transcript if you want to go back over and take any notes from it, we have it there for you at fulltimefba.com/21.
[END OF DISCUSSION]
[0:17:50.6] STEPHEN: Next week on the show, we are going to be interviewing Kim Kauflin and we are going to be talking about how to handle properly Amazon inauthentic claims and I am looking forward to bringing that interview to you next week on episode number 22.
[0:18:03.8] REBECCA: And you’re going to want to be sure and tune in for that episode. We just recorded it yesterday to get it ready for next week and it is really good. It is I think one of the best we’ve had so far and you’re going to want to bring pen and paper and take some notes. It’s that good.
[0:18:18.7] STEPHEN: Yep, so we’ll see you next week on the Full-time FBA Show.
[0:18:21.6] REBECCA: Bye.
[0:18:24.7] ANNOUNCER: That is all for this episode of The Full-Time FBA Show. So head over to fulltimefba.com/podcast, where you will find the show notes and links from this episode. While you’re there, subscribe to our newsletter where you’ll get several free downloads of our popular and helpful Amazon FBA resources. Now, take action on what you have learned today so you can find success at turning part time hours into a full-time income with Amazon FBA.