As the largest online retailer globally, Amazon generates more than $280 billion based on 2019 figures. Among those, 225 thousand had over $100 thousand in sales. In the wide variety of products available from Amazon, many people are gunning for a high Amazon Sales Rank or BSR. But this information tells us nothing about what ASR means.
In this article, we plan on detailing what it means to seek out being on the Amazon best sellers list. We will let you know what it is, how you can see it, and how you can use it. Let's get started.
1. Breaking Down What the Amazon Sales Rank Means
Best Seller Rank (BSR) indicates how well your product sells. The sales break down areas of focus by category and sub-category—this metric a very competitive place to target.
From the image listed above, you can see that the number one on the best seller rank in electronics is the Echo Dot. This position makes sense, as Amazon will always have a strong preference toward its products. But electronics is a heavily competitive category to target.
For example, if you created a product that falls under the category "generator," If your generator is solar, it would be foolish to set your type to "generators & portable power." Instead, you want solar & wind power:
How is Amazon Sales Rank Calculated?
Those on top of the sales rankings on Amazon reach the top by tracking a single metric: sales level. The more you sell among a single product category, the higher you rank.
While other metrics will affect your sales, this is one of the simpler things to track. If you make numerous sales with a keyword, it will increase your ranking in a sub-category. You do not need to increase sales solely by increasing the click-through-rate (CTR) of the sub-category.
For example, let's say that your product ranks 17 on the Amazon best sellers list. That means that 16 other products in the same category are selling more than you.
Just because you aren't number one doesn't mean you are failing. Depending on your desired level of sales and the number of people shopping, 17 might be a good number for you.
How The Amazon Best Sellers List Addresses Historical vs. Recent Sales?
The most challenging aspect to track on this is the weight of historical vs. current sales. Amazon does not release all of the details behind its algorithm, so we can only guess the specifics.
From general observations, it is safe to assume the following:
- Amazon places more weight on current sales.
- The current sales likely go back to some time (two weeks, 30 days, etc.)
- Historical data has some impact on a product's rank.
While it isn't safe to assume, it would be odd for Amazon to prioritize products that were popular one year ago. For timely data, they would need to emphasize products that receive current popularity.
How Often Do they Update the Amazon Seller Ranking?
Sales rankings on Amazon receive updates update every hour. The updates occur hourly regardless of it being in a larger category or sub-category. The overall sales in each category are all updated simultaneously.
How Customers use the Amazon Best Sellers List?
Prospective buyers use the Amazon seller ranking to determine where others place their confidence. Those higher on the list see those in higher positions as more popular. To these customers, popular products are good products, as it applies social proof that others enjoy your product.
Customers are very particular when it comes to looking for products that they want. Using our earlier example, finding a solar inverter would mean they will likely use this category. The more narrow your focus is on your product, the better potential you have to rank high.
For example, the listing above has different umbrellas in the top three rankings. From those rankings, you can see a high number of customer reviews. Those reviews come from a functional strategy to boost sales.
As a result, their strategy results in them being in an advantageous position, taking advantage of the "social proof." The use of well-placed keywords in the title also helps them out, allowing them to stick out compared to other options.
Do More Sales Affect Your Amazon Search Rank?
Because all sales do not occur within these sub-categories, we must ask the following: when you improve your sales rank among categories, does it increase your position when searching for keywords? For the most part, the answer to this question is no.
Your Amazon Search Rank delves into the topic of Amazon SEO. If you want to learn more about Amazon SEO in detail, check out our other article. Here's a quick roundup of why Amazon SEO and Amazon seller ranking are different:
- The importance of targeting relevant keywords without stuffing is different from the sales level.
- Your product's title has no bearing on the category you choose.
- Your product description doesn't apply to categories.
The level of sales in a specific keyword does apply to your ranking, but it may not apply when you reverse this.
An Example of Search Rank vs. Amazon Seller Ranking
The image above shows one such example of this in action. Scrolling slightly up would reveal that the number one ranked umbrella (in categories) is Repel. This company is only able to be in that position due to a PPC campaign.
This strategy does not detract from the quality of the product. Instead, it provides the company with the opportunity to take advantage of multiple strategies.
You will find that it is pretty standard for the top three in a category won't match the top three in a keyword. Even in some of the more general keywords, some companies are more adept at handling SEO than paying for PPC campaigns.
Being the number three ranked umbrella as a kids umbrella doesn't help as much if the person searching is an adult. But those searching for "kids umbrellas" might be benefiting them to be in that position.
How Can I See A Product's Amazon Sales Rank?
On any product's page, you can easily spot the Amazon seller ranking by scrolling down. Look for the Product Information section and scan to the right until you find "additional information." This section is typically a few spaces down on a table.
The image above highlights this section, which reveals some additional important information. Namely, that you can rank in multiple sub-categories when creating a product.
The Importance of Categories and Sub-Categories with Sales Rankings on Amazon
Amazon Seller Central offers a large table that gives you a greater understanding of subcategories. For Amazon, this boils down to two different things to be aware of:
- You will need approval to enter specific categories.
- Selling products within these categories might also require approval.
This topic can become more complicated as you include certified refurbished items. For now, we will focus on a few examples.
Selling in the Books Category
One of the most profitable areas for FBA sellers trying to join the Amazon best sellers list is books. Like Barnes and Noble today, Amazon used to be a retailer specializing in classic ink-and-paper books. Today that hasn't changed too much.
Because a book is a pretty simple concept, you don't need to worry about doing anything special. However, if you sell collectible books, like being a rarity shop, you will need to receive approval from Amazon.
Selling in the Jewelry Category
Selling jewelry is tough, and Amazon's list of requirements is pretty heavy to dig through. Below are the general conditions that fall under all jewelry
- You cannot sell jewelry products on Amazon that cost over $300 thousand.
- You need to have an order-defect rate of less than or equal to 1%.
- There should be a cancellation rate of 2.5% (or less).
- Your late shipment rate needs to be less than 4%.
Specific examples include the need to stamp precious metals (14k gold, sterling silver, etc.). If you are a local jeweler in your city, you might already follow many of these requirements.
The point being behind this is that Amazon does not allow you to slap any old label on your product all of the time. When setting categories for your items, you need to be aware of the limitations of selecting some categories.
2. Why is Best Seller Rank (BSR) an Important Metric for Sellers?
With all of this information down, it still doesn't tell us why BSR/ASR is an essential metric for sellers. You may ask: "why would I bother putting in categories when I can just utilize keywords?" While keyword rankings are also a helpful tool, here is a list of reasons why you cannot ignore Best Seller Rank:
BSR Tells You What Products are Working
Whatever product listing you have, those products that sell well are those to be kept. Some FBA sellers have multiple identical products. When reducing your product lineup, you are more likely to choose the winning option.
You may also be able to utilize aspects of these products to understand success. For example, a good product description can follow a variety of formats.
By using that format for specific categories of your product line, you can increase sales. This strategy can be incredibly effective when upgrading your product to its next generation.
An Example of Working Products in Action
Using the image above, we see an excellent example. Ailkin, a company that specializes in electronics, sells a variety of chargers for smartphones. Given their priority on chargers, they have many products that fall into "crossover potential."
Alkin runs the risk of cannibalizing its stock, a business term when one of your products takes away sales from another one of your products. You ask yourself questions like, "do I need a two-port charger or a three?" The answer to that question takes away from potential sales.
This worry shouldn't discourage you from having a diverse portfolio of reasonably similar items. However, if you find that some of your products are too close, you may consider dropping those that don't work.
BSR is an Easy Way To Scope Your Competition
Looking at the Amazon best sellers list provides you with an easy method to compare similar offerings. You can quickly scope out other product descriptions, images, and other areas where you could improve from this area.
Using this strategy, be careful not to inspire too much from their plan. Good product descriptions are easy to mimic, which creates questions on unique content from the owner. It would be best if you did more than tweak a few words in this case. Be sure to gain inspiration from someone's ideas, don't steal them.
An Example of Competition Comparison
Taking the example listed above, let's imagine that this is your product listing. There is no offense to GEMS' product quality, but there is a clear difference when comparing it to the number one option.
The first notice is the difference in image quality. Even if you plan on taking a picture of your packaging, that shouldn't be the first picture your buyer sees. They want to know the product, not the box.
Looking deeper will reveal that GEMS' has offered a two-sentence description. Compare this to the number one option, and you see a series of incredibly detailed bullet points.
This description has the option of a bundle, the mention of a discount, and other reasons to purchase. The image quality is also far better, showing the addition of a product. These are incredibly simple, but good products don't need anything "cute" to showcase what they can do.
3. How To Increase Your Chances of Reaching High Sales Rankings on Amazon
Based on what we've said so far, you might believe that there is little you can do to increase your Best Seller Rank. However, it's best to remind ourselves that BSR comes from increased sales on a specific product. As a result, improving your Amazon SEO efforts eventually will allow you to increase your ranking.
With the remainder of this article, we will mention a couple of tips you can use to increase this ranking. While these tips will not cause any direct impacts, the eventual indirect effect will be noticeable.
Optimize Your Product Details
The battle for Amazon SEO starts with utilizing the right keyword in an understandable structure. By filling your product page full of valuable and informative information, your product is more likely to be at the top of any keyword.
For example, let's say that you wanted to sell some Bluetooth speakers. You might optimize your page by mentioning that they are solar-powered speakers right in the title. The target is unique and appeals to people who might search for "solar-powered Bluetooth speakers."
You can also try and qualify for secondary keyword options. These can include any of the following:
- Solar speakers
- Long-lasting Bluetooth speaker
- Long-lasting solar-powered Bluetooth speakers
If you need assistance with your SEO campaign, we have a team of specialists to help you get started. SEO is a tricky business for people who are just getting started.
A PPC Campaign
Pay-Per-Click, better known as PPC, is when you pay Amazon to be in strategic locations. For example, searching any keyword will typically yield a couple of "sponsored" options. Those options are paid-for slots that draw the attention of prospective buyers.
If you know anything about grabbing someone's attention, it's that you have three seconds to do so. By being the top-most product, you are within that three seconds. Just be prepared to try and outbid other companies that have the same idea.
Off-Site Ad Campaigns
Believe it or not, traffic for selling a product can come from anywhere. While Amazon has some powerful built-in tools to draw customer attention, you may find yourself preferring Google or Facebook. Both ad platforms are excellent at tracking and targeting specific demographics.
Nobody says you have to marry yourself to one ad platform. In many cases, people use a combination of ads to reach a variety of audiences. Although this may require a higher budget, it might be an excellent option to attract off-site people.
Use Amazon Posts
A week ago, we released an entire blog on this exciting new feature. If you want more information, we recommend you check it out. Right here, we are going to focus on a roundup of why this can be useful for increasing rank.
Amazon Posts provides you another source for which to increase your SEO. Similar to short-form blog content, you can inspire people on how to use your products. You can also produce how-to content which Amazon might place on your competitor's pages. Your competitor also has the same leeway.
To take advantage of this, you will need to be a part of the Amazon Brand Registry. We detail the entire process in the blog linked above.
Check Your Pricing
When it comes to remaining competitive on Amazon, one key factor people often forget is pricing. Cost leaders are constantly undercutting your profits by providing a cheaper product. You may think that it might be time for you to do the same, but that may not be the case.
When people purchase your product, they work from two different wide berths:
- I want to save money.
- I want a quality product.
There are a couple of "between" factors here, but the two extremes hold constant in any purchasing transaction. Decreasing your pricing typically leads to a price war, which may not be entirely beneficial for you or the other party. In a weird twist of events, buyer psychology tells us that they may be more likely to buy your product if you tweak the price up.
Higher-cost goods are typically in a higher quality bracket. The result is that you will appeal more to people who seek out "luxury items." While this situation isn't always the case, pricing issues aren't always related to your cost being too high.
Improve Your Images and Visuals
Based on our earlier example of product packaging, you already know we are sticklers for quality. If you want to be a solid FBA seller on Amazon, you probably want the same results. Higher quality images improve SEO by increasing the user experience.
While there is technically no "content" to search, clean images provide a sense of professionalism. Don't be afraid to pay a photographer for high-quality photographs of your product. Also, some pictures of your product in action will never hurt.
You can also use custom, eye-popping graphics. Take a look at any gaming computer advertisement for an excellent example of this in action. The stark colors may not appeal to some audiences, but it's a firm reminder that one size does not fit all.
Re-Evaluate Your Title
A significant portion of SEO comes from the title you choose for your product listing. If you sell men's pants, you will not get much by creating a product title that says "men's jeans." What makes these jeans unique? Are they stylish, durable, or have that worn appearance?
Ask yourself what your customers look for in their products and put it in the title. This strategy will provide SEO right from the search engine.
4. Final Thoughts
When it comes to sales rankings on Amazon, many sellers underplay this metric. They tell you the importance of click-through-rates, conversion rates, and keyword rankings. All of these are incredibly important, but one forgets that an essential shopping method is by category.
The popularity of this is apparent, as grocery stores haven't gone out of business by having aisles devoted to these categories. The halls of Amazon are their categories, and these categories will be necessary as long as people want to look at the products that make the most sales.
Everything in your efforts leads back to sales, and this BSR ranking provides valuable competitive and product information to help you make actionable decisions. However you plan to use it, BSR is most useful in combination with other analytics data.