Have you ever noticed that every product sold on the Amazon platform has an ever-changing number attached to it? Perhaps one day it’s 10 and another it’s 20.
What exactly is this number? Well, it’s called a ‘sales rank’. It’s used to show how well a specific product is performing on Amazon in relation to other similar listings.
What is Sales Rank?
Sales rank is a numeric ordering of every product on Amazon based on how well that product is currently selling, not across the platform but within the selected category.
For example, a sales rank of 1 in the ‘beauty’ category means that the product is currently selling more units than any other product within that same category. A sales rank of 100 in the ‘jewellery’ category means there are 99 different products that are selling faster. As a rule, the lower the sales rank number, the higher the sales.
Sales rank is used to order products within every category and subcategory. Therefore, a single product can have differing sales ranks according to the category.
For example, fish food – which is quite a niche product – may have a lower numbered sales rank in the ‘pond fish food’ category because that’s what shoppers browsing this category are looking for. But it may have a much higher numbered sales rank in the broader ‘garden & outdoors’ category because these shoppers may be looking for insect repellent, patio cleaner, bird food, picnic blankets, compost, pegs, or any other outdoor product.
And that’s all there is to it. It’s very straightforward to understand. Unlike Amazon’s search rankings which are influenced by all sorts of factors and calculated by complex algorithms, there is nothing confusing or mysterious about sales rank. It’s 100% sales-based; the product that sells the most in any category has the #1 sales rank.
How to Find Your Product’s Sales Rank
If you want to check how your products’ sales compare to other products in the same category, it’s straightforward to find your sales rank. First, it’s listed on every item’s product page in the ‘product information’ section (you may need to scroll down the listing a little to get there). Then, in the ‘additional information’ tab, you’ll see the ‘best sellers rank’, which will tell you the product’s rank within each of its categories and subcategories.
What is a Good Sales Rank?
That’s a tricky question to answer. Of course, a top 10 sales rank (especially a top 3 position) is always best, and it’s what ambitious sellers should always be striving for. But the truth is that there’s a grey area when it comes to saying what a ‘good’ rank is.
Why? Because sales rank is mainly dependent on how competitive a category is. You could be selling crazily high numbers of units, but if there are thousands upon thousands of products within the same category, you may still be lagging behind. On the other hand, you may not be selling as much as you’d like but could still take a top spot in the ranks if you’re listed in a very niche and low competition category with fewer listings.
For some, a top 10 sales rank is good. For others, a top 100 sales rank can be fantastic.
The type of products sold within your category will also play a role in determining what is considered a good sales rank. You’ll usually find that some of the top sellers in most categories are consumable items, things that shoppers need to purchase regularly. The ‘home & kitchen’ category, for example, lists water jugs that shoppers will probably only buy once. But it also lists the replacement filters that shoppers will need to buy regularly. As a result, it can be challenging to compete against consumables in terms of sales rank.
Why Does Sales Rank Matter?
The obvious answer is that sales rank indicates how well you’re performing compared to your closest competitors. So, it’s either a validation that your listings are optimised in a way that makes your target audience choose your products over others in the same category. Or, it’s the motivation you need to identify weaknesses in your approach and work to adapt your Amazon sales strategy to attract and engage with more shoppers.
There are a couple of other reasons why sales rank matters, too: recognition and visibility. Products with a great sales rank get featured on Amazon’s dedicated best sellers page. In addition, the top-selling item in each category also receives a best seller badge to display at the top of the product page.
A best seller badge and an appearance on the bestseller page helps instil trust in visitors who are perhaps on the fence about making a purchase. In addition, it shows that more shoppers chose to purchase your item over others, suggesting the product is high quality, competitively priced, and meets the criteria of those wanting that type of item. It can be an excellent way to boost awareness and increase Amazon sales figures.
How to Boost Sales Rank
If your Amazon sales rank isn’t quite as good as you’d like it to be, there are many ways that you can drive more sales and, subsequently, improve your sales rank.
However, it’s important to note that Amazon does not tolerate any black hat processes, with the company stating that ‘any attempt to manipulate sales rank is prohibited. You should not solicit or knowingly accept fake or fraudulent orders, including placing orders for your own products. You should not provide compensation to buyers for purchasing your products or provide claim codes to buyers to inflate sales rank’.
That said, there are some great – and acceptable – ways to become a bestseller:
Carefully Consider Category
First and foremost, it’s essential to select the most appropriate category for your product. Sometimes, this is easier said than done! For example, if you’re selling outdoor clothing, should you list yourself in the ‘clothes, shoes, jewellery, and accessories’ category and then in the ‘mens’ or ‘womens’ subcategories? Or, is it better to list in the ‘sports & outdoors’ category and then in the ‘sports & outdoor clothing’ subcategory? It’s worth researching the types of products in each category to make an informed decision.
Conduct Competitor Research
On your product page, where you see sales rank, you can click the link to the relevant category to see a list of the top 100 selling items within that category. If you’re not #1 in that category, you’ll be able to see a list of similar products that are performing better in terms of sales. This is a great opportunity to check out those listings and look at how your competitors are describing and promoting their products. What are they doing that’s different to what you’re doing, and how can you close the gap?
Optimise Your Listings
Suppose your products aren’t selling as well as your competitors’ products. It may be that you haven’t optimised your listing in a way that attracts and engages your audience. Be sure to create a strong, clear title to draw people in, include keywords to maximise visibility in searches, and write top content that converts. You can use Amazon’s sales and traffic report to A/B test any changes you make, which can help create a listing that meets the needs and preferences of your audience.
Build Your Review Profile
Customers like reviews. They’re more likely to purchase from a company with good reviews because of the trust instilled through peer-generated content. So if your review profile is lacking, it’s worth bulking this up to help drive conversions, boost sales, and improve your sales rank. Reminding customers to leave a review using the ‘Request a Review’ feature on Amazon can help, but if you’re still struggling, consider signing up for one of Amazon’s review schemes, such as the Amazon Early Reviewer Programme.
Focus on Consistency
We know just how important it is to make the most out of big shopping events. You probably spend a great deal of time preparing for Amazon Prime Day, or preparing for the holiday shopping season, hoping to sell more during these busy windows. But when it comes to boosting sales rank, it’s important not to focus your efforts only on the significant events, but try to build a solid and consistent selling pattern across the year. This not only helps boost your sales rank but also helps you maintain that position long term.
Tweak Your Ad Strategy
There are two reasons why you may be struggling to sell. Firstly, because you’re losing leads at the decision making stage, which can be helped by optimising your listings. Secondly, because you’re not attracting potential customers in the first place. You must be driving high volumes of traffic to your listings to make a competitive number of sales, which means having an ad strategy that works. If you’re not already using Sponsored Ads or Sponsored Brands, it’s worth taking a look to see if they can help.
The final tip is perhaps the most obvious one: if shoppers are caught between two very similar items with similar features and functions, they’ll almost always choose the product with the lowest price. Of course, there’s a fine line here if you don’t want to eat into your profits, but it will always be challenging to sell more than a competitor if there’s a large discrepancy between your prices and their prices. Likewise, it’s not worth putting effort into attracting audiences with ads if you’re going to deter them with pricing.
Sales Rank: Not a One Time Thing
The most important thing to note about sales rank? Amazon updates sales rank every hour, so your position can go up and down throughout the day. This means that securing a strong position within your category isn’t a one-time thing; sales rank must be monitored and tracked so that you can intervene as necessary to avoid slipping down the ranks. It may help to work with a dedicated Amazon sales partner to ensure you’re quickly identifying drops in rank, responding rapidly, and implementing the best fixes.