Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Amazon FAQ – What if an Item Has No Sales Rank?

Here is another common question I have received from my clients and see on message boards. Part of the decision making process when determining whether or not an item is a good fit for Amazon is sales rank. But what if an item does not have a rank, or the rank is zero?

No sales rank. We (experienced Amazon sellers) believe this means that the item has sold at least once in the past but a long time period has passed. It could have been months or even years since a sale.

Zero rank. The item has recently been listed and no sales has occurred yet.

So, your next question is, what do I do if there is not a rank, or the rank is zero?

Here is how I approach a zero rank situation. If I have a gut feeling about a product, based on my own experience with a brand name or type of product, I will watch the item and see what happens. Eventually a ranking will appear when some are sold. My feeling is that someone obviously knows enough to have taken the time to list the product and do all the work. If I don’t have enough experience to make the call, I can take advantage of another seller’s initiative and pay attention to the situation.

I also pay attention to the seller who listed the item. I look at these factors:

  1. Does the seller have a lot of feedback – meaning are they experienced?

  2. Does the seller have a large product offering?

  3. Does the seller specialize in a certain category, such as toys or health and beauty?

  4. Does the seller have a lot of products with a zero ranking, which would indicate that they experiment regularly?

If you don’t have the experience or knowledge to understand whether a zero ranked product is worth listing, watch other more experienced sellers.

Also, a note about zero ranks. I have experimented with products with a zero rank and sold maybe 25-30 of the product before a ranking showed up on the listing or FBA Scout. So, although the rank may show as zero, and it APPEARS that no sales have occurred, you can’t always make that assumption.

My best advice on zero ranked products is to go with your gut. If your inner voice is telling you that the item will sell, you know the brand name is a good seller, or you yourself use the product and like it, follow that instinct. Buy a couple and see what happens. You may discover a situation where the item sells and the ranking stays a zero for a few months. Competitors will look at the item thinking none have sold yet. And you will be laughing all the way to the bank!

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Peter Guest said...

I always thought that an item with NO sales rank was because it is an item that has never sold through this listing on Amazon. A pro merchant created the listing, and others might have added their copies, but none has sold.

So an item with a rank of 10 million (I've seen 'em) still has sold at least one copy to have any rank at all. Whereas an item with no ranking has sold none, so far.

I probably got this thinking from the Amazon Seller forums. I'm also talking about book ranking here.

Serena said...

Great post, Suzanne. I've come across these zero rank items and have wondered about them myself. Good to know that there is a strategy on how to deal with them!