There are around 350 million Amazon listings across hundreds of product categories and subcategories. As a seller, you may want to know how your listing fares in the given category of that humongous pile of products.
A high sales volume is often a good indication of your products’ performance. However, Amazon's Best Sellers Rank (BSR) puts a number on that performance--It tells you how your product is doing in any given product category against other similar products.
But the Best Sellers Rank is often a misunderstood concept among sellers and buyers alike. For instance, many customers think that the BSR of a product is linked to its quality, features, and reliability i.e. the better the BSR, the better the product. With that, sellers often confuse the Best Sellers Rank with organic ranking.
In this post, we will go through exactly what a Best Sellers Rank is, how it's calculated, and why it’s important..
Best Sellers Rank is essentially a category-based ranking derived from sales of any item in the given category. Amazon updates these lists every hour and may assign more than one category/sub-category to an item. For instance, a watering can have a BSR in the Watering Cans as well as the Patio, Lawn & Garden category.
Amazon also clearly mentions that the BSR is just a good indication of how well a product is selling overall. It might not necessarily point to how well an item is selling compared to similar items.
Amazon stays tight-lipped on the exact method it uses to calculate Best Sellers Rank. We only know that the sales volume of a product plays the biggest factor in determining its seller rank.
Seller Rank of a product is either given under the Product Details or Product Information section.
No, you don’t need to fixate on BSR as a seller. Improve your organic ranking, increase your sales volume and seller rank of your products will eventually get better.
No, there is really no connection between Amazon search results and BSR. A good BSR doesn’t guarantee you a top spot for relevant keyword search results.
BSR is not the right indicator to determine sales volume. Nonetheless, if you rank in the top 2,000 for any main product category, you’re on the right track. Similarly, making it to the top 100 in any sub-category will be a great result for beginner sellers.
As mentioned earlier, Amazon hasn’t provided any “official” method or approach to calculate the Best Sellers Rank. However, it is pretty clear that Amazon only takes the “sales volume” into account for this calculation. The price of the product, the number of its variants, and the aggregate of customer reviews have nothing to do with how BSR is calculated.
Some sellers also believe that Amazon doesn’t give much weight to the sales made on discounts and coupons while ranking products in respective categories. It’s just an assumption since Amazon hasn’t hinted at differentiating regular and discount sales.
Let’s try to understand how Amazon BSR is apparently calculated while using a hypothetical scenario.
Let’s take out two competing products from the Cell Phone Wall Charges category: Charger A and Charger B. They are ranked 50th and 51st respectively. Now, we will use the following two scenarios to understand how their BSR moves and fluctuates with respect to sales.
Scenario 1: Charger B is sold more than charger A in the last hour
Suppose ten pieces of charger B are sold in the last hour. Meanwhile, Charger A only manages to have five sales in the same duration. If Charger A doesn’t give up its #50 slot for Charger B despite having lower sales in the last hour, it shows that Charger A has better historical (overall) sales than Charger B.
Scenario 2: Charger A doesn’t move up BSR even with higher sales
Suppose Charger A has more units sold in the last hour as compared to charger B as well as its own previous hourly sales volume. However, this sales uptick doesn’t really affect its BSR. It can mainly happen because despite having good sales activity in the last hour, its historical sales volume is still lower than the charger holding the 49th position.
You can do a little survey among aspiring Amazon sellers to find out that they are not really sure what the difference between Best Sellers Rank and the organic rank of a product is. If you’re also confused about these two ranking regimens, the discussion in this section will come in handy.
Best Sellers Rank is essentially a position that a product attains in different relevant categories and subcategories based on its sales volume. On the other hand, the organic rank of any product is its position on the Amazon SERPs for relevant keywords. As a seller, you need to be more mindful of how your product ranks for targeted keywords rather than how its BSR fluctuates.
While sales and relative performance of competitors are the driving factors behind BSR, the organic ranking of a product is dependent on how you optimize its listing. How you incorporate relevant keywords in the product title, description, and bullet points of your listing determines its standing on Amazon search result pages for particular keywords.
The BSR of a product has little to do with driving its sales. Customers usually don’t select products from the top-100 BSR pages of different categories. Also, when they land on a particular listing, they are more interested in finding out product details, customer rating, and reviews rather than its BSR.
In contrast, the organic ranking has a very direct effect on sales. A product that organically ranks better than other products for similar keywords witnesses more sales.
You can also sum up the difference between BSR and organic rank through this chart.
Notwithstanding the differences, BSR and organic ranking are linked to each other. When your product has a better organic rank, it tends to have better sales than competitors. This also means you will have a better historical sales volume than your competitors, which will eventually translate into a higher BSR.
Going by the above discussion, you can easily tell that BSR is all about how much and better you manage to sell as compared to your competitors. Therefore, if you want to improve the BSR of your product, there is no other way except to improve its sales. Here, we’ll outline ways through which you can improve your sales and subsequently your product’s BSR.
Before anything else, you need to research and sort out the list of most relevant keywords for your product listings. Getting ranked for the right keywords always warrants good sales.
Having done your keyword research, you need to optimize your listing around the found keywords. Make sure to use the given keywords in the title, feature bullets, and product description. Besides good keyword placement, you also need to supercharge your listing pages with high-definition images of your products. A listing with better quality and more comprehensive product shots does better than listings lacking those details.
In many cases, the product price becomes a tiebreaker for customers when they have to choose between similar items listed by two different sellers. Therefore, always be competitive with your prices. It can help you steal a sale from your competitors.
Using FBA and then selling to Prime members always help you in garnering a better reputation as a seller. In the long run, sellers with better reputations always tend to outperform the others selling the same products.
As a seller, you can extract various pieces of useful information from the Best Sellers Rank of not just your own listings but other listings as well.
Every business environment thrives on competition and the same is the case with the Amazon marketplace. No matter what niche and sub-niche you select, you’ll always find ample competition there. You always need to keep an eye on your competitors to sustain and grow in such a cutthroat business environment. Best Sellers Rank can help you in keeping those tabs on your competitors.
By tracking the BSR of products listed by competitors, you can find out where your product stands in comparison. Subsequently, you can make necessary adjustments (optimization, price revisions, PPC advertising, etc) to ensure your product's sales volume also starts improving.
The best use of keeping track of the BSR of your product is to calculate a sales volume estimation of other listings. Let’s suppose you maintain a record of monthly sales of an item and its BSR range for the same period e.g. 500 sales in a month with BSR lingering in the range of 150-170. After collecting this data for a couple of months, you might recognize a correlation between your sales volume and BSR.
Let’s say, you keep track of sales volume for six months and devise this table.
With this data in your hand, you can have a rough sales volume estimation of your competitors for the given category. For instance, if your competitor’s listing has a BSR in the range of 180-230, you can say that their sale might have been around 500 to 600.
Keep in mind that the seasonality, fluctuating product demand, prices, and various other factors can heavily skew such estimates. Therefore, you should use an Amazon tool where you can find product sales volume. This double-check will ensure that your sales volume estimates are closer to actual numbers.
If you are still in the research and analysis phase of your listing creation, BSRs can come in handy. You can essentially use BSR exploration as one of the various components in your product research stage. You can refer to the Amazon Best Sellers page where you can find the top-100 listings for all the categories and sub-categories.
By sifting through those rankings through various niches, you can get an idea of what products are in demand and where competition is high and low. This extracted insight can help you in shortlisting the products you may want to sell.
Before we wrap up this article, it is very important to bust all the myths and address all the misconceptions revolving around Best Sellers Rank.
As mentioned earlier, having higher BSR is not a driving force behind sales. Your listing can have a good BSR while still struggling to maintain a good sales volume. Your ranking on Amazon search pages and then good product reviews and details are the main driving factors behind improved sales.
Customer reviews have nothing to do with Best Seller Ranks. You can even find products among the top 100 in some categories and subcategories with very few or even no reviews at all. Similarly, it doesn’t matter if your product has a 2 or 4-star rating when it comes to determining its BSR.
Some people think that occupying top slots on BSR also guarantees a first-page position on Amazon SERPs. However, that’s not the case. You can find products with poor BSR ranking beating top-ranking products on Amazon search pages by several miles.
In short, a good BSR doesn’t guarantee a better ranking on SERPs. However, it is true for the other way around i.e. good organic ranking eventually improves BSR.
Some sellers also believe that a recent bump in sales improves BSR more drastically. It is also a misconception because Amazon factors in the historic sales volume while assigning Best Sellers Rank. Even if you have a bumper sale in the last month, you won’t be able to beat your competitor’s BSR if they have better historic (total) sales volume.
One major takeaway of the above discussion is this: BSR is not something that you should worry much about. It doesn’t help increase conversions or improve your ranking. Nonetheless, it feels good to have a good BSR. Seeing your product ranked among the top 10 or top 100 makes many feel accomplished as a seller.
With that, selling products that maintain a good BSR improves your seller profile. Finicky buyers may run a little background check on sellers before buying their products. Seeing a seller maintaining a good BSR portfolio will convince customers to buy from them.
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