How Vital is Amazon Best Sellers Rank (BSR)?

When searching for products on Amazon, you often come across “Best Seller.” This best-seller badge indicates that Amazon has declared that product number one in its category or sub-category.

When you click on the bestseller badge it takes you to a list. This list includes all products ranked in order of the best-selling products in each class. The lower the number the better.

These numbered lists range from one to over a million. It measures the popularity of products compared to other products in the same category and sub-categories.

On the left, you can filter through sub-categories. This is a visual representation of Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank (BSR) algorithm in play.

What is Amazon BSR?

Amazon BSR, short for Amazon Best Sellers Rank, is Amazon’s proprietary algorithmic ranking method. Once a product is sold for the first time, Amazon assigns that product a score. That score or rank is then used to measure the relative selling ability of that product in terms of its category or sub-category.

Amazon’s algorithm updates data every hour to give an accurate representation of how well it selling at the moment and over time.

Although Amazon does not reveal exactly how they rank Amazon products, we do know directly what affects rank.

These are the two most relevant datasets Amazon uses to set the rank of each product:

  1. Sales Velocity or Frequency- the rate at which the product sells Example- A product sells about 2 times every hour
  2. Product Prices and Promotions
  3. Sales History- Current and Past Example: Does the product sell at the same velocity consistently was the product a ”one-hit-wonder”

How to find a Product’s Amazon BSR

Finding BSR it quite simply. You can search BSR by category or sub-category and you could also search BSR by specific product.

Here is the link to search BSR by Category.

In order to see BSR by product, first search the product you want to look at. Next scroll down to the “Product Details.” Within the product details, there will be Amazon Best Sellers Rank clearly visible. Within BSR, you will see two numbers: one for the category and another for sub-category.

Example of Amazon BSR of 1 water bottle

From there on, you could click “See Top 100” to compare other best-selling products within that same category.

Why is Amazon BSR so Important?

Amazon BSR can make or break your Amazon business. Though the severity depends on which business model you use, it will always be important.

If you are doing a private label business, selling rank will not be too important at the start. You will need to improve it over time however, it is inevitable that your rank, in the beginning, will be poor.

Business models like wholesale and retail arbitrage rely heavily on sales rank. The ROI in those models are tighter and require fast churning of inventory in order to make healthy profits. The problem with having too low of rank is that your sales may lag heavily.

In the end, a lower rank means more overall sales. In turn, more dollars in your pocket.

What is a Good Amazon BSR

There is not a specific number range that dictates whether a BSR is good or not. It is mostly relative to the category and sub-category.

A rank that is 200,000 in a niche sub-category (Water Bottles) is not nearly as good as rank 200,000 in a broad category (Sports & Outdoors.)

Also, a 5,000 rank in pet supplies may not be as good as a 5,000 rank in toys. It always depends on the category or sub-category. The best way to look at whether a BSR is good or not is to look at it in the eyes of the category.

“Is the product within the top 10% of that category?” & “What products are ranking higher and lower than my product?” are good questions to ask yourself.

A helpful tool for Analysis

Because Amazon BSR is updated hourly with sales velocity, the current rank does not tell the whole story. In order to fully understand how well a product does you must look for the average rank overtime. Average rank > sales rank.

The average rank will smooth out any seasonality or short term variations from sales velocity. Helpful tools to aid with analysis would be Keepa. On their website, find a product, and select the Data tab.

In the Data tab, you can find a variety of data points. On the right column, you can find data on the Sales Rank over time (30, 60, 90, and 180-day increments)

There are to websites that are free and over chrome extensions for instant BSR analysis.

How to Improve your Product’s Amazon BSR

There are many ways to go about improving your products BSR. In order for your product ranking to go down, you must focus on getting more sales. The more sales you get, the higher the selling velocity and the more sales history you will be adding to your listing.

Amazon customers are driven towards the product with the Best Sellers Badge. As your product performs better and ranks higher, it’ll begin doing even better like a snowball effect. In order to outrank the bestsellers, you must beat their sales velocity.

There are three main ways to begin getting more traction on your product and increase sales conversions.

Organic Visibility

Organic visibility is essentially what it is. You increase the visibility of your product in the most organic ways. The main way is through SEO. Fix your listing in order to optimize search engine results and strengthen the keywords that draw eyes to your product.

Furthermore, focus on inbound marketing in order to draw more people to your product and be exposed to more potential customers.

Here’s a list of items to consider when doing Product SEO:

  1. Targeted Keywords
  2. Product Title
  3. Product Description
  4. Product Images
  5. Product Reviews
  6. Product Ratings

I recommend looking into Amazon's A9 search engine algorithm to fully understand how Amazon decides which product appears at the top of search results.

Amazon PPC Ads

The first rule of marketing is to always complete marketing tasks in the order that is the least expensive and most effective. Organic Visibility first being the highest ROI, next you can begin adding Amazon PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ads to increase your product’s visibility.

There are three formats for Amazon PPC:

  1. Sponsored Products - keyword-targeting ads to promote individual products
  2. Sponsored Brands- ads that allow brands to promote up to 3 products in their ad and send shoppers to a custom landing page
  3. Product Display Ads (Vendors only)- ads that send shoppers to Amazon product detail pages

Sponsored Products is likely the most relevant one to those reading this blog.

To learn more about Amazon PPC and how it may increase visibility and sales on Amazon with advertising visit this link.

Run Amazon Product Promotions

Running product promotions on your products is a great way to temporarily increase sales velocity and overall boost sales history.

Feel free to run product promotions when you feel you need to however you have to be careful and deliberate when running promotions. There are strict rules Amazon provides in its guidelines. These rules include but are not limited to:

  1. You cannot solicit or knowingly accept fake or fraudulent orders, including placing orders for your own products
  2. You cannot provide compensation to buyers for purchasing your products
  3. You cannot make claims regarding a product’s bestseller rank in the product detail page information, including the title and description

Useful Ways to Use Amazon Best Sellers Rank

Product Research

Amazon BSR is a great start to elementary product research.

Whether deciding to enter into a new market or looking to scale a listing further, start by looking at the relative rank of other products. See which products rank well and why.

As you become more experienced, you will build a sense of what does well and what does not do well. From there, you can begin doing more competitor research. Look at the top products, anything within rank 1000, and begin to reverse engineer why those products are doing so well.

Estimate Sales

One of the best uses of Amazon BSR data is to use it as a sales estimate. As time goes on and your products begin to achieve better sales rank, record the sales data over time. See how many sales you get a week with that week’s average rank. Although it will never be 100% accurate, it is a good way to gauge what future sales could look like.

Furthermore, Jungle Scout has a free Amazon Sales Estimator on their site that may prove extremely useful. All you have to do is plug in the BSR number, marketplace, and category. Then Jungle Scout will provide you an estimate of the number of sales that product might experience per month.

How Vital is Amazon Best Sellers Rank (BSR)?
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