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Podcast Episode 153 – What Does an Amazon Sales Rank of Zero Mean?

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What happens when you have a sales rank of zero? Not sure? Then you don’t want to miss today’s episode where we discuss what happens when the sales rank of an item on Amazon is zero (or missing completely) and how to use other pieces of information to make the best sourcing decision possible.

Today, you’ll learn about what a zero sales rank actually means and what to do about it. We’ll also share the different places you can go to find a sales rank or other essential data so that you can ultimately make a solid buying decision regarding a specific product you want to resell. Listen today to learn more about solving the mystery of a zero (or missing) sales rank on Amazon!

Listen on the podcast player below.

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Key points from Episode 153:

  • The importance of sales rank as an Amazon seller.
  • What happens when you can’t find a sales rank and how it can impact your buying decisions.
  • What a sales rank of zero means.
  • How often sales rank numbers are updated for almost every product on Amazon.
  • The difference between main category sales ranks and subcategory ranks.
  • The possibility of Amazon ranking algorithms glitching.
  • What to do if you can’t find the sales rank, even in the subcategories, on Amazon.
  • Why you need to check for duplicate product pages on Amazon.
  • The deal with duplicate product pages and sales rank.
  • When to check the recent product reviews on Amazon.
  • When to consider putting sourcing capital at risk on items with no sales ranks

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Right-click here and save as to download this episode to your computer.

The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank

Sales rank is easily the most misunderstood aspect of selling on Amazon. What is a good sales rank? What does a sales rank of zero mean? What do I do with sales rank for sub-categories? Why does sales rank have to be so confusing so much of the time?

I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way! You can finally get the clarity you need on the issue of understanding Amazon sales rank numbers. We at Full-Time FBA have launched a mini-course called The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank: Understanding Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Maximum Profits. The mini-course is a combination ebook (30+ pages) and video course (almost 2 hours).

Check out The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank mini-course to see how you can master the concept of best sellers rank and be on your way toward smarter sourcing decisions for your Amazon FBA business!

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Episode 153 Transcript:

[INTRODUCTION]

[0:00:01.8] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Full-Time FBA Show. In each episode, it’s our goal to help you turn part-time hours into a full-time income, selling almost anything on Amazon. Now, your hosts of the show, Stephen and Rebecca Smotherman.

[WELOME]

[0:00:21.3] STEPHEN: Welcome to episode number 153 of the Full-Time FBA Show. Today on the show, we’re going to be talking about what happens if you don’t have a sales rank? A sales rank of zero, a disappearing sales rank, what’s going to happen, what do you do, what does it mean and with me to talk about it is my wife, my business partners, my best friend Rebecca, what is up, Rebecca?

[0:00:38.5] REBECCA: Not much is going on other than the podcast right now. I mean, just everything is going on but it’s going to be good to talk today about sales rank of zero on a product and to see what it can possibly mean and how you can go from there and making your decisions.

[0:00:54.4] STEPHEN: Yeah, sales rank is important. So what happens if we don’t have a sales rank? We’ll talk about that today on The Full-Time FBA Show.

[DISCUSSION]

[0:01:04.4] STEPHEN: Before we jump into discussions about sales rank, I just want to make sure that you know the opportunity you have to be on The Full-Time FBA newsletter. It is a newsletter that goes out about twice a week, it drops all these kinds of information to help you part-time hours into a full-time income with Amazon, we got blog post, videos, coupon codes, free books, all sorts of fun stuff that we deliver to you about twice a week. So fulltimefba.com, look at the little box on the side of the screen and sign up for our newsletter, you won’t regret it.

[0:01:32.4] REBECCA: Now, let’s get into talking about the importance of sales rank to Amazon sellers. This is one of the first things you probably learn as an Amazon seller to check for when you’re making a buying decision, you’re analyzing products that you might want to resell, it’s the sales rank. Sellers need to understand how sales rank works on Amazon in order to understand how fast the product might sell.

Now, sales rank is no guarantee of a sell but it can definitely give you information about how the item is currently selling. The lower the sales rank, the faster the sales but there’s so much to it than that and if you want to find out more, we’ve got an episode all about sales rank on The Full-Time FBA Show, episode number 21, fulltimefba.com/21, if you want to learn more about sales rank.

So what happens when you’re sourcing to sell items on Amazon and you can’t find the sales rank? It’s such an important piece of data to look at but sometimes there’s not one. Sometimes it may say, n/a or it might say zero and when you’re doing retail arbitrage on a sourcing app and you turn up that data or if you’re doing online arbitrage or wholesale sourcing and you can’t find that main sales rank on the Amazon product page, what do you do?

How do you make a decision then? Do you just automatically skip that item? What does a sales rank of zero or the sales rank missing completely mean for your buying decision?

[0:02:56.0] STEPHEN: So there’s multiple things that could be going on here. So let’s try to share as many of them as we can think of, to help you make your best decision, when you’re sourcing and you can’t find the sales rank. The first and most obvious reason is if there is no sales rank, then there have been no sales. A sales rank of zero or a blank piece of information where a sales rank should be usually means that the item is never sold.

No sales equals no sales rank. Pretty simple, plain and cut, that’s what’s happening most of the time but there’s other options that might be going on as well.

[0:03:26.0] REBECCA: And one of those options is that the sales rank might be zero because the item has no sales for a long time. Maybe the item did sell at some point in the past really well or occasionally but then it’s been such a long time that the item has sold that Amazon just stopped ranking the item altogether. It just kind of fell off the list of items with the sales rank.

It’s possible that after a y ear or two of an item not having any sales that it could be changed to a sales rank of zero or no sales rank at all. Again, if there’s no sales, you can’t really rank the sales of an item. So if there’s no sales, you’re not going to have a sales rank or no sales in a long time could mean no sales rank.

[0:04:08.4] STEPHEN: Right and Amazon goes in and updates the sales rank of items on Amazon, almost all the items, about once an hour. So 24 times a day, a sales rank is updated and if Amazon notices that this item hasn’t sold in such a long time, we just need to start tracking it, stop putting data and information and checking on it because it haven’t sold in a long time then yeah, you got that zero sales rank.

A third reason why there might be no sales rank or a sales rank of zero is because of Amazon’s subcategory ranks being shown instead or it’s just not showing the main sales rank from the main category. Sometimes Amazon will show a sales rank of zero for the main category but instead, we’ll show you a sales rank in the sub-category.

So, there are about 27 main categories on Amazon and there’s probably about thousands of sub-categories to kind of really differentiate and really niche down into those categories for that particular item.

So here’s an example, there might be an item that has a sales rank of zero in electronics but will have a sales rank in the subcategory of DSLR cameras and so sometimes Amazon likes to show the sub sales rank category better or more often the main category sales rank for some categories, usually electronics.

So be sure when you’re sourcing, know which rank you’re looking at. 27 main categories it makes a big difference to know what you’re looking at. So if you see a rank of zero, dig deeper to see if it has a sub-category of sales rank that might better help you when you’re sourcing.

[0:05:31.9] REBECCA: A fourth possibility if you are not able to find a sales rank is that there is the glitch going on. Sometimes this happens with the data that Amazon is putting out on their website and on the product pages as you’re doing research or as you’re using an app that is getting that information from Amazon.
Sometimes the sales rank might temporarily disappear for a few hours or even days and usually, that’s just a glitch. If that has happened where you see that an item that you really aren’t sure why it is not having a sales rank, it’s in a category where it should have a sales rank, it’s a brand, a type of item that really should have a sales rank but it’s not showing one, it might just be a glitch.

Amazon is constantly updating their ranking algorithms, so sometimes just a byproduct of those updates is that there could be a temporary problem with displaying the data that you would normally see so the sales rank could temporarily disappear.

This has happened to me before when I’m sourcing and usually, the way to confirm this is to ask other people, “Hey, are you noticing this too?” and other people will be able to back it up and say, “Yeah, this is what’s going on” and you’ll know, “Okay, I just need to wait” and you know, maybe find a way to report it to Amazon incase they don’t already know, probably they do already know but then you just have to be patient and wait for them to fix it before you can continue to do your research on that sales rank.

[0:06:52.3] STEPHEN: Yeah, I’ll never forget about eight years ago when the sales rank in the books category completely disappeared for about six hours and it like, shook most Amazon resellers when it comes to book resells and going, “Oh, is this going to be permanent? Is this a new thing, is this going to stick?”

I’m like, “No, just a little glitch, it came back, take a deep breath it’s not the end of the world” and everything was fine but, you know, it could happen from time to time and it’s happened in other categories as well.

[0:07:17.5] REBECCA: So then what do we do if we’re looking for that sales rank and we can’t find it? We can’t find the main category sales rank and Amazon is not telling us at the moment what that is, how do we find out what it is? How do we go forward with making our buying decision if we can’t find that information easily from Amazon?

[0:07:35.7] STEPHEN: So the first step when it comes to finding the sales rank for an item if you can’t find it, is to look at Keepa. I mean, Keepa, we talk about it almost every episode, it tracks every sales rank history of almost every item on Amazon. So if a product is not displaying the sales rank of the current item that you’re looking at currently showing the sales rank of what it is right now, you can at least look in the past, you know?

So you can go to Keepa, fulltimefba.com/keepa if you want to add a Keepa extension to your Google Chrome browser, which I highly recommend, fulltimefba.com/keepaextension and you can take a look at the past, what was the sales rank before and see if it’s something that fits your sourcing parameters and obviously, that’s what we need to be doing anyway for most of the items that we’re sourcing.

Don’t just look at today’s sales rank, like I said earlier in the episode, Amazon updates the sales rank number for almost every item on Amazon at least once an hour and so, 24 times a day, the sales rank is changing. You don’t want to source based on just today’s sales rank, look at the history of the sales rank. We use Keepa to do that and also, sometimes people are like, “What happens if Keepa can’t see the sales rank?”

Well, Keepa pulls their information directly from the data from Amazon. So if Keepa doesn’t show the current sales rank, it’s because Amazon’s not showing it. It’s not something wrong with Keepa, it’s something that glitch with Amazon where they’re not showing it. So again, you can just look into the past with Keepa to better predict the future of what to expect when it comes to seals rank.

[0:08:58.9] REBECCA: Another thing you want to be sure and check, if you’re not finding any Keepa data, there’s no sales rank on an item, you might want to double check that that item that you’re looking at does not have a duplicate product page on Amazon.

This is often an issue when you’re looking at something that you think, there’s really no good reason why it’s a great brand, it’s a popular item, why does it not have a sales rank. Well, maybe you’re not looking at the main product page.

Sometimes, people will create a duplicate product page even though it’s against Amazon’s guidelines and items do end up having multiple product pages on the Amazon catalog. Maybe there’s a different ASIN that you should be looking at that would have a better sales rank or a sales rank at all. That that would be the main page that you would want to list your item on.

The example we always use because it is just perennially there is the Seinfeld Scene It Deluxe edition. The reason why we constantly use this example of product pages is because, currently, this boardgame, Seinfeld Scene it Deluxe Edition, it’s this DVD boardgame that you play, it has five different product pages on Amazon and that’s been the case for years.

So, that’s why we always use this. It’s just reliable that there’s always going to be multiple pages for whatever reason.

[0:10:14.0] STEPHEN: Yeah, what’s the deal with duplicate product pages?

[0:10:17.2] REBECCA: Oh my goodness.

[0:10:17.8] STEPHEN: I totally just did that.

[0:10:19.3] REBECCA: I did not see that coming.

[0:10:20.2] STEPHEN: I didn’t either, it just came to me.

[0:10:21.4] REBECCA: Okay.

[0:10:21.9] STEPHEN: My apologies for our listeners.

[0:10:23.7] REBECCA: So only one of those product pages though is going to have a sales rank and be getting sales. So find that product page or find the product page that has the lowest, there might be two and one of them has a good sales rank and another has like a million sales rank in toys, you want to find the one that has the sales rank, the good sales rank and use that ASIN to sell on if it’s profitable for you to do so.

[0:10:45.2] STEPHEN: Yeah, some people are like, “But it’s a lot more profit on this other sales page with a much higher rank.” Well, you’re not going to get the sale. That means it’s, you know, yeah, it’s more profitable but if you’re not going to get the sale, you’re not going to get the profits.

So if there’s no sales rank on the product page, if there’s no Keepa data that can help you, if there’s no other product pages that are out there that could be a better product page, what do you do? What we do next is look at the recent product reviews of the item that you’re looking at to sell on Amazon.

If an item is selling often, there should be recent reviews and I keep saying recent because if an item has, you know, 400 reviews from 2017, that’s not recent sales. I would look for current reviews based off of the year that you’re sourcing it at. So a really cool tool that gives a one-click link right to this is RevSeller.

If you’re doing an online arbitrage or wholesale sourcing or you’re just at home doing some research. If you use RevSeller, there is a quick link to see the recent reviews right there at the top of the screen, fulltimefba.com/revseller to find out more about the tool. It’s a really cool tool to use.

[0:11:48.0] REBECCA: And that’s a Chrome extension, you would just install that on your Chrome browser and it would put that information directly in the Amazon product page as you’re looking at it.

[0:11:56.2] STEPHEN: Absolutely.

[0:11:56.2] REBECCA: So if you still can’t find any data, after you’ve used all of the suggestions and you’re still not able to come up with any type of data points to look at when you’re trying to make your decision, whether an item is going to be good for you to resell or not, you just have to make your best educated guess.

Sometimes more experienced sellers can look at an item and say, “I’m not finding a duplicate product page, I don’t see any recent sells but I don’t know that this item is going to sell if I buy it and resell it. I know that there’s going to be a customer for this.” That is you know, totally within the realm of possibility.
We’ve done that, we have looked at an item and said, “You know what? The reason why this doesn’t have any sales is because it hasn’t been available but if it was available on Amazon, I know somebody who is going to buy it” but we’ve been selling for a long time.

If you’re a newbie, I would not suggest doing that too often or at all because you’re putting your sourcing capital at risk on something that’s just really an educated guess and if you don’t have the experience to make an educated guess, you really don’t want to be buying inventory based on hope.

You really need to stick with buying inventory based on the data that you’ve looked at for the time being, until you get some more experience and then you can start making those decisions based on more of a gut feeling about a product.

[0:13:07.5] STEPHEN: Right, and just remember, we are never promised sales rank. Amazon does not say that we will always have access to this information and it’s vital information for us to use to make a good sourcing decision but it can really be a really complicated number.

Again, the number changes, almost 24 times a day and different sales rank numbers have different ways that they react to their specific main category. Every category has their own type of personality when it comes to the sales rank numbers and how to read it and understand it and because of that, because Amazon sales rank is so confusing at times, we put together a little course.

It’s a mini course, you got to fulltimefba.com/salesrankcourse, it’s our most affordable course and it helps walk you through understanding sales rank so that you can be more confident in your sourcing decisions. Again the link, fulltimefba.com/salesrankcourse.

[CLOSING CONVERSATION]

[0:14:01.1] REBECCA: Thank you so much for joining us today for this episode of The Full-Time FBA Show. We are so glad you’re here. As always, we want to make sure that you have the links that we’ve mentioned in this episode as well as the show transcript. You can find that at fulltimefba.com/153. That’s where you’ll find the shownotes, the transcript, any links that we’ve talked about and we hope that that is useful for you.

[0:14:22.2] STEPHEN: Next week on the show, we are going to talk about why you’re not finding any inventory to sell on Amazon or if you’re able to find a little, how you’re not finding enough inventory to sell on Amazon. We’re going to answer that question next week on The Full-Time FBA Show.

[OUTRO]

[0:14:37.0] ANNOUNCER: That is all for this episode of The Full-Time FBA Show. So head over to fulltimefba.com/podcast, where you will find the shownotes and links from this episode. While you’re there, subscribe to our newsletter where you’ll get several free downloads of our popular and helpful Amazon FBA resources. Now, take action on what you have learned today so you can find success at turning part-time hours into a full-time income with Amazon FBA.

[END]



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