Please stop here: This guide assumes you have some knowledge of selling on Amazon.
It’s likely that you downloaded this guide because I came across as an ‘expert’ on selling on Amazon. So I have to show you proof, right? I don’t blame you, this space is loaded with ‘experts’ who really don’t know what they’re talking about. It can be hard to trust someone. So here’s my proof:
> I’ve been selling on Amazon (via the FBA program) for over 4 years now (with sales of over $130,000/year (see http://bit.ly/amz2013)
> I also received Amazon.com’s Top Seller Award for Holiday Season 2010 (see http://www.jordanmalik.com/Amazon-Top-Seller-Award.jpg)
> In 2011, I founded FBAFinds.com, the site that tells Amazon.com sellers ‘Exactly What to Sell on Amazon and Exactly Where to Find it.’ FBAFinds is the 4th-highest ranked service at independent review site http://IMReportcard.com.
> My Amazon FBA Pro Merchant ID is Honest Online Selling (see http: //bit. ly/honestonline) Check that out, you can see my recent Amazon buyers’ feedback, and my items for sale.
If you’re still not convinced I’m credible, you can read unbiased reviews about my Amazon selling expertise here: http://www.imreportcard.com/people/jordan-malik
Many Amazon.com merchants ask me, “ When I am considering buying items to sell on Amazon, what sales rank should I be looking for? ”
The truth is, every Amazon seller is going to have a different opinion on what the ideal sales rank should be for inventory they are about to purchase. And you’ll eventually have your own strategy too.
If you don’t know what sales rank (Amazon calls it ‘Best Sellers Rank’)is, it appears under the “Product Details’ section of just about every item sold on Amazon.com. It looks like this (see the red circle on the image on the next page):
Amazon.com uses a secret formula (yes, it’s really a secret and no one has figured it out – yet) when they assign a sales rank to an item – but generally, we know: the lower the sales rank number, the ‘hotter’ the item is. (So a sales rank of ‘1’ would be an extremely hot item).
The sales rank for any item can jump up and down wildly, from day-to-day or minute to minute. So I tell many sellers not to get all stressed out about sales rank. Really. I had a situation where a sales rank went from 3.8 million (many other sellers would scoff at that) to 199,000 (you can read about it – see the 6th paragraph on my blog post here: http://jordanmalik. com/blog/?p=115
Anyway, books can have sales ranks as high as around 12 Million (that book would be a sales ‘dud’ – something that you probably couldn’t sell even if your price was $.01). Other categories like DVDs and Toys’ sales rank probably go as high as around 1 million or so – those would also be ‘duds’, or extremely slow sellers/nonsellers.
(Note: When I’m looking for products, how do I know what the item’s sales rank is? I use a PDA scanner (like these: http://bit. ly/jordanrecommends) with software by Neatoscan.com running on it. (Neatoscan costs $50/month to get updated prices and sales rank info downloaded to the PDA scanner). Using the PDA Scanner, I scan an item’s UPC bar code (that’s the black-and-white striped little box that’s on the back cover of a book or on the rear face of a product’s retail packaging). Then the PDA screen shows me the current selling prices on Amazon, the current sales rank, and other data. If Neatoscan’s solution is too pricey for you, there are alternatives. For example: if you already have an android phone or iPhone it can ‘double’ as a scanner by installing an App like Profit Bandit (recommended if you’re not ready for Neatoscan yet). A much slower method is to use your phone’s web browser, go to
Amazon.com’s web site, and looking up the item (via entering the item’s UPC code into the search field).
should only use mine as a guide, because the more you buy and sell, the more of a ‘feel’ you’ll get for sales ranks that suit just you.
What you shouldn’t do is immediately refuse to sell an item (like a book) that has a sales rank of (say) 900,000, because you might be missing out on an opportunity if there are NO (or, say, up to 3) other merchants selling the item, and hence the product’s number of competing sellers and/or available inventory are very low. If only one Amazon customer comes along and sees there’s little or no inventory, well he could have bought the item from you and you would have little or no competition.
So here is how I handle sales rank when I’m buying inventory to sell:
In all Amazon.com product categories – I first make sure my Amazon selling price can be 2.5x to 10x what I paid for it. But that ‘2.5x to 10x’ varies according to how little or how much I paid for the item.
For example, if I paid (say) $.50 for a book, I want to ensure the selling price is at least $5 (or 10 times my purchase price), so it’s worth my while.
At the other extreme: If I paid (say) $50 for a toy, I want to ensure the Amazon selling price is at least $125 (or 2.5 times my purchase price), so it’s worth my while.
Now let’s move on to my sales rank recommendations:
Books and audiocassets – My ‘sweet spot’, where I will buy without hesitating, is sales rank 1 to ~400,000…
….but I will (generally) buy a book or audiocassette with a sales rank of 400,000 to 3 Million ONLY if:
> I can buy it very cheaply and there is a potentially very high profit margin (i.e. I bought it for $0.25 but the current selling price is over $15.; and
> There are only a few (e.g., 1 to 5) competing sellers (the Neatoscan.com data on my scanner tells me how many sellers are currently selling the book), and
> The book is in relatively good sellable condition.
The reason I do this for books is that Amazon storage fees (for FBA Sellers) for books (and all media) is very negligible (it amounts to pennies per month per book), so it costs me nearly nothing for me to keep a book that ranks (say) 400,000 in Amazon FBA storage for 6 months or a year before it sells.
Toys & Games – slightly different ballgame here. My ‘sweet spot’ (where I will buy without hesitating) is 1 to 150,000…
….but I will (generally) buy a toy with a sales rank of 150,000 to 350,000 but ONLY if:
> There is a potentially very high profit margin (i.e. I bought the toy for $3.00 but the current selling price is over $15); and
> There are only a few (i.e. 1 to 5) competing sellers, and
> The toy is brand new (still sealed) or nearly new. (*Note: in the September
through December months, I get more aggressive because of Xmas, so I might lower my standards mentioned above. Why? Because buyers go absolutely bananas around the holidays and a toy with a sales rank of (say) 300,000 that you couldn’t sell for $5 in July might sell for $25 right before Xmas.)
DVDs, CDs, VHS Tapes – My ‘sweet spot’ (where I buy without hesitating) is 1 to ~50,000…
… but I will buy a DVD/CD/VHS Tape with a sales rank of50,000 to 250,000, ONLY if:
> There is a potentially very high profit margin (i.e. if I bought the DVD/CD /VHS Tape for$1-$2 but the current selling price is over $15); and
> There are only a few (e.g., 1 to 5) competing sellers; and
> The CD/DVD/VHS Tape is in relatively good sellable condition.
Household goods, electronics, small electrics – I don’t sell a lot of that but I generally stay within a sales rank of 1 to 100,000
Baby products – Very similar strategy to toys & games (above), with the exception that my ‘sweet spot’ (where I will buy without hesitating) is 1 to 40,000 (Remember you can’t sell used or ‘Collectible’ Baby Items. If they’re in the Amazon ‘baby’ category, they must be ‘New’.)
By now you’re probably thinking, “Jordan, there’s NO WAY you can sell items with such poor sales ranks (e.g., 250,000, 350,000, 500,000 etc.)! But I have
profit proof for you – believe me you will be shocked!
You can read all about it on my blog pages below:
http://jordanmalik.com/blog/?p=166 (2 toys – with sales ranks as high as 459,000
– that I sold within days of acquiring them)
http://jordanmalik.com/blog/?p=86 (An audiocassette – with a sales rank of 650,000 – that I also quickly sold)
http://jordanmalik.com/blog/?p=115 (An audiocassette bundle – with a sales rank of3,800,000 (that’s not a typo) – that I also quickly sold.
Well, thanks for reading this – I really hope I’ve helped you.
If you have further questions about sales rank, I’ll try to answer them the best that I can: email me at email@example.com
Jordan “J.B”. Malik, Founder:
More Amazon/eBay Seller Help Guides and Services:
FREE: http://www.HonestOnlineSelling.com (Blog/newsletter with remarkable and proven ways to make a living on Amazon and eBay)
FREE: http://SourceAzon. com – Proven inventory resources for Amazon Merchants $27 (FREE for FBAFinds. com members): http://www.ResellToys.com (118 Toys You Can Buy Locally and Resell on Amazon for Big Profits) $20 (FREE for FBAFinds.com members): http://AmazonExposed.com — Amazon Seller Secrets Exposed (Kindle version: http://bit.lv/AmazonExposed) $20: http://Blesha.com – How to Buy Low on eBay and Sell High on Amazon (Kindle version: http://bit. lv/buvlowsellhigh $5+/month: http://FBAFinds.com Membership (The site that tells its VIP members ‘What to Sell on Amazon’ and ‘Where to find it’) $27/month: http://www. SoldOutAzon. com (Identify and get help locating sold-out, niche products on Amazon)