The U.S. Amazon marketplace has hundreds of millions of products listed across 20 categories.
And while those numbers may seem incredible, what’s more incredible is that the vast majority of items available on Amazon (that have made one or more sales) is awarded a special ranking called the Best Sellers Rank (BSR).
But what is the Best Sellers Rank? And what does it mean for your Amazon FBA business? In this article, we’ll dive deep into what the BSR actually is and how understanding its function can benefit your business.
- What is Amazon Best Sellers Rank?
- How is Amazon Best Sellers Rank calculated?
- What is the difference between Amazon Best Sellers Rank and organic ranking?
- How can I use Amazon Best Sellers Rank to estimate sales?
- What tools are available to calculate sales from Amazon Best Sellers Rank?
If you already understand the Amazon BSR and are looking for a powerful tool to help you estimate sales, then skip ahead to learn more about Jungle Scout’s Chrome extension:
What is Amazon Best Sellers Rank?
An Amazon Best Sellers Rank (BSR) is a number that nearly every product in its multi-million product catalog is awarded once the item has had at least one sale. For that reason, the BSR is a good indicator of how well a product is currently selling on Amazon.
The better the product’s BSR, the better its sales.
For example, a product ranked #1 has much higher sales than a product ranked #200,000.
However, the BSR only applies to how a product sells in a particular category. In other words, products don’t have an overall BSR, comparing their sales to every other product on Amazon.
But, since many products sell in multiple categories on Amazon, it is possible for an item to have more than one BSR. Particularly when you take into account that nearly every department and sub-category on Amazon has its own individual best sellers ranking system.
So, a product on Amazon can have a BSR of 2,000 in Kitchen & Dining, while the exact same product can have an Amazon Best Sellers Rank of 20,000 when sold in Toys & Games.
Note: Some products on Amazon are not given BSRs. This is fairly common for electronics.
How is Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank calculated?
Although Amazon doesn’t reveal exactly how the Best Sellers Rank is calculated, there are a number of factors that contribute to it, including:
- Current and historic sales
- Product price changes and promotions
- Competitive products
The BSR reflects current sales trends, as well as historical sales volume, and is updated hourly.
For example, if a product has 10 units of sales in one hour but drops to only one unit sale the next, that doesn’t mean it will automatically drop down to a BSR that’s for products that only sell one per hour. Instead, the BSR algorithm will take into account both sales velocities.
Let me show you what I mean using some hypothetical numbers.
An example of how Amazon Best Sellers Rank works:
- Product A is currently ranked #500 in Amazon’s Patio, Lawn & Garden category. It just sold eight products in the last hour.
- At the same time, Product B is currently ranked #1000 in Amazon’s Patio, Lawn & Garden category. That product sold four products in the last hour.
- In the next hour, Product A sells only four products and Product B sells eight products.
- Logically, you’d think that the two would swap BSRs, right? In other words, product A would be #1000 in Patio, Lawn & Garden and Product B would be #500 in Patio, Lawn & Garden.
- However, Product A‘s Amazon Best Sellers Rank might instead go to #600. And Product B’s Amazon Best Sellers Rank might go to #900.
The reason that the products don’t have drastic fluctuations in their Amazon Best Sellers Rank despite essentially “switching places” with their hourly sales is that Amazon’s Best Sellers Ranking system takes into account the number of historical sales the product had.
In the example above, while Product A may have dropped half its hourly sales count, it typically does an average of 8. So even a momentary drop isn’t enough to totally deplete its BSR.
What other factors does Amazon consider in its Best Sellers Rank?
Some Amazon FBA sellers have noticed that when they offer their products at a discount via a promotion or a coupon, the product’s Best Sellers Ranking does not change as quickly even with high sales volume.
While there is no official word from Amazon yet regarding this practice, experts suspect this factor may have been put into place to deter sellers from “gaming” the Best Sellers Rank system using promotional giveaways to create phony sales velocity.
What is the difference between Amazon Best Sellers Rank and organic ranking?
One big thing that a lot of new sellers confuse when they first start selling on Amazon is the difference between Amazon Best Sellers Rank and organic ranking. Your BSR is how well the product ranks based on sales while the organic ranking is how well the product ranks for a given keyword.
What is organic ranking on Amazon?
Organic ranking is where a product appears on Amazon’s search engine results pages (SERP) for a particular keyword.
The product’s position on Amazon’s SERP has no bearing on the product’s current Amazon Best Sellers Rank. In fact, the products on the SERP are organized by what Amazon sees as the most relevant products for that keyword search.
For example, when we did a search for “marshmallow roasting sticks” on Amazon, this is what we saw on the SERP:
The products are organized by Amazon sponsored ads (also known as Amazon PPC) and organic ranking.
The first three products that appear are those that paid to appear there. They purchased that ad space.
The bottom three are those whose products ranked organically. We searched for “marshmallow roasting sticks”, and they were the products Amazon thought most closely matched what we said we were looking for.
However, just because a product ranks favorably on Amazon’s SERP doesn’t necessarily mean that it will have a good BSR as well.
The reason the top organic product may not have the best BSR as well is because Amazon sees the first product of its search results as a more keyword-relevant result when someone enters in the search term “marshmallow roasting sticks” — despite it not being the best seller of the bunch. This could be because the product has had better sales in the past, higher rates of conversion, or even better reviews.
Don’t mix up Amazon Best Sellers Rank with organic ranking!
Both of these values are important, but both have totally different functions.
If you seek to create your own product on Amazon as a private label seller, then organic ranking is very important to you. The higher your product appears in the SERP, the more likely customers are going to click on it and purchase it.
Meanwhile, Amazon Best Sellers Rank is great for estimating the sales frequency of an individual product or an entire product category.
Where can I find the Amazon Best Sellers Rank for a product?
To find an item’s BSR, go to an Amazon.com product page (that’s the page you see when you click on a product after doing a search on Amazon).
Next, scroll down to the product details portion of the page. If you’re on a mobile device, you may need to go to the product description block and click on it.
This is what you should see:
As you can see, the Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Patio, Lawn & Garden department is currently #358. Furthermore, it has a Best Sellers Rank of #1 in the Barbecue Forks sub-category.
This means that out of the hundreds of thousands of products in Amazon’s Patio, Lawn & Garden department, only 357 sell more than this particular item. Not too shabby!
What is a good Best Sellers Rank on Amazon?
Best Sellers Ranks are different for every category. So what one might consider a “good” Best Sellers Rank for Patio, Lawn & Garden a category with high sales volume, might not be as strong as a product in a category Appliances which has products with much slower sales.
The best way to pinpoint what you consider a good Best Sellers Rank is to consider the number of sales that you want your product to have each day (or week or month for that matter). Then, reverse engineer what your Best Sellers Rank for that total of sales would be.
For example, if I wanted to sell a Kitchen & Dining product that had 11 sales per day, I would need to find a product that had a Best Sellers Rank of 15,000 in that category, or an estimated 330 sales per month.
You can use the Jungle Scout Sales Estimator to help you determine what rank you should look for.
How to see the top-selling products by their Amazon Best Sellers Rank
If you want to see the top products on Amazon, all you have to do is go to the best selling products page and then click on a particular department.
For example, here are the best selling Amazon products for the department Patio, Lawn & Garden:
Everything you see here is selling extremely well on Amazon. You’ll also find that a lot of the products on the Amazon Best Sellers pages are disposable or consumable products; they’re items that necessitate high volume and/or frequent purchases, hence, more sales..
There’s a lot of seasonal stuff here as well. In the image above, you can see that there are Christmas lights and bug traps. Later in the year, it might be a completely different line-up of products, like Halloween decorations in the fall, sunglasses for the summer, or snow shovels in the winter.
It’s also worth noting that the top sellers on Amazon.com may not be the top sellers on other marketplaces like Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.es.
How can I use Amazon Best Sellers Rank to estimate sales?
By far, the most powerful function of the Amazon Best Sellers Rank — other than bragging rights — is using the value to predict how often a product sells on Amazon.
Consider this: Let’s say we have a product that has a BSR of #1699. We know from our checking our own sales that a BSR of #1,699 translates to roughly 810 sales per month, as long as our Best Sellers Rank stays roughly around that same value.
But just a month ago, our average BSR was #3,000 for about 30 days and we only did 510 sales that month.
However, last fall, our BSR was #500 on average for 30 days and we did 1,980 sales that month.
What can we learn from this data?
For starters, we know that if we see another product on Amazon other than ours that has a Best Sellers Rank of #3,000, that product should sell 510 products per month, or close to it. Because that’s what our own product did when its rank was #3,000.
And a product currently ranking at #500? Probably 1,980 sales per month right?
How to determine what sort of products to sell on Amazon using BSR:
- Check the product’s Best Sellers Rank on Amazon using the methods described above..
- Estimate the average monthly sales for the product on Amazon to get an idea of how often the product sells. You can use the Sales Estimator.
- Calculate the cost to sell the item. This includes the cost of the product itself, any relevant fees, the cost to store the product if it takes a while to sell.
Let’s say you have an opportunity to buy these two different books for the same price each.
The first book is “Poor Charlie’s Almanack” by Charlie Munger. The book sells for $59.95 on Amazon. Currently, its Amazon Best Sellers Rank in the Books department is #1,942. A book that has a BSR of #1,942 has 540 sales per month. That’s almost a book every hour. This means if you purchase the book and list it on Amazon at the lowest available price, in an hour you will have a sale. Literally that fast!
The second book is the old Dungeons & Dragons module “The Tomb of Horrors”. This book sells for more on Amazon at $64.99. So we’d make more profit. But its BSR is #1,256,348. That means this book only sells 2-3 copies per month. If you buy and list this book, chances are you might not see a sale for a month or maybe even longer.
So which product sounds better? “Poor Charlie’s Almanack”, which is almost guaranteed a sale in its first 24 hours at $59.95, or “The Tomb of Horrors”, which may take months to sell on Amazon at a marginally higher profit?
Ultimately that’s your decision, but personally, I’d rather go with “Poor Charlie’s Almanack”!
How to calculate product sales using Amazon Best Sellers Rank).
Going back to our SERP for “marshmallow roasting sticks”, this time, instead of spending half a day checking out each individual product page and guess-timating the sales totals for each of those products, I’m just going to click this little button here:
Once I click on that button, check out what happens:
Isn’t that amazing? It opens up a big spreadsheet that shows you the following information:
- The average monthly sales for each product on the page.
- Plus, it gives you the average Amazon Best Sellers Rank, too.
- If that’s not enough, you’ve also got average sales and review counts.
- And a whole lot more!
What tools are available to calculate sales from Amazon Best Sellers Rank?
Jungle Scout’s Extension is a browser extension which is fed data from Jungle Scout’s AccuSales™ Amazon data engine. It takes the information on each of Amazon’s search engine result pages, organizes it, averages it out, and gives you information to help you make the best product purchase decision.
Jungle Scout’s free sales estimator
If you want to get your feet wet first, then consider trying out Jungle Scout’s free sales estimator tool. While it doesn’t estimate the sales for an entire category like the Jungle Scout Extension, it can make sales estimations simple for you if you prefer to do things the old-fashioned way.
Plus, if you want to just get a feel for Amazon and sell only a couple products at first, this might be the best way for you to go.
Jungle Scout’s all-in-one platform
But what if you’re not sure what to sell? That’s where Jungle Scout — an all-in-one platform for selling on Amazon — can help. This time, instead of finding a product to sell on Amazon using Amazon Best Sellers Rank and random searches, you can put in the Amazon Best Sellers Rank you’re interested in targeting and reverse engineer a high sales product niche.
In addition to that, it also has tools to help you track competitor products’ daily sales, find profitable keywords, and organize the Amazon product catalog anyway you see fit.
Your next step is to either use one of the tools mentioned above to start finding products that can help you get the life you want to live or learn a little bit more about the “How to Sell on Amazon FBA” process.