One of the many moving parts of Amazon Arbitrage, both retail and online, that make this work so easily is the rank of an item. Because Amazon gives us the rank, we are able to calculate an estimate of how many units of a particular ASIN will sell in a day/week/month.
This information has become invaluable to us as resellers, and is often times one of the main components of buying decisions. There are charts available with ranks as a percentage of a category (like this one from Sourcing Simplifiers) and blogs explaining why sales ranks suck (like this one by Chris Anderson).
You can check out Mike’s take on sales ranks right here.
Now, thankfully just for a moment, close your eyes.
What do you see?
I have no idea why the hell you see rainbows when you close your eyes, but I DEFINITELY think you need to check it out.
Back to my story.
Let’s imagine for a second that Amazon suddenly pulls the ranking system.
No more data for us as sellers.
*How would that affect your buying decisions?
*Do you know how to spot trends?
*Would you source the same categories you do now?
*Would you quit selling on Amazon?
These are important questions to ask, especially considering the current state of CONSTANT changes occurring in the sandbox.
I know that when I source shoes and clothes, I analyze a rank by using recent reviews to help me determine whether people buy a size/color of an item (shoes, clothes, etc.). This is not a perfect method by any means, however it has worked well for me in the past and I will continue to use it in the future.
Reviews do not come frequently on any product, so experience becomes key. But I look at the purchase variations on the most recent reviews, and decide what to buy based on those.
OAXRay comes in very handy for this when doing OA. Yes, I understand not everyone has OAX, and the same principles apply when manually looking up items. I’ve never hid my appreciation for OAX with my online sourcing, so you can check this video out to get an idea of how the software can help with unranked items, which we call “shadow listings.”
I used to get extremely annoyed when I am running scans, and items would have no rank. However, after watching this shadow item video, I have a new trick to decide whether to buy.
Software wizardry is my favorite.
There is a grocery item I scanned about a month ago. It ranked 9k in grocery at the time, I bought 30 units, and sent in. They sold quick, and I went back for more. When I did, I instinctively scanned, as I do most everything with a bar code now.
The second time I went to purchase, it had no rank.
I was slightly confused, as I knew it was under 10k a few weeks ago, and I knew the item was still selling daily.
So I bought more, sent in, and the same thing happened again.
For whatever reason, Amazon no longer displays the rank for this particular grocery item.
However it still sells at a clip of more than 3 units per day for me.
Above is the chart, and the rank disappeared in early November. But for sure Ive sold 47 units since then.
This item is now in my replenish able stable, and it is harder for the average scanner to find as a result of the rank.
LEARNING HOW TO FIND ITEMS WITH NO RANK IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU REALIZE.
So the next time something doesn’t have a rank, do some analyzation, and decide if the item possibly sells. If you think it does, buy a small amount and test it. The more barriers you can place between you and other sellers, the better off your business will be.
You do not need OAX shadow listing trickery to find these items, but it sure does help.
Either way, I dare you to look for one item that sells without a rank. If you find one, YOU WIN!