By Jordan Malik, MBA/MS & Award-Winning Amazon Pro Merchant & eBay Top Seller


Amazon 'Sales Rank' Myths - Brush 'em off Your Shoulder.

NOTE: This blog has moved to:

Hi Online Sellers -

I'm observing - on some Amazon seller help forums - some 'experts' who are turning their noses up at the prospect of selling high-ranking products on Amazon -------------------------->

By 'high ranking' I mean 'slower-selling'. On Amazon, high rank of (say) 6,000,000 is clearly a sales dud - a pretty low chance of getting sold. Alternatively, an item with a low sales rank (i.e. 1,050 ) - is a hot item on Amazon with a fast sell-through rate.

But these 'experts' - who, like me, don't know what Amazon's 'secret formula' is in assigning its bestseller ranks - strike me as being pretty snobbish. Let me explain.

Personally, I will sell any legitimate product on Amazon, within a pretty wide sales rank range. I don't turn much down, even if it ranks as high as 1,000,000 (as long as I can make a decent profit, of course).

On my new membership site, (which advises you exactly what to sell on Amazon, and exactly where to find it) you'll see that I won't recommend a product to you unless it has a sales rank between 1 and *150,000* - and I think we're being TOO careful!

But would you believe that some sellers are even scoffing at that? I had one guy recently tell me that I was crazy to recommend a toy with a sales rank of 36,000 - he said it's not going to sell!

Well, I will show  you something that no other seller will - items with high sales ranks that, according to ALL those Amazon Seller 'experts', has NO CHANCE in Hell to sell! 

Well, I just proved them wrong:

For instance: I bought this at a local Marshalls, for $5, in April 2011 (you can tell by my Seller SKU - it includes the date I sent it to Amazon - 040211). It just sold for $17.94. (Full disclosure - mine was the lowest price among the competing sellers - but my gross profit margin was over 175%) The sales rank WHEN I POSTED it was 450,000. Right after my item sold, the sales rank JUMPED to 53,000. If I were a betting man, I'd bet you that plenty of other sellers turned down  buying that item to resell on Amazon, because of the sales rank.

Here's another example: I listed this audio book on Amazon a few days ago (I paid $3 for it). I just sold it on Amazon for $14.99 (over 275% Gross Profit Margin). Again, mine was the lowest price - but my profit margin was over 350% on that one.  This item's sales rank when I posted it was 650,000! After my sale: The sales rank got worse: 885,000. But my item sold at a big profit within just a few days of listing it! Unnecessary 'Sales Rank Nervousness' debunked again!

(Side Note: You might be asking  "J.B., How do you ensure you're always at the lowest price?" I use a repricer service - - for my Amazon FBA listings. I recommend a repricer (but it's not required) if you have a large # of items on Amazon (i.e. 100+ different ASINs). MOST of my items are repriced automatically - daily - to ensure they are the  lowest price. You don't need a repricer to compete with other sellers effectively, but it does save you a boatload of time)

Now, is this high sales rank 'success' common? Nope. I have lower - and higher - ranking items that take 6 months to sell, 12 months to sell, 1 month to sell, etc. But I'd rather do that (think about my investment 'long term') than chasing the same hot products along with a ton of snooty, competing sellers, whom would thrust me into a price war. I won't follow that mentality.

If they all run West, I'll run East. You comin' with me? Good.  Like the inimitable David Lee Roth once said, "We may be lost, but we're WAY ahead of schedule."

See Ya in the Forums,
-J.B. Malik
Founder, and


kwkelly said...

Tell us how you really feel. Actually, great post. I'm the one who has snubbed his nose at those John Deere tractors. But I think you just taught me a valuable lesson.

Anonymous said...

I was just discussing this with my husband when we were scouting yesterday. I was talking about and how your view on sales rank was WAY outside of my comfort range - or the range I have 'been taught' to follow. I was explaining that you go much further out than I'd dream of trying, and I was having trouble deciding what to do next. I decided that I joined your site for this information and to learn new ways to find products that will sell for profit. And it was time to step outside that imaginary circle I had drawn around myself...funny how big the world gets then! So I'll 'be coming with you East' for sure! I'm ready to expand my mindset and grow my business into what I know it can be!

Ali Rae said...

Hi JB!
Eastbound here. I am glad that no one had anything to say about rank when I first started; I might have quit. lol

CeliciaT said...

I started off following the rule that I would not buy anything with a Sales Rank higher than 1 million...(started with books only) Then slowly I started to expand that. I tend to still look for stuff under that SR, but will often come across items with a very high profit potential but also a very high SR. IF I can get the item for a good price I will pick it up, and just hold onto it. I have sold many items in the 3 million range and higher..many were items that I had gotten for free, and I was trying to squeeze every penny out of the free boxes. Now when I am out buying, I keep that in the back of my mind. The items may take a year to sell....but if I paid a quarter and it sold for over $200, it was WELL worth holding on to. I will never be a SR snob :)

J.B. Malik said...

Very Smart, CeciliaT. That's the way - you will beat other sellers at the game if you think broadly like that.


Clayton said...

This is a refreshing blog. I'm so mistified about ranking it's hard to tell where to start. But I'm heading East with everyone else in this group.

Tara M said...

What about items that don't show a sales rank at all? Does that mean it has never sold?

Jordan Malik said...

@ Tara M - some of the time, yes - no sales rank indicates the item has not been sold. But Amazon does not reveal exactly why it may or may not include sales rank, so we may never really know.