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This is our third article in a series on improving your Amazon Best Seller ranking. See others on keyword use andgetting more product reviews…
If you’ve been following our articles on how to increase your Amazon Best Seller ranking, you will have seen how important hourly sales are to your results. Let’s give a quick recap:
“The Amazon Best Sellers calculation is based on Amazon.com sales and is updated hourly to reflect recent and historical sales of every item sold on Amazon.com.” (Amazon)
This is precisely why boosting your hourly sales is important. Even a seller who is usually far down the rankings can climb rapidly if they have a sudden lift in hourly sales. Bear in mind that evidence shows a sales rush may not take immediate effect. Sellers have reported seeing their rankings go up 2–3 hours later.
Another point to remember is that your ranking is calculated relative to other products in your category. Say you sell wine racks and there is a sudden lift in sales across all wine rack vendors; you may not see the increase in best seller rank that you are hoping for, particularly if others sold more units. You need to be the one selling the most units (or at least more than others) to see your ranking benefit.
You should also know that besides sales, Amazon uses predictive measures to help calculate best seller ranking. These are usually based on historic data for the product or other similar products. This means it’s possible for you to release a well-chosen new product and find yourself out-ranking older products which have a sales history. This is because Amazon predicts that your new product will be more popular.
So, besides choosing products well, you do need to look at increasing hourly sales. Here are some strategies for doing so.
What can you do to boost hourly sales? Check out our quick checklist
A “quick and dirty” way to give your hourly sales a boost is to run promotions and drive traffic directly to your products through them. Just be aware that a quick spike due to a promotion over one or two days is probably not as helpful as you might hope. This is often followed by an immediate lull in sales, which results in your ranking dropping again.
It makes more sense to space out promotional activity over a period of time. This way you are giving Amazon time to collect more consistent data, hopefully reflecting positively in their predictive measures for the future popularity of your product.
Don’t expect instant Amazon promo results: give it time to accumulate data
How much time, you ask? You’ll probably need to do some testing and figure out what appears to work across different time periods, but most sellers will tell you that at least a week seems to give results.
You could of course choose any of a number of promotional methods, but here let’s take a quick look at Amazon’s Vendor Powered Coupons and using deal sites:
Vendor Powered Coupons
“A Vendor Powered Coupon (VPC) is a self-service promotion available to Amazon vendors. Vendor Powered Coupons (VPCs) allow vendors to offer customers discounts on their products. Vendor Powered Coupons (VPCs) appear as digital coupons within ad units.” Amazon
Using Vendor Powered Coupons is a great way to get some exposure. Not only can you use them to drive off-site traffic, but you get access to placement on different areas of Amazon. These include:
- Amazon Goldbox page (the page where you see “Today’s Deals” listed). This is huge because many shoppers will go straight to that page to see what’s on offer.
- Amazon Coupons (this is also popular with deal hunters).
- The product detail page.
- Search results.
- Email campaigns.
- Coupon landing page (allows you to send off-site traffic to your coupon).
Some other facts about Vendor Powered Coupons:
- Get access on the Vendor Central page by selecting Merchandising > Coupons.
- You can run an Amazon ad campaign for your coupons, but only if they are for a one-time purchase rather than any kind of “subscribe and save” deal.
- There is no maximum length for the period of time of your ad campaign.
- Your minimum budget must be $100 for advertising.
- Be aware that fees always go up in Q4.
Another advantage to using Vendor Powered Coupons is that Amazon gives you access to some good reporting metrics. You should always track whether whatever you are doing is having an impact, so following along with stats such as redemption rate, redemption rate benchmark and sales lift.
If your product is new, Vendor Powered Coupons can help you out in terms of exposure. They have their own sales ranking, so if you’re not competing as well as you’d like on your product listing, a coupon listing can at least help to get your product noticed, hopefully driving more sales from your product listing in the longer term.
This works in conjunction with your coupon promotion. If you’ve got an enticing enough deal going on, there are literally thousands of “deal hunting” websites out there which exist for finding and promoting the best deals online.
If you Google “submit a deal” you can find a huge number of results for sites which allow you to submit to them your promotional deal. This is where you would submit the coupon landing page.
Whereas your deal can rise to the top on Amazon by just being slightly better than what competitors are offering, on the daily deal sites, you really need to be a stand-out to get featured. (If you regularly browse Groupon or similar sites, the chances are it’s the deals with the best discounts which jump out at you, right?).
#2. Paid Advertising
We briefly indicated you could use your Vendor Powered Coupons with paid advertising in the previous section. You can also directly promote your product listing (in fact, if your coupon were to expire while your ad was still running, Amazon indicates it would revert to a standard product listing ad).
Amazon PPC Ads
There are three main types of PPC ads for Amazon. These are:
- Product Display Ads — these drive ad traffic to your product detail page or a custom landing page which you specify when you set up the ad.
- Headline Search Ads — keyword targeted ads which send traffic to your brand or landing pages which have three or more ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number — each unique product has one).
- Sponsored Products — also keyword targeted ads, these allow you to advertise individual products and will take the shopper to the product detail page.
It’s important to know that placements of sponsored product ads are based on ad rank. If you’re wondering why your ad isn’t featured as highly as you’d hoped, it works along the lines of Facebook advertising in that you may need to increase your current bid. Your keyword choice can also play into it, so try testing whether you should be adding more relevant keywords.
Besides Amazon advertising, of course you can always use any of the various social media advertising platforms or Google Adwords to drive traffic to your product or coupon landing page. As we indicated earlier, you probably want to plan on running these for a period of time rather than simply a couple of days, so that you can build up some steady results.
#3. Winning the Buy Box
Every Amazon seller should aim to win the buy box for their product. What does that mean? You want to be the featured merchant for a product on the product detail page. If you languish in the list of “other others” (which is worse than “others” — see the picture below), then you’ll be missing out on crucial sales.
That begs the question, how do you win? Well first of all, pricing is a factor. Amazon always wants to direct shoppers to the best deal. It doesn’t have to be a lot cheaper, one or two cents will usually suffice.
However, check out the product in the picture; the pricing for the others featured are all the same, so why is that seller winning? Other factors come into play too, which may include:
- Shipping performance — This includes issues such as how quickly you can ship, order defect rate (ODR) and perfect order percentage (POP — the percentage of orders which go smoothly and don’t require customer intervention). Any stock-outs may also count against you here.
- Seller rating — Obviously, higher = better!
Use Repricing Software
A quick tip for doing better at winning the buy box: use automated repricing software to adjust your price accordingly so that you’re always winning based on price. Sellery is an example of an automated tool you can use to set up rules for your pricing. You’ll find this especially important if you’re trying to manage multiple products.
Need a quick checklist for boosting product sales? Grab ours here
If you want to improve your best seller ranking, then getting your hourly sales up on Amazon is a good way to do it.
There are several strategies you could follow, but it’s largely about having your product easily found (besides having a great product with good ratings!). Use promotions and paid advertising to draw traffic and make sure you are doing what you can to win the buy box.
Remember that it may take some perseverance to see results, but keeping trying and testing to see what works!