Since I started selling on Amazon, I have had the opportunity to launch more than 300 different products. I tried quite a few different methods that could get products on the first page of amazon, but few of them worked consistently. After quite a few failed product launches, I have discovered a way that can get products on the first page of amazon with reliable results. Here in this post, I will be sharing my findings.
How to get your product on the first search result page of Amazon? Have better sales velocity and listing conversion rate than the products that are on the bottom of the first search result page for your chosen search term.
Step by step guide to rank your product on the first page of amazon
Step 0: Understand The logic behind this formula
The Amazon search engine uses the A9 Algorithm to decide what product to rank with a given search term. And the key deciding factors are the sales velocity and conversion rate.
The A9 Algorithm
You may have heard about the Amazon A9 Algorithm. This algorithm decides what product shows up as the result of a search done by a consumer. The A9 is proprietary, and the inner workings are a tightly guarded secret. It keeps track of hundreds of metrics and uses them to formulate the search result that helps millions of consumers to find products they want and need, fast.
Although how the A9 works remain unknown to the public, the fundamental concept is apparent: to help consumers find what they want. In this situation, a higher conversion rate and sales velocity signify that consumers who search for this product have found what they need. We can leverage this mechanism to rank products faster.
Conversion Rate = ( Units Sold ) / ( Sessions Over Time )Conversion Rate Formula
The conversion rate is also called “Unit Session Percentage.” It is defined as (Units Sold) / (Sessions) for a given period. For 24 hours, if a buyer visits your product detail page, it counts as ONE session. It doesn’t matter how many times this same buyer visits your product detail page within 24 hours; it only counts as one. Amazon Seller Central automatically collects this data for you, and it is available to review in the Reports -> Business Reports Tab.
The conversion rate would vary depending on different categories, but in general, a 15% or higher is desirable. If your conversion rate is lower than 15%, it is recommended to review your product listing to make sure it is entirely optimized and contains no issues or errors.
Sales velocity is how quickly your sales increase or decreases over a set time. Managing the sales velocity is a lot like driving a car: put your foot down on the gas pedal the vehicle accelerates, put your foot on the brake, and the vehicle slows down. You can boost the sales by doing more promotions such as higher sponsored ad budget and bigger coupons offers.
Just like monitoring the speedometer, you will have to track how many units are sold in a given time. A weekly time frame is often used, but depending on how fierce your competitions are, you might need to pay attention to your sales velocity on a monthly or daily time frame. When ranking for the first-page position of a search engine result page, it is crucial to establish an upwards trend of sales velocity: leverage promotions and other ways to sell more and more units each day or each week.
Step 1: Identify the Keyword
For a new product, a less competitive keyword is recommended. Look for something that is long-tail and specific. Having a less competitive keyword will dramatically reduce the cost required to rank. However, make sure the keyword you pick is not too small, either. If people are not searching for it, it makes no sense even if you rank at the No. 1 spot. You will not be able to make enough sales to justify all the work you have done.
Let’s assume you are launching a new flashlight product. The keyword “flashlight” is obvious but also extremely competitive. It will cost you a crazy amount of money if you want to rank top results. However, if you start with a “rechargeable tactical flashlight for camping,” it will be a lot easier and cheaper to rank.
Step 2 : Pick a Competitor
Search with the chosen keyword, carefully browse through all organic results that are related to your product. It might vary with a different category, but usually, there are 48 spots on the first page. Pick a spot that is ranked between 20 to 48 for the chosen keyword. Unless you have a lot of budgets, I would not recommend going for Top 10 spots for the first round. Because products ranked between 20 to 48 usually receive enough traffic to make it worthwhile, but are not too expensive to compete against.
Pick a product that is similar to what you are offering. Make sure the product is similar in both price range and product functionality. If you pick something that is a lot more expensive or has a different set of features, the data you gathered might not work out for you in the next step. It could cause you to spend more money than necessary.
Step 3: Find out the competitor’s sales rank, volume, and monthly revenue
You can find out about a product’s best sellers rank (BSR or Sales Rank) in the additional information block of the product detail page. You can write down your competition’s information, including a position on the SERP, best seller rank (BSR) in all categories. The lower the number, the higher the rank. This data is usually updated hourly, so you can see it changes very often if you check throughout the day.
There are usually two sales ranks available for a product listing. You can see the competitor we chose has two ranks, one for the bigger category of “Tools & Improvement,” another for a smaller category of “Handheld Flashlights.” Use the rank for the smaller category as it fluctuates less often, and most of the products are similar or related to what you are trying to sell.
You can use the free tool offered by Jungle Scout to get estimated sales with the information collected. Go to FREE Amazon Sales Estimator – Predict Your Sales | Rank Calculator and enter the BSR and other information. You will be able to get an estimated monthly sales volume for this product.
You can also use the sales estimator plug-in offered by both Jungle Scout and Helium 10. The process will be much simpler if you have a paid subscription. As you may have observed, the sales per month for the sample product changes quite a bit when different tools are used. This is normal as each tool uses a different algorithm to estimate the sales of any product. There is no way it can be accurate unless you are the seller. Take this information to estimate the order of magnitude instead. Since I always have had better and more accurate estimates using Helium 10’s Xray plug-in, for the sake of clarity, I will use 330 monthly sales moving forward in our example.
Step 4 : Planning
With the monthly sales target confirmed, map out on a weekly sales target for your product. The idea is to reach a sales velocity that will make at least the same sales, if not more, as your chosen competitor. You will need to manage the weekly sales number so that it consistently shows an upward trend.
Use this as a guide to decide the budget of the giveaway promotions, coupons, and deal size. This plan can also help to estimate the total budget required for ranking. I have attached a sample ranking plan below. You can create one specific to your needs, or simply use the attached template below.
Make sure you do not skip the planning phase, as you want to get an idea of the actual cost to rank your product. If you run out of budget in the middle of your ranking campaign, the promotion budget you previously put down will not be as effective. You may still rank for a lesser position, but you will end up paying more to rank again later if you choose to do so.
Step 5 : Execute the plan
Believe it or not, execution is the most critical part here. Once you start ranking, carefully adjust how you are running your promotions to ensure your product listing has the sales velocity that is similar to what you have planned. You can utilize the budget for your sponsored ads, coupons, lighting deals, and Facebook paid campaigns to attract more traffic and ultimately control your sales velocity with a healthy conversion rate to that you have planned previously.
You can monitor your sales rank for the chosen keyword closely and adjust your budget according to where you are in real life. If you are new to Amazon, there is a “limit” on the maximum sales velocity you can reach before Amazon takes action and curb your traffic, so make sure you keep the sales velocity under control. But since you are trying to figure out how to rank your products, this is unlikely to happen. 🙂
At the end of each period ( after midnight the last day, PST ), write down the actual sales, and if you want more detailed data, break the number down according to traffic attribution, such as organic, PPC, coupon, etc. Note you will not have this attribution information available immediately after the order is placed. Some of the information will require you to combine several reports to get the data if you are not using a tool that provides this functionality. As this is not the key focus of this blog post, I will cover how to get these analytics data under a separate cover.
And of course, it is impossible to predict and control how many units you sell precisely, so it is ok if your units sold per period fluctuates up and down when compared to the plan. It is completely normal. As long as you can control it in a way that an upward trend is shown ( as indicated in the plan’s line diagram ), you should be able to rank well.
Why Is It Important To Get the Product to First Page of Amazon
Amazon FBA sellers, especially successful ones, come in different sizes, shapes, and styles when it comes to how to sell on Amazon. But there is this ONE thing that all successful FBA sellers do and do well, which is the ability to rank products on the first page of the search results.
Since most buyers never click the next page button, more than 80% of the sales are generated by the products that show up on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP). If none of your product shows up on the first page, you might be having a really tough time selling on Amazon.
When you continuously out-perform your competitors for a while ( usually 1 to 2 weeks ), Amazon will decide that your product is more suitable than your competition for this keyword, therefore give you the position that is previously held by your competitions.
A Few Things To Keep In Mind When Ranking
- DO NOT GO OUT OF STOCK – Make sure you have enough stock in your FBA warehouse for at least 60 days. Do not go out of stock during ranking. If you go out of stock your rank will fall a lot if restocking cannot happen within 2-3 days ( some say a week, but the shorter time you go out of stock, the better )
- DO NOT ADJUST LISTING TOO FREQUENTLY – Some people like to make A/B tests for adjusting different keywords, I would recommend against doing such during the ranking phase. Instead, make sure your product listing is fully optimized before ranking. Then spend your focus on getting traffic and maintain the desired conversion rate.
- KEEP THE PRICE UNCHANGED – Adjusting the price might cause you to lose the shopping cart and also changes how you are compared with the consumers. A9 Algorithm might also update the index of your listing when enough changes are detected.
- Avoid Shopping Season – Try not to start a ranking campaign when the Prime Day, Black Friday, or Christmas is nearby. During the shopping season, the cost to outrank an existing spot usually cost twice, or three times as much, it doesn’t make economic sense unless you have a goose that produces golden eggs.
What to do when I reach the planned sales velocity?
When your weekly or daily sales number has reached the sales velocity target, make sure you do not start reducing promotion budgets immediately. Keep up the sales velocity for at least another week or so. Then gradually reduce promotional efforts channel by channel. It is essential to keep track of the total sessions and make sure it continues to grow as you lessen the promotional budget. We would want to reduce the amount of paid traffic but only do this when organic traffic kicks in.
What if my budget runs out ?
It is expensive to rank a product to the first page within such a short time frame. This is why it’s essential to plan out your budget carefully in the planning phase and make sure you have enough budget to last at least two months. If your budget is exceptionally tight, it is recommended to prolong the ranking phase and do it over 3 or 6 months instead of 1 or 2. But the effect of the ranking will not be as good if you can make it happen within 1 or 2 months.
I started the promotion campaigns but are not seeing sales picking up, what to do?
This happens more often than not. First of all, make sure your product listing is optimized to the teeth. The quality of your listing is directly correlated to the conversion rate and sales velocity. Make sure your pictures are perfect; your title is accurate and contains the correct keywords. Make sure your enhanced branded content and A+ Contents are as perfect as you can get. Hire professionals to go through your listings and make them perfect. The cost of hiring someone to do it can be much less compared to the loss of conversions you will experience during the ranking campaign.
Another possibility can be that your competitor or the entire category is selling more. You can confirm this by looking at the sales numbers for the top 20 products on the page and check if most listings are selling more while their sales rank remains unchanged. If this is the case, I would recommend slowing down your ranking and wait for the sales to drop back to normal unless you have a huge budget, then you can proceed with putting in more budget to meat up your PPCs and giveaway campaigns.
What can I do to improve sales velocity and conversion rate?
There are quite a few ways one can use to improve both the sales velocity and conversion rate. I have listed below some of the most common ones:
- Sponsored Ads (PPC Campaigns) and Display Ads – You can activate them in Seller Central if you have registered your brand
- Vine and Early Review Programs
- Lighting Deals
- External Deal websites such as slickdeals.com or Vipon.com
- Facebook / Pinterest paid promotions
I will cover some of these tools and methods later in a different blog post.
Thanks for reading, have fun ranking.