Why You Should Source Products With Poor Sales Ranks

What if you are missing out on a lot of potentially profitable products when you are doing online or retail arbitrage because of one mistake?

Dismissing products where the sales rank is not good enough for you. You need a decent rank to make sales right?

True to some extent, but what if you could create the decent sales rank yourself?

I’ve opened this blog post with three questions to you, it’s probably about time I started doing some of the heavy lifting.

Man lifting weights

It’s not actually as difficult as it sounds, as long as you might think if you know what to do. And that’s where I step in to help you out.

Establishing a long-term, profitable Amazon business is about more than sourcing inventory that sells out within a few days or week of hitting the Amazon shelves. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how opening up other possibilities can help towards building a more balanced inventory which can help you grow your Amazon business more successfully over time.

Source Products With “Poor” Sales Rank Can Be Gold

When you source products and check the sales rank on Amazon please, please, please, if not for me but for your Amazon selling account, please check the historical rank. You probably don’t need me to tell you that sales rank is just a snapshot in time of where a product is at that particular time.

It may have been at a better or worse rank over the previous few months or even years. And this is where we can start to source products that may not look great right now but if we do a little bit of investigation could turn out to be winners.

So we’ve found a product that we wouldn’t normally go for because there aren’t many positive movements of that green Keepa or CamelCamelCamel sales rank line on the graph. Or it’s just too far out of our sales rank criteria that we dismiss it.

Hold on a minute, and let’s see if we can turn this around.

First, we need to establish why they are currently not selling very well.

Overpriced – this is an obvious one, but unless we actually check and don’t right it off straight away because of the poor rank, we’ll never know. Take a look at the sales history over the past year, using the Keepa graph. If you can see sales being made more regularly when the price is lower and can still make a profit with the lower buy box price, then you’ve probably found a winner. I’ll show you an example:

First glance at this product is that it’s not making many sales at the moment:

source products

The green line going down in the middle of the graph shows one sale.

If we go back in time and look at the Keepa graph before that we can see more sales being made at a lower price:

Keepa Graph

So we buy the product, send it into Amazon and price it at around the £25 – £30 mark. Let’s see what happens:

Keepa Graph

Yep, as we thought, we’re making sales at that lower price. This is a good example of when not to dismiss something because it hasn’t been making sales recently. Sometimes going back a year or more can reveal why this might be.

Crappy Product Page: Just because a product exists on Amazon doesn’t mean someone will buy it. Yes, the price needs to be right, but there’s still some selling to do. How many times have you landed on a product page to find the product page crappy with rubbish photos? There might just be one, it’s slightly out of focus, and maybe whoever created the listing managed to get away with one without the white background.

If a customer can’t see a quality product properly, they are not likely to buy it.

The same with the product description. If there is barely anything there, or there are misspellings, etc. what is going to make the potential customer click on that buy button? Not a lot. Particularly with more expensive products

Did you know that once you are on a listing, you can change the photos and the description? Find a top-selling expensive product and see how that is laid out – great looking pictures and compelling sales copy. Now I’m not saying you should invest in professional product pictures (my alliterative skills are improving every month), but surely you could find some better ones from the manufacturer’s website (check usage restrictions).

opened suitcase

See how the top-selling expensive products have their product description written and use the same style and structure.

By properly selling something to a customer you can turn a listing around and start generating sales.

Seasonal products: OK, I know that this is fairly obvious, but some products will sell better depending on the season or annual event. So while there may not be many sales of that plastic pumpkin recently, when it comes to October they could be selling like hot, well, pumpkins. This is why it is important to look at the full year’s history of sales data.

New Products: If a product has just recently been listed on Amazon, i.e. within the last couple of months, it’s unlikely to have made many sales, therefore won’t have an established rank. Now this is slightly riskier because this is getting you to try to predict the future rather than using past data. However you can look at similar products, other items from the same manufacturer, etc. and try and establish if you think this one could be a winner too.

I’ve recently seen some Disney toys that were pretty new to both Disney and Amazon that didn’t have decent ranks. Also, they were in a Christmas sale at the Disney store, so I could pick them up and sell them back on Amazon for RRP or more and make a profit. With no real competition. They were popular Disney characters, so I’m fairly confident that they will sell well once they are established.

Out Of Stock: A products sales rank will fluctuate over time, and will get worse if there are no sales obviously. But you can’t sell a product you don’t have in stock. So check for any gaps in the graphs that show that a product has been out of stock because this could well be the reason for the poor rank.
The good thing about this is that if it does go out of stock and you jump on the listing – zero competition and the possibility for you raising your price a bit to make some more profit.

An example of this “source products with low rank strategy” can be seen in the graph below:

Keepa Graph

You can see the rank worsening because there were no sales because the item went out of stock, then making sales when it went back on the Amazon shelves.

One of the best benefits about the above strategies is that hardly anyone else is doing it when they source products, so in effect, you are creating your own market.

Take the time to do a bit of investigation and analysis when you source products – it’s not going to come up gold every time, but when it does, you can come back and thank me!


Biography: Dan Ashton is an experienced Amazon seller and entrepreneur. Due to the success of his online businesses over the past two years, Dan has moved from Liverpool, UK to the beautiful Mediterranean island of Mallorca, where he continues to work to build and expand them further. Dan shares his experiences and helps others to establish their financial freedom via his website www.danashton.co


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