Amazon Sales Rank Explained

Amazon Sales Rank ExplainedLet’s talk for a second about Amazon Sales Rank. If you are learning how to sell on Amazon you will very quickly start paying attention to the Amazon Sales Rank of the products you are considering. I have been dabbling as an FBA seller for quite a while and know about sales ranks and pay attention to them, but when my husband asked me last week to explain what it means, I realized I couldn’t explain it. Which really means, I didn’t understand.

So, I did some asking and some digging and I think I “get it” now. Sales rank is a proprietary algorithm of Amazon’s. They rank every product that sells based on how often it sells in its category.  If something is ranked 1 or 100 or 200, that item is an extremely popular item that sells often. Those low numbers are great numbers. If something is ranked 12 million (or some other extremely high number,) in its category, that product sells much less frequently. An item without a rank has not yet sold.  A recent sale on an item will move its rank upward, so if you happen to look at a product right after a shopper purchases it, you would see a lower (remember, lower means better) rank. If you look at a product that hasn’t sold for a while you would see a higher (higher means worse) rank.  Some people explain sales rank as a measure of how long it has been since a product last sold.  Amazon throws some magic in, and out comes the rank.

So, in determining how popular a product is, and whether it makes sense for you to buy it, you will look at rank. Keep in mind, though, that rank is a very fluid thing and that you could be seeing an artificially high or low rank based on how long it has been since the product last sold.

Lucky for us, companies have sprung up that track rank and sales on Amazon. You can look at how often a particular item has sold and at what price and make a more informed sourcing decision. The two sites I use are CamelCamelCamel and Keepa.

Also keep in mind that different categories on Amazon have different amounts of products.  Books, for example, has right around 57 million listings.  Yes, you could find a book with a sales rank in the 50 millions.  Pet supplies, however, have under 1 million products.  You also want to remember that different product categories have different amounts of volume.  Amazon may sell books way more often that they sell pet supplies (I don’t know this, but certain categories are obviously better sellers.)

I made a quick cheat sheet that you are welcome to copy and paste.  The basic categories are included and I broke out the top 1%, 5%, 10% and 15%.

Amazon Sales Rank Cheat Sheet

You can easily make your own cheat sheet.  To find out the total number of products in any category, simply go to the top search bar in Amazon while you have a category selected.  Then type in a dash (-) plus anything senseless, like -9xxxifo. Amazon will then display the total number of items in that category for you.  Here is a picture–

Finding sales rank in amazon


The advice I read on ranks and what counts as a good rank versus a not so good rank definitely varies.  Especially in the category of books.  Some sellers stick to buying books with only ranks under 1 million, some to under 5 million and others look at a variety of factors including price and competition.  I am still figuring it out—currently, I stick to under 5 million plus an estimated selling price of $11.00 or better.  I glance at competition, especially at the higher ranked books.  If a book is a high rank plus there are a lot of offers plus it is near the $11.00 mark, often I pass.  Sometimes I buy based on “gut.”  Used books are cheap, so I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about using my “gut.”  As I move into other categories, though, my “gut” will need to be sharper and I will be paying more attention.  I will keep my learning open and share here often.  Stay tuned.

Tomorrow is a big day for us sellers, let me be the first to say, HAPPY FOURTH QUARTER!


CES III–Jim Cockrum’s conference in Louisville

imageI feel like the luckiest girl on the planet.  Not only do I get to do, everyday, what I love—and make money at it!—I get to travel to exciting places and meet inspirational people.  THANK YOU to everyone who made the journey to Louisville last weekend to be a part of CES III, Jim Cockrum’s third conference for online entrepreneurs.   (If you are serious about online selling you NEED to follow Jim Cockrum—he is the most trusted internet marketer online and his free newsletter alone is invaluable.)

It was just a four hour drive for me which is easy travelling compared to the hundreds who flew in for the event.  The days leading to the conference felt like Christmas time, my excitement could hardly be contained.  Old friends, new friends and celebrities all in the same place at the same time!  It was almost too good to be true.  Plus, we were there to share ideas and learn from the people who are blazing new trails and making lots of money in this online world.

This is my second CES conference (CES stands for creative ecommerce solutions I think) and what sets these events apart from any other is the atmosphere of sharing.   Everyone is there to help each other succeed.  There is only a tiny bit of selling (tools offered by the sponsers) and the rest of the event is people sharing their proven success strategies.  It would be impossible to leave this conference without at least ten new ways to profit online.  The biggest challenge for me is choosing JUST two or three and seeing them through.

After months of isolation (one downside of this business, I’m afraid,) I was in a room with hundreds of people who “got” me and my business!

I had a chance to mingle with great people before and after the conference too.  I had dinners where we discussed scanners, wholesalers and FBA strategies.  I had lunches where we talked about products, inventory turns and margins.  Over cocktails there was talk of creative partnering and white labeling.

Jim Cockrum’s teachings create success stories–bottom line!  Mike Brown and Death Wish coffee are one of the success stories and they were highlighted on the first day. Mike Brown took his struggling coffee company to #2 on Amazon after reading Jim’s book, 101 Marketing Tips.  Mike is now vying for a free commercial on Super Bowl Sunday and you can help him win by voting at

Onto the nuts and bolts of the conference-I am not going to attempt to go in order or encompass everything, but I will share some highlights. All of the people mentioned here are worth googling if you want to gain further insight into their strategies and ideas.

Dan Miller discussed finding the happy spot between pursuing a passion and earning a living. “Do what you love and follow the money.”  He has a book at

Next, George from Merchant Words (one of the sponsors) discussed how to find search terms. Simple, but probably overlooked, ideas were discussed. He discussed a proper title in Amazon and how not to “stuff” the title with too many keywords (Amazon doesn’t like this.) Overall, though, the goal is to turn buyer search terms into our search terms.

888 Lots was also a sponsor and they explained how they get  inventory.  Apparently, they buy all of the lost, loose and unclaimed items at the Amazon warehouses. I have heard of 888 Lots but have no experience working with them. It is so interesting to me, however, that every part of the Amazon cycle has been molded into a business.

Robyn, an amazing Amazon seller and one of Jim’s coaches spoke for about an hour.   This woman is a bundle of energy and a great presenter. She focused on goal setting and backing into what you need to do NOW to achieve certain milestones numerically.   She likes milestones and goals as a way of documenting progress. She discussed planning your work, creating systems, conquering stale inventory and refining your margin.  She had a cute magnet for us all to track our individual goals. She can be reached at

Dan Hollings was another featured presenter. He discussed how we, as Amazon sellers, have so much to offer other businesses. How about using our skills to grow another business’s product on Amazon? We can partner with the business and our fee is part of their increased profit. This is a great way to grow business without the responsibility of inventory. Also, for all the folks nervous about Amazon limits (and there was a lot of this going on,) you can run the business from someone else’s Amazon account.

Chris Green talked about Online Sourcing. The advantages of souring online are obvious. There is no travel time, free boxes, you can do it anywhere. He discussed major retailers and niche sites and taking advantage of daily deal sites.  He also spoke on using virtual assistants to do some (or all) of the sourcing.  I was impressed with all the applications and software that is now available for online sourcing. And while sourcing, remember to take advantage of cash back sites like eBates, use some store rewards and coupons?  Chris Green is a maverick in online and retail arbitrage and has multiple videos on You Tube and a couple of THE BEST books about FBA and online arbitrage.

Barrington McIntosh also spoke–he is almost a legend in the Jim Cockrum group. He started doing retail arbitrage on Amazon a few years ago from home and has grown his business into a formidable force. The amazing thing is that his home is Jamaica. So many excuses people have about “not being able to find profitable inventory” go out the window when you meet someone from an island with no Target, no Walmart and no major stores who is making a living selling FBA on Amazon.

The CES III conference was absolutely everything I expected and needed.  I went for a little fuel and I felt like a rocket when I left!   I am so fired up to IMPLEMENT some of the ideas.  I intend to share here as I go forward.





A New Year!!!

LibertyI love a new year. A fresh start and a chance to really evaluate where I am with all my goals, dreams and desires.

Goal setting is something I do all year round. I am constantly looking toward the future (while enjoying the moment–really this is a fact) and figuring out when, where and how I want my future to look. The more concrete I can make my future picture, the more likely it will become my present reality.

Three years ago I sat down at the traditional time (New Years Eve) and listed out all my business and personal goals. I put them into categories with monthly checkpoints. I had a goal of making a certain amount of money. I realized I needed a big WHY in order to achieve that goal. You see, we were in a pretty comfortable place financially and without a big “why” I wasn’t sure if I would be motivated enough.

I thought about how much I like to travel and how much I enjoy travelling in style (think weeks at Disney, cruise ships, beach front resorts.) I also thought about how precious I consider time with my extended family and how we have never really vacationed together. I decided that if I earned a certain amount of money I would take everyone on a great vacation.

I held that dream as a vision. And I continued to grow my business. In 2014 I turned that dream into reality, I took eleven people on a Caribbean cruise!

And yes, we had an awesome time.

This trip reminded me of the important of a WHY and also about how important it is to follow through with the rewards and promises we make to ourselves.

Going into 2015 I am setting up my visions and goals for the upcoming year. Again, I need an important WHY to inspire me. I am going to spend some time soul-searching and meditating on what is important to me now.

What are your dreams and ambitions? And most importantly, what are your ‘whys?”


Thanksgiving and its Ugly Twin


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It has been slowly creeping up on us, —and as much as I have ignored the phenomenon, Black Friday has become an unofficial US holiday.

The Friday after Thanksgiving has long marked the beginning of the Christmas shopping season;  the term “Black Friday” was first coined in Philadelphia around 1961 to describe the abundance of pedestrians and traffic out and about the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Black Friday was later used the describe the (supposedly) first profitable day of the retail season.  In the past couple of decades, it has come to mean steep retail discounts and early morning madness.   Around 2005, stores started opening at 5am or 6am on Friday and in the past few years these opening times have been pushed back to midnight and now—6pm on Thanksgiving Day!

We can no longer think about Thanksgiving without  thinking about the new American holiday of Black Friday.  Black Friday has become part of Thanksgiving.  Two holidays side by side and they are polar opposites.

Thanksgiving is the all about gratitude.   The turkey, the trimmings, the warm fire and the amazing family.  A day to celebrate our blessings.

Black Friday is all about wanting more.  The entire focus is need, want and lack.  Everyone fights traffic and each other  in an attempt to score the latest and greatest stuff.  Even in the spirit of buying for our family, the focus of this event is material things.

I didn’t have major issues with Black Friday until:

1.)  My kids decided it was way cool and want to be escorted to the festivities.  Last year they started planning their trip over dessert on Thanksgiving day.

2.) The stores started opening earlier and earlier.  Now they open Thursday night.

My issue with this American tradition is that it impedes on the one day we officially set aside for gratitude.  Why on earth would I want to leave the warm, cozy environment of a home filled with family, food, warmth and love for the cold and cruel world of Wal-Mart?  When we rush through dinner on Thursday to get ready to go out and shop, our focus changes from being grateful to wishing and wanting.

Don’t get me wrong.   I enjoy stuff just as much as most Americans and I love indulging my family at Christmas.  Giving and receiving great presents is a blessing.  I just want to stay away from focusing on future blessings and miss the blessings sitting around my table right now.

I do not hate Black Friday–simply because I don’t want to give it that much power.   I choose not to spend my precious life energy hating much of anything.  If other people choose to stay up all night shopping, spending and buying, have at it!

I, however,  am choosing to not let this unofficial holiday tread on my idea of  Thanksgiving.     I am pledging this year to focus all of my energy on gratitude and the holiday of Thanksgiving.


Six “gurus” who helped me get started

When I began selling on the internet, I spent hundreds of hours combing through claims, ideas and ebooks trying to figure our who to listen to and what to do to start my business.

I found a handful who I am happy to recommend to you.  These folks are the “real deal,” they stand behind their claims and are genuinely interested in YOUR success.   Check them out and see if they resonate with you.

Jim Cockrum:  “Voted the most trusted internet marketer.”   His book, The Sales Machine is an amazing book that inspired me beyond belief.  It made me realize that anything is possible with eBay and online selling.

Jim runs two membership sites, My Silent Team and OfflineBiz.  My Silent Team is filled with great advice and a lot of action on the forums.  There are also dozens of FREE eBooks by a variety of authors.  You would pay $10-$50 or more apiece for these books and they are on the site for members to download at no charge.  I spent hours the books on his site.  They all led me to believe that ANYTHING is possible and there is no limit to what can be earned online.  Jim Cockrum is a good man with a heart of gold.

His email newsletter is free and worth a peek.

Lisa Suttora:  I found Lisa and her membership site when I first started selling on eBay.  Her ideas are more mainstream than Jim’s, she has a lot of information on setting up your listing and pricing and what to sell on eBay.  One article that is included on the membership site is “Ten Things You Can Sell For Free on Ebay” and I remember thinking that these were brilliant ideas.  She was talking about Amazon before anyone else and she has many strategies for the long-term seller and is animate about not putting all your eggs in one basket–sell cross-channel.  I haven’t been a member for quite some time, but her advice was worth gold when I was and I know she has been actively updating it.

Suzanne Wells:  The original host of Stay At Home Mom’s Selling on eBay.  She is a huge Amazon seller now and writes for many online groups.   She runs a great blog and has recently started a cheap ($10 per month) membership site.  I haven’t been inside her site, but I am certain that it is worth a peek.

Stuart Turnbull:  His Prints To Profits book has evolved and he teaches EVERYTHING you need to know to set up your own prints selling business.  He is a great man and the author of several wonderful eBooks.

Done By Deb:  Deb runs a hilarious blog and is an up and coming eBook writer.  Her strategies are for everyday folks who want to earn money on eBay.  She is an expert at yard sale and garage sale sourcing.  Her personal story is inspirational and she has a heart of gold.  Her and Stuart run many projects together and I enjoy watching their work.

Tamara Patzer:  Tamara has a site geared a little more toward women–www.mentoronlinemagazine, that offers tips and advice a couple of times a week.  I don’t read every post, but when I’m down or looking for a kick of inspiration, this is where I turn.



Just Say No!

This post isn’t about the War On Drugs, but I’m stealing Nancy’s famous words for another crusade.

When you decide to challenge yourself and grow, you must make room in your life for the challenge and the growth.   There has to be room in your day and room in your mind.

Room in your day–in other words, time.  Most folks are busy from the time they wake up until the time they retire at night.  If you are like me, your 18 or so awake hours are filled to the brim.

If you are serious about making a change or growing, you will need to conjure up some time to accomplish this.  Since you cannot make more time (shucks!) you will have to make more of your time.  It will be important for you to say “NO” to some of the activities that fill up your days right now.

Take a long, hard look at how you are actually spending your time.  You might want to keep a journal for a few days just to see where you are spending your time.  In order to find the time to work on your dreams and goals, you will need to squeeze it out of your current day.  You will have to give some things up.


1.)  Television.  This is such an easy target, but if you watch more than a tiny amount of T.V. it is time to break the habit.  Get over watching other people’s lives and start living your own.

2.)  Gossip.  Gossip is a huge time waster and it happens everywhere–in the office, at the playground, around the house.  Grab your coffee and move on.  Close your office door. Pretend to be on the phone when the office gossip passes by.  Rid yourself of this time waster!

3.) Meetings.  Meetings can waste time.  Next time you attend a meeting, notice how much time is spent moving the group forward and how much time is wasted.  Attend as few meetings as possible.  Can you have the minutes sent to you?  Can you attend every other meeting?

4.) Housekeeping.  Can you hire these chores out?  Think hard about this.   As soon as you can find the extra money, hiring out the cleaning or the lawn (or both) will free up a lot of time.

5.) Sleeping.  I know, I know, we all need a good night’s sleep.  However, if you are sleeping 8 hours or more, you might want to TRY giving up 15 minutes of sleep.  Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier for a week and then measure how you feel.  If you are tired and cranky–go back to your normal amount of sleep.  But, if you are not noticing a difference, you just gained almost 2 hours a week!

6.)  Cooking.  There is no reason to spend hours on cooking if this isn’t something you love. The important part of dinner is the family interaction, not what is on the plates.  Cut back on the amount of time you spend in the kitchen buy using your crock pot or buying simpler meals.


1.)  Listen to motivational CD’s in the car, while you work out or when you clean the house. You can get these at the library for FREE or use You Tube and your smartphone.

My latest favorites:  John Maxwell, Wayne Dyer and Bob Proctor

2.)  Have a book or a journal or a laptop with you while waiting for the children.  I have four children and spend a large number of hours driving them around and waiting for them at their various activities.  I always have a book or journal ready to pass the time in a productive way.

3.)  Discipline yourself to focus.  This is my biggest area that needs improvement.  A lot of entrepreneurs, I know, are like me.  We jump from idea to idea sometimes not getting a lot done before getting distracted or starting on something new.  Make a list of the six most important things to do each day and do them, one at a time, until you are finished.  If any are leftover, start there the next day.  I will recall this advice and use it.

As always, your comments are welcome here.  Let us know what you are saying “no” to!



The Master in the Art of Living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion.  He hardly knows which is which.  He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.  To him he is always doing both.

Lawrence Pearsall Jacks
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

ebay 101

Yeah!  Lots of fun and hopefully some great information at last night’s presentation of ebay 101.

I love online business and it was fun to share a lot of what I have learned over the years with people looking to sell on ebay.

Below are links to many of the things I talked about.  There are several more videos on listing and pricing items and also on FINDING items on my youtube channel for your learning pleasure.

How To Set Up An Ebay Account

How To Set Up a PayPal Account

Thanks for your support and please browse through this site for tons of eBay and online selling tips.




What To Sell For Christmas

Even the most casual online seller knows that Christmas is the busiest time of the year online.  Most new sellers, and many seasoned sellers, do not know exactly how to capitalize on the huge increase in qualified traffic that is searching–and most importantly buying–during the holiday season.

If you are well established in a niche and have been selling online for a while you are probably anticipating the season and figuring out exactly how to stock up and be ready.

If you are new or not sure how to best capitalize on the Christmas season, here are a few great ideas.


Toys are a HUGE seller (obviously!)  If you the time and inclination to watch eBay, Amazon, ToysRUs, Target, Walmart and the Disney store, you can profit–Big Time–by playing the retail arbitrage game.  The “hot” toys will sell out at one or more of these markets and immediate increase in value at one or more of the other markets.  The opportunities here are huge.  Manufacturers cannot guess exactly what toys will “take off” and often times they are just as surprised as us at the results of their marketing.  This leaves a shortage of supply.   You can capitalize on this shortage if you can purchase the wanted toys.  I have made thousands of dollars doing exactly this!  I am not a toy expert and every year I invest in Jenni Hunt’s Holiday Toy Guide to help me out.  She takes her years of toy-selling experience and spends hours each week analyzing the market and telling you exactly which toys are selling at above retail at which site.  Her Holiday Toy Guide is a small investment you can make to seriously capitalize on Christmas 2013.

Review Jenni’s Holiday Toy Guide


Browse Walmart or your local dollar store for ideas.  Fill a medium (or large) box with products all related to the same theme.  Theme ideas:

Sporting Goods related to your local team (Notre Dame or Boston Red Sox,)

A Gardening Basket

A College Student Basket

A Puzzle Basket

A Book Lover’s Basket

A Food Lover’s Basket

A Candy Lover’s Basket

A Basket for a little boy who loves trucks

A Basket for a little girl who loves dolls

An Artist’s Basket

A Crafter’s Basket

A Movie Night Basket

A Baker’s Basket

Mark the basket up $10-20 over what you pay.  Make sure to use the words gift and Christmas in your description.  Also make sure to use the words might describe the person the gift is for “candy lover,” “toddler.”  Thousands of people (I am one of them) search on “Christmas gift for toddler.” or “gift idea for puzzle lover.”  Make sure your description is broad enough for these folks to find your gift.  Remember, pictures and descriptions are very important here.  You want to make the photographed box pretty and full and look like a complete gift.  Your buyer wants to know you have just put together the perfect gift for their loved one.


I was completely surprised the first year I ran my online grocery store at the huge increase in volume I experienced starting in mid November.  I didn’t expect a big increase in grocery sales–after all, groceries are purchased and consumed year round.  I sold hundreds of extra items during the Christmas season, apparently people eat more at Christmas time!  Seriously, they buy every day groceries as gifts and often they splurge on luxury food items they wouldn’t buy everyday.  My business nearly doubled during the month of December.  So, even if you are not a regular grocery seller, list a few groceries and see how they do.


Look through your Sunday ads and determine what toys are popular and being promoted. Then search your stores for accessories related to these toys.  You can even group the accessories together and create a bundle.  Is Monster’s University the big thing?  Look for an alarm clock, a watch, some PJ’s.  The one-off items are often harder to locate in stores and sometimes the main gift is already purchased and grandparents or friends want to purchase a similar item.

Thanks and Happy Shopping!



Free Stuff To Sell on eBay

FREE Things You Can Sell on Ebay

There are a lot of things you can sell on Ebay for no monetary investment–just a little bit of your time and energy.SERVICES: There is a section in ebay titled “Specialty Services.” Browse through it to come up with ideas. Do you have skills that may be in demand? Do you do copywriting, edititing, proofreading? Perhaps you have great design or HTML skills. What do you (or have you in the past) gotten paid for and how could you incorporate that into something to sell? Perhaps you are a whiz with accounting or taxes, you could list your services for online sellers or small businesses. Every one has skills that are unique or worth paying for. Get creative here!

TICKETS: Look at Ebay’s section of tickets. Hundreds of tickets sell above face value every day on Ebay. You can buy tickets for a hot show or sporting event, it can be in any city, and resell them as the event gets closer. Watch what similar tickets end up going for and buy carefully. There is a lot of money to be made in ticket sales but make sure to study the market.

OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF: You can quite easily become a trading assistant officially through ebay and be listed to do consignment sales. You can also solicit consignment sales on your own. After approaching friends and relatives, get creative. Call people who have items listed in the classified or on Craig’s list. Many of these sellers want to unload their stuff but don’t have the patience or inclination to sell on ebay. Consider approaching small businesses in your area. Offer to list slower moving items and split the profit. There are hundreds of small shops in every metropolitian area, you might be able to get a nice source on unique inventory.

Keep your eyes open and your pocketbook closed when first selling on ebay. There is a lot of potential profit out there at NO COST to you!