You’re a seller with a great product on Amazon. But you’re frustrated. No one is buying your product, or even seeing it, because it’s stuck on page 12 of Amazon’s search results.
Unfortunately, selling on Amazon isn’t as simple as having a great product and putting it out there. You also have to get it noticed, and that ideally means ranking on page 1 of Amazon’s search results. Products that show up on the first page of an Amazon search will receive up to 80% of clicks, so if your product is even on page two, it is much less likely to be seen or considered.
To get your product in front of more people, you need to improve its product ranking. This is an Amazon metric that tells how popular a product is compared to similar products on Amazon. The higher your product ranking, the more likely your product will appear on the first page for a particular search.
Amazon’s A9 algorithm. If you aren’t familiar with the A9 algorithm yet, it’s the system Amazon uses to decide which lawn chairs to show you when you search "lawn chairs”. It's how Amazon decides which products consumers will see, and it plays a huge part in your sales on the platform.
Thankfully, since product rankings are controlled by an algorithm that has been studied extensively, that means rankings are predictable. Once you understand how the A9 algorithm works, you can use it to your advantage and push your product to the top of the search results. In this article, we'll break down some important factors that affect the A9 algorithm and show you how to improve your product’s ranking.
When you first hear about the ranking system, you might think it's a pretty simple process. Get more sales, get a better rank. And, yes, that is somewhat how the process works. But what about a product that sells like hotcakes and gets not-so-hot reviews? What about a product that makes a ton of sales compared to its competitors, but not very many compared to how many people visit the product's page?
The truth is that there's no single factor determining a product's rank; there are many. The A9 algorithm evaluates a number of factors about a product and creates a score for that product. Then, when someone conducts a search on Amazon, the algorithm can compare the scores of all relevant products to determine which ones to show first.
As a new seller, there are many things you could be doing to increase your products’ rankings, but here are some of the most important:
This is the #1 thing to do to rank your product on Amazon.
The biggest factor that the A9 algorithm takes into account is the time between sales on a particular product - which makes sense. If your product is making a new sale every few minutes, that's going to trump just about everything else in the eyes of Amazon, since the point of the algorithm is to figure out which products will drive sales.
As soon as your product is listed, Amazon starts tracking its sales performance. The sooner you start making sales, the quicker your ranking will rise, the more customer engagement you'll have, and the more traffic you'll drive to the site - it's a bit of a domino effect.
It's easy to say, "You should be making sales." Clearly; that's why you're on the platform to begin with, and you probably don't need much telling that that's what you should be doing. But how do you get sales if no one is seeing your product?
For one, rather than posting an item and waiting for sales to come in, be active about supporting your product's success. Promote your product on any channels and sites that you can, suggest it to interested friends, use all of the tools that Amazon has to offer, and make the most of your product's performance right from the start.
You might also need some outside help. That’s one place Snagshout comes in. We help drive early sales by giving customers access to discounted (or more accurately, rebated) products. Our goal is to incentivize customers to buy products from new sellers. And since your products are being shown in a much smaller subset of Amazon listings when they’re featured on our site, they are more likely to be seen and purchased. Those early sales can help send your product on an upward trajectory by improving your ranking and increasing the likelihood of future sales.
If you've done any extensive shopping on Amazon (who hasn't at this point), you've probably come across the "ghost page", a page with one photo, from a poor angle, with a vague title and nothing else. There's maybe a review or two, a few words each, and some unanswered questions at the bottom of the page.
If you've ever come across a page like this, you most likely clicked off of it as quickly as you could, and that's exactly what your customers are going to do, too. The Amazon marketplace - and the online marketplace in general - relies on the information a seller provides to make sales, as opposed to the product itself.
Think about it. When you're in a store, and you're interested in buying a pair of jeans, you can hold them, try them on, look at them from all angles, see how they feel, and so on. This is how the in-store consumer makes a purchasing decision. Online, however, you have to try and provide this experience across a digital wall.
Optimizing your Amazon listing in a few ways can help buyers make an informed decision when they shop around.
A thorough description, plenty of high-quality pictures, and answered questions all make a great impression on potential customers and help improve your conversion rate to get you more sales. Also think about including all information your customers could be searching for— such as brand, color, dimensions, etc.— so that customers can easily find your product and feel confident in what they are buying.
Along with thorough product descriptions, having plenty of product reviews will help boost your ranking quickly. Positive reviews look good to Amazon's algorithm, they look good to customers, and they look good to you. Even if customer reviews are mixed, it tells potential customers that people are buying the product. And there's a safety-in-numbers mentality that comes with online shopping; if something has a lot of mixed reviews, it's less intimidating to purchase than something with only one positive review.
That said, you should be aiming for the best reviews possible, and it's another space where Amazon gives you a lot to work with. They want you to get positive reviews just as badly as you do. You can improve your reviews by keeping the product priced fairly, making it stand apart from other products in its category, and offering features like warranties and customer support to back your product. All of these things lead to better customer interactions and more trust.
Now, we do have to address negative reviews. They happen, and they don't feel very good. But rather than seeing a negative review as a defeat, think of it as an opportunity to grow, and even potentially a positive. As a simple example, if you get a negative review or two saying that a customer didn't realize what kind of product they were getting, then maybe it's time to improve your product description. Amazon also lets you respond to customer reviews, giving you a chance to win over a dissatisfied customer - more on that later!
It’s important to note that you can’t directly incentivize reviews in exchange for products. A few years ago, Amazon cracked down on sellers who were giving their products away in order to get 5-star reviews. Reviews also have more weight in the algorithm if they are left by customers who purchased the product at full price. We address these points by offering customers rebates (rather than a flat-out discount) on products they purchase from us, so that they are still purchasing the product at full price and getting part of their money back later. We also don’t require our customers to leave reviews on your products, but you’ll find that we have an engaged customer base that tends to leave reviews anyway. Also, more sales tends to result in more reviews, which goes back to the importance of getting sales as soon as you can.
Keywords are the name of the game when it comes to being found online, and Amazon is no exception. In general, being competitive is all about finding your niche. Finding keywords that represent your product while also allowing you to compete against a smaller number of other sellers’ listings will help you bring your rank up.
What this means is that instead of listing your backpack as just "backpack," choose something that better represents your product, allows you to compete against a smaller pool of products, and sets you apart. Even calling your backpack "brown backpack," is a step up. Consider whether your backpack is a hiking backpack, a sturdy backpack, a fashionable backpack, a backpack for carrying a cat - incorporating these keywords into your listing title and description will set it apart and improve your competitiveness.
If someone searches for “backpack” on Amazon, there maybe thousands of listings, many of which are likely to outrank you. Your product isn’t going to be seen. If someone searches for “purple cat carrying backpack”, now you’re competing with 50 products, and you might be able to get your product on page 1 of those results.
Your product itself should also be competitive. It doesn't matter how searchable it is if no is buying it, right? Again, sales are huge. You don't necessarily need to have the best product around, but it does need to have something going for it that the competition doesn't. A unique look, better reliability, lower price - anything that will make a customer deciding between two options say, "That one."
If you're having trouble staying competitive, look at other products in your category, check their ranking, and figure out what they're doing better than you and what they're doing worse. Treat the marketplace like a sport, and make your product the MVP. Every little detail that you can use to your advantage is another inch you'll have against the competition.
How do you help a customer better understand your product? How do you turn a negative customer experience into a positive one? How do you create repeat customers? How do you show customers that there's a real person, a real brand behind your Amazon storefront? The answer to each of these questions is: customer interactions.
And this is an area where Amazon really, truly shines, even above dedicated online stores. Amazon is an extremely customer-centric company, which gives you an immense tool to take advantage of. Answer questions, respond to messages, and offer information to users, even if it's indirectly related to the product.
Going back to negative product reviews: Say someone gets your product in the mail, and it's broken, and they leave you a one-star review. That customer doesn't know or care that it got broken in the mail, and that it had nothing to do with you, and neither will the potential customers that read their review.
What they will care about, however, and what will really make you stand out, is how you handle that negative review. If you reply to the review politely, refund or replace the customer's purchase, not only will they usually change their review to a positive one (helping you rise among the ranks), but other Amazon users will see this interaction, and they'll trust that even if their purchase arrives damaged, they'll still be covered, because there's a real person behind that product who cares about its success.
Interacting with your customers, answering their questions, thanking them for good reviews and helping to resolve bad ones (when possible) will earn you sales and boost your ranking meaningfully.
Engagement doesn’t have to end on Amazon, either. The positive relationship you develop with your customers can lead to opportunities to engage outside of Amazon, especially on social media platforms, which you can then leverage to create a community and drive even more traffic back to your product pages.
Product rankings play a large role in your success. To sum up the advice we’ve given in this article, you can get your product ranking by:
We are here to help new merchants boost their sales, improving their rankings, and generally understand the process of selling on Amazon. Getting your products ranking on Amazon doesn’t have to be a complete guessing game, and we have many tools available for merchants who want to monitor and improve their rankings.