The Amazon Best Seller rank, or BSR, is an important indicator in the marketing discipline Amazon SEO. It should be noted here that this not only plays a major role for private labelers, for example in product research, but should also be important for retailers with already listed products.
In the following article I would like to give you an overview about the meaning, the calculation, the importance and the application possibilities of BSR´s. Further I hope to uncover some efforts and to solve the general confusion to the topic BSR.
What is the BSR
The BSR is basically nothing more than a grading of all products within a main category according to sales. The most sold product thus has a BSR of 1, which is indicated by Amazon, clearly visible, by the orange bestseller label. In other words, the BSR can also be said to indicate how many products sell better than one’s own or a certain foreign product. So if a product has a BSR of 40, it can be said that there are 39 other products in this category that sell better.
Important! – The BSR always refers to a specific main category. This means that in the main category “Drugstore & Body Care” the sales of all products are compared with each other. Within this main category (parent category), the product with the highest sales volume will have the lowest BSR. (The lower the BSR, the better).
On Amazon it usually happens that not only one BSR is given. Most Amazon products have two different BSR´s and some even more. This is because within each main category (parent category) there are other smaller subcategories (child category). A product can have a BSR of 1 in the Child category “Drugstore & Body Care > Oral & Dental Care > Toothpastes” and a BSR of 282 in the Parent category “Drugstore & Body Care”.
After I have explained what the BSR is, I would like to explain in the following how the BSR is calculated.
Calculation of the BSR
First of all I would like to clarify that Amazon does not disclose the calculation of the BSR, which also applies to the ranking algorithm. The information presented below is based on experience gained in the field of private labeling and various tests that sellytics.com has carried out and continues to carry out on its own behalf.
What can be said with certainty about the BSR is that only the sales volume is included in the calculation. There have been occasional assumptions that factors such as reviews or the pricing of the product are included in the calculation. However, it can be said that this is not the case. For the BSR, only the sales within the parent category count.
What cannot be said with certainty, however, is the extent to which historical sales are included in the calculation. There are voices that say that only the sales of the last 12-24 hours are relevant for the calculation of the BSR. However, there are other voices, including ourselves at sellytics.com, who believe that a much longer period is important.
This can be illustrated by an example. If only the sales of the last 24 hours were taken into account for the calculation of the BSR, one would have to assume that all products which have not sold during this period have the same BSR. However, this is not the case. If there are no sales, the BSR slowly drops over a longer period. This suggests that Amazon can look back on a longer period of time to calculate the BSR. However, it is not possible to say how long this is actually.
The weighting of sales generated in the past is also unclear. In principle, it can be said that newly generated sales are weighted more strongly than those generated some time ago. A purchase that was made an hour ago will be included more strongly in the BSR calculation than a purchase that was made two days ago.
Strong fluctuations in the BSR
Every dealer, private labeler, or manufacturer who observes the BSR of his own or third-party products will have noticed that the BSR can fluctuate greatly in some cases.
How strong the fluctuations can be depends on how high the sales figures of the own and all other products within the parent category are. If, for example, the BSR is greater than 100,000, it can be assumed that only a few to no sales are generated per day. A small, short-term increase in sales can already lead to a strong fluctuation of the BSR´s there.
The fluctuations are also related to the update of the BSR. Amazon does not calculate the BSR in real time. Here is an overview of the update periods:
- BSR < 10,000 = Hourly update
- BSR < 100,000 = Daily update
- BSR > 100,000 = monthly update
But what is the point of it all? Why is the BSR such an important value, both for retailers and for private labelers?
For private labelers, the BSR is an important reference point for product research. Before investing in a product, the BSR can be used to ensure that there is sufficient demand to make building a private label worthwhile.
Many private labelers follow a benchmark value of less than 5,000 for the BSR. Others, especially on the German marketplace, are even much lower and set the maximum value for the BSR at 2000. The first mentioned maximum value of maximum 5,000 was oriented to the American marketplace, which is considerably larger, whereby even products with a higher BSR´s are still profitable.
The BSR is also a highly interesting value as a dealer and, of course, for every private labeler who already offers products on Amazon.
In this case, the BSR is used to compare with the competition and to determine whether there is still further potential for your own product. For this, the own BSR and that of competing products should be particularly well observed and analyzed.
But there is still another advantage of the BSR and this is the “Social Proof” with the customer. Once you have managed to win the orange “bestseller label”, it increases the traffic and the conversion rate. From the customer’s point of view, such an award is proof that the product is firstly of high quality and secondly trustworthy. Furthermore, many customers think that if a product has been sold very much, or the most, then it must also be best suited to satisfy / solve their own need / problem.
Can the BSR be optimized?
Of course, this is the question many hope for an affirmative answer to, but at the same time it is also the question that causes the most confusion on the subject of BSR.
Because the answer is a simple “yes”. The BSR can be optimized and the principle behind it is quite intuitive: “Sell more than your competitors! And here it is important to note that the sentence is: “Sell more than your competition” and not “increase your sales”.
Because the BSR of your products will only increase if you sell more than your competitor. If you increase your sales to 2 sales more a day, but still sell less than your competitor, the BSR of your product will not increase.
Of course this is easier said than done, because the product listing has to be perfectly optimized, the traffic has to be high and the conversion rate has to be high as well.
How you can put all these optimization steps into practice in your listing can also be read here in the Wiki and in our blog.