If Amazon Doesn't Provide Sales Histories, How Will I Know What To Sell?
By: Chris Green
If you have been selling on eBay, then you probably already know that a great place to help you decide what to sell on eBay (and how to price it) is to view the Completed Listing. You can search for the item that you want to sell and you can see recently listed items that are either identical or similar. You can see if they sold, when they sold, and how much they sold for.
Advanced eBay sellers may be using a service called Terapeak. Terapeak offers additional Completed Listing data from eBay that is not available directly from eBay anymore. This is a subscription based service and the information that they provide can help you make better decisions about what to sell as well as help you decide how to price your eBay listings.
On Amazon, there are no sales histories. This is a policy from Amazon's legal department so don't expect this to change anytime soon. So if you can't see what has sold, when it sold, or for how much it sold, how do you make good decisions when deciding what to sell on Amazon as well as how to price your items?
Fair question, but let's back up a bit
There are no guarantees when it comes to online sales. Just because an item sold last month for $300 on eBay and last week for $350 on eBay doesn't mean that it will sell this week for $300 or $350. Depending on the item, it may never sell again at any price. What you are deducing from eBay Completed Listings data and Terapeak information is the likelihood that an item will sell again, how quickly it will sell, and how much it will sell for.
If an item has many completed listings on eBay and they are all fairly recent and all around the same price point, then it will be more likely that it will still sell in the near future at or near that same price. If an item only has one sale in the past two months as well as several Completed Listings on eBay with no winning bidder or buyer, then it will be less likely that the item will sell again quickly or at a price equal to the last successful eBay listing.
You are playing a guessing game on eBay. You are making educated choices by using all of the available data at your disposal, but you still have no guarantees.
It's the same way on Amazon. On Amazon, you have different data with which to make the same decisions as to which item to list for sale as well as what to set for your price. An Amazon listing will have a Sales Rank and competition. It may not seem like much, but you can extract a lot of information from what you see.
First, let's start with Sales Rank. Without going into extensive detail on Sales Rank, understand that Sales Rank is an indication of a recent sale and nothing more. If an item has sold recently, it will have a better Sales Rank than an item that has not sold recently at all. The better the Sales Rank, the item will have a higher quantity of recent sales. When you can tell that the Sales Rank reflects a recent sale, then your next step is to decide how to price.
The Amazon marketplace is an open marketplace. This means that everyone can see all of their competitor's prices. If an item has sold recently, you will not be able to tell exactly which seller made the sale so you won't know exactly the price at which the last sale was made. What you can see is what all sellers are charging for the item. You'll find that on most items, sellers will be offering similar, competitive prices.
There may be sellers that are offering the item at an abnormally high price. This is likely not what the last item sold for, but in rare circumstances such as only one FBA seller and an Amazon buyer needing the item quickly, it could be.
You can make an educated guess at the market price by looking at the competition. Amazon sellers can be very competitive. If there are multiple sellers for an item and absolutely no one is making any sales, then the Sales Rank will get worse and worse. You'll find that if this happens, some sellers will look to lower their price to attract sales. Many times other sellers will follow with price drops. As the price lowers and the item attracts buyers, Sales Rank will change.
Another easy factor to consider is the number of sellers for any specific item. This is especially true for FBA sellers who will have more at stake by listing and sending inventory to FBA instead of just listing it as merchant fulfilled. If there are multiple sellers selling the item for a certain price, then you know that each of these sellers consider this an item worth selling and worth selling for the price which they are charging. If lots of sellers deem an item good to sell on Amazon, then it is likely a good item for you to sell as well.
When it's all said and done, only you can decide if the item is good for you to sell because only you know your specific product cost, your risk tolerances, and your available funds for inventory.
There are no guarantees in online sales so don't fall into analysis paralysis when deciding what to sell. Consider the margins on your items as well as your competition. Gather as much information as you can. There is a lot of information available on both eBay and Amazon; you just have to know where to look and how to read it.
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This is an article by Chris Green, Co-Founder of
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