Hacking Vendor Express for Greater Ranking & Profits

Vendor Express is only just now a couple of years old. It’s Amazon’s gateway into establishing a wholesale relationship (referred to as 1P) with sellers. Essentially it is their vendor “lite” program. The difference between Vendor Express and the regular, invite-only Vendor Central program is that with VE anyone can sign up. Anyone can also place their products up for offer to wholesale to Amazon.

When you do this, Amazon can either accept your offer or decline the price you give them. If they accept, this opens a number of vendor tools for the seller (AMS, on-page coupons, and a couple others). Historically, however, this is where sellers hit a snafu. At this point, Amazon takes “control” over the detail page listing for the product. When they do this, they tend to follow extremely outdated and inefficient style guides that, for the most part, un-optimize the listing.

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Do Inventory Levels Affect Ranking?


As we dig deeper into everything that may affect keyword ranking, be it positively or negatively, we continuously run into the question; “Do inventory levels, specifically running low on inventory, negatively impact rankings?”

This is a really hard thing to determine. Without polling people individually on their subjective experience, and having them monitor keyword ranking during low stock, it proved difficult to gather any meaningful data. So that meant digging into as many listings as possible and ferreting out the information we needed.

Nonetheless, I came up with some data that we may find useful.

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Do Reviews Affect Rankings on Amazon?


The topic of what effect, or if any at all, reviews have on ranking has been a subject of hot debate for some time. Experts with years of experience aren’t even on the same page when it comes to their speculation about review impact. The conversation has been the breeding ground for everything from the conspiratorially insane to the fear saturated, downright paranoid and all that lay in between.

And despite all the chatter, people still can’t seem to agree on a consistent answer to the burning question; do reviews affect ranking?

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Does Amazon’s Ranking Algorithm Favor Variations?


This has often been a topic of contention. The reason the topic is so important to sellers is because in many cases, when faced with the option to expand our product lines, we stare deeply at a critical choice; to combine variations or list them separately.

And anecdotally ranking results vary across the board. Many say variations are crucial to the growth of your business while others claim splitting into variations caused lowered conversions and sales. Now, this really doesn’t apply to apparel items or things that have different sizes, but when it comes to colors or slight modified versions, this is a serious contemplation.

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Does Your Price Affect Ranking?

triple dollar sign - red stencil text on a paper price tag against rustic wood

What factors are considered in the Amazon search algorithm has been a discussion debate people in the private label circles have had for seeming ages. Everyone has a theory, and those theories range from conspiracy level ridiculous to well thought out and tested.

One theory that has been presented more than a few times is that price is a ranking factor. This stems from the idea that Amazon is concerned with profits and therefore would logically give rank weight to items that make them more money.

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Traditional Methodology Meets Modern Distribution


Our next client case study, Mike R., veered course dramatically, with the initial intent of being a physician. While in school he decided to finish his degree in finance instead and worked as an analyst out of college for a large firm. From the sea of cubicles, Mike realized he would not attain fulfillment having to work for someone else. He had to forge his own path.

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Pricing, Seasonal Fluctuations & Understanding Market Trends


If you’ve spent any amount of time selling on Amazon you’ve probably realized by now it isn’t a cakewalk. It’s much more like a wild ride, rife with challenges that even the most experienced business people get surprised by.

One unpleasant surprise is being greeted by seasonal fluctuations and the end of your grand opening “honeymoon period.” This usually means you’ll experience an unprecedented drop in sales and rankings. A number of factors contribute to this; competition, price wars, conversion history, market trends and so much more.

But what can you do? Is there a way to stop this?

Truthfully I don’t think there is. However, you can safeguard your business by understanding a few key principles.

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Out of the Monkey Suit, Into the Amazon

Our next client case study is Jonathan G. Jonathan came from the stiff suit and tie corporate background so many of us are familiar with. When given a job offer to make multiple six figures a year, he turned it down because his entrepreneurial spirit was beginning to rear its head. He experimented with selling various things on Amazon and thought that there might be something there worth investigating.

Jonathan knew starting his own brand of products would take commitment, as well as an investment. He invested $25,000 of his own money into his initial product order and then proceeded to max out credit as well. That investment allowed him to launch with three size and five color variations of a single product.

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From the Friendly Skies to the Amazon

Our next case study follows Jack J. and his journey from being a commercial airline pilot to an extremely successful ecommerce entrepreneur. He and his partner, who practiced Chinese medicine, had what seemed to be the farthest thing from any background that could prepare them for this journey.

But a love for the nomadic lifestyle and the need to not be subject to corporate shackles drove him to seek out the entrepreneurial path.

Jack started with less than $15,000 initial investment, but regularly injected personal income, all of which went into inventory and packaging. This aggressive start ensured there was plenty of inventory and a well-established brand to hit the ground running. Continue reading “From the Friendly Skies to the Amazon”