RankTracer Provides Amazon Sales Estimates and Competitive Analysis

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RankTracer, http://www.ranktracer.com, is a new subscription-based service that allows users to track the sales rank trends of their products on an hourly basis. Using algorithms developed by RankTracer, users can also obtain actual sales estimates for their products based on the sales rank data collected. Since any number of products can be tracked using RankTracer, it is possible to find out how any given product is faring relative to its competition by tracking a cross section of the market.

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Initially, we wanted to provide a basic service for authors to help keep them up to date with the performance of their books on Amazon. We hoped that authors would use the service to inform themselves of how their book was performing without having to wait for annual or bi-annual royalty statements from their publisher.

Since mid 2006, RankTracer (http://www.ranktracer.com) has been working on building a sophisticated online workstation that will allow any manufacturer, marketer, publisher, author, or anyone with a vested interest in Amazon sales, to track the sales performance of products sold on Amazon. Providing sales rank information is not the only thing that RankTracer does. Among other services, RankTracer can automatically email new reviews to subscribers, thereby keeping them updated on customer feedback without having to visit the Amazon site on a regular basis. Users can also set sales rank alerts that notify them when products are selling well or poorly.

David Mercer of RankTracer says, "Initially, we wanted to provide a basic service for authors to help keep them up to date with the performance of their books on Amazon. We hoped that authors would use the service to inform themselves of how their book was performing without having to wait for annual or bi-annual royalty statements from their publisher."

Mercer quickly realized that not only would authors like to view graphs of how their books were selling, but that publishers and marketers might also wish to track competitors' products to determine how those sales rank figures compared with their own. Providing functionality to compare and contrast a variety of products in the same graph on the RankTracer website was soon introduced, but users wanted more.

"We noticed that while people found it interesting to see how the competition performed over time, they still had to draw fairly vague conclusions about what was actually going on. Their ability to incorporate information from RankTracer into their own strategic planning was limited. So, we set about building the Sales Estimation Engine, which analyzes sales rank data collected from Amazon and spits out a Sales Estimate."

The RankTracer team hopes that vendors will connect with the analytical power of RankTracer and begin incorporating RankTracer's service into their marketing or competitive analysis programmes. Anticipating this use of the site, in late 2006, automated weekly and monthly reporting was added to the subscription service to allow companies to obtain PDF documents containing weekly or monthly sales and sales rank information, including graphs and historical comparisons.

Says Mercer, "If it is known or surmised that roughly 20% of a publisher's sales come from the Amazon market, then for the nominal fee of $2 per month, it is possible to determine the sales figures of a product and then extrapolate this figure to obtain an estimate for the overall sales figures for this product. In the same way, you could track the entire product range of a given organisation and following from the figures provided by RankTracer, determine their total sales figures."

With a nominal fee of $2 per month per subscription, RankTracer hopes to entice a whole spectrum of different users. Anyone from:

  •     publishers who wish to provide a complimentary subscription to RankTracer for their authors
  •     editors who wish to obtain weekly reports on how their titles are selling
  •     researchers who wish to augment their current research methods
  •     other manufacturers who require a cheap source of valuable information to help them position their products within the market.

"RankTracer should also be used as an integral part of any type of marketing or advertising campaign! It can be used to accurately determine the effects of any ads on the sales precisely because it updates on an hourly basis and provides a near real-time responsiveness to sales transactions through Amazon."

At present, RankTracer only allows products sold through the US markets to be tracked. However the site is geared to work globally, and users will be able to track products sold through the UK, Canada, Germany, France and Japan as soon as accurate and timely data on this is available.

Finally, Mercer considers the future of RankTracer, "No doubt, as people switch on to RankTracer, we will need to enhance our service and provide new functionality. We're continually talking to our clients and working on the site to make it as useful as possible. In fact, without customer feedback we wouldn't be able to provide accurate sales estimates at all. Its an ongoing process, but we hope that with time and plenty of feedback we will truly be a valuable, world first in delivering unique sales and market research data through Amazon."

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David Mercer
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