Here’s How to Mine Historical Data to Jump-Start Your Amazon Business
George Santayana, the poet and philosopher said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
I’m talking about doing exactly the opposite.
When it comes to historically best-selling Amazon products, we WANT to repeat the past. Particularly when the “history” can lead to sellers making enough money in e-commerce to be able to quit their day jobs.
The Amazon selling ecosystem is full of the stories of sellers who have used this unique opportunity to level-up their own financial situations. You’ve probably listened to a few of them on Helium 10’s Serious Sellers Podcast. If not, you’ve been missing out.
In this post, I’m going to show you how to make the best use of Helium 10’s tools to access that historical data. That will allow you to build upon the successes of the Amazon sellers that came before you.
Mining Valuable Historical Amazon Data
Historical data is useful in identifying whether the product that you’re trying to sell might have a simple, linear sales model throughout the year, or has as many peaks and valleys as the Himalayan mountain range.
There are some very interesting facts that have to do with the mining industry in the American West during the mid to late 1800’s. One of them is the fact that some of the largest fortunes were amassed not by the gold or silver miners themselves, but by those who sold them their tools.
In America’s early, mining-focused economy, selling picks and shovels was great business. Levi Strauss himself became rich by selling blue jeans, appreciated by miners because of the metal rivets that reinforced the pockets increasing the likelihood that they’d last an entire season.
Mining Amazon’s data is the same; it becomes much easier if you have the right equipment.
Using the Helium 10’s Chrome Extension
If you’re not already familiar with Helium 10’s Chrome extension (which you can download for free, here), now’s the time to start. You’ll find tools that will help you to fine-tune your product research so you can make better sourcing decisions, plan for seasonality, estimate your profits, and revolutionize your competitor research.
When we’re talking about creating a data rich road-map to guide us on our way in e-commerce, Helium 10’s Xray is a great place to start.
With all of the remote working and video calls that are a big part of the business landscape these days, I was curious if the “office” attire had changed at all.
Was every day a “casual” day?
To find out, I went straight to Amazon and put “men’s tracksuits, 2-piece” in the search bar. Then, I clicked on the Helium 10 Chrome extension icon to the right of the search bar.
When I select Xray, I get this view. I want to look more closely at the specific product that I’ve pointed to with the red arrow in order to understand the sales graph.
The first thing I see is that sales have steadily increased over the last 30 days. That’s a good sign. Let’s pull back a little bit and look at the last 90 days.
Here we see that this relatively calm period that we’re in now was preceded by explosive growth in the previous month. This is evidently when workers stopped putting on their Brooks Brothers suits and went to Amazon to look for something comfortable.
If we back up all the way to look at the entire calendar year, we again see the rise that starts in January then really starts to pick up steam and explodes in mid-March. Afterwards it returns to a mid-point where it looks like it might stay.
To make sure that I’m not seeing an isolated incident, I looked closer at a number of other products listed for sale on Amazon.
Here’s another pair of decidedly casual pants.
Once again, the 30 day view has us a little too “stuck in the forest” to be able to “see the trees.” From this view, it does appear that sales are consistently declining.
So, we’ll back out to 90 days and once again, it looks like there was a strong increase in sales in the beginning of April.
That’s better. Now let’s back up all the way to look at the last 365 days.
Having the ability to look at authentic, long term historical data shows us much more clearly how this product is reacting to large scale global events which in turn helps sellers make highly educated decisions that are going to have a significant effect on your business.
If I was a sociologist, I’d say that for the first few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, people were still making an effort to dress in office attire for their virtual work days. A month later, and all bets were off. (And sales of casual wear was skyrocketing)
In both products’ screenshots, it looks like sales are declining somewhat. I wouldn’t be surprised if it stayed high enough to allow these two products to reach levels they never would have otherwise.
We can also look at the product’s individual BSR to get another indication of how it’s selling. Here you can see that this particular product dipped in its rankings at the start of the year before rebounding in March, 2020 with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Amazon’s Customer Reviews are E-Commerce King-Makers
Another way to track a product’s historical footprint within the Chrome extension is through its reviews. Customer reviews allow you to uncover valuable customer insights and spot issues with existing products. The following screenshot shows something that as a seller, you definitely don’t want to see. The “X” where the blue and green lines intersect tell you that as the number of reviews is going up, the overall rating of the product is going down.
Taking Advantage of Helium 10’s Tools Suite
Now we’ll move over to the Helium 10 tools dashboard.
Helium 10 is constantly making changes, both big and small to our industry-leading software, every single day.
We’ve recently launched another new addition to our software and if you weren’t paying close attention, you might have missed it.
We’ve added the capacity to monitor for Search Volume History in both Magnet and Cerebro.
To make good business decisions, you need to understand the role of seasonality in eCommerce, not just during the holiday season but throughout the year.
Holidays are relatively easy to anticipate.
A great number of Amazon products (and the keywords that shoppers are using to find them) show huge gains over the holiday season. Tree stands, wrapping paper, and nutcrackers at Christmas. Electric carving knives and turkey costumes at Thanksgiving. Beach balls, swimwear, and sunscreen during the long days of summer.
In almost every case, buyers are finding the products they’re searching for directly from the keywords that they’re typing into Amazon’s search bar.
Helium 10’s Search Volume History will allow you to mine that data.
Anticipating E-Commerce Trends
You can also make use of the Helium 10’s Trendster tool to help validate your historical research.
I want to investigate whether the current “stay at home” work environment has affected the sales of webcams that help facilitate better video conferencing.
This is my “seed” or target product:
After copying the ASIN and navigating to Trendster on Helium 10’s dashboard, this is the opening screen. I’ll paste the ASIN into the box on top and add the keyword at the bottom.
Now, I’ll click Start Trendster.
On the right hand side, you can see that according to Google Trends, beginning in mid-February, the interest in and searches of web cameras has skyrocketed.
Now that Zoom calls have become the “normal” way that we do business, it appears that employees are determined to look just a little bit better on their co-workers’ screens.
Sometimes we just need the historical weight of a company the size of Google to help validate concepts that originally “seem” like good ideas after a great trail run, yoga class or e-commerce brain-storming session with associates.
You can also use Helium 10’s Keyword Tracker to help you see under the e-commerce surface to the millions of keyword searches happening every day.
Let’s look at Bradley Sutton and Tim Jordan’s Project X case study product to get a clearer view of the historical data.
This is a Keyword Tracker page that shows the keywords associated with the “Manny’s Mysterious Oddities Coffin Shelf” Project X product. Let’s look closer at the keyword, “coffin shelf.”
When the coffin shelf was first launched, the keyword “coffin shelf” was not ranked very highly at all. But as the keyword rank increased to the top of page one, we see a corresponding bump in sales.
Digging into the data that Amazon gives you in detail in the sales and traffic page here, we can see that from the 22nd-24th, the coffin shelf only had 17 sessions on it.
After the product made it to page 1 on the 24th, we can see it increased how many people saw the listing, because from the 25th-27th, it had jumped up more than double to 40 sessions.
Yet again, when we look at the historical data using Helium 10 and Amazon, we can start to see patterns, and begin to understand how and why things are happening.
Why Historical Data Matters
E-Commerce and selling on Amazon are continuing to change right in front of our eyes. Conventional ways of doing business might be enough to keep your business going, but it takes the ability to adapt, and change with the times to really crush it!
Helium 10 is here to help you every step of the way.
When you’re trying to create a successful business, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to start from scratch. You might be just starting your Amazon selling journey, but with the historical data that you’ve gained from Helium 10’s tools, you’ll look and feel like an expert from the very beginning.
Click here to try Helium 10 for free.
- Helium 10 Employee Spotlight – Behind the Scenes - February 4, 2021
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- Amazon’s Buy Box: Why It Matters and How to Get It - December 30, 2020