Drive the Bandwagon: How to Catch Assortment Trends Early

Have you ever liked something before it was cool? And as soon as it got cool you had an “I told you so” attitude with all of your friends? This is normally the case in the music community for artists who are on their way to mainstream success. Billboard music has a ranking list for these artists, and it’s called “heatseekers.” If you regularly check this list out, you can get an inside glimpse at some artists who may become household names some day. As they become more popular, albums become costlier, and clothing costs start to climb.

Amazon has a list just like the Billboard Heatseekers chart. It’s called Amazon’s movers and shakers, and it offers online retailers a glimpse at what products are becoming more or less popular in real time. As a seller, wouldn’t you want to know what products would be in high demand before you make a risky investment?

Or if you’re late to the party and feel like you’re missing an item that everyone else seems to have, you can check Amazon’s top selling products list. There you can see which items are selling like hotcakes to shoppers. This is usually a good indication of what you should consider adding to your own assortment.

Now could you imagine investing in the top selling item on Amazon, just to have it drastically drop in rankings the next day? All of a sudden the product’s demand has fallen off, and no one is interested in it, regardless of the price. Luckily, there’s a way to prevent this from happening, and it’s a little trick called trend analysis.

Trend analyses are absolutely crucial to perform when discovering products to add to your own assortment. They can help you avoid situations in which you’re stuck with a product that no one wants anymore. But they can also help you get ahead of the curve and get an item that is climbing the ranks like a heatseeker traveling straight to the number one spot.

Conducting trend analyses can be done in a few different ways. There’s the manual way, which includes regularly checking Amazon rankings to see how frequently items are moving in the ranks and how far those movements are. Or it can be automated using a third party software.

Wiser’s Best Seller Assortment tracks trends across Amazon’s product ranking lists. It uses rich  historical data to offer you a “trend score.” This score is put together using advanced regression techniques to measure if a product is trending up, down, and by how much.

For example, if a product was at number 9, and then climbed to number 4, and then to number 2 in one day, it’s safe to say that item’s demand is spiking. But can it sustain that ranking? It’s always wise to see how long it lasts on its climb to the top before making an investment, but odds are it’s probably worth the investment.

On the other side of the same coin, imagine a product’s ranking dropped from 2 to 10 to 20 all in one day? You would want to know that the product is dropping, and that it’s dropping fast. If you only take one glimpse at it and then make a decision to purchase the item, you might later realize that you made a poor investment.

There are obviously several steps in the assortment discovery process, but running a trend analysis is one of the most important ones. If you can get a popular item and sell it at a competitive price that’s one thing, but you don’t want to have to constantly discount it to get rid of it as the popularity drops. Discounts can’t cause a huge spike in demand in unpopular products, but a competitive price paired with a hot item can do wonders.

They are two polar opposites, one giving you incredible fortune and smooth sailing, the other giving you deadweight and stormy waters that are hard to navigate out of, but your online future doesn’t have to be as uncertain as an incredibly novice sailor hitting the high seas. Automating the trend analysis just makes sense when you look at it this way.

If you compare the different ways you can conduct a trend analysis, automating the process is a no-brainer. If you manually check Amazon’s top selling products list once a day, you wouldn’t know a product’s volatility. In the time between check-ins, that product could have been in four or five different rankings, but you wouldn’t know that.

Automating the process with Wiser gives you historical data throughout the day. You’ll know the product’s journey throughout the list’s rankings, offering solid data to help you make informed decisions. Best Seller Assortment also covers your pricing bases, so you can make sure you can carry that product at a competitive price.
The assortment discovery process is made up of plenty of tasks that are incredibly tedious without automation. Wiser’s Best Seller Assortment does all of the hard, tedious work for you to make sure you’re ahead of the curve and acquiring aces. Your assortment doesn’t need any fat around the edges, just enough substance to make sure you’re a lean, mean, online selling machine.

Photo Credit

Contributing writer: Brian Smyth


Arie Shpanya

Arie is the former COO, Executive Chairman, and Co-Founder of Wiser, a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine for online retailers and brands. He has extensive experience in business development with a focus on eCommerce (eBay and Amazon), and is a guest blogger on Econsultancy, VentureBeat, and more.

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