How to Shop Efficiently on Amazon via Crowdsourcing

Shopping on Amazon can be overwhelming at times.  A search for a simple product can sometimes yield hundreds or even thousands of potential choices!

I’ll break down how to filter through these choices efficiently.  Within minutes, it’s possible to locate the product with the best price to quality ratio, as chosen by millions of other shoppers on Amazon looking for the same item.

This method won’t work perfectly for every type of product, but I use it regularly to save myself precious time when I just need an item that works.  I’ve used it for running shoes, phones cases, HDMI cords, pull-up bars, food scales and more.

For this example, we’ll be using a basic food scale to walk us through the process.  Keep in mind that the exact same steps can be followed for almost any kind of product.

Step 1: Search for the Desired Item

Navigate to the Amazon home page and search for the desired item.  In our case, we’re going to search for a food scale.

Step 2: Pick Something Similar to the Desired Item

Once the search results show up, simply select any item that matches the type of product you are shopping for.  The specific item isn’t important at this point!  Just pick something that’s relatively close to what you want.

For this step, we’re using Amazon’s search to locate the specific product category that best matches the item we’re looking for.  Identifying and drilling down to the specific category you need is rather difficult and time consuming from a top-level category such as “Home & Kitchen”.  With search, you can find it quickly.

Step 3: Scroll Down to “Product Information”

After selecting an item that is similar to what you’re shopping for, scroll down the page until you find the “Product Information” section of the page.  This section will be located below the product’s description and above the customer reviews.

An alternative to scrolling is using a quick Ctrl-F search for “best sellers rank”.  This should bring you directly to the correct area of the page.

Step 4: Click the Most Specific Title Under “Best Sellers Rank”

After locating the “Product Information” section of the item’s page, find the “Best Sellers Rank” row of information.  Within that row, choose the most specific product category that applies to the item you’re shopping for.  In most cases, this will be the category in the lower right.

Step 5: Purchase the Best Selling Item

At this point, we have located the Amazon Best Sellers page most closely related to the item you’re shopping for.  Our work is almost done!

For many items, I will simply select the #1 best seller and begin the checkout process.  This utilizes the power of the crowd by copying what hundreds or thousands of other customers have purchased.  In theory, the #1 item should be the best ratio of price, quality, functionality, reviews, size, and many other factors that often influence a purchasing decision.

Following the crowd allows us to find a solid product in minutes rather than spending a much greater amount of time filtering the thousands of results from our initial search on our own.

Depending on the product you’re searching for, the #1 choice may not match exactly what you need.  This will depend on how specific the Amazon product category matches the product you need.

Even when there isn’t a perfect match, I can usually find the product I need within the top 10 results of the best sellers page.

The Pros and Cons of This Approach

Pros:

  • Very efficient compared to traditional online shopping methods
  • Can filter down thousands of results related to a search in seconds
  • Utilizes the power of crowdsourcing to balance price, quality, and other important factors automatically
  • Avoids ads, sponsored listings, and scams that may appear on the regular search page
  • Low-risk thanks to Amazon’s fairly generous return policy

Cons:

  • May not yield the absolute “best” choice for your needs
  • Doesn’t work for more obscure items that may not fit into Amazon’s product categories nicely
  • If everyone did this, it could create a negative feedback loop

Filtering through Amazon search results using the best seller pages works amazingly for common tools or gadgets you might find yourself searching for online.  For something like a food scale or even a common HDMI cord, there are a seemingly unlimited number of options, but I simply need something that will work and is reasonably priced.  For these situations, the best seller pages work perfectly to save time.

Hopefully you can utilize this strategy to improve your own online shopping efficiency.  Below I’ll provide a couple of additional real-life examples where I used the best seller pages to save time.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve run into any success or problems using this method, or if you’ve found an even better way to efficiently shop online.

Example 2: HDMI Cords

For this example, I need a simple HDMI cord.  Once I search for “hdmi cord” and drill down to the Best Seller page following the steps above, the primary difference between the best sellers is the length and number of cords.  If I just need a single standard 6-ft cable, then #1 will work.  If I need a longer cord or more of them, one of the other options should do just fine.

Example 3: Running Shoes

Even for more personal items, like running shoes, the best seller pages can be very useful in narrowing down results.  I’d rather not spend hours researching the various pros and cons of running shoes across dozens of brands and styles.  I’m not a professional, so I just need something reasonably priced, comfortable, and durable.  As these are the same qualities that most people are looking for in running shoes, crowdsourcing my decision of what pair to buy should work great.

For this type of product, I won’t buy the #1 item right away, but will instead use the best seller page to filter down to the top 5-10 options that I’ll end up choosing from.  I’ve found this works much better than using regular Amazon search because it gets rid of all the ads and sponsored listings.  I’d much rather sort by what people are buying instead of who paid the most money to appear near the top of the search results.

Between the top results (which are all probably adequate for my needs), I can choose the style and price that works for me.


2 thoughts on “How to Shop Efficiently on Amazon via Crowdsourcing

  1. That’s an amazing way to have the best value for your money, especially if it’s a product that you need. I also use Keepa, a browser extension that gives me the historical prices of products to see if I;m getting it for the lowest price. If not, I wait for a couple weeks and check again. Very handy and has saved me a lot of money over the past year…

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