The Buy Box: How sellers are winning 4 out of 5 sales consistently
The Amazon Buy Box is a bit of a mystical creature, but it is the absolute VIP in terms of revenue. With 82% of sales generated through the Buy Box, winning the Buy Box or becoming Buy Box eligible should be a top priority for any Amazon seller. There are criteria, however, that needs to meet in order to even be eligible to win the Amazon Buy Box.
While Amazon has the ultimate say in who "earns" the Buy Box, there are a few ways to ensure your offer the most competitive.
What is the Buy Box on Amazon?
Chances are, if you've ever purchased something on Amazon, you did so by using the Buy Box. The Buy Box, also known as the Featured Offer, is the white box on the right side of an Amazon product page, where customers can add items to their shopping cart.
The Amazon Buy Box is a shortcut to the most competitive offer on that given listing (AKA, the lowest price), as determined by Amazon. Because of its prominent placement, 4 of 5 purchases are placed through the Buy Box.
Amazon Buy Box eligibility is determined by a number of factors, all that have to do with the seller and their offer.
Who is eligible for the Amazon Buy Box?
"The Featured Offer is an offer for new products that we display on a product detail page with an Add to Cart button that customers can use to add items to their shopping carts. When one of your items appears in this way on a product page, we call it the Featured Offer.
There are two steps to selecting offers to feature. First, we determine which items are eligible to be featured based on criteria that are designed to give customers a great shopping experience. Second, we select compelling offers to feature from among this pool of eligible offers."
"Your offers are eligible for the Featured Offer if you have a Professional selling account. Check your current account type if you’re not sure and upgrade if required. To ensure that customers have a great shopping experience and to guard against abuse, we remove eligibility based on account performance and other risk factors."
Factors Amazon considers to be Buy Box eligible:
In short, in order to compete for placement in the Buy Box, a seller must first qualify. There are a few prerequisites for Amazon to consider you as eligible:
1. Professional Seller Account:
Amazon requires sellers to have a Professional Seller Account ($39.99/month) to be eligible for the Buy Box.
2. Low Order Defect Rate:
Amazon calculates this metric by considering customer feedback rating, A-Z Guarantee claims, as well as any chargebacks.
3. Low Pre-Fulfillment Cancellation rate:
Pre-fulfillment cancellations are cancellations initiated by the seller prior to shipment confirmation. Amazon calculates this by the number of cancellations divided by the total number of orders placed within a given time period.
4. Low Late Shipment rate:
Late shipment rates are based on the number of orders that receive overdue status of more than two days, out of the total number of orders within a given time period.
5. Low Refund rate:
Refunds that are initiated by the seller are counted against the overall number of orders for a given time period. Amazon does not consider the reason for refunds, just the quantity.
6. Time selling on Amazon:
The age of your Amazon account is a factor considered by Amazon, as brand-new sellers will have a more challenging time becoming eligible for the Buy Box.
How can my listings win the Buy Box more consistently?
Now that you're eligible for the Buy Box, it's vital to understand how a seller can actually win Buy Box share time. Let's dive in!
What Buy Box winners have in common
1. The Lowest Price
This is the biggest one, the Buy Box's greatest "weighted" factor. Matching the lowest landed price offer on an Amazon listing, or pricing just beneath it will give you the biggest advantage to winning the Buy Box.
The Landed Price is simply the total amount a customer will pay — cost + shipping. This becomes incredibly important for third party sellers charging large amounts for shipping, which will lower your Buy Box share.
Because of Amazon's customer-centric principles, the lowest landed price is naturally the most attractive to customers, and most likely to earn Featured Offer status. This earns its place as the most important factor for rotating the Buy Box to your offer.
2. Fast Shipping Times
As a close second, your listings' handling and shipping times are also a factor for winning the Buy Box. Amazon prioritizes offers with the ability to ship fast - primarily through their Fullfillment by Amazon (FBA) service - as the most Buy Box-worthy, specifically with Prime shoppers in mind.
By offering fast and free shipping, you are more likely to win the Buy Box versus a Merchant Fulfilled offer with slower shipping times. Sellers whose inventory is backordered are also at a disadvantage, as this pushes back expected delivery times, regardless of fulfillment method.
2a. Prime vs. Non-Prime Shipping
As mentioned above, the fastest shipping times are the most competitive for the Buy Box. The type of fulfillment method also matters, specifically FBA (Prime shipping) versus Merchant Fulfilled (non-Prime shipping). Amazon tends to favor offers fulfilled through their own channels, or Fulfillment by Amazon.
While Merchant Fulfilled offers can also win the Buy Box, Amazon prioritizes offers that can take advantage of their 1-day shipping, which FBA offers are automatically eligible for.
3. High Feedback Rating
Holding all else equal, the Buy Box will generally favor the seller with the highest average 12-month feedback rating, with the number of ratings also a factor.
Feedback ratings convey a level of trust and consistency for the seller, a factor Amazon takes very seriously. However, there are ways to improve your feedback rating, that will ultimately help your chances of winning the Buy Box.
4. New Condition:
All items eligible for the Amazon Buy Box must be in new condition. Used item won't be eligible for the default Buy Box, though may appear in the Buy Used Box.
One shortcut to maintaining competitive pricing is to use a price management tool, also known as a repricer. An Amazon Repricer is an essential tool that automates the task of pricing your inventory to maximize Buy Box time, and is almost always well-worth the investment. A repricer's performance will vary based on the factors above, but can be strategically dialed in to suit your business's needs.
A repricing tool allows you to strategically position your listings to target the Buy Box, the key to winning 4 out of 5 sales for that listing. The peace of mind added knowing each of your listings is on full autopilot is well worth the cost of a repricer alone, especially when you add listing optimization to the equation. The extra capacity to further grow your business is invaluable, on top of the extra revenue gained from using a repricer.
Industry insights you won't delete, delivered to your inbox
The Essential Guide to Min and Max Prices
Want to know the secret to not losing money or missing out on higher sales? It comes down to setting your minimum and maximum prices correctly. This is where many sellers get stuck when getting started with a repricing tool for the first time. These aren
The Future: What AI and Robotics Mean for Sellers
Back in December 2018, I shared my thoughts on how selling on Amazon might change. I talked about how new tech in automation and robots could help sellers do a lot more with less effort. The tech I mentioned is possible today, but not many people are using
How to Avoid Price Tanking
If you've been a seller for even a few hours you'll have heard the term "price tanking". Price tanking is when a seller begins to lower the price of a listing, which then creates a downward spiral. This quickly removes any profitability from the listing.