What is the Amazon Buy Box?

Introduction

The Buy Box is a feature on Amazon that helps customers make purchases without needing to consider exactly who they are buying from – whether it’s Amazon themselves or a marketplace seller. It’s located at the top right of every Amazon product page.

When a customer clicks “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now”, the merchant who is in the Buy Box at that moment automatically wins the sale. The customer can expect Amazon to have chosen a seller who provides a competitive price, rapid delivery, strong customer service and various other factors that will help ensure their satisfaction.

Most sales on Amazon come through the Buy Box, so sellers who win it regularly will make a lot more sales than those who are rarely featured.

Who qualifies for the Amazon buy box?

When you create an Amazon seller account, you select either an Individual plan or a Professional plan. Whereas the former doesn’t come with a subscription fee, the latter costs $39.99/mo., and it comes with many privileges—one being access to the buy box. Individual sellers aren’t eligible. Additionally, the product you’re selling must be new and available in stock.

Amazon has an algorithm to determine which seller of a particular product gets represented in the buy box. Because it’s enormously valuable real estate, only a handful of sellers with exceptional reputations and outstanding customer reviews stand a chance.

It’s in Amazon’s best interest to deliver to its customers high-quality sellers who offer affordable prices. If Amazon were to give the buy box to sellers with subpar products and below-average reviews, they would have a lot of complaints and returns on their hands.

You better believe they’re doing everything they can to put the best seller on the market inside the buy box. Ideally, that’s you.

How to win the Amazon Buy Box

The Amazon Buy Box algorithm ranks merchants based on various metrics from their seller history. To win the Buy Box, sellers must have outstanding performance metrics and reviews.

Why? Because Amazon wants to provide value to customers. Only trustworthy merchants who consistently provide positive customer experiences and offer low prices get the Buy Box. Once you’re eligible, you’ll want to improve your ranking with the Amazon Buy Box algorithm. Although the precise algorithm isn’t available, we know these ten top tips can improve your chances of winning the Buy Box.

  1.  Set prices competitively

Ideally, your price points should be in-line with competitors’. The lowest price doesn’t always win the Amazon Buy Box, but it certainly improves your chances.If your other performance metrics are low, you’ll need to reduce prices to compete for the Buy Box. 

  1. Ship as quickly as possible

Late shipment rate is the number of orders shipping later than the expected ship date. You can set your handling time in Seller Central, sellers who don’t will be given the default shipping time of 1-2 business days. A late shipment rate below 4% will aid your chances of winning a share of the Buy Box. 

  1. Offer tracking information

Valid Tracking Rate is a recently introduced metric for all merchants. This represents the percentage of your deliveries offering full tracking information. Shipping software tools like ShipWorks or ShipStation can help with this.

  1. Put customer happiness first

Amazon is customer-centric. Even if you minimize shipping times and maximize value, this won’t make up for problems with your products or customer service. To reduce returns and negative reviews, make sure your product listings are accurate. Listen carefully to feedback and always go above-and-beyond for customers.

  1. Respond to queries quickly

Customer response time is also extremely important. If you take too long to reply to queries, your customers and Amazon won’t be impressed. Responding within 12 hours is brilliant. But any longer than 24 hours violates Amazon policy.

  1. Stay stocked up

Recently, back-ordered items have begun to feature in the Amazon Buy Box. But having products consistently and currently in stock is looked upon more favourably by the Amazon Buy Box algorithm. This indicates that you can handle the influx of sales that come with winning this placement.

  1. Request reviews

The Amazon Buy Box algorithm not only takes positive and negative reviews into account, but it also looks at the number of reviews received. Without them, your account’s visibility can drop significantly. So follow up with customers to request reviews, using a feedback tool to automate the process.

  1. Keep an eye on your account metrics

Amazon Seller Central provides a wealth of knowledge on your performance across all areas. Frequently check in on your metrics to identify and address issues as soon as possible. This protects your reputation and allows you to invest resources in areas which will influence your Buy Box competitiveness most.

  1. Be careful with new metrics

Amazon recently introduced two new metrics to improve their data around customer experience. These are the Return Dissatisfaction Rate and Customer Service Dissatisfaction Rate. At the moment, these figures don’t influence the Amazon Buy Box algorithm. 

  1. Feedback rating

Feedback rating is the culmination of all feedback scores the seller has received over the last 30 days, 90 days and 365 days, with the most recent feedback having the greatest impact. Save time and automate your feedback requests with an Amazon feedback tool.

Amazon Buy Box Myths

  • Amazon doesn’t share the Buy Box – Although Amazon often wins the Buy Box on listings that it sells on, third-party sellers can win a share of it.
  • The lowest price always wins the Amazon Buy Box – Price is a major factor in the Buy Box algorithm but not the only one, e.g. fulfillment method.
  • You can keep the Buy Box to yourself – No one is guaranteed exclusive access to Amazon’s Buy Box. Other merchants can appear at any time.
  • You need to turn Buy Box eligibility on – Amazon decides if you’re eligible for the Buy Box, not you.

Wrap Up

There is no one trick to beating the Buy Box, but rather a complex web of metrics to be monitored and improved upon.

Concentrating on the most important variables, such as becoming an FBA seller, having Prime-eligible products, perfecting your customer service, and understanding the way pricing works are all key to snagging that coveted Buy Box real estate.

In the end, you’re going to have to be algorithmic about your strategy – the same way Amazon is.

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