There aren’t any limits on the number of sellers or the amount of products that they can offer on Amazon’s marketplace. With millions of sellers globally, the likelihood that thousands of them are selling the same product is a given.
An important prerequisite for any person who is serious about building a profitable Amazon business and scaling it, is to have a keen understanding of how it is determined who will win the Amazon Buy Box.
Winning or sharing the Buy Box can mean the difference between making a sale and sitting on the sidelines while another seller does. Placement within the Buy Box guarantees greater visibility and higher sales numbers.
The brutal reality is that most shoppers won’t even view a seller’s products unless he or she appears in the Buy Box.
Only about 18% of purchases are made by shoppers who take the time to scroll down to view other sellers and weigh their options based upon price, ratings, and delivery times.
Over 80% of Amazon sales today go through the Buy Box, and this number increases with mobile sales.
More customers than ever are shopping on Amazon via mobile. In mobile, the Buy Box takes on heightened importance because unlike on a desktop or laptop, the mobile site features the Buy Box directly under the product image.
Located on the far-right side of the product listing page, the Buy Box is a widget that facilitates a fast and easy sale by allowing shoppers to make their purchase within just a few steps.
When a shopper proceeds to buy a product through this section, the seller which is highest ranked by Amazon at that time will appear there.
The Buy Box winner will go on to make more sales than any other seller for that product unless there are multiple high-ranked sellers. When this occurs, these sellers will share the Buy Box, allowing each seller to get their portion of product sales.
Amazon’s algorithm is programmed to choose one seller or many in the rotation sequence that they believe will provide the optimal shopping experience, based on such variables as pricing, availability, fulfillment, and customer service.
A seller can only compete for the Buy Box if he or she meets the following criteria:
New sellers eager to acquire Buy Box eligibility can speed up the process by selling some of their products through Amazon’s own fulfillment services (FBA). Even selling a small number of popular products at a competitive price through Amazon can help the seller to receive Buy Box Eligible status, even on those items not FBA.
If a seller feels they have met all of Amazon’s requirements and have not been awarded Buy Box Eligible status, they can contact Amazon seller support to request consideration for this status.
Pro Tip: Those sellers with a brand new Seller Central account, and who are not using FBA, will experience longer time periods until their arrival in the Buy Box. This is because Amazon can’t confirm your inventory status, or your capacity to fulfill product orders once you appear in the Buy Box.
Sellers may be eligible to win/share the Buy Box for some products but not for others.
Pro Tip: The current Buy Box percentages of your products can be seen under Reports in Seller Central “Reports > By ASIN > Detail Page Sales and Traffic by Child Item”.
Once a seller has the ability to compete for the Buy Box, he or she must learn exactly how to win it. While there are many variables that influence a seller’s chances of winning the Buy Box, there are four that have the highest Buy Box impact:
Sellers who choose FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) or SFP (Seller-Fulfilled Prime) are usually at an advantage to those who sell FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant), with all other variables being equal. Since Amazon believes its fulfillment service to have perfect metrics over several factors, using FBA is the least resistant path for increasing a seller’s chances of winning the Buy Box.
Seller-Fulfilled Prime offers top-performing FBM sellers the competitive edge of fulfilling their orders while enjoying the benefits of Amazon Prime.
It offers the best of both worlds: the seller maintains control over their shipments, while avoiding FBA’s extra fees (like those for heavy products) and has a higher chance to win the Buy Box while getting access to Prime members.
To qualify for SFP, a seller must achieve the following metrics over 30 consecutive days:
The landed price is the total price an Amazon product goes for, including shipping and handling costs. The lower the landed price, the more likely a seller is to win the Buy Box. Sellers should research the competition before and while the listing is live and price their products accordingly.
Pro Tip: Be mindful to not lower your prices below than what you really can afford. Determine whether you can afford to own the buy box at its current price by considering your: Amazon seller fees, margins, return costs, shipping costs, and Amazon budget.
The faster a seller ships, the better. Delivering products promptly and efficiently has a high impact on the Buy Box. Amazon calculates how well a seller’s shipping times are based upon their projected shipping times and actual shipping times.
Keep the following metrics in mind when making delivery estimates:
For time-sensitive and perishable items, shipping varies, but Amazon generally weighs shipping based on the following shipping time frames for Amazon sellers: 0-2 Days/ 3-7 Days/ 8-13 Days/ 14+ days.
Pro Tip: If your ODR is 1% or higher, your chances of winning the Buy Box are considerably reduced. Moreover, a consistently high ODR may result in the removal of your selling privileges.
Pro Tip: Amazon research shows that customers who receive a response within 24 hours are 50% less likely to leave negative feedback, compared to those who hear back later. Sellers can speed up their response times by using templates that allow them to automate replies to common queries.
Keep in mind that Amazon isn’t just a marketplace; it’s also a seller.
Usually, Amazon will win the Buy Box. But this is not because they’ve given themselves an unfair advantage. Often, Amazon will offer its own products at the lowest possible prices, thus, winning the Buy Box by the same rules as every other seller.
Amazon is hard to beat. But if a seller has great metrics, as well as very low prices, it is possible. At the very least, the seller may be able to share the Buy Box with Amazon.
While it’s important to understand what it takes to win the Buy Box, it’s also important to understand how a seller can lose the Buy Box.
Pro Tip: If you plan to launch a product at a lower price than what you anticipate selling it at in the future, consider using Amazon’s coupons and promotions to reduce the price for the shopper. This will help protect you from losing your own Buy Box.
Pro Tip: The Account Health Rating helps sellers to monitor their account’s health based on their adherence to Amazon’s selling policies. It takes into account factors such as the number of unresolved policy violations on your account at any given time, the relative severity of those violations, and the extent to which you positively impact the customer experience via your selling activities.
Review your Account Health Dashboard in Seller Central on a regular basis to see if you’re adhering to the company’s performance metrics and delivering a great experience for your customers or whether your store is at risk of suspension.
Winning the Buy Box is an ongoing process. Sellers earn a share of the Buy Box for a period of time, based on a variety of factors. These factors for Buy Box eligibility are always in flux.
Sellers can influence how long and how often they win the Buy Box because these variables can be changed and optimized to increase Buy Box sessions and sales. The key is to invest resources in the ones that have the greatest impact on the Buy Box.
If you need help ensuring you never lose the Buy Box, consider working with one of the expert coaches at Entourage. Our years of experience and cutting edge tactics can help you to secure and keep the Buy Box, grow your revenue, and defeat your competition. Click here to team up with an Entourage coach today.
Entourage: Software to Scale Amazon Ads and Results Driven Management.
He is the owner and founder of PPC Entourage, one of the original amazon ad software and management companies. Mike started off as a physical therapist in 2015 and just knew there had to be a better way so he started his ecommerce journey. Using the power of Amazon Ads, he built a 7 figure brand in less than one year. Now he helps other sellers do the same with free valuable education, PPC Entourage software and the ad agency. He is also the author of the Amazon Ads Playbook series.
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