With Amazon now accounting for just under half of all online sales, this is definitely where online sellers need to be. But just being on Amazon isn’t enough. If you want to make major sales, you’ll need to get your products featured in the Amazon Buy Box.
What is the Amazon Buy Box?
The Buy Box is the white box located at the top-right of Amazon product pages. Appearing in this prominent position is like being the only lit-up store on the main street. According to Statista, this box drives over 83% of the purchases made on Amazon.
For most products on Amazon, there’s usually a selection of merchants selling it. But only one gets the Buy Box. Within this box, Amazon shoppers can click “Add to cart”. If you’re the seller showcased in the Buy Box, your product gets the sale.
Other sellers may appear further down the page, but there is nothing to differentiate them from each other. That’s why so many sales go to the Buy Box. Simply put, it is the easiest way to buy a product on Amazon.
Buy Box Eligibility: Who Qualifies?
To be Buy Box eligible, merchants must meet a number of requirements. They must have:
- A Professional Amazon Seller Account: This costs $39.99 per month; the basic plan doesn’t offer Buy Box access
- New stock: Products must be readily available and in brand-new condition
- Optimal Performance Metrics: Sellers must have an order defect rate (ODR) below 1%, a late shipment rate below 4% and a cancellation rate below 2.5%.
- 2-6 months experience: You must have some trading history under your belt
How to Check If You Are Buy Box Eligible
If you have been selling products on Amazon for a couple of months and want to see if your listings are Buy Box eligible, you should:
- Log into your Amazon Seller Central account
- Go to the “Inventory” tab and select “Manage inventory”
- Select the “Preferences” tab
- Within the column display list section, select the “Buy Box eligible” tab
- Then click “Show when available” from the drop-down
Now, when you look at the Buy Box eligible column, you’ll see a ‘yes’ beside any products which currently qualify. Some products may be Buy Box eligible, while others aren’t. This information is private.
But being Buy Box eligible is just the beginning. Beyond these basic criteria, the Amazon Buy Box algorithm determines who is actually featured at the top of each product page based on their performance.
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. Consider Using FBA
Amazon has two types of merchants – FBM and FBA. FBM, or ‘Fulfilled by Merchant’, is when you pick, pack and ship your own products. FBA, or ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’, is when Amazon does it for you.
Being an FBA merchant is thought to have the biggest impact on winning the lucrative Buy Box. Amazon favours FBA sellers because it knows their orders will be on-time. FBA sellers are also eligible for Prime shipping. To benefit Prime members, it makes sense to have them in the Buy Box.
This doesn’t mean FBM sellers can’t compete at all. However, new merchants who use FBA will start to land the Buy Box much quicker.
2. 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. But, if you have outstanding metrics, you can feature in the Buy Box with slightly higher prices.
However, don’t price items too low; always keep your base costs in mind. Repricing software can help you win the Buy Box without ever putting you in the red.
3. Ship as Quickly as Possible
Merchants who fulfill their own orders can’t make mistakes if they want to compete for the Buy Box. The faster they ship and deliver orders, the better.
Amazon requires at least 96% of orders to ship on-time. In your Seller Central Account, you can adjust your handling time to suit you. If you don’t, it defaults to 1-2 days. As for deliveries, Amazon likes over 97% to be on-time.
4. 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.
5. 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.
Amazon’s Order Defect rate highly influences your ability to win the Buy Box. This metric is based on your feedback scores, A-Z guarantee claim rate and service charge-backs.
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.
6. 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.
If an incoming message doesn’t require a response, make sure to mark it as so.
7. 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.
The algorithm looks at feedback from the past 30, 90 and 365 days, but recent feedback is most important. These stats can be seen in your Seller Account.
You might need to compile reviews from multiple sources at scale to get a feel of what the consumers are really saying about your product. You can leverage data extraction services like Grepsr to monitor reviews and Q&A data to derive actionable insights.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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. But you’ll want to keep these customer-focused measurements in shape, as they may affect rankings in the future.
Winning the Amazon Buy Box is a key position to be in when looking to scale your sales and profits. Amazon has been and will continue to be customer focused which means the more emphasis you put on your customers will help you increase your chances of securing more buy boxes.
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