If you’re serious about selling on Amazon, then you need to understand the Amazon “Buy Box.” In this article, we’ll explain what the Buy Box is and why it’s so important. We’ll then dive into which factors it takes to beat out the competition from other sellers and successfully win the Buy Box. That way, you can better pivot your strategy and become a more effective Amazon seller.
What is the buy box?
The Amazon Buy Box is the box on the right side of the page that prompts users to add the item to their cart. Depending on the item’s product page, the box might also include other information, like a choice between styles or a prompt for one-click ordering. However, the central part of each buy box is the “add to cart” button.
The Importance of the Amazon Buy Box
To view other sellers on the same listing, customers have to click a much smaller link labeled “other offers” or “used and new from…”
This is why capturing the Buy Box is so essential. In fact, 56 billion out of Amazon’s 62 billion yearly sales happen through this box. However, being the seller that holds the Buy Box isn’t a guaranteed thing. In fact, it can change from day to day. There are a variety of factors in Amazon’s algorithm for the coveted position, some of which are in your control, and others which might be outside it.
Which factors affect the buy box?
Is Amazon selling the product themselves?
The bad news: If Amazon (as in Amazon.com) is selling on the page, they’re almost guaranteed to win the Buy Box. There’s not much you can do about this, short of becoming a seller on Vendor Central. The good news: the vast majority of Amazon product pages are stocked by third-party sellers, rather than Amazon.com. If you choose your pages right, you’re unlikely to run into this problem.
Is the product Fulfilled by Amazon?
Fulfillment by Amazon means that even though you are listed on the page as a third-party seller, Amazon ships the item for you. The Buy Box algorithm gives preference to FBA sellers, as opposed to those who manage all their own shipping.
What’s the price?
The buy box also factors in the price you’re selling the product at. Lower prices are more likely to win.
What’s the general customer experience?
Another big factor in Amazon’s algorithm is the overall experience your customers have with you as a seller. This includes:
- Your seller rating. After they receive the item you sold, customers have a chance to rate their experience with you.
- Your return rate. If the items you sell are frequently returned, it’s going to negatively impact your score.
- Your response time. Amazon checks to make sure that you answer all customer emails within 24 hours. This doesn’t mean you have to resolve the issue within that time, but it does mean you need to respond.
How much of the item do you sell?
Sometimes you can win the buy box by simply being on the page for a long time. If you have a history of selling the item consistently, Amazon will take that into account.
How frequently are you in stock?
Similar to the above factor, Amazon will put more weight on sellers who are consistently in stock on the listing, rather than those who go for months at a time with no inventory for sale.
Ways to Improve your Amazon Buy Box Chances
For some of these factors, solutions may be fairly obvious. You have full control over whether or not you use Fulfillment by Amazon, for example. However, other factors might be harder to improve. Below, we’ll outline some ways to improve your chances that you might not have considered.
Petition to remove unfair feedback
Obviously, keeping a good seller rating depends primarily on offering an item that matches the page description perfectly, and then shipping it in a timely manner. However, you’ll still get unfair feedback at times that can drag down your rating. For example, a customer might give you a poor rating because they didn’t like the story of the DVD you sold, not because there was anything wrong with it.
In cases like these, it’s always worth trying to remove the feedback by going to Help > Contact Seller Support > Orders > Customer Feedback Problems. This page offers a full summary of the types of feedback Amazon is willing to remove. If you are using FBA services, you can also petition to get negative shipping feedback taken down.
Go big on key pages
With Amazon, there’s a temptation to list on every page that looks promising. However, consolidating your efforts often brings big returns in terms of winning the Buy Box. It’s easier to manage inventory levels and shipping schedules if you aren’t spread too thin. Focusing on pages that you know you can turn a profit is worth losing out others.
Get help pricing competitively
Sometimes being the seller with the lowest price is easy. Other times, it’s a complete bidding war—if you drop 10 cents, your competitors will drop 11 cents. This article goes in-depth on strategic pricing to win the Buy Box, which will be helpful as you prepare to compete. You might also consider using a third-party service to help you reprice your product in real-time, such as XSellCo or Repricer Express.
Are you an Amazon third-party seller? What’s been the biggest factor in helping you win the Buy Box? Let us know in the comments.
Emily Bell is a marketing expert who has worked extensively with several third-party Amazon sellers recording over $10 million in sales per year. She now works regularly with Amazon consulting agencies such as PPCScope and Egility. Her writing has appeared in Forbes and around the web.