How to Win the Amazon Buy Box

The Buy Box is like prime real estate but on the Amazon site. It’s been proven that being featured in Buy Box leads to greater sales. So how can you be featured on the Buy Box, and how can you stay on the rotation for longer?

The Buy Box can make or break a sale. It’s used by the most compelling Amazon sellers to stay on top of their game. Appearing on the checkout side of Amazon, it urges consumers at the last minute to take a look at your page.

A major advantage for your brand is winning the Buy Box. But what is the Buy Box? Why is it so important? And, how do you actually win the Buy Box? This blog post tells you how to win the most coveted e-commerce land on Amazon.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ON THE BUY BOX

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The Buy Box is the white box on the side of the product detail page. It includes an Add to Cart button and the magical Buy Now button. In terms of online advertising, it’s a special box that appears on the product mobile page on both web and mobile. It’s been proven that mobile clicks make-up about 20% of all Buy Box sales.

Most people who will the Buy Box are algorithmic sellers, and understand the metrics that will impact whether the brand gets a Buy Box. It’s not necessarily the ones who have the lowest prices--it’s a mix of metrics such as length of time on Amazon, customer service quality, availability, and more. Amazon provides the consumer with lower prices from brands with high seller metrics. The best brands for the best price.

Why is the Buy Box important? Simple. It makes or breaks sales. About 90% of sales go through the Buy Box.

Amazon will pitch competitors up against each other to see who has the best variables for the same product. The best seller will hold a higher percentage of the Buy Box. The best seller could then have the Buy Box for 70% of the day, while another seller has it for the 30% of the day.


THE BEST PRICES AT THE HIGHEST SELLER METRICS

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So what does it take to be on the Buy Box? Eligibility for the Buy Box goes through Amazon’s algorithms. This means you need to set lower prices while maintaining high metrics such as price, fulfillment process, and customer service quality.

To be eligible, you first have a Professional Seller Account. That goes without saying. But just in case you have a Basic Account, those are not eligible for the Buy Box.

Also, all Buy Box items must be new items, used items are not eligible.


Here are some metrics for using the Buy Box:


PRICE

This is probably the most important factor when it comes to getting the Buy Box. You don’t necessarily have to have the lowest prices, but you must have a “competitive” price.

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That means you’ll be scoping out the competition to determine how to price your products and who you’ll be sharing the Buy Box with.

These competitors will be competing with you not only on price, but also on faster shipping times, feedback scores, order defect rate, and other seller performance metrics. These holistic factors will make gaining the Buy Box from the competition easier, even with higher prices.  

Tips and Tricks:

Amazon has set prices already, so you’ll be needing to set your prices at least 1-2% lower than Amazon’s to even have a chance at taking the Buy Box. Then you’ll need to look at your competitors.

For example, if you’ve already got a 95% seller rating, shipping at the normal 5-7 days, and offering, say, $7.00 for an item, you’ve got a better chance than someone with the same seller rating and shipping times, but offering $10.00 for the item. But, you’ll constantly have to fight for the Buy Box with someone who has a 99% seller rating, with free Prime shipping, and offering $7.50 for the item. Got it?

The key is to monitor your competitors constantly, and make sure you’re offer better metrics if you have the nearly same price for the same product.

A few tools to use would be some of those we outlined in How to Stay on Top of the Competition on Amazon, a previous blog post on this site.  

Remember: You don’t necessarily have to have the lowest price, but must have a price relative to your competitors.

INVENTORY

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In order to place high on the algorithms determining Buy Box placement, maintain your product stock. If your items are out of stock, you’ll immediately lose Buy Box privileges. If you’re out of products, the Buy Box will rotate to your competitors.

And, if you only have one unit left and your competitor has 50 units left, your competitor can steal the Buy Box from you. So, make sure you’ve got a large stock for your best-selling products.

Tips and Tricks:

To prevent a stockout in order to have a longer reign on the Buy Box, you need to be on top of the game when you’re dealing with your inventory. That means regularized inventory forecasting and maintaining a good relationship with your suppliers.

Three things to keep in mind:

  • Send units on a regular basis to FBA. Conduct regular stock counts, either full inventory counts, or cycle counting. Full inventory counting would be counting all of your inventory at once; meanwhile, cycle counting would be counting in batches of SKUs.

  • Make sure your new orders and re-orders are ready way before expected stockouts, so you have an inbound shipment before you run out. Use inventory forecasting to do this, and consider many factors within the economics of supply and demand. Obviously, you’ll be wanting to include seasonal changes as well as the availability of raw goods in your data.

  • Use a modern, cloud-computing inventory system. Pen and paper easliy leads to mistakes, and can’t be accessed everywhere. Using a modern inventory system leads to less problems.

Keep your inventory information accurate and up-to-date, in order to avoid the losing the Buy Box.

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SHIPPING TIME

Fulfillment, along with price, is one of the biggest variables in determining who gets to be on the Buy Box. Check out a blog post we wrote on FBA.

But along with that, you’ll also need to speed up your shipping time in order to qualify and maintain the Buy Box. Customers don’t just want free shipping or lower shipping rates, they also want the product to arrive at the fastest rate and to arrive on time.

Here are regular shipping time frames:

Source: CPC Strategy

Source: CPC Strategy

Tips and Tricks:

If it’s taking you 14+ days to ship an item, odds are, you won’t be winning the Buy Box. The Buy Box requires a fast shipping time--the faster, the better. Although you can’t ship at a rate that’s humanly impossible, you should offer the best rate you can.

Price matters. If possible, offer free shipping. If you can’t offer all your customers free shipping, then offer a discount code for loyal customers or for those who buy a certain number of products. The last best thing would be to offer a flat rate for customers.

Keep track of your profit margins, in which your pricing and shipping costs will play a major part. If you’re offering free shipping, you can offset the shipping cost by raising the price slightly; or vice versa. The key to the Buy Box would be shipping at a fast and always reliable rate. If you ship late, Amazon may urge you to refund shipping costs, and you’ll lose the Buy Box.

CUSTOMER SERVICE QUALITY

In determining who will be on the Buy Box, Amazon also uses different metrics for a good customer service quality. These include:

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    • Order defect rate. The rate at which your orders have a defect, or results in negative feedback.  

    • Cancellation rate. The rate at which all seller-cancelled initiated by the seller are cancelled.

    • Return Dissatisfaction rate. The rate which measures your customer’s satisfaction with their return orders.


Tips and Tricks:

In order to have the best customer service, you’ll be needing to check the Account Health tab on Amazon, always. On there, it will list Customer Service Performance, Product Policy Compliance, and Shipping Performance. Within these tabs, you’ll see the above metrics.

There are many ways to up your customer service quality, but make sure your customer service team has command of the basics. And the basics are a fast response time and a quick solution to problems.

The customer is always right, even when they’re not. When you’re talking to a customer, don’t make it seem as if it’s their fault--it’s not about the blame game, it’s about providing them with fast solutions to whatever went wrong. Always encourage the possibility of a refund, rather than a return; this will do wonders for your return dissatisfaction rate.

If you’re using social media to leverage your customer service response team, you’ll need quick turnarounds on every comment, message, and like on your page. If you’re getting a lower seller rate than usual, reach out to the customers who you’ve received feedback from. Don’t just rely on automation like bots to do the work. Human interaction is key.

Remember, you’re taking to humans not robots. Sure, having these metrics in mind is a good thing, but the key to great customer service is remembering the golden rule--if you were a customer, how would you like to be treated in return?

THE BUY BOX WINNER TAKES ALL

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We’ve shown you the different metrics, but how do you combine them to “win” the Buy Box? Well, no one really wins, of course, because the Buy Box rotates. Winning just means getting a share of the Buy Box for the longest percentage of the day.

With good prices and stellar performance, you can win a share of the Buy Box with your competitors. For example, if you have a 90% seller rating, your shipping time is regular, and you’re charging $10.00 on an item, you’ll have an easier time winning the Buy Box from your competitors with the same price but longer shipping time and lower seller ratings.

If you’re the lucky seller to “win” the Buy Box, you’ll basically make all the sales. Scoring the Buy Box makes a difference, but it’s not a lasting component. The Buy Box will always rotate. But, getting the Buy Box more often requires your brand to be a very competitive, lasting brand on Amazon.


If you’ve been in doubt about the Buy Box and have any trouble making the Buy Box rotation work for you, MarketplaceOps is here. We are a team of online marketplaces and e-Commerce experts who have been in the industry for many years. We offer a free consultation service, if ever you need assistance about your Amazon brand. If you have more questions about our article or if you simply need help in starting or handling your Amazon business, just reach out to us by sending an email.