Everything you need to know about the Buy Box on Amazon

Imagine refreshing your Amazon sales and immediately discovering record numbers. You’re elated to learn your product is HOT and immediately seen by Amazon buyers. You have the Buy Box! That’s why it’s so distressing when the Buy Box is lost.

The Amazon Buy Box is an essential part of the platform that generates sales. But the buy box intentionally is shrouded in secrecy. Amazon prefers to keep some mystique around this coveted section of the product detail page.

 

Buy Box On Amazon

Let’s dive into the Amazon Buy Box and uncover some of Amazon’s secrets. What is the Buy Box on Amazon?

If you’re a new seller racking your brain wondering what the elusive buy box is, don’t worry; we’ll clarify.

Buy Box On Amazon
Fig 1.0 Example of an Amazon listing with the Amazon Buy Box present

 

The Buy Box on Amazon is the ‘Click Add to Cart’ feature to the right of an Amazon product detail page. It’s the default purchasing option. Review Fig 1.0 to understand where the buy box is located on an Amazon listing.

This feature only displays the winner on the mobile view, making it a prized possession for Amazon sellers alike. When a customer clicks ‘Add to Cart,’ whichever seller wins the Buy Box on Amazon achieves the sale under the ‘sold by’ text.

The Amazon Buy Box holds significant weight over a brand’s visibility and sales on Amazon. Only certain sellers will win the Buy Box on Amazon when multiple sellers offer the same product on an Amazon listing. The phrase “winning the Buy Box” was coined due to numerous sellers vying for the biggest, baddest piece of Amazon pie– the sale.

What does winning the Buy Box mean?

The Buy Box influences a customer’s purchase decision, increasing visibility and sales. When the buy box isn’t visible, the ‘Add to Cart’ option is replaced with ‘ See All Buying Options.’ Take a look at Fig 1.1 to see what a listing without the buy box looks like. Various factors, including competitive pricing, reliable shipping and positive seller metrics, determine which seller will win the Buy Box.

Buy Box On Amazon
Fig 1.1 Example of an Amazon listing with no Amazon Buy Box present

 

Listings lacking the Buy Box face different challenges. These listings are excluded from appearing in Sponsored Product ads, resulting in a loss of potential sales and reduced traffic to the listing.

Advertising is a massive component of selling on the marketplace; without it, products aren’t as visible, and sales can suffer. That’s why maintaining the Buy Box is crucial, and you’ll see sellers express frustration when they lose this coveted piece of Amazon real estate.

Sellers who win the Buy Box can change regularly and are not guaranteed placement. The algorithm orchestrating the winners relies on various metrics to make its decision. The rotation of winners to the Buy Box is kept secret from the customer. Seller changes to product price, lowered performance ratings, or inventory modifications may prompt the algorithm to transfer the coveted Buy Box to another seller before the allocated 60-minute lapse.

Adding an extra layer of complexity to this competitive arena is Amazon Retail, often victorious in the competition for the Buy Box on Amazon–frustrating sellers universally. Competing with Amazon for the Buy Box is possible but not a long-term option we recommend.

Buy Box misinformation

Buy Box On Amazon

Before delving into strategies about how to propel yourself into Buy Box ownership, let’s cover some misinformation circulating in the Amazon space about the Buy Box.

#1 Multiple seller accounts for the Buy Box win? Sellers often ask us if they can open a second seller account to sell the same products under the same listing to win the Buy Box. The answer? No, don’t attempt it.

Amazon’s policies prohibit a single seller from operating multiple accounts to sell the same products on the same listing. Your seller account represents your unique business entity. Duplicating listings across multiple accounts can lead to severe consequences, including having your Amazon account suspended. Amazon enforces this policy to maintain a fair and competitive marketplace, prevent fraud, and ensure a positive customer experience. Violating this policy undermines the platform’s integrity by creating unfair advantages and manipulation.

#2 The Lowest price always wins. Previously, it was thought that the lowest price always won the Buy Box. But as the marketplace expands, we know this is only sometimes the case. Frantically dropping pricing may not assist in your attempt to win the Buy Box and can ultimately cause customer confusion. You’ll have to perform price research to understand your numbers and find the sweet spot.

#3 Exact formula. We wish it were that simple, but no, there is no exact formula you can follow to win the Buy Box. The Amazon A9 algorithm is complex. No one outside Amazon’s tech engineers know the formula. Winning the Buy Box is based on meeting several performance metrics outlined below.

How do I know if I qualify for the Buy Box?

You must first meet Amazon’s Buy Box criteria to determine eligibility. One of those criteria is that you are registered as a Professional Seller. Do a little digging in Amazon Seller Central to discover your eligibility. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Log in to Amazon Seller Central and select manage inventory.
  2. Navigate to the performance tab.
  3. Select the product you want to review Buy Box eligibility.
  4. View the “Buy Box Eligible” status held in the product details.
  5. Select “Show Available.” Evaluate seller performance metrics.

If you are eligible, it will say ‘yes’ in the Buy Box column; if you are ineligible, it will say ‘no.’

How to win the Buy Box on Amazon

Unfortunately, sellers can’t press a magic win-the-buy box button to win over this valuable listing real estate. The A9 algorithm that determines who wins and who loses the buy box is etched in secrecy. You can employ a few strategies for the best shot at consistently becoming the winner. Let’s review a few of these strategies below:

Optimal performance metrics

Amazon evaluates seller performance based on metrics such as order defect rate, late shipment rate, and positive customer feedback. Maintaining positive performance metrics enhances the likelihood of winning the Buy Box. Regularly monitoring and improving these metrics is crucial. (We’ll explain later how to improve your seller metrics.)

Review your history

Something commonly left out of How To Win The Buy Box articles is that your historical data matters. Amazon will review history for various metrics to determine eligibility. Historical data can include item quantity, average order time, additional product information, history of other products sold, etc. If your account has many SKUs with limited stock, you’ll have to kick it up a notch to win the Buy Box for all those SKUs. 

Competitive price strategy

Competitive pricing is critical but not the sole factor. The lowest price may only sometimes win the Buy Box. Automated pricing tools can help

Boot unauthorized sellers

Unauthorized sellers can harm your brand reputation and drive away sales. These pesky sellers may bog up your chances of getting and maintaining the Buy Box. While Brand Registry offers protection, it won’t always do the trick. You may need to employ the help of an account specialist to review your options. Regardless, these sellers have got to go.

Inventory management and fulfillment

You need ideal inventory levels to win the Buy Box and prevent stockouts. Ensure timely shipping, accurate order processing, and reliable delivery through FBA or FBM.

Try Amazon FBA

The Buy Box is known to be favored when sellers leverage FBA. Because Amazon FBA handles storage, packing, and shipping, you can unlock an improved customer experience with FBA.

Enhanced product listings

Optimizing product listings with scroll-stopping images, compelling bullet points, and a unique brand story can help you stand out and increase your overall score. A+ Content can improve your listings’ visual appeal while taking up more prime Amazon real estate.

Be Prime ready

Logistics are crucial to winning the buy box, and Amazon Prime helps you do that. When two identical offers occur, Amazon will afford the Buy Box to the seller, who can ship the fastest. So get primed to ship fast with Amazon Prime.

Reliable customer service

Amazon expects sellers to meet and uphold world-class customer service standards. Address customer inquiries promptly and leverage Amazon consultation services when needed to have a better shot at winning and maintaining the Buy Box.

While the intricacies of winning the Buy Box remain a well-guarded secret, leveraging a few strategies can help improve your chances of getting ahead of your competition.

Why am I not getting the Buy Box on Amazon?

Buy Box On Amazon

Now that we’ve covered how to achieve this highly sought-after section of the product detail page, let’s discuss why you might not get the Amazon Buy Box. Below are some common reasons to explore:

Lowered performance metrics 

Declining performance metrics, such as high order defect rates, negative feedback and late shipments, can decrease your chances of winning the Buy Box.

Weak pricing strategies

You may lose the Buy Box if your pricing strategy is less competitive. An example is if your product is priced lower on a competitor’s website– Amazon won’t favor that result, and you will likely lose the Buy Box. Frequent price adjustments, especially poorly thought out ones, can also lead to loss of the Buy Box.

Inventory issues

Frequent stockouts, inability to meet demand, and fulfillment issues can mean you lose the Buy Box on Amazon>. Amazon favors sellers with reliable inventory management to ensure a seamless customer experience.

Violation of Amazon policies

If you violate Amazon’s policies related to product listings, customer communication, or other guidelines, you risk losing the Buy Box and experiencing Amazon disputes. Follow Amazon’s rules and regulations to maintain Buy Box eligibility and avoid an Amazon appeal.

Random reasoning

Dealing with an extensive algorithm like the A9 algorithm means there will be times when things just don’t work as they should. If you maintain positive seller metrics, offer competitive pricing, and stay within Amazon’s rules and regulations, something inconspicuous may be at play. In these cases, you’ll have to open a case with Amazon seller support to uncover the issue— possibly a listing issue or something else in the backend that requires Amazon’s attention

Increased competition & missed FBA opportunity

The Buy Box on Amazon is competitive. The algorithm dynamically adjusts when more sellers with the same product enter the market. Increased competition can impact your chance of winning the Buy Box. If you don’t participate in Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), you may face challenges winning the Buy Box. The algorithm typically favors FBA as it ensures efficient order fulfillment.

Damaging customer feedback & poor communication

A surge in negative customer feedback or an increase in A-to-Z Guarantee claims can impact your Buy Box eligibility. Maintaining a proactive approach to customer service and Amazon problem solving is crucial. Order changes can reduce customer satisfaction, leading to the loss of the Buy Box.

Mitigate the risk of losing the Buy Box by providing excellent customer service, maintaining competitive pricing, and adhering to Amazon’s policies.

What is Amazon Seller Performance, and how does it affect the Buy Box?

Simply put, a poor performance rating is a surefire way never to win the Buy Box on Amazon.
Amazon Seller Performance has the ultimate power regarding your selling capabilities. ASP can restrict and suspect your listings and account as it sees fit. The performance powerhouse meticulously evaluates your metrics to determine if you’re meeting its requirements.

If not careful, your Amazon seller performance metric can limit your Buy Box access to the point of no return. Your account rank is a crucial factor Amazon Seller Performance considers during its monitoring process. Here are some metrics it considers:

  • Sales performance
  • Customer feedback
  • Order Defect Rate (ODR)
  • Shipping Efficiency and Precision
  • Policy compliance
  • Customer service Excellence

Proactively managing these metrics is crucial for maintaining positive account status. Monitor and address areas of concern to significantly contribute to your success on the platform. Read more to learn how to improve your Amazon Seller Performance metric so you can compete in the battle of the Buy Box.

How to improve your seller metrics to increase your chances of winning the buy box

Follow these steps to help improve your seller metrics:

Step #1 Ensure your listing is accurate with correct product conditions.

Step #2 Manage your inventory efficiently to prevent delays and increase your reliability. Product bundles can add value and help boost your average order value.

Step #3 Ensure quick customer responses, seamless returns, and practical problem-solving to boost your seller metrics. Notify customers of changes and or delays.

Step #4 Happy customers with the correct items mean positive seller metrics. Shipping orders promptly and meeting delivery dates are vital to gaining high ratings and earning theBuy Box on Amazon. Try FBA if you need help meeting shipping timelines.

Step #5 Account health and positive seller metrics impact Buy Box acquisition most. Ensure you boot pesky unauthorized sellers, clean up your product SKUs and listings, provide top-notch customer service, and follow Amazon’s policies and procedures.

Trying to circumvent the system can harm your account metrics, so always keep things on the up and up to avoid suspension. Leveling up your customer service when your competitor’s reviews are grossly negative offers a leg up against your competition regarding seller metrics.

Try these tips and let us know in the comments what made the most impact.

Keep your seller account healthy

Of course, whether we’re talking the Buy Box on Amazon or virtually anything related to Amazon, managing your account health is paramount. While there is no exact formula to getting the Buy Box, we know that cleaning up your Amazon listings, improving seller and shipping metrics, avoiding Amazon disputes, and ensuring good customer service goes a long way to dominating the the Buy Box.

As always, we’re here to help. Contact us for expert Amazon consultation services.

Amazon. Solved™.

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