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Amazon’s Buy Box is one of the features that the marketplace offers to improve the customer experience and boost sales.
But before we dive deep into the topic and share every detail you need to know about Amazon’s Buy Box, we would like to tell you why the Buy Box is a fundamental element to being successful on Amazon.
Currently, the estimates indicate that around a third of online sales are made on Amazon. In fact, the majority of internet users have used this marketplace for purchases at least once.
That’s why selling on Amazon seems to be a good fit for so many retailers.
Moreover, even though the numbers on this matter fluctuate from time to time, around 82% of the sales that occur on Amazon come from the Buy Box.
That figure is even higher when you look at the data from mobile devices.
So let’s explain what exactly Amazon’s Buy Box is:
What is the Buy Box?
When users search for a product, Amazon redirects them to the product’s individual listing. This listing displays the following information:
- On the left, there are pictures of the product.
- In the center of the page, you can see the name of the product, the number of reviews, variations on the product and a list with the top features.
- On the right — in desktop browsers — the user can find the famous and prized Buy Box.
If, like most Amazon consumers, you make your purchases on a mobile device, the arrangement changes.
On mobile devices, you’ll find the product pictures, then the details of the product (description, price, availability) and, finally, the Buy Box.
The Buy Box simplifies purchasing activity with the “Add to cart” and “Buy Now” buttons.
In addition to this, customers can also choose the number of products they want to purchase or product attributes, as well as the shipping method — information that will be sent over to the shopping cart once they have clicked on the button.
Why is the Buy Box so important?
The Buy Box reduces friction during the checkout process.
If a user has endless tabs to click through or other steps to take in order to complete a purchase, they’re more likely to abandon the cart.
The Buy Box reduces the number of extra tabs to 0. The buyer just needs to click a couple of buttons to complete the purchase.
The Buy Box may have been an aspect of the Amazon marketplace that you didn’t pay much attention to until now. However, you should know that not all sellers or categories are eligible to win it.
Amazon’s algorithm only allows sellers with the best metrics and products to use the Buy Box. Later on, we will discuss these metrics, but first, let’s see what the main advantages of winning the Buy Box as a seller are:
- It boosts sales (or at least chances for them to happen)
- It allows you to create PPC campaigns on Amazon. You will be able to create promotions for product listings to gain visibility
- It improves the customer experience, which can lead to better repurchase rates
How does the Buy Box work?
As we said earlier, the majority of Amazon users make their purchases through the Buy Box section.
When a buyer clicks on the Buy Now button, the seller that meets the criteria and offers the best conditions for the customer will be displayed as the first option.
Don’t forget that Amazon is a user-centered platform, and so is its algorithm.
Easy come, easy go. This also applies to the Buy Box.
Well, maybe it doesn’t come so easily, but you can definitely lose it easily.
Meeting the requirements to qualify for the Buy Box can be relatively simple, but being the only seller featured in a listing isn’t.
If a listing receives 100 visits and your version of the product is viewed 65 times, your Buy Box percentage is 65%. This reflects the fact that if more than one seller offers the same product at the same price and with the same metrics — as unlikely as this may seem — the Buy Box percentage will be shared among them.
Now that you know the basics of how Amazon’s algorithm works, you can probably better understand its purpose: to offer the product with the best purchasing conditions to customers.
Requirements to qualify for the Buy Box
To qualify for the Buy Box, an Amazon seller must:
- Be subscribed to the Professional plan
- Have optimal performance indicators including an order defect rate below 1%, a cancellation rate below 2.5% and a late shipment rate below 4%. The volume of orders must also be optimal, although the required volume changes depending on the product category. Later, we’ll elaborate on these and other relevant metrics.
- Sell new items. Selling second-hand items makes you eligible for another Buy Box, dedicated to pre-loved products.
How can you win Amazon’s Buy Box?
If you meet all of the requirements, you are already opting to win the Buy Box. If you truly want to win the Buy Box, you can increase your possibilities by following these five steps:
1. Choose a competitive price for your products. But be wise about it. Starting a war on prices, in the long run, can only mean problems for sellers, yourself included.
Instead of impulsively marking down your products, go to Manage pricing to see the best current offer on the market or obtain a report with pricing recommendations to set the best prices for your business and win the Buy Box.
If you want, you can also set up automatic price changes with the pricing automation tool provided by Amazon. For this option, go to the pricing section in Seller Central. To automate this type of change, you have to create a name for the rule and choose the parameters that will trigger a price change. The options are:
- Competitive Buy Box. This rule sets the price of your product over the current Buy Box offer or below it.
- Lowest competitive price. If you want to place yourself as the best deal for a specific listing, you can establish a lower price than others (even those who aren’t using the Buy Box).
- External competitive price. Choose this rule to make the price change depending on the prices offered outside Amazon. Attention: having prices drastically higher or lower than those on Amazon can reduce your chances of winning the Buy Box.
- Depending on sales volume. Create a special offer for users purchasing a certain quantity of your product. This can be useful for items you want to clear out because of seasonality or an update to the product features. You can also apply this rule to items that are often purchased for team events or social celebrations.
- Price synchronization. If you commercialize your products through several listings, you can synchronize their prices and selling conditions so that they are automatically updated.
2. Fulfill your orders under the Seller Fulfilled Prime system. It’s easier for Prime sellers to win the Buy Box compared to those who manage their orders through FBM, even if they have the same rates in their seller accounts.
However, if you can store and ship your items yourself while complying with Amazon Prime standards and have a solid history, you are even more likely to win the Buy Box than FBA sellers.
3. Offer the best shipping conditions (free and express shipping). Even though this aspect is similar to the previous one, it’s worth mentioning again; always be sure that your customers receive the products under the best possible shipping conditions (rates, delivery times, couriers).
4. Provide quality customer support. Amazon will take into account all the metrics visible in Seller Central; the better your statistics, the more likely you are to win the Buy Box.
Some of Amazon’s requirements are to have an average response time of fewer than 24 hours, a quick response rate of fewer than 12 hours in at least 90% of cases and a delayed-response rate of less than 10%.
To speed up your reply rates, you can create customizable templates for the most frequently asked questions. Use their queries as an excuse to implement up-selling and cross-selling strategies to sell products that fit the buyer’s preferences.
Last but not least, when it comes to customer support, always be clear about your return conditions (status of the product, shipping method, costs, etc.). This reduces the chances of a product being returned and the stress that comes with returns for both customers and sellers.
5. Optimize your stock management system. Not having enough stock in your warehouse (or in Amazon’s warehouse if you’re working with the Amazon FBA fulfillment system) will automatically exclude you from the Buy Box. To avoid this, automate an alert system to efficiently manage your stock with “Selling Coach” and optimize your warehouse design in order to store more products.
These are some of the basic factors to start with if you’re looking to win the Buy Box. But if you want to have even better chances, consider these metrics as well:
- Valid tracking numbers. This rate measures the number of orders that include complete tracking information.
- On-time deliveries. This is the percentage of orders that are delivered on time. This rate must be around 97%, but the higher, the better.
- Seller rating. In this regard, the level of satisfaction in customer reviews is just as important as their quantity. Attention: the seller rating is entirely different from product reviews. Make sure your customers don’t leave product reviews on your seller profile.
- Cancellation rate. If you frequently cancel orders, it will harm your seller account. This rate must be under 2.5%, or better.
How do you know if you meet the Buy Box criteria?
You may already be following the above recommendations and maybe you meet all of the requirements. To check your Buy Box eligibility and determine which products need improvement, so that you can win the Buy Box, go to the inventory management section in Seller Central. Click on the preferences section to see the data relevant to the Buy Box. There you’ll be able to see which products are eligible to appear as a featured offer (Buy Box).
In order to see if you’re currently winning the Buy Box and how often your products are viewed, check your Buy Box percentage and read Amazon’s suggestions to increase your possibilities. You can do this from the Pricing section in Seller Central.
What to do if you don’t win the Buy Box
Those items that, because of their features or the characteristics of their sellers, can’t win the Buy Box can show up in “More buying choices.” If one of your company’s strengths is competitive pricing, you can also appear in the “special offers and product promotions” section.
This sections aren't as beneficial as the Buy Box, but they can also improve the visibility and trustworthiness of your business.
There are a number of criteria that the Amazon algorithm takes into account in order to determine who wins the Buy Box. If you already meet the minimum requirements, the only thing left to do is to continue to improve the customer experience and thereby increase your chances of winning the Buy Box.
The customer experience can be improved in two essential ways: by offering better shipping and delivery conditions —regarding shipping costs, delivery times and flexibility— and by providing quality customer support, with professional and fast incident resolution, consistent customer replies, an automated return process and a brief and clear return policy.
If you want to know more about the Amazon marketplace, whether you already sell there or not, you can read our full Amazon review to discover more important functionalities of the platform.