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Understanding and Winning the Amazon Buy Box

Amazon may have seen a dip in revenue last year, but that does not blur the fact that its net income jumped from 3 billion USD in 2017 to a whopping 33 billion USD in 2021.

One of the biggest factors contributing to Amazon's mind-blowing growth is its customer obsession. Amazon puts its customers first in everything it does. This customer-focused approach has won Amazon significant trust.

89% of customers are more likely to shop from Amazon than any other ecommerce site.

Amazon loves how its customers trust the service. And so, it has built numerous systems to make sure these customers can continue to shop from reliable sellers at the best prices. One of these systems is the Buy Box.

Understanding the Amazon Buy Box

Amazon has thousands of sellers who sell millions of products. So, it is possible that multiple sellers end up selling the same product. When this happens, Amazon gives the same product listing to all products. Essentially, it consolidates all the sellers with the same product on one listing.

And who gets to sell and keep the money? That's where the buy box comes in.

Buy Box is the little white Box on the right side of the product listing. It contains the classic orange "Add to Cart" and "Buy Now" buttons.


When the customer clicks on one of these buttons, the product goes from the inventory of the seller who occupies the Buy Box at that time. And so, it is the Buy Box winner's cash register that goes ching.

In short, the sellers who win the Buy Box get the sale.

For popular items with many qualifying sellers, Amazon may also rotate the Buy Box so everyone can convert the incoming traffic and generate a sale.

This is why there's always a fierce race among the sellers to make sure they can beat the other up and become the sole keepers of the coveted Buy Box.

Generally, the retail giant does everything to make sure its customers get the best value on the platform. And Buy Box operates in the same spirit. Buy Box is a treasured real estate on Amazon. And so, only those sellers can compete for it that fit a certain standard (we will talk more about it in a bit).

Amazon uses a variety of factors to determine which seller's offer would appear in the Buy Box, including price, inventory, shipping, and seller ratings.

A seller that holds up more strongly than others on these factors gets to keep the Buy Box. If multiple sellers are worthy of being in the Buy Box, Amazon rotates the Buy Box, so everyone gets a chance to drive a sale.

Winning the Buy Box

You want your Amazon business to get good sales. And if you are a reseller selling what many other people also sell on Amazon, you must ensure your product wins the Buy Box. Because if it doesn't, the chances of you driving appreciable sales will be slim.

You already know Amazon has a high entry threshold into the Buy Box race. Below we are sharing some crucial factors you need to consider when trying to win the Buy Box.

Professional Seller Account

You can't win the Buy Box with an individual seller account. So, a professional seller account is the first thing you need when building your Buy Box-winning strategy.

Fortunately, getting a professional seller account isn't tough. You need to be willing to pay $39.99 monthly, and you can get your business a professional seller account.

But subscribing to a professional plan does not guarantee Buy Box. There are other requirements as well.

New Items

You can only win the Buy Box when you are selling new items. This ensures that people who shop using the Buy Box button only get new, unused products and can be satisfied with their purchase.

Fulfillment Method

Looking for a product, loving it, and deciding to buy it only to find out it is out of stock is super annoying. And Amazon does not want to do anything that annoys the customers and chips away at its precious customer satisfaction.

Therefore, it prioritizes sellers using Fulfillment by Amazon when allotting the Buy Box. This helps Amazon have better control over the inventory and ensure that only sellers who have the product in stock get to appear in the Buy Box, so the customers don't leave annoyed with the brand itself.

Sellers who use SFP or Seller-fulfillment Prime are also more likely to win the Buy Box.

However, many sellers have their own sophisticated fulfillment systems in place. Therefore, non-FBA sellers don't disqualify from the Buy Box race and can still appear in the coveted white Box if they have impeccable performance metrics.

Product Price/Landed Price

Landed Price is the price of the product + shipping. There's a common myth that only the sellers with the lowest landed price win the Buy Box. That's not true.

Yes, competitive pricing plays a crucial role when Amazon is deciding who to give the Buy Box to. But it is possible to win the Buy Box with a higher-priced product when you have a top-notch reputation as a seller.

Nonetheless, it is still important to price your products competitively so you can have a higher chance of winning the Buy Box, especially if your performance metrics have room for improvement.

Pricing your product competitively means checking out the competitors' pricing and considering all of your own costs and profit margins. Remember, you have to make a sale without incurring a loss.

Shipping Time

37% of customers shop on Amazon because of their fast delivery. Therefore, shipping time also matters when trying to win the Buy Box with a merchant-fulfilled approach.

Amazon looks at the promised shipping time and actual shipping time to decide whether or not you are reliable enough to sell to their beloved customers.

So, make sure your shipping times are optimized, and there are no complaints from the customers regarding this.

Inventory Depth

We have already discussed how customers don't like being told that the product they are about to buy is out of stock.

Inventory depth is critical when trying to crack your way into the Buy Box. If you don't have sufficient inventory, the Buy Box will rotate, and your competitor may get the sale you deserve.

So, make sure your inventory aligns with the product demand and is brimming with a stock of your best-selling product.

Order Defect Rate

Order defect rate, or ODR, is a performance metric Amazon uses to measure a seller's customer service. It is calculated by the number of times a seller incurred a negative signal divided by the total number of orders placed.

Negative feedback, A-to-Z guarantee claim, and chargeback rate are all factors that generate negative signals which increase your ODR.

Strive to keep your ODR under 1% by assessing and responding to all feedback you get. Try and minimize refund and cancellation – these can also have an impact. And finally, make sure your product and service are top-notch.

Feedback Score

How well people have rated you, especially recently, plays an important role. Your feedback score is based on reviews you have received from orders in the last 365 days. But the reviews from the previous 90 days weigh heavier. Therefore, work on acquiring as many positive reviews as possible to maximize your chances of getting to the Buy Box.

Customer Response Time

When you sign up on Amazon, you sign a Service Level Agreement with the company. This SLA necessitates that you respond to every customer query your business gets within 24 hours to ensure that your service does not impact Amazon's customer experience.

So, reply to any queries that you get as soon as you can because replying late may sabotage your efforts of winning the Buy Box.

Eligibility Status

Before you can enter the Amazon Buy Box race, you need to make sure of your eligibility.

You can check your Buy Box eligibility status via Amazon Seller Central. It might be possible that some of your SKUs are eligible for the Buy Box while others aren't. Work on getting the eligible ones to win the Buy Box.

Wrapping it Up

Winning the Buy Box is not just good-to-have but an absolute necessity to keep sales coming in and staying afloat amidst the rising ecommerce competition.

But before you can start trying to win the Buy Box, you need to be eligible for it. And one of the first things you need for Buy Box eligibility is a professional seller account.

If you already have one, work on improving the other factors to maximize your chances of winning the Buy Box.

Remember, working on getting the Buy Box isn't a one-time thing. You have to work on it daily. And if you are too busy taking care of other areas of the business, it might help to let a marketplace agency take care of the Buy Box for you.

At Accrue, we help clients from various industries build a solid presence on Amazon. Our ex-Amazon ecommerce experts know precisely what you need to generate visibility and meet your marketplace goals. Consult with our team today to discuss your opportunities on Amazon and beyond.


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