It’s no secret that Amazon offers some serious opportunities — from the $4.8 billion in BFCM sales made by independent businesses in 2020 to the fact that 89% of Amazon shoppers are more likely to buy on Amazon than other e-commerce sites.
As a seller, you can claim a piece of that massive pie.
So how do you make sure you get the biggest piece possible?
Once your business starts gaining momentum on Amazon, the Buy Box should be your next big target. This little button can push sales through the roof and deliver hockey-stick growth for your business.
But if you want to score the prime position, you’ve gotta compete to win.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Buy Box position, including how to ensure your products are Buy Box eligible, what to do if they aren’t, and key strategies to help you win (and keep!) the top spot in order to drive big results for your business.
The Scoop on the Amazon Buy Box
- What’s the big deal with the Amazon Buy Box?
- How to achieve Amazon Buy Box eligibility
- Follow these 7 tips to win (and keep!) the Amazon Buy Box
- Real talk: No one really knows the secret to the Amazon Buy Box sauce
What’s the Big Deal with the Amazon Buy Box?
First off, what is the Amazon Buy Box?
When multiple sellers offer the same product on Amazon, the Buy Box (also known as the ‘Featured Offer’) is that coveted seller position linked to the ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Add to Cart’ button on the main product detail page.
If your product isn’t the Featured Offer, shoppers will have to click the ‘New & Used’ or ‘Other Sellers on Amazon’ box before they have a chance to see your offer.
But how much of an impact can the Buy Box really have on your business? And is it really worth putting in the work to achieve it?
If you’re already gaining momentum as an Amazon seller, our answer is 💯.
That’s because 83% of Amazon sales come through the Buy Box (although that number could be closer to 90% on mobile!). Every additional click a potential customer has to make to see your product is a point of friction for your sale — but the Buy Box makes conversions as slick as possible.
(This is especially important in the Amazon mobile app because those other buttons are even more likely to be out of sight.)
So how do you make sure you get a piece of that pie? We’ll show you.
How to Achieve Amazon Buy Box Eligibility
Before you can compete for the Amazon Buy Box, you have to become eligible.
First off, only Professional selling accounts and new products are eligible for the Buy Box, so if you haven’t upgraded your account or you’re selling a used product, you won’t be able to compete.
The second eligibility criterion is a bit less cut-and-dried. Amazon knows the Buy Box is some sweet real estate — and they won’t stake their reputation on any old offer.
They want to make sure customers have a great shopping experience, so they’ll qualify or disqualify sellers and their products based on account performance and other factors, such as:
- Seller experience and order/performance history
- Order Defect Rate (ODR), which includes negative feedback, A-to-Z Guarantee claims, and service chargebacks
- Shipping options and price
- Delivery speed and late dispatch rate
- Seller cancellations
- Inventory and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) participation
- Customer service and response times
Once your seller account and individual products are Buy Box eligible, you’ll be able to compete for placement in this highly-coveted spot.
The Inside Scoop
- You can easily keep tabs on your products’ Buy Box Eligibility status by updating your preferences on the Manage Inventory page in Amazon Seller Central.
- Some sellers report that it takes 90 days minimum to become Amazon Buy Box eligible if you fulfill your own orders. Using FBA may enable you to become eligible sooner (but not guaranteed).
7 Tips to Win (and Keep) the Amazon Buy Box
The same factors that impact eligibility also impact how often your product achieves Buy Box placement — and as we’ve already pointed out, the Buy Box can dramatically increase your sales.
So what does that mean?
It means that if you really want the Buy Box, nailing these seven things is super. crazy. important.
1. Ace your customer service
The most important thing you can do to increase your chances for the Amazon Buy Box is to deliver excellent customer service every time.
Amazon’s algorithm closely monitors customer feedback and ratings, response time to customer messages, shipping performance, etc, to determine whether your offer is worthy of being the default purchase.
In other words, the better service you deliver, the more likely you’ll earn that top spot. 🏆
2. Offer a competitive landed price
Pricing plays a huge role in the Buy Box algorithm — because it plays a huge role in most customers’ purchase decisions.
Amazon looks at landed price, which is your product price plus any shipping charges, and if your performance metrics aren’t great, your chances of landing the Buy Box aren’t either.
You can increase your chances of winning the Buy Box by offering a lower landed price. On the other hand, if your performance metrics are stellar, you may be able to raise your price and still win.
3. Make sure your quality is on-target
Winning the Amazon Buy Box is possible whether you’re offering a premium product or competing on cost.
But what matters most is that your product’s price and quality meet customer expectations.
With more expensive items, ensure that the product packaging contributes to the customer’s experience while also protecting it from any damage in transit. Damaged goods, returns, and disappointed customers can seriously hurt your performance metrics and seller ratings.
On the other hand, when your product quality, customer experience, and pricing align, you’ll earn more favorable customer reviews and increase your chances to win the Buy Box.
4. Keep your shipping speedy (and free)
There’s no doubt about it: Consumers love fast, free shipping. That means the quicker you can get a purchase into your customer’s hands, the better for your business (and your Buy Box odds).
While all online shoppers prefer fast shipping, on Amazon, the Prime addiction is real.
All other variables being equal, sellers who use FBA or Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP) have the Amazon Buy Box advantage over those who opt for Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) shipping.
5. Out of stock? No Buy Box.
If your product is out of stock, your chances of landing the Amazon Buy Box are pretty low.
Although the Buy Box algorithm can feature back-ordered items, they are typically demoted in favor of immediately fulfillable items.
For sellers using SFP or FBM shipping, it’s crucial to keep your inventory updated. Customers who order out-of-stock products without knowing are likely to write negative reviews and damage your opportunities to win the Buy Box in the future.
In a similar vein, your seller-initiated cancellation rate can have a significant impact on whether you win the Buy Box.
6. Encourage customer reviews
Customer feedback plays a strong role in how competitive your product is in the fight for the Amazon Buy Box.
Encouraging customers to leave product reviews after making a purchase can help boost your chances — and Amazon considers both the quantity and scoring of your reviews.
Keep in mind that recent feedback for your products and seller account is weighed more heavily than historical feedback, which means if you had some bad reviews when you were learning the ropes, you can still overcome it.
7. Drive traffic to your listings from off-site
In order to build the kind of performance history you need to compete for the Buy Box, you really can’t depend on Amazon to do the heavy lifting for you.
If you’re new to the business or offering products in a highly competitive space, you need to drive traffic directly to your listing and/or storefront.
Whether that means creating a website where customers can opt to buy on Amazon, building a social media presence, or investing in some digital marketing, you’ll have a much better chance of making sales and building a history than if you just wait around twiddling your thumbs.
Real Talk: No One Really Knows the Code for Cracking the Amazon Buy Box
So your products are eligible. You’ve got a solid order history and great customer reviews. You’re offering free shipping through FBA. You’re doing everything ‘right’ — but you’re still not reaching the Amazon Buy Box as often as you’d like.
Like many things in e-commerce, the Buy Box isn’t an exact science. There are a few reasons for this.
First off, Amazon will always be tweaking its algorithm to create a better experience for consumers. They’re trying to figure out how to best predict which products will deliver the best customer experience. As a result, the Buy Box will always be a moving target.
Second, sharing the secrets of their algorithm would make it possible for sellers to game (and even abuse) the system — and Amazon won’t take the risk of letting that impact their brand.
For an ambitious Amazon seller, chasing the Buy Box can be frustrating and even confusing. But the results are well worth the effort. And while you may not win the Buy Box every time, the more often you can hit it, the better.