By Ben Miles
What Does It Take to Win the ‘Buy Box’?
With most of the products you sell, you’ll face competition for other sellers. If you want the customers to buy from you, you’ll need to know how to win the Buy Box. Amazon doesn’t have a set formula on how to win the Buy Box but there are plenty of factors that are known to affect your ability to win it.
In this topic we’ll cover what factors affect your ability to compete on the Buy Box with other sellers and how you can increase your chances to win the Buy Box and improve your sales.
The Factors That Help You Win the Buy Box:
1. ‘Buy Box Eligibility’
‘Featured Merchant Status’ no longer exists. This used to be visible to customers as a ‘certificate’ for recognised and consistent sellers. Instead Amazon have decided to drop this for Buy Box eligibility. Only you can see if you’re eligible to win the Buy Box (the customer cannot see this).
If you want to be Buy Box eligible you must have a Professional seller account and will need to have been trading for at least 2-6 months or you can win it straight away if you use the FBA service. You will also need to have shown consistently high performance levels. Some performance factors will be:
- A history of successful selling – fulfilling a large number of orders successfully will show Amazon that you are a consistent and trustworthy seller who’s able to deliver a high quality positive experience for customers.
- Excellent customer service – a few things that will affect customer service are:
– Responsiveness to customers
– Speed of dispatch
– The number of ‘perfect orders’
– The condition of the products you ship
– The number of orders you have cancelled
- Having good customer metrics – if you have good customer metrics you show Amazon that you are a reliable and trustworthy seller. These are the sellers Amazon want to give the Buy Box to. If you want to improve your chances of winning the Buy Box you must have good customer metrics!
(For more information on improving your customer metrics, see here.)
To check your Buy Box eligibility, follow these steps:
- Head to the your Inventory tab (in Seller Central) and select ‘Manage Inventory’;
- Then select the ‘preferences’ tab;
- Within the ‘Column Display’ section find the ‘Buy Box eligible’ tab;
- Select ‘Show When Available’ within the drop-down menu;
- Look at the Buy Box eligible column at a particular SKU and you’ll see a “yes” in the seller is eligible.
2. A Competitive ‘Landed’ Price
The ‘landed’ price is the price of your product including delivery. Many people are convinced that price is the only factor in winning the Buy Box, but don’t be fooled! It’s only part of it, but it is an important part of the ‘Amazon algorithm’ to win the Buy Box so you need to make careful considerations with your pricing.
Make sure your item is competitively priced, including delivery (remember that your delivery charge is taken into account so lowering the price of the item and increasing shipping to make profit doesn’t work). This doesn’t necessarily mean your product needs to be the cheapest on offer but it should be one of the lowest offers. It’s always sensible to research the competition before and during your product listing. If prices change and a new competitor sets a lower more attractive price you may want to react and lower your price.
There are various software solutions out there to help with automatically setting your prices to keep them competitive against all the other sellers.
We highly recommend using pricing software tools so you can automatically respond to competitor pricing changes so you can be ever more responsive to price changes and win the Buy Box.
RepricerExpress is a super-fast, cost-effective Amazon and Play auto repricing tool designed to help merchants increase their online sales through competitive pricing across all their channels and listings.
Sellers can freely customise pricing strategies with basic and advanced rules, set min and max prices to protect margins, bulk import and export filtered searches or templates to apply changes to pricing in a snap.
(Profit Sourcery readers can get 50% off their first month’s subscription by signing up using promo code “PROFIT50”. Get your free 15-day trial now.)
There are several repricing programmes available, at ProfitSourcery we have tried and tested Appeagle. Appeagle imports your Amazon listings, you can set minimum and maximum prices for each product and Appeagle will monitor the price of your competition and adjust your prices to make sure you stay ahead. This will help you win the buy box more often, which in turn will mean you make more sales and more money!
(We currently have a promotional deal with Appeagle. If you sign up to Appeagle today and use the promo code ‘PS50’, you’ll receive a 50% discount for the first month of using their repricer.)
3. New Products
The Buy Box features new products only, although there is a smaller “used buy box” for media products. If you have a look at the screenshot to the right you will see below the yellow “Add to Basket” button there is a “Buy Used” option with a tick box.
To win the Buy Box you MUST sell new products so that Amazon can be confident in the condition and quality of the product they are promoting to their customers.
4. Good Seller Feedback
We keep repeating it, but Amazon always put the customer first. So they take what customers have to say about you very seriously. If the vast majority of your customers have given you positive seller feedback then Amazon will be far happier giving you the Buy Box.
Remember to keep your customers happy, by being quick to respond to issues (Amazon state responses should be less than 24 hours), and taking steps to avoid potential problems (particularly setting customer expectations through the product listing).
5. Having Enough Stock
If you win the Buy Box Amazon want to ensure you can handle the demand for the product. Amazon want to avoid customers adding out of stock items to their basket. So in order to be the top choice for customers to purchase an item, you will need to make sure you have plenty of stock. This doesn’t mean you need thousands of units but if you only have a couple of units of an extremely popular, fast selling product you probably won’t win the Buy Box.
For any item it is possible for more than one customer to add an item to their basket at the same time. Amazon wants to avoid customers being disappointed when they are complete a checkout and find the item has sold out.
Also remember it’s essential you keep your inventory up to date to avoid customers buying products you don’t actually have. If this happens, your Amazon seller metrics will suffer and your chance of winning the Buy Box will drop.
If you are only selling on Amazon and particularly if you are using FBA this process will be automated. If you choose to sell your products through other channels at the same time however, you need to make sure you update your stock levels on Amazon when you sell the item elsewhere.
Especially for seasonal products where at times demand increases Amazon looks to give sellers with large stock quantities the Buy Box as it leads to less customer dissatisfaction. A seller who has consistently sold large volumes of an item will always have an advantage winning the buy box, to beat them you will need to compete on other factors.
Arguably the biggest influencer in winning the Buy Box is using FBA. By letting Amazon handle the dispatch of your items and the customer service, you’re offering your customers the world class customer service of Amazon.
FBA doesn’t guarantee you the Buy Box but it has hugely positive benefits that contribute to being a more competitive seller.
If you are not using FBA then you need to ensure your own fulfilment service is of fantastic quality, this means offering a range of shipping methods with a fast dispatch time. If you only offer one standard delivery rate then you should consider adding an expedited rate at the very least for customers who need to receive items quickly.