What Is the Amazon Buy Box?

Introduction

In e-commerce, where your product is located plays a huge part in determining whether or not you’re successful on Amazon, eBay, or any other e-commerce site.

To give your product the best possible location, you’ll need to focus on one thing: the Buy Box.

A white box on the right-hand side of an Amazon product page, the Buy Box—if you have it—is located in the spot a customer is required to look at when making a purchase.

As you can imagine, this makes the Buy Box highly competitive and can even determine whether a sale is made or not. Furthermore, for all Amazon purchases, the Buy Box is included 82% of the time, and this percentage is even higher for mobile orders.

By fully understanding the Buy Box and its huge importance in generating increased revenue, sellers can begin to experience heightened traffic that will set them up for future e-commerce success.

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Buy-Box

What Is the Amazon Buy Box?

The Amazon “Buy Box” is the “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” section of the product listing. If a buyer doesn’t modify which seller they’d like to buy from and simply add the product to their cart, the seller who ranks in the Buy Box gets the sale. As a seller, it’s essential that your products are in the Buy Box as roughly 80% of all Amazon sales are made through it; having your item in the Buy Box makes your offer significantly more visible to Amazon customers. Possessing the Buy Box can even see your item make it onto the list of Amazon top selling products, massively boosting your sales.

Why the Amazon Buy Box is Important

The Buy Box is important for Amazon sellers because it represents one of the first—and most crucial—contact points with customers. Since this is the case, every seller should be aware of how it works and why it should be one of the main focuses of any Amazon business.

Increases Sales

Whoever wins the Buy Box on Amazon will soon begin to see increased sales from their products. This is because these products, by having the Buy Box associated with them, now enjoy more visibility. Additionally, products that have the Buy Box are considered higher quality than those that don’t, further increasing the likelihood of sales.

Helps You Create PPC Ads

High-ranking sellers who have gained their current positions on Amazon due in part to having the Buy Box can go on to create new, important sales channels via Amazon PPC ads. Sponsored listings—listings that have PPC ads—with a specific ASIN can be seen by more shoppers while boasting a better click-through rate.

How Does the Amazon Buy Box Work?

Amazon is dedicated to providing all their shoppers with the best possible experience, and that includes the Buy Box. Within the complicated Buy Box formula, Amazon places great focus on promoting sellers they deem trustworthy to their millions of shoppers. This, in turn, encourages them to buy from these trusted sellers.

Curious how Amazon determines who these ‘trusted’ sellers are? Take a look at these 10 factors below to find out.

  1. Seller Status: To win the Buy Box, you’ll need to become a Professional Seller. While anyone can become a professional seller, a monthly fee—as well as other selling fees—comes along with it.
  2. Product Condition: Only new products can win the Buy Box, so sellers offering used Amazon items will not be eligible.
  3. Performance Metrics: Amazon continuously analyzes many of your performance metrics including late shipments, refunds, and cancellation rates when determining which seller qualifies for the Buy Box. Always provide the best possible customer experience to increase your chances of winning the Buy Box.
  4. Inventory Status: This is one of the major things Amazon considers when awarding the Buy Box. If your product runs out of stock, you most likely won’t win, so always be sure to use digital tools like Helium 10’s Inventory Management tool to stay aware of inventory levels.
  5. Amazon Stock Consistency: Amazon also analyzes how often your product runs out of stock. If your product is repeatedly sold out, this will greatly hamper your ability to win the Buy Box.
  6. Product Price: By offering competitive product prices based on the category of product you’re selling (while also taking into account shipping, tax, and handling), you show Amazon that you’re a serious seller.
  7. Fulfillment Options: Amazon also takes your fulfillment method into account when giving out the Buy Box. Amazon FBA is widely preferred by Amazon in this instance, so consider switching over if you haven’t already.
  8. Shipping Times: To win the Buy Box, you will need to offer fast and reliable shipping times for your product. If you’re slow to ship, then you’ll most likely not get the Buy Box.
  9. Order Defect Rate: If you have a history of selling items with one or more defects—more than a 1% ODR—it will be nearly impossible to get the Buy Box.
  10. Customer Feedback: Always keep your customers happy, since Amazon will consider shopper feedback and customer reviews from the last 30, 90, and 365 days when determining who wins their coveted Buy Box. Additionally, the e-commerce site will also take into account the overall time you’ve been a seller, making it harder for new sellers to win.

Tirelessly operating 24/7, the Amazon Buy Box algorithm is constantly assessing your overall performance on the site to accurately gauge whether or not your product deserves to win the Buy Box. By following the 10 steps above, though, you can seriously increase your chances of victory over your competitors and see a huge surge in revenue.

What Does “Buy Box Eligible” Mean on Amazon?

Buy Box Eligibility refers to whether or not your account meets the criteria/standards Amazon has put forth in order to rank in the Buy Box.

Why Am I Not Buy Box Eligible?

To become “Buy Box Eligible” you must have an Amazon Professional seller account and meet Amazon’s performance-based requirements, such as having a low order defect rate, being competitive with your pricing, providing a great customer experience (speedy delivery, 24/7 customer service, multiple shipping options, etc.). There isn’t an additional fee for being “Buy Box Eligible,” but you must continuously meet Amazon’s performance metrics over time.

Amazon Buy Box Algorithm Metrics

When fulfilling orders using Self-Fulfilled Prime, you’ll need to pay especially close attention to the following list of Buy Box metrics. While the below algorithm metrics affect all sellers, FBA sellers will already have most of these automated by Amazon (such as the shipping and customer service metrics).

The Buy Box metrics are:

Order Defect Rate (Target = < 1%)

Negative Feedback Rate

Filed A to Z Claim Rate

Service Chargeback Rate

Return Dissatisfaction Rate (Target = < 10%)

Negative Return Feedback Rate

Late Response Rate

Invalid Rejection Rate

Buyer-Seller Contact Metrics (Target = < 25%)

Response Times Under 24 Hours (Target = > 90%)

Late Responses (Target = < 10%)

Average Response Time

Recent Customer Metrics Data

Pre-Fulfillment Cancel Rate (Target = < 2.5%)

Late Shipment Rate (Target = < 4%)

Refund Rate

Valid Tracking Rate

By Category (Targets = > 90%)

Delivered on Time (Target = > 97%)

It’s important to remember that Amazon sets an incredibly high standard for these metrics when the Buy Box is concerned. In addition, the strict fulfillment standards play a role in price competitiveness. This is because quick shipping usually costs more, impacting the overall sales price of an item. To understand how this affects your personal brand, take a look at the “Account Health” section in Seller Central.

What Is a Good Buy Box Percentage on Amazon?

While this may vary based on different key factors, a general Buy Box conversion rate of 5% is deemed ‘good’.

How to Win the Amazon Buy Box

Competition to win the Buy Box on Amazon can be a fierce and exhausting battle, which is why serious sellers look for any advantage they can find to win. Check out these 4 winning tips below to set yourself up for success.

Improve Metrics

Since Amazon maintains an up-to-date metric on every seller on their platform—including you—it’s very important to closely adhere to the metrics discussed above so you can rank higher on the site.

Competitively Price

Regardless of what anyone may think, strategically pricing your Amazon product will always matter. In fact, it’s a good idea to consider dynamically pricing your products, since this better takes into account other markets and competitors.

Improve Seller Performance

Simply put, when you give customers what they agreed upon when they initially purchased your product, your performance rate will be much higher than other sellers who repeatedly lose buyer trust. Two customer service aspects you should always focus on are meeting or exceeding shipping dates and providing quality products.

Be Aware of Unauthorized Sellers

Unauthorized Amazon resellers—or private label sellers—have been known to sell branded products that are not their own in the past and without permission. Most often, they provide poor or downright awful customer service that can hurt your brand if they’re reselling your products.

Thankfully, you can keep an eye out for these sellers more easily with our Alerts tool which will immediately notify you when fraud is detected.

The Suppressed Buy Box

The current systems that Amazon uses on their site may, in some special circumstances, either suppress or outright remove the “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” buttons on your listing. Instead of these two options, they are replaced with “See All Buying Options.”

Why does this happen? It’s because Amazon has utilized its Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy. This means that sellers who provide the same product at different prices on a competing marketplace—such as Amazon or even Walmart—may be penalized. You can avoid having your product listing go through this sometimes disastrous process by ensuring that you have standardized pricing across all your selling channels.

Buy Box Myths You Should Know

During the last few years, there have been an unfortunate number of articles claiming that readers can outsmart or outthink the Buy Box algorithm. Now, while some of them may be possible under highly specific circumstances, many of them feature general, oversimplified, and outdated tips. To keep yourself from falling prey to misinformation that can hurt your product and even your brand, take a look at the 2 of the most common myths below:

Lowest Price Point Manipulations

This myth states that if an Amazon seller simply undercuts the lowest-priced competitor product by a certain percentage, and then follows it up by shaving off an extra penny, this will definitely win the Buy Box. Since, at face value, this seems like an Amazon hack, it has been tested rigorously with multiple different products at different price points and in different categories. The verdict? It’s not true.

It’s believed that this idea gained momentum because, when it was tested with low-priced products, it came up with numerous false positives that tricked many hopeful sellers.

It’s true, though, that strategically lowering the price of your product boosts the chance you’ll win the Buy Box. However, the belief that there is a one-size-fits-all formula that’ll help you win every time is, sadly, wrong.

The 2% Rotation Rule

The second common misconception about the Buy Box claims that, if a seller’s current price is within a mere 2% (and sometimes other percentages) of the current holder of the Buy Box, that first seller is 100% guaranteed to win the Buy Box a certain percentage of time at the least whenever the Buy Box cycles between different sellers.

Like the preceding myth, the evidence to support this theory is 0. While you may be convinced it works—since it does turn up false positives when tested—it should definitely not be relied upon.

Again, like the first myth listed here, there lies a kernel of truth: Buy Box rotations exist. However, they do not follow this 2% rule and they cannot be manipulated by pricing alone.

Buy Box Pricing Strategies

As stated above, you can increase your chances of winning the Amazon Buy Box if you price strategically. If you’re a high-volume seller, this may work great for you. Conversely, if you’re a small-time seller just getting started, this will probably not work or be financially feasible. Always be aware of how you like to do business when attempting to come up with a pricing strategy like the ones below.

Manual Repricing

Whenever you manually adjust your product price in order to win the Buy Box, it can be effective in certain cases, but it takes a significant amount of time and can definitely be challenging for sellers who have many different SKUs. This strategy is entirely possible, though, for sellers who only have a few products under their belts (or for sellers who have little competition).

Rule-Based Pricing

A straightforward process, rule-based pricing is perfect for sellers looking to undercut their competitors by a strategic amount. However, this pricing method may start a pricing war, ultimately undervaluing products that have a strong chance to win the Buy Box.

Algorithmic Repricing

Using machine learning to optimize product prices based on profitability, algorithmic repricers consider many different factors, including the current price, to find the new best price for your product. They also carefully look at Amazon metrics in order to find the perfect balance between the all-important Buy Box and your profit-per-sale.

Conclusion

One of the most valuable aspects of e-commerce, the Amazon Buy Box—and the competition that surrounds it—can be fierce depending on the product. However, this challenge is well worth it, as winning the Buy Box will boost your Amazon profits and get your product seen by many more customers.

While earning the Buy Box should always be the goal, don’t become too discouraged when a competitor wins; there’s always the chance that, with a proper strategy, you can take the Buy Box from them!

Good luck!

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

While this is possible, it’s unlikely a new seller can win the Buy Box. This is because sellers who have a history are ranked higher in the Buy Box algorithm, boosting their chances of winning. However, new sellers can eventually win by continuously building their Amazon brand.

This can be due to dramatic price increases or decreases (the most common reason), an existing violation of price parity across multiple channels (if your prices aren’t standardized), or an uptick in customer complaints about defective products (where Amazon will just remove the Buy Box entirely).

No, they don’t. While Amazon brands may win more than others, it does not always win.

author-photo
Copywriter

A dedicated copywriter with nearly 4 years of experience, Josh works with Amazon sellers and helps his clients succeed on the platform.

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