The Amazon buy box is the Holy Grail for Amazon sellers. It’s where all sellers strive to have their items placed. But, only one seller is fortunate enough to be featured for their product.
All others are left wondering how they can win it next. It’s an ongoing battle for sellers to figure out how they can win the buy box consistently.
This articles walks you through all the important factors that go into winning the Amazon buy box, and why you should be striving every day to win it.
What the Amazon Buy Box Is
When you search for an item on Amazon, there’s a box to the right of the product, as outlined in red below. This is the buy box.
The Amazon buy box allows users to add this Chromecast to their cart by clicking “Add to Cart” in the buy box. The featured seller, whose product’s price is being shown here, gets the sale at checkout.
The purpose of the Amazon buy box is to give shoppers a streamlined, easy shopping experience. On the first product page shown to them, customers can add the item they want. And, they know they’re buying from a trusted marketplace seller.
It’s important you land your products in the buy box because the buy box is the first touchpoint a customer has with the product they’re looking for.
Winning the Amazon Buy Box Can Lead to Increase in Sales
One of the key features of Amazon’s platform is that multiple sellers can offer the same products. Customers can then search and choose the seller that best fits their needs for the item they want.
However, Amazon wanted to make that process of finding the best seller easier for the customer. Therefore, the buy box represents a quick way to add items to your cart, without searching through multiple sellers. Instead, Amazon uses their own algorithm to determine for customers who the best eligible seller is.
You want that seller to be you.
Think about how Google search works. When you type a phrase into Google search, it returns multiple pages with thousands of results. You’re not going to search through to page 20 of Google results to find what you’re looking for. You click on the first or second result that you see.
You trust Google’s algorithm to put the best result in those top 10 links. That’s why marketers strive to have their information in the top spots of the first pages of search results. Those results get the most clicks.
The same is true for how Amazon buy box works. When your product is featured in the Amazon buy box, you’re the first result for a product among all the sellers. Your item is going to be clicked on the most, and added to carts.
Most sellers report an increase in sales when they consistently win the buy box.
The advantage is no-brainer. The only problem is figuring out what you need to do to win the amazon buy box over your competitors.
The Secret Formula to Winning the Amazon Buy Box
Just as it is an art form to rank on Google search results, the same is true for winning the Amazon buy box. When there are multiple eligible sellers for the same product, they all compete for winning the buy box for that product.
Amazon then works to choose the seller that best meets performance-based requirements, so that customers receive the best possible shopping experience.
Easy enough, right? You just need to make sure that you meet all the criteria for winning the buy box.
Unfortunately, that’s the problem. Amazon never states specifically what criteria you need to meet and how so. Their qualifications are vague. They use a top-secret formula that they are permitted to change whenever they want.
This leaves sellers scrambling and guessing at what really matters. To help you out, we’ll dive into our own collection of metric targets that we’ve learned are important when it comes to being eligible for winning the buy box. Here’s the list:
Your product must be listed correctly. Have your product title, description, condition, and item category correct. Most importantly, your ASIN number must match to the item you’re selling.
If you’re unsure what an Amazon ASIN is, read our article about Amazon ASINs to find out.
Making silly mistakes like lack of information, an incorrect ASIN number, and poor descriptions could hinder Amazon’s ability to determine your product as eligible for the buy box.
If managing your product information and listing to Amazon is a problem for you, see how our Product Information Management (PIM) application can help.
Amazon is straightforward about the importance of price when it comes to winning the buy box. You need to price competitively.
Customers shop on Amazon.com because they expect to find lower prices. Keep up to date on your competitors’ prices, and the price of the offer that is currently winning the buy box.
Amazon never states that the lowest price always win. But, you can bet that if you have a lower price, AND great seller performance rating, the buy box is going to be yours.
Delivery Speed and Shipping Method Offered
Offering quick delivery, and then actually shipping on time is very important. Amazon keeps track of how well you do this. Customers also want quick shipping, think 2 days or less quick.
They also want to know that you can ship on time. Amazon will look at your late shipment rate and the percentage of orders that you deliver on-time. They want your late shipment rate at 4% or less.
While Amazon doesn’t come out and say it, it does appear that they prefer sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). It’s because they know FBA guarantees on-time delivery.
If you’re unsure about using FBA, read our post that helps you determine if FBA fees are worth the cost.
Order Defect Rate (ODR)
Amazon states in their help section that ODR, or Order Defect Rate is a factor that Amazon evaluates. This means they check your ODR customer feedback, A-to-z Guarantee claims, and chargebacks.
Make these factors a selling priority of yours. You’ll want an ODR of at least 1% or less.
Many factors go into your seller performance. A good indicator of your overall performance though is your seller rating. Aim for higher than 75%, if you want to be eligible for winning the buy box.
Think about how you can improve your cancellation rate, refund rate, and feedback count. Read how Amazon measures your seller performance.
Quickly responding to customers is an indication of good customer service. It shows that you care about how satisfied your customers are with you. It also makes you a good seller to work with, especially when dealing with refunds, returns, and exchanges.
Amazon looks to see if you communicate with customers through Customer Support. If you currently don’t do much around customer support, using FBA can help you. One benefit of FBA’s service is that you get access to Amazon’s own service center, which helps with returns.
Time and Experience on the Amazon Selling Platform
This is one of those vague factors stated by Amazon that we were talking about earlier. Amazon doesn’t elaborate on this. But, I would imagine that a long-standing seller with stellar seller performance is going to get an edge on winning the buy box.
Inventory may often be overlooked, but you obviously need to have inventory available in order to be eligible for the buy box. You want to make sure that your products are always available for purchase.
However, don’t think you can get away with the opposite; selling inventory that you don’t actually have. Amazon cracks down on sellers who oversell. If a customer makes a purchase, you better have the physical inventory to send to them.
If Amazon catches you overselling, they’ll kick you off their marketplace.
If you sell on other sales channels besides Amazon, like your own webstore or eBay, keeping inventory levels up to date can be difficult. You might oversell as an honest mistake, because you’re unable to decimate your Amazon inventory level in time when you sell the same item from your webstore.
Don’t let this be a problem for you anymore. Learn more about how nChannel syncs inventory in real time across all of your sales channels, so you don’t oversell anymore.
That’s it! While it’s probably not tangible for you to meet every criteria perfectly, you certainly can find many ways to improve. The main areas you’ll want to focus on first are fulfillment method/speed, price, and your seller rating. If you do, you could end up winning the Amazon buy box almost 100% of the time.
(It’s important to note that there are some product categories that are not eligible for the buy box and that some categories use different criteria. Do some research on your products to see if this is the case for you or not.)
Creative Ways to Win the Buy Box
Winning the buy box is difficult for two reasons. First, because there are multiple factors that go into determining who wins and Amazon is vague about them. And secondly, you’re competing with a lot of other sellers trying to win the buy box just like yourself.
So, we’ve heard of two creative ways that can guarantee you win the buy box every time.
The first: list a unique product. One way to get around competing with multiple sellers is to offer a product that no one else offers. This is possible if you manufacture your own products or list an item that is not currently sold on Amazon.
A second way: bundle your items or make packages with multiple items. Example would be bundling different skincare items together, or offering a package of 3 pairs of socks. In both scenarios, you’re creating a new product that needs its own unique ASIN number.
You’ll be the only seller offering this product. This works great too if your customers actually prefer to buy your items this way.
The key to both of these strategies is to make sure that the item you’re selling has demand for it. If it doesn’t, it won’t matter that your item is offered in the Amazon buy box because no one wants to buy it.
What to Do Next
See what criteria you can improve to increase your chances of winning the Amazon buy box.
Stay tuned as our next topic will be how you can optimize your product listings for Amazon. For those of you who might not win the buy box every time, your product information is key to making sure customers still find your products.