How to Win the ‘Buy Box’ on Your Amazon Listing

Selling on Amazon has become extremely competitive and simply having a presence on the platform won’t cut it anymore. You need more than great merchandise or competitive prices to stand out. In fact, most shoppers won’t even see your product unless it appears in the “Buy Box.”

The Buy Box is that small box with the “Add to Cart” button on a product listing. Getting picked for that spot by Amazon has become the holy grail for sellers. Fortunately, winning the Amazon Buy Box isn’t impossible and in this post we’ll outline the formula and steps you should take to increase your chances.

Table of Contents

Where is the Buy Box?

The Buy Box refers to the white box on the right side of the Amazon product detail page, where customers can add items for purchase to their cart.

Example of Amazon's Buy Box

Every product on Amazon has its own page. Multiple sellers of the same product are pooled together and must compete for the Buy Box on that page. Amazon uses a rotation model to award the Buy Box to the most eligible merchant in the pool based on various performance metrics.

The Buy Box is coveted by sellers because a large portion (82% by some reports) of sales are made from that box. It allows shoppers to add a product into their shopping carts quickly and easily without even thinking twice, making it extremely valuable real estate space.

Three additional Buy Box eligible listings are displayed in the “More Buying Choices” box. All remaining sellers (including those who are not Buy Box eligible) can be seen when you click on the “new & used” link at the bottom of the More Buying Choices box, which will take you to the offer listing page.

Buy Box Eligibility

Only merchants with a professional seller account are eligible for the Buy Box and your account must have high selling performance for a minimum of 2 to 6 months to receive placement. You can check your eligibility in Seller Central by following these steps:

  • Go to the Manage Inventory page and click on Preferences.
  • In the Column Display, select Buy Box Eligible.
  • Choose the Show When Available option from the menu and then Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
  • The Buy Box Eligible column will now display the status for each of your ASINs.

Amazon’s algorithm requires sellers competing for Buy Box placement to demonstrate that they are consistently creating a great buying experience for customers. Metrics like Cancellation Rate, Order Defect Rate, and Late Shipment Rate determine eligibility. The better your performance, the higher your chances of becoming Buy Box eligible. You can see how well you’re doing on the Account Health page.

Factors That Can Help You Win the Buy Box

  1. Sell FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)

Sellers who are FBA (as opposed to FBM) are automatically eligible to win the Buy Box. This is because Amazon considers its fulfillment service to be the best terms of shipping time and on-time delivery rates. Bite the bullet and send your inventory to Amazon. Let them do the heavy lifting and take care of packing, shipping, tracking, and any problems that may arise with the delivery.

  1. Lower Your Order Defect Rate (ODR)

Order Defect Rate (ODR) is the key measure of your ability to provide a good customer experience. An order has a defect if it gets negative feedback, a service chargeback, or an A-to-Z guarantee claim.

Keep your ODR at less than 1% to win the Buy Box. A good strategy for lowering a high ODR is to quickly increase your order volume. This is also a good way to prevent your account from getting suspended by Amazon for a consistently high ODR. Choose a product with low value but high demand which you can source in bulk to increase your order volume. You can monitor your ODR on the Account Health Dashboard in Seller Central.

  1. Sell New Products & Have Sufficient Stock

Products must be new to be Buy Box eligible. Used or refurbished products aren’t eligible for the Buy Box, but they can be featured on a separate “Buy Used Box.” It operates in a similar way to the Buy Box and uses similar criteria for eligibility.

Items that are out of stock won’t be featured in the Buy Box, so stay on top of your inventory. The only exception to this rule are items marked as on “back order.” It means a seller is still accepting orders, but will ship at a later date once they restock the item. Back-ordered items will show as not available for shipping until the restock data indicated by the seller. They are featured in the Buy Box, but only if they will be restocked within 2 days.

  1. Price Your Items Competitively

Pricing is a big factor for Buy Box eligibility. Sellers often reprice their products to undercut the competition and win the Buy Box. There are services you can use to monitor the competition’s pricing and automatically change your price using a set of predefined rules, like when sales are known to be busy or quiet, or when a competitor is likely to run low on stock.

Remember, the Buy Box is on rotation. Changing the price will trigger a rotation and you may get the spot if you qualify. Analyze pricing trends by the time of day and predict the best price using tools like RepricerExpress and Splitly. Amazon’s own ‘Automate Pricing’ tool is also useful for this purpose, but it doesn’t have as many options.

Try to match the Buy Box price instead of undercutting the competition. Constantly lowering your price will only start a “race to the bottom” which will end up hurting your margins. If you find an item with a lot of high-volume low-margin sellers during your product research phase, then it’s best to avoid selling that product.

  1. Offer Reliable Shipping

If you’re an FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) seller, work on establishing reliable fulfillment and shipping practices to keep your customers happy. Ship orders quickly so they meet or beat the estimated delivery date. Your on-time delivery rate should be above 97%, late shipment rate should be less than 4%, and your valid tracking rate needs to be at least 95% of all orders.

  1. Provide Excellent Customer Service

Strive to respond to customer questions within 24 hours. Use templates to speed up your response time for common questions, but try to personalize your interactions instead of using generic messages. Address your customers by name and offer recommendations based on past purchases.

Provide excellent customer support even after the transaction is complete to make sure your customers are satisfied. Amazon surveys customers at the end of every message to assess how you handled their query. You can download the responses and use them to improve your service.

In Conclusion

Deloitte recently named Amazon one of the world’s top 10 largest retailers. It went from No.157 in fiscal year 2001 to No. 6 in fiscal year 2016 as its annual retail revenue approaches $100 billion USD. With such huge numbers, it’s perhaps unsurprising that selling on Amazon has become so competitive.

Gaining and retaining Buy Box Eligibility is crucial if you want to become a successful merchant on the platform in such a competitive environment. Take a step-by-step approach and work through each section of this post and figure out which of your metrics needs work. Winning the Buy Box shouldn’t be as difficult now that you know what Amazon expects of its sellers.



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