The Amazon Buy Box: Best Practices for Winning the Buy Box and How It Works, Importance of the Amazon Featured Offer for a Product
What is the Amazon Buy Box?
The Amazon Buy Box is the white box on the right-hand side of a listing when customers go to the desired product page on Amazon. This white box shows you the price, delivery date and the option to “Add To Cart” or “Buy Now” for the chosen product. Most Amazon consumers purchase items through the Buy Box. “Featured Offer” is another way of referring to the Buy Box.
What is the Purpose of the Buy Box?
The Buy Box exists in order to show the customer what Amazon deems as the highest ranking listing for that product (there are different factors that Amazon uses to determine this ranking). Amazon’s goal here is to provide the customer the best overall value and buying experience for a specific product.
There is no limit to the number of sellers or products that can be sold on Amazon (meaning many sellers could be selling the exact same product), but only one listing may win the Buy Box. Because most customer purchases are through the Buy Box, and the listing winning the Buy Box will make much greater sales than the other listings, having that Buy Box for your listing is of high importance.
Buy Box Eligibility:
In order to compete and potentially win the Buy Box for your listing, you must first be Buy Box eligible. You can check Buy Box Eligibility by simply typing in the phrase “Buy Box Eligibility “into the search box at the top of your Amazon Seller Central page. A box will populate onto the page where you can type in the product ASIN, and Amazon will tell you the eligibility status. Keep in mind Amazon may ask you to identify the appropriate SKU as well.
In order to be Buy Box eligible, you must have the following completed:
-Have a professional Amazon seller account set up
-Sell new items
-Have available stock of the item competing for the Buy Box
-Have a good track record selling on Amazon
Based on the completion of the following items, you may see some of your products are Buy Box eligible, and some are not. If you are out of stock on a particular item, you won’t be able to compete for the Buy Box on that item. This is why maintaining balanced inventory levels is so crucial!
Best Practices for Winning the Amazon Buy Box:
Keep in mind, being Buy Box eligible does not guarantee that you will win the Buy Box for your product. Moreover, Amazon does not disclose every factor that goes into winning the Buy Box. Some information is not available, but here is what we do know you can do to increase your chances of winning the Buy Box:
- Pricing competitively- we know the Buy Box has a lot to do with price, so it’s important to remain competitive
- Making use of the Manage Pricing page, Pricing Dashboard, and Seller Coach Pricing Report
- Offering faster and free shipping (using FBA can be helpful here as well)
- Providing great customer service in compliance with Amazon:
- Amazon gives 24 hours to respond to customer messages, so you need to be timely and efficient with your responses (if it takes you too long to respond, your chances of winning may be negatively impacted)
- Being proactive- you don’t have to wait for a customer complaint to act, be on the lookout for potential issues
- Always monitoring your Account Health Dashboard and Voice of the Customer- trends here may alert you to an issue with a product
- Maintaining your Order Defect Rate (A-Z Guarantee Claims, Chargeback Claims, Negative Feedback) – all of these metrics should be in good standing. Order Defect Rate can very much negatively impact your chances of winning if your rate is poor
- Taking customer concerns and questions seriously and problem-solving
- Always keeping stock available
- Keeping an eye on all your Performance Metrics
- Watching your overall shipping performance- metrics like Late Shipment Rate, Valid Tracking Rate, On-Time Delivery Rate can have an effect
- Having good Seller Feedback Ratings for your account, especially recent ones, can help increase your chances, and the same goes for the number of ratings
- Keeping an eye on your competition
- Using your business reports to keep track of what’s going on with your products, which may help you identify issues
Important Tips to Keep In Mind:
*Pricing is an extremely important factor with the Buy Box, but if you have the lowest price for the product, while other major issues are going on with your account or product, like customer service, you still may not be able to win the Buy Box. Also, if you stay on top of your various metrics, you’ll have a better chance of increasing your price, if you wish to do so, without losing the Buy Box.
*Amazon decides who gets the Buy Box at the end of the day, not sellers or customers, so the best thing you can do is monitor your listings and be proactive.
*Your time, experience and history in selling on Amazon are contributing factors to the Buy Box, so know that it will take time and effort to remain competitive.
*Another way to look at your overall Buy Box data is to look at the top of your Seller Central Account and click the drop-down for Buy Box Wins (you should see a percentage in this box). Once you click the drop-down and go to this page, you should be able to see your data.
*Look at your Inactive Offers, are there any ASINS shown as deactivated due to a pricing error? If so, take action.
*Look at the Featured Offer tab- Do you have any ASINS listed as ineligible for the Buy Box? Or, do you have any ASINS listed as eligible for the Buy Box, but they are not winning? Amazon should show you your price compared to the featured offer price in this case, and you can learn if $$ is why you aren’t winning.
*The Featured Offer is at the ASIN level. So, if you have multiple variations for the same product, you may have the Featured Offer for some products and not others.
*It is possible to hold the Buy Box for a percentage of the day. Think of it as your “share” of the Buy Box. The seller that is stronger than the rest will hold the majority. Example: A top ranking seller may hold the buy box for 70% of the day, while a lower seller holds it for 30%. This all depends on all the factors we have discussed as to what Amazon deems as the better buying experience for the customer, but please be aware that your share of the buy can change as factors with your account change.
There are certain factors we know of that contribute to winning the Amazon Buy Box. We can’t determine exactly how much each factor is weighted, but we know that the following are contributing factors on some level to the Buy Box:
- Fulfilled by Amazon will beat non-FBA a majority of the time, so Amazon Prime absolutely gives you a leg up. Seller Fulfilled Prime is helpful too
- Price absolutely weighs in
- Overall Feedback Score is a factor
- Location of the package (where the product is located in relation to the customer)- Amazon wants to reduce costs, and the closer the product is to the customer, the faster and cheaper Amazon can ship that product. Moreover, Amazon is also concerned about the customer experience, which means the product that can get to the customer fastest will be considered better. This is why it’s important to think about “your share” of the Buy Box that you may win. Your product may have been closer to the customer 70% of the time, but 30% of the time another seller’s product was closer. Meaning, you would have won the Buy Box 70% of the time.
- If Amazon itself is selling a product, they win the Buy Box a majority of the time. An exception to this is if the Amazon package is quite* far away from the customer. Amazon does not want to put a product on a plane to get it to a customer across the country, as this would not be cost effective. So, Amazon itself may give the Buy Box to another seller, so long as the location of the other seller’s product is already much closer to the customer.
Let’s say two sellers are selling the exact same product, and they are both selling at the same price and are both shipping Amazon Prime, Amazon may look at the Overall Feedback Score and location of the package (what warehouse is the product in?) to determine the Buy Box winner. What if price, shipping and feedback are tied? Amazon will go with the location of the package. Whatever product can get to the customer fastest (again, this cuts cost for Amazon and improves the customer experience) may win the Buy Box.
Let’s say two sellers are selling the exact same product, and neither seller uses FBA. One seller has the product in New York and the other in California. The customer is in Boston. The seller in NYC would likely win the Buy Box here.
Let’s say two sellers are selling the exact same product. One seller is Amazon, and the other is not. Amazon has the product in Florida, and another seller has the product in Texas. The customer is also in Texas. Amazon may give the Buy Box to the other seller.
Let’s say two sellers are selling the exact same product. One seller is Amazon, and the other is not. Both sellers have the product within about the same distance to the customer. Amazon will win the Buy Box.
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