In this Chapter, we will discuss the Buy Box. We’ve previously referenced this term in other chapters and we’ve only briefly discussed it until now. Given how the buybox drives the likelihood that you generate sales on Amazon, we believe that it’s absolutely crucial for you to have a solid understanding of:

  • What the Buy Box is
  • How the Buy Box works
  • How you can use this knowledge to gain more Buy Box share, and earn more sales

Why Is The Buy Box Important

In 2013, roughly $74 billion of revenue went through Amazon, an amount that was responsible for almost 6% of the total international e-commerce spend.

Out of this $74 billion, at least $61 billion of sales went through the Buy Box, with $30 billion generated from third-party Amazon Marketplace sellers.

We’ve been told that at least 82% of Amazon’s website sales today go through the Buy Box. When you consider that The Buy Box is not even available for books in the “New” condition, this percentage increases to over 90% for most non-media categories. It is vital for sellers to understand how Amazon determines who acquires this coveted spot, as it can make or break your business.

Buy Box

In this chapter, we leverage much of what we’ve learned directly from Amazon, while working with thousands of sellers.

We’ve also brought in additional detail from some of the best industry experts on the “buy box”.

We have a list of many of them for you to review in our Amazon software guide, but we’d like to highlight one – Feedvisor — not because we’re recommending them. In fact, we have no financial connection to them.

Rather, this company deserves special attention because they have analyzed millions of transactions to better understand the buy box, and they are the source for some of the material presented in this chapter.

We’re impressed with their research and recommend that you read their “Buy Box Bible” in additional to watching our course materials. We’ve included a link to it in our Additional Resources below.

So if you want to be a successful seller on Amazon, this chapter is critical for gaining an understanding of most important drivers of being successful on Amazon, no matter what products or brands you choose to list and sell on Amazon.

Competition: Direct & Indirect

There are two categories of sellers on Amazon:

  • Amazon Retail (that’s Amazon itself who sells many products), and
  • Third-party sellers (like you, who use the Amazon marketplace to sell products)

3rd party sellers are each limited by the gated categories for which they’re not approved, and by FBA inventory storage limits for standard and oversize product.

Since there isn’t any limit on the number of total sellers on the platform or the amount of products they can offer, the same product is often sold by many sellers.

Naturally, they each compete for the maximum amount of sales.

Direct Competition: Buy Box Share

Sellers and Amazon compete with each other both directly and indirectly:

Let’s take an example, and say you’re selling this lego set:

Lego set

Your direct competition for this product are all of the other 209 sellers who also have offers on this particular ASIN. You are all in direct competition for the coveted Buy Box position.

When a customer lands on this Product Detail page (and all other product detail pages), Amazon chooses one seller and puts that seller’s details in the Buy Box. What does that mean?

Well, to have the buy box means that this seller’s information will appear within the product details listing next to “Sold by.”

It also means, most importantly, that when a customer clicks on the “Add to cart” button, the sale goes to that seller.

This seller is called the “winner” of the Buy Box and will make far more sales than any other seller for that product, usually greater than 90% for new, non-media items.

The seller in the buybox is not usually permanently there, and the buybox-winning seller can change every 15-60 minutes, sometimes resulting in a new winner, sometimes resulting in the same winner as before. These rotations are hidden from a customer already viewing the page, as Amazon use cookies to ensure each customer sees only one Buy Box winner per hour.

However, if the Buy Box winner’s metrics changes for whatever reason, such as the price of the product or the amount of available stock, or the overall Performance of the seller according to Seller Performance criteria, then Amazon may display rotation to another seller before the one-hour time period is up. Think of it like a Ferris wheel:

Buy box rotation

In other words, if there are ten perfectly equal sellers all competing for the same product Buy Box, they would get 10% each. This means that each seller will have their offering shown in the Buy Box for roughly 10% percent of each day.

Alternatively, a relatively high performing seller could have 70% of the Buy Box, an average seller could have 25%, and a lower performing seller, 5%. Therefore, instead of saying that a seller wins or loses the Buy Box, the correct term would be to say that a particular seller has a lesser or greater share of the Buy Box.

Buy Box Rotations do not always take place though, and when they do, they are often dependent on the product, the competition and the time of day.

Indirect Competition: Sessions

Let’s jump back to the other form of competition. We know that direct competition over a particular ASIN is for Buy Box share. Indirect competition, though, is for sessions.

Amazon defines a session as a customer visit to an Amazon.com page. That “visit” lasts for 24 hours in Amazon’s calculation, meaning that, even though a customer views a number of pages multiple times (within 24 hours) or the same page more than once, it will all be considered as one session.

Whereas, Page views are the actual number of times a customer visited a page. In one session, a customer can have multiple page views.

As a result, your reports may show a more page views than sessions.

If 10 million customers visit the Amazon site on a given day, every ASIN on the site is competing for sessions from those visitors. This means that:

  • Categories and subcategories on the site are in competition for visitors
  • Other sellers’ products compete for viewership real estate with your products, especially similar items in the same category
  • Even your own products compete with each other, especially similar products within the same category
  • Competitors’ sponsored ads and some of your own sponsored ads compete with each other for placement and clicks

For you to succeed it’s important for you to realize that Amazon Retail and every other seller on Amazon are your competitors either directly or indirectly.

How The Buy Box Works

We know that Amazon doesn’t usually assign the Buy Box to a single seller.

Instead, the Buy Box is shared between several sellers, with their “share” of the Buy Box determined by several variables.

First off, why do they do that? Or in other words, why is there a Buy Box?

Amazon’s states directly that their goal is to “give customers the best possible shopping experience” and so, “sellers must meet performance-based requirements to be eligible to compete for Buy Box placement.”

So Amazon wants to offer the best possible experience to their customers. The Buy Box provides Amazon a mechanism for comparing multiple offers on the same ASIN in order to determine which product offer will give that best “experience” the customer.

To put it simply, the Amazon Buy Box tries to give the customer the best possible value for their money.

Its algorithm considers several variables to determine which product offering provides the best balance of high seller performance and low cost to the consumer.

What Is The Buy Box Algorithm?

We know that the Buy Box is typically shared between several sellers, with their “share” of the Buy Box determined by several variables.

We’ll cover each of those variables in detail in the fourth video of this chapter. When selecting which sellers’ offer will win the Buy Box, the algorithm:

  • Will first determine which of all the competing offerings meet every necessary minimum requirements
  • It will then look at several variable for each eligible offering, comparing each of them to one another. Again, the goal is to give the best overall value to the customer

The importance of each variable can change on a product-to-product or a category-to-category basis, which means that though a seller could be losing to a competitor on one product, the same seller could be beating that same competitor on another unrelated product.

The measurement of your seller offering is relative to your competitors’ offerings. This means that, all other things being equal, a Seller Rating of 95% would negatively affect your proportion of buy box share to another seller with a 98% rating.

Along the same lines, a Seller rating of 95%, if all other factors are equal, would positively affect your proportion of buy box share compared to a seller with a 90% rating.

Why Does Amazon Always Win the Buy Box?

Ok, we get it. Instead of sorting through hundreds of individual offers for the same ASIN, Amazon assigns all of those offers to one listing and then THEY, meaning Amazon, determine which one is “best” by looking at price and performance metrics.

Doesn’t that seem like a conflict of interest?

Sellers often ask why Amazon Retail seems to always win the Buy Box on item where Amazon Retail has an offer. Many have asked us if it is possible to ever beat them.

The odds are not stacked in your favor when you compete against Amazon. From what we can tell, the Buy Box doesn’t necessarily give Amazon an automatic winner’s status.

Instead it seems to treat their offers as those coming from a seller with perfect customer experience metrics. If a seller has almost perfect customer metrics, or a very low landed price, we sometimes see them share Buy Box rotation with Amazon.

If their price is low enough below Amazon’s current price, they do win dramatically more share of the Buy Box from Amazon.

But be careful. Amazon reprices reactively. If you lower your price, Amazon will lower its price often to the point of losing money. Amazon also seems to possess an uncanny knowledge of the buy box algorithm as it will lower its price to a few dollars more than yours, recognizing the contribution of its perfect seller performance metrics, so it still maintains buy box share.

Put differently, if you as a very high performing seller has an FBA offer competing directly with an Amazon Retail offer, Amazon Retail doesn’t need to match your low price in order to win the buybox ahead of you.

And for you media sellers, Amazon will always win the Buy Box, if they have the product in stock. Seem unfair? It is, but that’s the game you must play as an Amazon seller.

Instead of fretting and frowning over this, apply this understanding to your business so you don’t lose money by purchasing and competing with Amazon on products for which you are not likely to win the buy box.

Why Is There NO Buy Box Winner?

Micelli

There are two instances in which no seller will win the Buy Box:

  • When no seller meets the minimum buy box requirements or when every sellers who does meet the requirements has substandard seller metrics.
  • When the sellers’ offer price is higher than the List Price.

In both of these cases, there will be no seller listed underneath the product name and the Buy Box will show a See All Buying Options button, where the buyer can be taken to the “more Buying Choices” page to see all merchants who sell this product.

In some unusual cases, if the item being offered has no buybox winner AND the item is no longer available to be wholesaled from the manufacturer (such as a collectible toy), it is likely that the Amazon catalog still contains a list price against this item.

This is even though list price doesn’t really have any valid meaning as no one can source the product at the original wholesale cost.

If you can show the item is no longer manufactured, you can file a ticket with Seller Support to get the list price removed, making every seller’s price no longer too high above list price, as there is no longer a list price… hence buybox-winning sellers can then appear again.

Buy Box Requirements

To qualify for the Buy Box, the seller has to first meet four criteria:

  1. Only Professional Seller accounts will be considered for the Buy Box. Individual Seller accounts cannot compete for the Buy Box.
  2. The seller must be Buy Box Eligible. This was formerly called Featured Merchant Status. This status is no longer visible to anyone but the seller themselves within their Seller Central Account. To achieve and maintain Buy Box Eligibility Amazon looks at:
    • Time on the marketplace (which is approximately 2-6 months)
    • Sustained seller performance
    • ODR (is your Order Defect Rate): it’s comprised of customer feedback, A-to-Z Guarantee claims, and chargebacks.
    • Whether the item you’ve listed is fulfilled by the merchant or by Amazon

    Your eligibility to win the buy box can change over time based on your seller performance metrics and specific performance targets can vary by category. Buy Box eligibility for one category does not necessarily indicate eligibility in another category. To check your Buy Box Eligibility:

    • Scroll over the “Inventory” tab and click on “Manage Inventory”.
    • Click on the Preferences Button on in the top right corner
    • Click the box next to “Buy Box Eligible” so that it displays a check mark and click save
    • Now your Manage Inventory page should display “yes” if you are buy box eligible for that product
  3. The item being sold must be new. Used items cannot be featured in the regular Buy Box. In some categories, used products do have their own Buy Box, called the Buy Used Box.The Buy Used Box operates in a similar way to the Buy Box for new items, and to win it, sellers need to fulfill similar criteria, such as having a Professional Seller account and being Buy Box Eligible. You can see a lot of examples of Buy Used Boxes on used book or dvd listings.Please note that even though the Buy Used Box appears with the Buy Box for new items, the two operate in a mutually exclusive manner and do not affect one another.
  4. There must be available stock of the item the seller is trying to sell.If the item is not in stock, the seller cannot win the Buy Box. The Buy Box will not show “out of stock”, it will just rotate the position to another seller.There is one exception, and this is for a back-ordered item. Today, most products that are listed through the Fulfillment by Merchant service can be listed as a “back-order”. This means that the seller will accept orders for it, even though the product is out of stock and will only be shipped at a later date. Customers will see that the item is not available for shipping until the restock date which the seller has entered. Back-ordered items can be featured in the Buy Box, but only if it will be back in stock within 2 days. This back-order condition on FBA products usually occurs when Amazon decides to relocate some FBA inventory from one fulfillment center to another – Amazon knows the inventory is in the system, but it won’t actually be available to be packed into a customer order box for a few days while it is transferred between FBA locations.

How to Speed Up Buy Box Eligibility

As a new seller, now is the time to start selling… not sometime in the future. Don’t wait 2-6 months to compete for Buy Box share.

New sellers can immediately acquire Buy Box Eligibility for specific items by placing item in FBA.

Another tactic that merchant fulfilled sellers will use is selling popular products at a very competitive price. Getting just a few sales for those items can enable the seller to receive overall Buy Box Eligible status for that category of products.

Buybox eligibility has to be earned on a category by category basis… it is not earned across all categories all at once. If you think that you have met all the required criteria for a particular category, and have not been awarded Buy Box Eligible status, you should contact Amazon seller support to request this status.

The Offer Listing Page

It’s crucial to win the buy box. When you don’t, your offer is placed on the Offer Listing Page. The Other Sellers on Amazon box provides a link to the Offer Listing page.

[http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Creator-Treehouse-Interlocking-Building/dp/B00C9X591Q]

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00C9X591Q/ref=dp_olp_all_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=all

The Offer Listing page displays all sales listings for a product offered by a variety of sellers, whether they qualify for the Buy Box or not.

The Offer Listing page presents offerings in order of Landed Price (Price + Shipping).

Customers can also see a seller’s customer feedback ratings, shipping rates, rebate policies, and special offers, but these variables do not affect the order in which sellers are presented on this page.

Amazon Mobile Buy Box

Show an image of what the mobile buy box looks like on a phone.

Today, over 50% of Amazon customers shop via mobile. The Amazon app is free for most mobile devices and its look and feel is similar to their main sites.

On a desktop, laptop or tablet, all the product information appears on one page. To purchase a particular product, the buyer will either go straight to the Buy Box, choose a seller from the Other Sellers on Amazon box, or click on the link that will take them to all sellers’ offerings on the Offer Listing Page.

On mobile however, the customer has to scroll down the page to see all of the product information. The Buy Box appears directly beneath the product image and price, so if someone likes what they see, there is no reason to scroll down any further. They can click “Buy now” immediately to make their order, without even having seen the link to all the other offerings on the Offer Listing page.

There is also no “Other Sellers on Amazon” box on Amazon Mobile, which means that the potential buyer can only see the name of one seller — the one who has won the Buy Box.

What affects my Buy Box share?

Through extensive testing and examination, Feedvisor has determined which variables influence your buy box share the most. We’ll review this list in order of importance.

Variable

Fulfillment Method

The most important variable considered by Amazon is whether the item is fulfilled by the merchant or by Amazon (FBA). Amazon considers their own fulfillment service superior to even the best merchant fulfilled warehouses or 3rd party logistics companies. They naturally assign perfect scores for any metrics related to fulfillment when you use their service. If you are the only seller with an FBA offer for a particular ASIN, other merchant fulfilled offers will need to significantly beat you on price and have very high performance scores.

That’s why using FBA is one of the best ways to improve your chance of winning the Buy Box. If it makes sense logistically, we always recommend utilizing FBA. Not only will your Buy Box share increase, but total sales will also increase on an item when it’s sold via FBA. Sometimes this a 2 or 3 times increase in volume.

In fact, let us make an aside here, and tell you the power of FBA for PRIME customers on Amazon. If you’re not familiar with the PRIME program, this is Amazon’s unlimited free 2-day shipping on PRIME-eligible offers, which includes Amazon Retail and FBA products. If a customer is signed into their Amazon and that customer is a PRIME customer, Amazon will actually show them eligible FBA offers ahead of much lower prices non-FBA offers. If that same PRIME customer hadn’t signed into its Amazon account, the customer would see the lowest-priced buybox-eligble offers first, ahead of buybox eligible but much higher priced FBA offers. We have seen examples where the FBA offer shown in the PRIME customer’s buybox is actually more than 80% more expensive than the lower-priced non-FBA offer that could have won the buybox….that’s the combined power of FBA and the growing base of PRIME customers on Amazon.

Landed Price

The total amount that the product is sold for on Amazon. This includes shipping in the US, and shipping and VAT in the UK and Europe. A lower landed price will increase the seller’s Buy Box share. This is arguably the easiest variable to manipulate, as it is the only element that the seller can control directly AND instantly. Oh yah, because landed price is highly tied to your overall profitability, please don’t keep lowering your price absurdly just to win the buybox!

Seller Rating

The overall score of customer experience when buying products from a seller. A high Seller Rating is vital because of the massive affect it has on the Buy Box.

Shipping Time

The simplest metric looked at by the Buy Box is the time in which the seller promises to ship the item to the customer. For certain time-critical products and categories, such as birthday cards and perishable goods, the impact of this metric on the Buy Box will be even higher, since customers often demand swift shipping on such items. Utilizing FBA checks this one off for you, because FBA shipping times are considered exceptional.

Order Defect Rate (ODR)

As described in detail in our Pre-Registration chapter, this is a combination of three different metrics (The higher the percentage, the less likely the seller is to win the Buy Box):

  • The Negative Feedback Rate
  • The A-to-Z Guarantee Claim Rate
  • The Service Chargeback Rate

Feedback Score

The culmination of all the feedback that a seller has received from customers, represented in your feedback score, is grouped by the last 30 days, 90 days and 365 days. The most recent feedback has the greatest effect on the Buy Box.

Delivery Time & Rate

The Buy Box takes into consideration three separate elements regarding delivery. Each one is grouped according to the last 7 days, 30 days and 90 days:

  • On-time delivery
  • Late shipment rate
  • Tracked delivery rate

Customer Response Time

Amazon looks at this metric in two ways.

  1. It checks the average response time for the last 7, 30 and 90 days, and compares these times to competing sellers.
  2. It then also creates four brackets for messages received in these time periods, grouping them by their reply times as follows:
    1. Messages replied to within 12 hours
    2. Messages replied to within 24 hours
    3. Messages replied to after 24 hours
    4. Messages never replied to

*If over 10% of messages were replied to after 24 hours, or never replied to, the chances of the seller winning the Buy Box will severely decrease.

Feedback Count

The total number of buyers that have given the seller feedback. Feedback Count is now considered a key metric in and of itself, and sellers with a high score are more likely to win the Buy Box over a seller with a low score, all other metrics being equal. Furthermore, Amazon likes to see feedback count accounting for at least 2-5% of all orders a seller receives….so huge sellers are expected to have a lot of pieces of feedback, but are still expected to have a decent proportion relative to number of total orders, too.

Inventory

Amazon will not award the Buy Box to someone who is frequently out of stock of a product. Amazon prefers to give the Buy Box to sellers who have enough inventory to deal with the increased demand that the Buy Box may create. For that reason, sellers with a larger current inventory, consistent sales, and a strong stock history may be granted a greater Buy Box share.

Order Cancellation Rate

This is the number of orders cancelled by the seller pre-fulfillment, and the number of orders refunded to the customer post-fulfillment. While a positive score does not have a strong impact on the Buy Box share, a pre-fulfillment Cancellation Rate greater than 2.5% will have a strong negative effect. Having your products in FBA helps significantly here too, as orders are much less likely to be cancelled if they were in FBA in the first place, as Amazon won’t offer a FBA product for sale if it’s not actually in FBA inventory.

Tradeoffs: The ideal goal is to improve on every seller performance metric without forfeiting performance in other areas.

In reality, your businesses doesn’t have endless resources to put into customer service, and you shouldn’t sacrifice profit margins by lowering prices alone to win the Buy Box price. The key is to identify which changes would have the biggest effect on Buy Box share, at the lowest business costs in terms of time, money and manpower.

An effective strategy, when you have limited resources, is to sacrifice extra time and effort on metrics with low impact, in order to focus on metrics with high impact.

For example, you may decide to meet only the minimum requirement responding to customer inquiries, ensuring that all questions are responded to within 24 hours rather than 12 or 6 hours. You would use that extra time you’ve gained to focus on improving your Seller Rating, a metric with greater weight, by working to remove negative feedback.

Increase your Buy Box Share through Repricing

Now let’s review what changes you can make to increase your share of the buy box starting today. We’ll begin with the most popular method people use to win more buy box share: Repricing

Changing the price of your offer is the quickest and easiest way to manipulate your position in the Buy Box. If your seller performance metrics are at least as good as the competition, then you are far more likely to win the Buy Box with a lower price. This strategy has two major drawbacks.

  1. It decreases your profit margin. Many sellers don’t realize that if their customer performance metrics are better than their lowest priced competitor, then they don’t need to price lower or even match that competitor’s price. Their product offer could be sold at a significantly higher price, and still maintain the same Buy Box share.
  2. This technique also can create price wars, with two or more sellers continuously dropping their prices to outmatch the other. This, again, destroys profit margins and may result in you selling your product at cost or at a negative profit.

When repricing to win the Buy Box, be careful to balance your Buy Box share and your product’s profit margin. Proactive planning helps decrease the tendency to reactively price down on our products to move them quicker. If you are able to forecast the appropriate amount of product to purchase based upon the product’s sales rank; and, if you factor in an anticipated buy box share based on competition for the product, you’ll save yourself from pricing low to move excess inventory.

One piece of advice here: Instead of targeting 100% of the Buy Box for all of your skus (which usually comes a very low profit margin), find a price point that balances better profit margin with satisfactory Buy Box share.

Let’s apply some numbers at a specific example:

Let’s go back to our original example of the Lego Set. For this ASIN, you’ve shown your supplier-side scrappiness and you’ve obtained the product at a very low cost. Low enough, that you’ve been able to out price your competition to get the buy box. You currently have 80% of the Buy Box share which is generating roughly 30 sales a day at a $3.50 profit margin. That’s a gross daily profit of $105. You calculate that if you raise the offer price by just a few dollars, you’ll increase your profit margin to $5.00 and your Buy Box share will drop to about 55%. That results in 20-21 sales per day and a gross daily profit of rough $103. You’ve just found a price point that will produce just as much gross daily profit while also increase your product’s profit margin by 43%. Restated, over the lifetime of you selling that product you will now make 43% more profit and will still generate the same volume in gross profit dollars each day.

Let’s talk about repricing methods. We’ve thrown the various techniques into three classifications:

  1. Manual
  2. Rule-based
  3. Algorithmic

Manual Repricing

Unless you fall into the small percentage of sellers who have just a few products or sell their own products with no competition whatsoever (that means no resellers have offers on your product as well), manual repricing (doing it yourself by manipulating prices in Seller Central) won’t be your best bet. It is the simplest repricing method and does give you the greatest level of control and visibility. But this method requires the most amount of time and work. For sellers with thousands of products, it’s an impossibility unless you hire an exhaustive workforce and even then, it would perform slower than the other methods.

Manual repricing is a good option for merchants selling:

  • A very small amount of high value items
  • Unique or handmade products
  • Products with no competition on Amazon

Its Advantages include:

  • Transparency (you know what cost the product was set to)
  • And it’s “Free” – although the lack of direct cost does not take into account the much greater cost in time which could be better spent doing a totally replaceable job

Its significant disadvantages include:

  • The daily attention it requires for competitive products
  • The exhaustive time for large databases of products
  • And slow reaction time in adjusting to competitor price changes

Rule-Based Repricing

looks at the competitors’ prices for each product and then adjusts the seller’s price based on a set of user-defined rules. Depending on the specific program, rules can be set to match the lowest price on the market, beat the lowest price by a certain dollar amount, or even be in the lowest 10% of all prices.

Rule-based repricing is a good option for:

  • Merchants selling books, films and other media
  • Merchants who are not Buy Box Eligible
  • Merchants selling low-profit items (including dropshippers) we say this because rule based repricers are usually inexpensive and charged as fixed cost. The more you sell, the less these tools impact your profit margin.

Advantages:

  • Quicker and easier than manual repricing
  • The ability to instantly react to competitive price changes as they happen, often in near real time.
  • Typically inexpensive

Disadvantages:

  • Can take a long time to set up.
  • Rules can become conflicting, requiring some additional management
  • It only take into account prices, ignoring all other seller metrics

They are therefore forced to disregard the Buy Box share and profit margin, and cannot try to find the maximum potential profit.

Algorithmic Repricing

Tries to monitor all of the variables used to determine the Buy Box, and sets a price that will give the optimal balance of Buy Box share and profit margin for each individual product.

Algorithmic repricing is a good option for merchants selling:

  • Products with higher profit margins (as this service is a variable cost)
  • Thousands of unique products
  • A wide range of different products and product lines

Advantages:

  • Setup quicker and easier than rule-based repricing
  • The ability to instantly react to competitive price changes as they happen, often in near real time.
  • Repricing which considers all buy box factors allowing for profit optimization.

Disadvantages:

  • Can cost a lot more than rule-based repricing. Most companies charge a percentage-rate of sales for this type of software.

Algorithmic repricing can deliver high rates of return to sellers with little effort. Most of the process is automated. However, this is also one of the more expensive repricing methods available, and can therefore be prohibitive for smaller merchants or merchants with very low profit margins per product.

We have included a list of repricing tools in our Amazon Software guide.

Increase your Buy Box Share through Improving Seller Performance

Improving Seller Performance: Although we initially covered repricing, the first step for sellers who are trying to increase their Buy Box share should probably be an examination of your Seller Rating, Shipping Time and Customer Response Time. You should look at these metrics to see where you can have the greatest effect with the least amount of effort. It is vital that every seller understands the red zones which almost entirely eliminate the Buy Box:

Seller Rating Below 70%
On-Time Delivery Below 97%
Tracked Orders Below 98%
Late Shipment Rate Above 4%
Cancellation Rate Above 2.5%
Shipping Time More than 14 days
Customer Response Time More than 10% of messages over 24 hours

If a seller’s metrics drop below any one of these levels, it becomes very difficult to win the Buy Box at all, and it places their competition in a position to win the Buy Box, even with a higher landed price.

Avoiding these red zones should be the top priority, well before worrying about your pricing… but of course, if your prices are too high, you won’t get any sales against which you can make improvements to these metrics, most of which are based on orders you get.

We’ve summarized additional detail in the additional resources section “Advance Buy Box Considerations.” Please look through this document as understanding the brackets for Seller Rating, Shipping Time and Customer Response Time can often be the key to efficient Buy Box gains. This is incredibly important for finding those other quick wins that can often have a massive effect on your Buy Box share.

Questions & Answers & Systems

Why Is FBA Such A Big Boost To Buybox Eligibility For A Seller?

  1. Better on-time delivery times
  2. All FBA orders have tracking numbers for customers
  3. Fewer issues on late shipment rate
  4. Almost no cancelled orders on FBA items
  5. On-time shipping times
  6. All of the above

FBA is so critical to most sellers on Amazon.

We have talked about sellers using FBA as a means to compete better with those sellers who compete for sales on the same listings.

But it turns out that for those sellers have buybox eligibility on items where they have no competition, those sellers can still lose out on sales because it’s so easy for PRIME customers to search for only items that are PRIME-eligible, meaning at least one seller has an FBA offer or Amazon Retail has an offer.

So for items from seller with no FBA presence on its listings, those items can get easily suppressed from view of those customers searching for like products.

Why Does Buybox Eligbility Matter So Much To Every Seller?

  1. Without buybox eligibility, a seller’s likelihood of getting a sale is substantially lower
  2. Buybox eligible offers are much more likely to be shown to PRIME customers, one of the most profitable segments of Amazon customers
  3. Just before a seller has the lowest landed price doesn’t mean that seller will get ANY sales
  4. Buybox eligibility is earned by running a solid all-round business – if a seller isn’t eligible for the buybox, the seller likely has some key processes it needs to fix first before earning the right to present with high visibility its catalog of offers on Amazon
  5. All of the above!

If you aren’t managing your business to win the buybox, you aren’t working on the right issues on Amazon.

If you’re here to make money on Amazon, it’s all about the buybox.

Systems To Employ

  1. Seriously consider FBA for your key items, as it helps to drive buybox eligibility through better on-time delivery times, 100% tracked orders, few issues on late shipment rate or cancellation rate or shipping time
  2. get a feedback requesting process in place – whether managed in-house or through a third-party software provider
  3. use a repricer for your inventory if you sell products that have competing offers and if you have more than a few items
  4. establish a system for responding to customer inquiries within 24 hours, 7 days a week – utilize a 3rd party software provider to respond to messages on the weekend if you don’t have anyone in house to handle that responsibility
  5. utilize a 3rd party inventory management & shipping platform for the product and orders you fulfill from your warehouse. This will help to ensure your shipping time, delivery time & rate, and inventory depth are maximized