Winning the Buy Box is the most effective way to see success on Amazon. But with the Buy Box rules and algorithm constantly changing, it can be a hard game to win.
For example, the lowest price used to almost always win the Buy Box. Now, Amazon heavily weighs seller performance metrics alongside price to ensure they’re offering the best value and service to customers.
Another example is that Amazon’s Buy Box algorithm used to heavily factor in Order Percentage Score, but now Amazon doesn’t even track this metric. They favor shipping time in the buy Box algorithm.
There are a lot of factors that go into winning Amazon’s coveted Buy Box. So let’s take a look at why the Buy Box is so important and what variables currently come into play in order to win in 2019.
What is the Buy Box?
The Buy Box is the white box on the right-hand side of a product listing. This is where Amazon customers can quickly add a product to their shopping cart. When they click “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now,” they are automatically buying the goods from the seller who is currently winning the Buy Box.
Why do you want to win the Buy Box?
Most consumers simply click the “Buy Now” button in the Buy Box to add an item to their cart. They see this item as Amazon’s top, trusted pick, so they rarely look at the other sellers or listings unless they’re looking to compare price. That means the majority of the time, the sales go to the winner of the Buy Box. If you want to ramp up your sales on Amazon, you need the visibility the Buy Box gives you.
In 2019, the significance of the Buy Box has been amplified; grabbing mobile customers is more important than ever and this feature is prominent within device apps. Amazon’s mobile customer base is growing quickly. According to recently collected data, Amazon’s mobile browser saw 162 million views while the app had a close 122 million. If you want to win on Amazon, you have to consider the increase in mobile, on-the-go customers.
On Amazon’s mobile app and mobile site, customers see the “Buy Now” button right underneath the product image. Customers don’t see the link to view other sellers or the offer listings page on their phones, either. Only the Buy Box winner is displayed, so customers are more likely than not to purchase from that seller. That means the Buy Box winner comes out on top.
Essentially, the Buy Box winner gets:
- More visibility
- More sales (especially on mobile)
- More revenue
- Greater standing on Amazon
- Enhanced trust and credibility with the consumer
How do you win the Buy Box?
Amazon uses an algorithm to determine who will win the Buy Box at any time. Though the algorithm is kept private, there are some known metrics that definitely go into the algorithm to determine your ability to win.
Amazon’s main goal is to deliver the best value to their customers.While pricing is a big factor, Amazon also considers shipping speed and the quality of both the product and customer service.
Overall, you need strong seller metrics at a competitive price. We’ll get into the details below.
Keep in mind that you won’t win the Buy Box 100% of the time. In general, Amazon will rotate the Buy Box winners, giving the most time to the sellers with the highest selling metrics and most competitive price. That means a seller with high metrics and a reasonable price might win 80% of the time, and the second seller with lower metrics might win 20% of the time.
You have to be in the game in order to win it. That means you need to first be “Buy Box Eligible.” To qualify, you need to have a Professional Seller account, not just an individual account. You also need to meet certain performance metrics.
Your product also needs to be new. Used items can’t win the Buy Box, though they can appear in a separate “Buy Used” Box. You also have to have enough availability and stock, which tells Amazon that you are able to deliver to consumers.
You can see if you’re eligible to win the Buy Box on Seller Central. Go to your “Inventory” tab. Select “Manage Inventory” and “Preferences.” You’ll be able to see if you are Buy Box Eligible here.
To be eligible:
- Professional Seller
- High-performance metrics
- New items
- Available stock
One of the most important factors in winning the Buy Box is your fulfillment method. Amazon rates the value you can provide to consumers based on how safely and quickly you can fulfill and ship your orders.
FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) sellers win the Buy Box most often because Amazon trusts its own logistics team to deliver fast and on-time with top-notch customer service. Using FBA is an automatic boost in your ability to win the Buy Box.
If you don’t use FBA, your next best option is Seller Fulfilled Prime. This allows you to control your own shipment and operations, which gives you a better chance of winning the Buy Box compared to regular FBM (Fulfilled By Merchant). Learn more about Seller Fulfilled Prime here.
3. Shipping metrics
In the same vein, Amazon will also look at your shipping metrics to ensure you’re meeting customers’ needs.
Amazon customers want fast shipping, sometimes within days or even the same day, so the Buy Box algorithm takes ship time into account. They’ll also make sure that you don’t have complaints or poor metrics regarding not delivering on time, which applies more to SFP or FBM sellers.
Your ship time is especially important to win the Buy Box for time-sensitive goods, like perishables and birthday items.
Tip: Whether or not you’re an FBA seller, offering free shipping may help you win the Buy Box!
4. Landed price
Amazon emphasizes value by looking at competitive pricing. The Buy Box algorithm will take into account your “landed price,” meaning the total price including shipping.
The lowest price doesn’t automatically win, though. Amazon will look at price alongside seller metrics. If two sellers had the exact same seller metrics, the lower price would win. But if one seller has drastically higher performance metrics, they may be able to price higher and still win the Buy Box. If your seller metrics are lower than your competitors’, you’ll see more success if you price down.
Don’t just go with the lowest price in the hopes of winning the Buy Box. This can kill your margins, lower your revenue, and even worsen your seller metrics. Make sure you price appropriately for your company’s needs; larger retailers may be able to drop their prices, but you have more control of the service you provide!
Price competitively, not low.
Does Amazon always win the Buy Box?
As a third-party seller on Amazon, it is possible you’re competing against the big retail giant itself. If Amazon is also a seller of your product, you’re in direct competition with one of the largest retailers in the world.
Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t win the Buy Box, even if Amazon is in competition on your listing! If you have incredible seller metrics and low prices, it’s completely possible to even beat Amazon itself. In most cases, though, you’ll share the rewards with Amazon by rotating who wins the Buy Box throughout the day. If your listing is competitive enough, you may even get 50% Buy Box time alongside Amazon.
Don’t let Amazon overwhelm you. If you want to avoid competing with Amazon, though, consider private labeling -- this allows you to maintain control over your products, so you’re not in competition with anyone for the Buy Box. Learn more about the growth and benefits of private labeling here.
Winning the Buy Box
To win the Buy Box, you need to prove to Amazon’s algorithm that you’re the seller that delivers the highest value to customer. This means top notch customer service, high-performance metrics, and competitive pricing. Improving your Buy Box standing to boost visibility, increase sales (especially mobile sales), and grow your business will enable you to see major success on Amazon.