Own the Buy Box: Sell Faster with These Tips to Help You Control the Amazon Buy Box

We all know that owning the buy box is critical in generating sales. In fact, roughly 80% of the sales on the Amazon platform comes from a user simply clicking on what’s shown to them in the buy box. To make things even more interesting, on mobile platforms, that number jumps up to over 90%. Those are both very large numbers and it  goes without saying that we want to do everything possible to make sure our offers are regularly featured in the buy box. This means we need a solid strategy in place. So, what are some factors that will help you win the buy box?

1. Eligibility– The first thing you have to do is make sure you are even eligible to win the buy box. All you need for this is a Professional Seller Account with Amazon, survive the waiting period (or sell via FBA), have excellent seller metrics, and be selling new products (only new products will be given the buy box. Used, collectable, like new, etc will not be featured)

The good news for sellers who use the FBA service is that there is no 2-6 months wait period like there is for sellers who use Merchant Fulfillment, you can sell in the Buy Box immediately. Moreover, using Amazon’s FBA program gives you a massive competitive advantage, as it continues to be the most important factor in winning the buy box. When selling via FBA, you now offer your buyers fulfillment, customer service, and the infamous two-day shipping services by one of the most revered companies in the world. According to Amazon, customers come first, and by letting Amazon handle all of these, they know that there won’t be any issues when it comes to post-sale operations. Therefore, by default you will get preferential treatment compared to those who don’t use FBA.

Want to check your Buy Box eligibility? Log on to Seller Central and navigate towards your “Inventory” tab. Select “Manage Inventory” and select the “Preferences” tab. Next, locate the “Buy Box eligible” tab within the Column Display section. Then, from the drop down menu, select the option “Show When Available”. If you are eligible, you will see a “YES” at the Buy Box Eligible column at a particular SKU.

2. Seller Metrics – Once you are able to get your products in the buy box, it basically becomes a race to see who can sell the most products and keep the highest seller metrics. If you do this better than the other sellers competing on your products, then you will get more time in the buy box. Remember, Amazon prides itself on its customer-centric platform, so the more you demonstrate the ability to be a premier seller with top notch customer service and very few hits to your stats, the more you will be rewarded for it.

The fulfillment of a significant number of error-free orders is a testament to a seller’s ability to provide a positive shopping experience to customers. That being said, the reality is that no one is perfect. Fortunately for us, what really matters is how responsive you are to order problems when they arise, and whether or not you can handle them, all with a reasonable amount of leeway built in.

The seller metrics standards that you should be concerned with are: Order Defect Rate (Amazon target: less than 1% failure), Pre-fulfillment Cancellation Rate (Amazon target: less than 2.5%), Late Dispatch Rate (Amazon target: less than 4%), Policy Violations (make sure to check Performance notifications regularly), and Buyer-Seller Contact Response time (replies to customers should be made within 24 hours). Side note: If you are using FBA, some of these metrics don’t apply, due to the fact that Amazon is the one responsible for things like shipping on time.

Amazon is a very customer-oriented sales channel; as a result, customer feedback is taken very seriously.  Remember that the more positive customer feedback you receive, the higher the chances of you getting the buy box is. Take good care of your customers by responding quickly to whatever order issues they may have and employ the necessary measures in preventing potential problem areas.

3.  Pricing – First of all, let me stress the point that pricing is not the be all and end all of the buy box game. It is, however, an integral component of the Amazon algorithm that determines buy box ownership, so it is important to understand a few things in regards to pricing and the buy box.

The first thing is that you need to always keep in mind is that in the algorithm, the buy box price is a “total” price, meaning it’s a combination of the item price plus the shipping cost. For us FBA sellers, our shipping is free for Prime orders, so the price we set will always be the price shown. However, for Merchant Fulfilled sellers, the price that goes into the Amazon algorithm will be the item price plus the shipping cost. So what does this mean? It means that our prices can be higher than merchant-fulfilled items and still get the buy box. This is one of the biggest advantages of selling via Amazon FBA.

The second thing to understand is the popular misconception that in order to win the buy box, your product must have the lowest price. This is NOT TRUE. To win the buy box, your offers must be AMONG the lowest, but not necessarily the lowest one. Hence, it is very important that you maintain a highly competitive price. This isn’t a set it-and-forget it game either. It is necessary to employ a reactive pricing strategy, as prices constantly change. Repricing software tools such as Appeagle (highly recommended) can help you monitor and maintain competitive pricing for your inventory.

Keep in mind, the buy box should be among your top priorities, and proper management of these three key areas will help you win the buy box more often. Of course a higher buy box ownership percentage will translate to a spike in sales, faster-moving inventory and much bigger profits.

Do you have any suggestions on how to gain a competitive edge in any of these aspects of winning the buy box? Suggestions or Questions welcome!

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