Obtaining Amazon's Buy Box

Each Amazon product page has an area called the Buy Box that Amazon awards to one seller at a time. This piece of real estate has proven to be an invaluable asset to sellers and a strong contributor to increased sales. The Buy Box is reserved solely for sellers who are considered Highly Rated Sellers as determined by Amazon and who also excel in various seller performance metrics.

  • Although it may seem like you're forever competing against Amazon for this prime selling spot, don't give up hope! Amazon may run out of stock at key times of the year, and they rely on third-party sellers to offer these items to customers. Keep your stock deep and your products updated.
  • Sellers who do own the Buy Box tend to be the cheapest, have deep inventory, be a highly rated seller with a high volume of feedback and have a low rate of returns and cancelled orders.
  • It takes time to own the Buy Box – you need to build up your listing popularity, keep increasing your feedback score and above all, prove your level of customer service and care.
  • Keep aiming for the Buy Box – your sell-through rate will dramatically increase, driving that all-important revenue number up!

 

Video


 

Strategy


 

General Guidelines to Obtain the Buy Box

The decisions you make for each step of selling on Amazon impact your performance standing, and your performance standing impacts your Buy Box eligibility.

Obey the rules!


When you sign up to sell on Amazon you agree to a set of policies. In these policies, you will find a long list of prohibited actions and practices. Avoid less than honorable practices and build your business on Amazon through hard work and you will be rewarded.

Avoid giving the buyer something to complain about


As long as your products are classified correctly and the buyer receives what they thought they were getting from the listing, then you will have happy buyers. Refunds, claims, and negative feedback will work against you.

It takes time


In most categories you are not eligible for the Buy Box right away. You need to develop your business on Amazon and build a strong, positive reputation before you can qualify for the Buy Box. Your sales history is an important aspect – both number of sales and customer satisfaction on those sales.

Price plus shipping is important


No surprise that the lower priced sellers, including shipping, will be given a benefit in the Amazon algorithm. Make decisions that work for you and your business.

Excel at customer service


Mistakes happen. Start by avoiding scenarios where they can happen and when they do remember that to Amazon "the customer comes first".

 

Buy Box Checklist

Amazon uses a complex and proprietary algorithm that constantly monitors seller performance for all sellers, and adjusts for real-time results. Unfortunately, there are no specific formulas that will always earn you the Buy Box, and there are no options for buying your way to the top, but superior performance will increase your chances of winning the Buy Box. Below is a checklist of actions you can take to help your chances of being awarded the Buy Box.

TaskWhat Amazon is ConsideringWinning Practices
Become a Highly Rated Seller Are you a highly rated seller?
  • Consistently excel in all of Amazon's seller metrics.
  • Maintain a high level of customer satisfaction.
  • Utilize the tools available on the Amazon Seller Dashboard.
Offer Competitive PricingDo you have a low competitive price + shipping?
  • Maintain a low total price, including product price and shipping.
  • Consider using ChannelAdvisor's Amazon Repricer tool to assist with this effort.
Offer Prime FulfillmentIs your item being Fulfilled by Amazon or is it being offered via Seller Fulfilled Prime?
Maintain Available QuantityDo you maintain a consistent available quantity?
  • Monitor your quantity levels and maintain a consistent quantity threshold.
Achieve Sales VolumeDo you have a successful sales history?
  • A proven track record of converting sales over time
  • Quality customer service and competitive pricing
Minimize Refund RateHow often do you issue a refund for seller error?
  • Ensure your fulfillment time is as fast and efficient as it can be.
  • Consider utilizing the Amazon FBA service.
  • Offer quality products and communicate clearly with your customers.
Achieve Positive Customer FeedbackHow do customers rate your service?
  • Solicit customer feedback in all communications to your customers.
  • Investigate negative feedback and resolve the issue immediately. (Buyers have the ability to rescind negative remarks after a resolution is achieved from their feedback page in their Amazon account.)
  • Provide contact information when your order is dispatched and encourage the customer to communicate with you if there is a problem.
  • Your goal should be to maintain a 95% positive rating and a score of 4.5 or higher.
Minimize A-to-z Guarantee ClaimsHow often do you get returns?
  • Manage each claim courteously.
  • Be proactive and quick with responses.
  • Issue a refund, if needed.

 

Becoming a Highly Rated Seller

Becoming a highly rated seller can make you eligible for the Buy Box and allow you visibility in the top of the More Buying Choices Box directly under the Buy Box. Ultimately this status is awarded on a category basis by Amazon's category managers. If you feel you have achieved the criteria for this status listed below, it doesn't hurt to contact Amazon Seller Support to determine your eligibility to become a highly rated seller.

 

Order Defect Rate


This is based on customer feedback and A-to-Z claims and chargebacks. You can easily monitor your order defect rate via the Amazon Seller Dashboard in your ChannelAdvisor account. Your goal here is to have a rate of less than 1%.

Seller Performance Metrics


In addition to maintaining a low Order Defect Rate, you will also want to monitor your other seller performance metrics which include:

  • Cancellation Rate – Orders cancelled by seller (Target rate = <2.5%)
  • Late Shipment Rate – Overdue by 3 or more days (Target rate = < 5%)
  • Policy Violations – Make sure to follow all of Amazon's rules

Overall Customer Shopping Experience


The customer shopping experience encompasses areas such as speed of delivery, shipping options, as well as overall quality of customer service. Participation in the Amazon FBA program is an excellent way of ensuring a positive score for this category.

Time and Experience Selling on Amazon


You must first prove that you are a quality merchant by proving yourself over time. Typically this is about 60 days, but this timeframe can vary depending on the category you are selling in.

Earn Customer Trust


This generally means the following:

  • List your products accurately with quality titles descriptions and images
  • Ship accurately and on time
  • Communicate effectively with your customers
  • Provide high-quality customer service
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