Anyone who wants to sell professionally on Amazon automatically comes into contact with themes such as rankings, price management and of course the Buy Box. If you sell products offered by multiple providers on Amazon, you share a product page with these other providers. Products are matched by EANs, ISBN, UPC or GTINs, which are unique product numbers that identify an item. In this case, you do not optimize on SEO, but you try to win a share in the Buy Box. Or you go for the entire Buy Box.
What is the Buy Box?
In simple words, the Buy Box is the Amazon’s shopping cart. It is on the top right of every product page.
If you do not sell exclusive products, you share a product page with other providers. Only one provider gets the position in the Buy Box. When the customer clicks the ‘Add to cart’ button, he automatically placed the products of that one provider in the Buy Box into the shopping cart. Other providers are not shown on the product page.
Buy Box on mobile
For mobile purchases, the percentage mentioned above is even higher. The reason for this is that only the provider in the Buy Box is shown on the mobile page or in the app. There is no link that leads to other providers.
According to Amazon, the share of mobile buyers has never been that high. In 2017, more than 50% of customers worldwide made their purchases via mobile. So if you offer products that are low-threshold and often purchased via mobile, then it is even more important to win the Buy Box.
Conditions to win the Buy Box
Not every salesperson is qualified to win the Buy Box. There are certain conditions that you have to meet in order to have a chance at the Buy Box at all.
- You definitely need to have a professional seller account.
- You must have the Buy Box eligibility status – you can check this status in your Seller Central Account. New vendors must first pass a probationary period on Amazon and demonstrate at this time that they have a good vendor-performance.
- You sell new products, so no second-hand products.
- Your products must be available and you must have a certain stock so that you can meet the demand.
The 3 key factors to win the Buy Box
If you meet the conditions, the Buy Box algorithm will compare each product and every seller to certain factors. With popular products with a large number of sellers, it is possible that several sellers in the Buy Box alternate.
Amazon wants to offer its customers the best possible shopping experience. The platform, therefore, weighs up between a number of important factors of the seller-performance which product will be placed in the Buy Box. The success formula for the Buy Box will be never revealed by Amazon, but from experience, I can say that these are the 3 most important factors:
- Using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)
- Competitive total price (price + shipping costs)
- Shipping time
1. Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)
This factor has the biggest influence on winning the Buy Box. With Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), the Amazon retailer uses basically storage space and allows Amazon to package, send and return all orders. The vendor also outsources the customer service to the retail giant. Check whether FBA is profitable for you. It can be worth it.
- FBA saves a lot of time for the seller
- FBA also automatically allows products to be offered via Amazon Prime, which makes the products more attractive to many consumers. Prime always means shipping and delivery within 1 day. Products offered via Amazon Prime have a conversion rate of 74% and products without Prime 14% , according to ConversionXL .
What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is a membership of Amazon and costs $119 a year for consumers in the United States. This means that these consumers benefit from the exclusive Amazon Prime service:
- Free Premium Shipping (guaranteed delivery within 1 day)
- Free Same day delivery (evening express) for certain products from $35
- Premium access to top offers
- Free unlimited streaming of films and series
- Free Prime music
- Amazon Prime customers often filter results to “Prime offers only”
- The products state that the shipment is organized by Amazon, which creates trust among the potential customers
- FBA products get better positions from Amazon on search result pages
- FBA products have a better chance on the Buy Box
- 24/7 customer service in the language of the country of sale. Gift packaging and return handling is provided by Amazon for free
- No minimum number of products, no start-up costs, no subscription – you only pay for the storage and processing of the order (shipping)
- No own (or less) storage space needed
- The customer can always follow the package on the road (track & trace)
- It is also possible to sell a part of the products from the range via FBA
- No branding possible – products are shipped in Amazon packaging
- The own shop system must be able to connect to the Amazon system, with a Magento Shop system, for example, this can be done quite easily
- If they are complex products that require a lot of customer service, it can be disadvantageous because the employees of Amazon’s customer service do not have very in-depth product knowledge. If they can not answer questions, they will be forwarded to the seller. This leads to a longer waiting time for the customer
- Costs depend on the size and weight of the products. The larger and heavier products are, the more expensive FBA
2. Competitive total price (price + shipping costs)
The total price is the price of the product plus shipping costs. The lower the price is, the higher the chance on the Buy Box. There are three options for managing prices on Amazon. Prices can be adjusted individually for each product, which is quite time-consuming. In addition, there are two different price management tools from Amazon that can be used.
Set rules to manage prices
For example, certain rules allow you to react quickly to price adjustments of competitors, without having to constantly monitor all prices yourself. Examples of price rules that you could draw up are:
- Always keep the price of a certain product range at the same level as the product in the Buy Box.
- Always keep the price of a certain product range $0.50 lower than the lowest price of Amazon Prime products.
Keep in mind that certain rules do not conflict with each other.
Automatic price management (using the Amazon algorithm)
Here, the Amazon algorithm automatically takes into account all factors that are important to win the Buy Box. You can still specify a maximum and minimum price limit with this price management tool.
The competition for the Buy Box sometimes results in some sellers offering their products extra cheaply.
3. Shipping time
The faster a product reaches the customer, the more customer-friendly you are as a seller for Amazon. But beware: it is not smart to promise a fast shipping time if you can not meet 100%. Amazon registers all complaints from customers and this is at the expense of your seller performance. This factor could possibly have adverse effects for international providers.
A single trick for winning completely or getting a share in the Buy Box does not exist. It is a combination of several factors. The following factors also affect your chances:
- Availability of the products. Without products in stock, you are not eligible for the Buy Box
- Shipping of products with track & trace capability, Amazon sees this as more customer-friendly
- Number of negative reviews, the lower, the better
- Number of returns, the lower, the better
- Delayed deliveries, the less, the better
- Response to customer questions is expected within 24 hours, 7 days a week
Making work of the Buy Box
The Buy Box win is not the only way to sell on Amazon, but it is the most attractive and most profitable way. Do you already work?