What Is The Buy Box?
Amazon shoppers may not realize when they’re looking at a Buy Box, but it’s very important to sellers.
The Buy Box is part of most product listing pages on Amazon. It’s the rectangular section, next to the product name and bullet points, which offers price and shipping information and has the Add To Cart and Buy Now buttons. Less prominently, it also shows what business is selling the item.
If multiple sellers are on the same listing, they will be competing to win control of the Buy Box. Winning the Buy Box requires beating out other sellers of that item across several criteria established by Amazon.
This PDP for an electric tea kettle shows the Buy Box on the far right, beginning with the price at the top and going down to Add to Registry & Gifting at the bottom. You can see the seller that is winning the Buy Box at this moment. If a shopper clicks Add to Cart or Buy Now they will be making the purchase from that seller, even though this particular product has another seller on the listing.
It’s also entirely possible for a PDP to have no Buy Box at all, if there is no seller who is eligible for the Buy Box.
Why Does The Buy Box Matter?
Winning the Buy Box is important. Sellers should strive to win the Buy Box the majority of the time in order to serve ads and make sales.
Ease of Purchase
Most shoppers will buy from the seller in the Buy Box because that’s what the PDP design drives towards. It’s easiest to click the first Add To Cart button you see, and takes more effort to click around looking for other options, or even to consider that there could be other options available. Put simply, owning the Buy Box means capturing the vast majority of the conversions.
Ability to Run Ads
An equally important truth about Amazon is that you can’t run ads on a product that’s not in the Buy Box. Amazon will only serve Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands ads for a product that is winning the Buy Box. If you want to leverage the power of advertising to boost your profitability – and really you need to advertise in order to be competitive on Amazon – then you’ll need to pay attention to the Buy Box.
Also, if you lose the Buy Box for an extended period of time you’re likely to lose ranking for the product because there isn’t as much recent conversion history.
Winning the Buy Box is part of retail readiness. To be completely retail-ready on Amazon a product must have steady inventory, be winning the Buy Box, have plenty of reviews, and have optimized listings.
How Do I Know If I’m Winning The Buy Box?
In order to win the Buy Box, a seller must first be eligible to appear there in the first place. To be Buy Box eligible, there must be a professional seller account and the account health must be in good standing. To check whether a product is eligible for the Buy Box, go to Manage Inventory within Seller Central and check the Buy Box Eligible column.
You can also check in Seller Central to see the rate at which any of your products are winning the Buy Box. Within Seller Central go to Reporting > Business Reports to see Buy Box percentage for each of your ASINs. You can choose a date range and sort by several different metrics to really understand your products’ performance. Try sorting by Buy Box percentage to see which of your products are doing the best and which need the most work in order to win the Buy Box.
How Can I Win The Buy Box?
Exactly how Amazon’s algorithm awards time in the Buy Box is a closely guarded secret, a secret sauce they won’t publish the recipe for. However, experience and observation have shown that several factors are consistently involved, some of them more important than others. You as a seller can potentially have control over all of them.
Fulfillment method (FBA or seller-fulfilled Prime), shipping time, and price are the most important factors for winning the Buy Box. Our analyst team has repeatedly observed this to be the case for the sellers that we advise.
“Pricing and fulfillment method are the two biggest factors when it comes to winning the Buy Box. Amazon is of course going to give preference to the lowest price, and the same is true for having a ‘Prime eligible’ (FBA and SFP) offer compared to FBM that is not Prime eligible.”
Fulfillment method refers to the way that the product ships to the customer. FBA or Seller-Fulfilled Prime are recommended as the best way to achieve the Buy Box, because Amazon knows its 150 million Prime subscribers are looking for free Prime Shipping. If you’re only offering FBM without Prime, and you want to win the Buy Box, consider joining FBA or setting up Seller-Fulfilled Prime.
Consumers aren’t just interested in shipping method, they’re also interested in shipping time. For many shoppers, turning to Amazon has replaced heading to the store, but planning horizons haven’t necessarily adjusted. That means shoppers expect and need to have products delivered almost as fast as they could get them in the traditional brick and mortar way. If you can offer 2-day shipping, or at least a shipping time of only a few days, you have a better chance of winning the Buy Box.
A competitive price is also critical to winning the Buy Box. Often a seller who regularly won the Buy Box but sees that rate drop off suddenly will find that a competitor has undercut them on price. Amazon is generally going to give the Buy Box to a comparable offer with a better price, so long as that price is within range of other prices.
Utilizing repricing software can help you to keep your prices both profitable and in line with Amazon’s calculations for the Buy Box. Research suggests that a repricing AI can lead to a higher Buy Box win rate.
Fulfillment and pricing are the most important factors that go into the Buy Box, but they are far from the only ones. Other factors that are likely to have an effect are inventory depth and metrics related to customer experience. These are all aspects of your business you should be attending to regardless.
Inventory depth means that you are likely to continue to have sufficient inventory on hand to fulfill orders if Amazon continues to give you the Buy Box. It makes sense — to be given the opportunity to sell items, you need to have the items ready.
Amazon is also looking at how well you deliver on promises made in your PDP and delight your customers once they hit the purchase button. Make sure you’re achieving all of the following in order to maximize your chances of owning the Buy Box:
- Plenty of good reviews
- Minimal order defect rate
- Low late shipment rate
- Stellar on-time delivery
- Quick customer response time
- Low cancellation rates
- Low refund rates
What Won’t Help You Win The Buy Box
Sometimes sellers think that if they’re a brand owner that should give them automatic preference for the Buy Box, but this is not the case. Regardless of brand status, Amazon is looking for the same fulfillment, pricing, and customer delight that they look for from any seller.
“Being the brand owner will not make a difference here. It’s important that brand owners have a good handle on their supply chain. If they start losing the Buy Box because they’re getting undercut by another seller on price, they’d (hopefully) be able to identify that seller and might want to stop supplying product to them..”
What To Check If You’re Not Winning The Buy Box
If you’re not winning the Buy Box and are not sure why, start solving the mystery by methodically working through possible issues. This table provides a good quick reference list or you can work through the following list of questions.
The answer to every question below should be ‘Yes!’ The first time you get to a question where the answer is ‘No’, stop and address that issue, then return to the list and continue to work your way down.
- Is your Account Health in good standing?
- Are you offering the product for a competitive price?
- Are you offering FBA or seller-fulfilled Prime?
- Are you offering the product with rapid fulfillment time?
- Do you have plenty of inventory on hand?
- Do you have good reviews and ratings?
- Do you have a minimal order defect rate?
- Do you have a low late-shipment rate?
- Do you have stellar on-time delivery?
- Do you have a quick customer response time?
- Do you have low cancellation rates?
- Do you have low refund rates?
Winning And Keeping The Buy Box
The Buy Box is not something you can win once and for all and then forget about it. The competitive landscape is constantly changing and Amazon’s algorithm is likely to change too. If you set up robust business systems to handle pricing, fulfillment, inventory management, and customer service, you’ll be ready for the next curve in the road.
When you’re regularly winning the Buy Box it’s sensible to invest in advertising to attract customers and grow your business. See how Teikametrics Flywheel can help take your business to the next level.