First off, what even is the Buy Box?!
The Buy Box is the actual box on a product detail page on Amazon where a customer clicks to add the item to their basket or purchase (if one-click purchasing is turned on). If you are not winning the Buy Box then if a shopper clicks on the ‘Add to Basket’ button you won’t be getting the sale. If none of your listings are winning the Buy Box then you won’t be making any sales. So, the Buy Box is kind of a big deal!
The Buy Box exists because Amazon is a marketplace. In theory, there should only be one listing for each individual product and all the people selling that item can be found on the same page. So, for those Sellers who are not winning the Buy Box on product listing pages securing the sale for that item can be hard!
In the image below you can see that the Seller is utilising FBA and is also winning the Buy Box. So if a shopper clicks on the yellow button on the right-hand side, Hillfarm Oils will secure the sale. Other Sellers are shown below in a separate box, so, in theory, shoppers could choose to buy through one of these, but the Buy Box seller is chosen by Amazon to provide the best option for customers.
What influences the Buy Box?
There are a number of different factors which have an impact on which Seller is eligible to win the Buy Box. We have given a brief outline on some of the key areas below. Of course, Amazon is ever changing so this list is not exhaustive!
Fulfilment method has a big part to play in the Buy Box calculations. Unsurprisingly, any Sellers who are using FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) to fulfil orders and Vendors (those who sell their products direct to Amazon as opposed to the consumer) have a big advantage here. Of course, Amazon is going to favour Sellers who are able to have the product shipped to the shopper with Prime, there wouldn’t be much of an advantage for Sellers of utilising FBA if it didn’t give a boost in winning the Buy Box.
The shipping time links in nicely with the fulfilment method above. If a Seller is utilising FBA then their products are eligible for Prime delivery (typically 1 day, sometimes same day delivery). Likewise, if Amazon is selling the product (Vendor users) these too are eligible for Prime and quick shipping. For Sellers not using FBA, instead fulfilling their own orders (or FBA/Fulfilled by Merchant as it is known) ensuring quick shipping is a must. If a Seller can keep shipping times down to under 2 days then it gives them a better chance of winning the Buy Box, anything over this will make it hard unless nobody else is selling the item.
Whilst having the lowest price doesn’t guarantee that a Seller will win the Buy Box, having a price much higher than any other sellers will likely mean losing out on the Buy Box. If you have a good Seller Rating, are using FBA and have good feedback then you can likely afford to price the item slightly higher than 3rd party sellers who are self-fulfilling orders.
Amazon’s Feedback Rating is constantly updating with every order you receive. It comprises a score from orders over the past 365 days but is weighted more for orders within the last 90 days. If you have a very good feedback score then you have much more chance in winning the Buy Box, which makes sense, why would Amazon want people to purchase items on their website which the shopper is then unhappy with?
Other factors that influence the Buy Box include order defect rate, late shipment rate, on-time delivery, customer response time, refund rate, cancellation and many more.
The Buy Box winner can vary at any time, so it is essential that Sellers keep an eye on their Buy Box win percentages within their Seller or Vendor Central accounts.
As you can see, winning the Buy Box is not a straightforward process but there are a few things that you can do to help increase your chances. The key factor we have found is utilising FBA. The quick delivery added to the better customer response times and reduced late shipment rate (as Amazon will not take these into account as they become its responsibility once shipping through FBA) all add up to a much better chance of winning the Buy Box and securing the sale.