How to Win the Amazon Buy Box
If you’re selling on Amazon, then winning the Buy Box is something that will constantly be in the forefront of your mind, it’s your holy grail. But if you’re feeling a little like Leonardo Di Caprio circa 2014 and the buy box is your Oscar, you’ve come to the right place. Leo got his Oscar, and you can too.
Unlike poor Leo however, you don’t need to suffer from hypothermia and wrestle with bears in order to win your Oscar. You just need the 5 elements that we’ll discuss in this article.
What is the Buy Box?
I’m guessing that when you’re reading this post, you already know what the Buy Box is – why else would you want to know how to win it?
But just in case, here’s a quick overview:
As the name suggests, the Buy Box is the place where customers add items to their cart. In the screenshot below, it’s the box that I’ve highlighted in red.
In Amazon’s own words, “A key feature of the Amazon platform is that the same product can be sold by several sellers. If several sellers offer the same product in “new” condition, they may be eligible to compete for the Buy Box for that product.”
Using the example from the screenshot, there are actually 64 sellers selling Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphones, you can see this in the ‘Other Sellers on Amazon’ box below the Buy Box. Using an algorithm incorporating multiple elements, Amazon decides which of those sellers’ product should be the one that customers can immediately add to their cart.
By winning the Buy Box, you’re looking at a high chance of increased sales, so you can understand why we’re calling it the Amazon Seller’s holy grail.
It’s these elements that I’ll be discussing in order to show you how to win the buy box, so let’s get to it shall we?
Essentials for Winning the Buy Box
Let’s start with the most obvious choice – price. You can imagine that having the lowest price will immediately give you a better chance of winning. But I’d be lying if I said that was it, there are a couple of things to consider first.
First of all, in the grand scheme of the Buy Box algorithm, your price also includes your shipping fee. So before you go dropping all your prices, make sure you’ve taken into consideration how much you’re charging for delivery.
You should also consider if you can compete against the current price the product is being sold for. While dropping your price right down could mean you win the box, it’s also having a huge impact on your margins.
You might think that in order to win, you need to drop your price from £6 to £3 – quite the drop. However just by taking a few moments to check the price of the product that is currently winning, you might realise that you only need to drop your price to £4.99.
You can check the price that’s currently winning by heading to the Manage Inventory page.
There are formulas out there that tell you how to work out the right price that will win, but they don’t work for everyone.
One key thing to remember is that, as Amazon specifically says on their site, “The lowest price doesn’t guarantee winning the buy box”. There are multiple parts to the algorithm that determines the winner, so don’t sacrifice your margins unless you have to.
A large majority of the Amazon Sellers that you might speak to will tell you, this particular element has a huge impact on your chances. Potentially more than your price.
Amazon already suggests that having multiple shipping options available can improve your chances, but what really helps is having FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon).
There are often times when a seller with the lowest price has been beaten by a seller with FBA.
As Matthew Ogborne wrote, there’s a reason why FBA is preferred by Amazon. Firstly, they have your products in their warehouse, where they can check it over and make sure the customer will be happy with it. Secondly, they’re in full control of the shipping process, meaning they cater for Prime customers.
A recent report showed an estimated conversion rate of 13% for Amazon customers, this of course varied category to category, however an average Prime customer was rocking a 74% conversion rate, hey, if you have already paid for shipping and it is next day, if not 2 hours, why look anywhere else?
The customer experience with your listings and products is essential to Amazon. In fact Amazon thrives on providing a great customer experience, so it’s no surprise that they give greater precedent to seller’s who do exactly that. They aren’t going to promote those who have a poor customer service.
As part of this customer experience, Amazon takes into account your seller rating and order defect rate, it is therefore a good strategy to proactively reach out to your customers to ask for feedback and build up your seller rating.
Your seller rating is calculated based on the number of sales you’ve made and your order quality score (which in itself takes into account any issues your orders may have had, such as delayed delivery, chargebacks and more).
Your Order Defect Rate is the percentage of orders that have received negative feedback, A-to-Z claims and/or chargebacks.
Both of these rates are there to make sure you’re providing a great customer service to users and to help you identify any problems.
The last element (though certainly not the last piece of the Buy Box formula) is shipping.
We’ve already talked about how fulfilment affects your chances, but not everyone can afford the fees involved.
You should still try to offer multiple shipping options – having a standard and next day delivery option could make all the difference when you’re competing with other sellers who don’t have FBA.
If you’re able to offer free shipping too, that’s also going to help with the Price aspect of the formula.
Also, the quicker your product can be shipped to the customer, the better your chances. Simple!
In the same way that Google has never revealed the secret to their algorithm, so too have Amazon protected the secret to winning their Buy Box. However, through testing and seller experiences, we know that these 4 elements are essential to winning the Buy Box.
If you want a breakdown of which elements to focus on – I’d check out CPC Strategy’s post on the subject – they’ve ranked each piece in order of importance and put forward suggestions for optimal and bare minimum factors.
Looking back at the different elements for winning the Buy Box, it’s clear to see that they’re all elements that help Amazon reach their mission – to become the most customer centric company in the world.
From the lowest price and best shipping options, to other customers’ experiences, this is all about rewarding the sellers who keep the customer central to their business.
If you can do the same, not only will it benefit you in the battle for the Buy Box, but it will also help your business as a whole too.