Late October is when Amazon sellers ramp up their operations and make every effort to stock up in time for winter sales. But you can’t put your best foot forward if you don’t know how to win a Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More on Amazon. Here’s a quick recap of Buy Box eligibility, percentage, rotation, suppression, and more.
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What Is the Amazon Buy Box?
“Buy Box” is seller jargon for “Featured Offer”. That’s a widget that displays Amazon’s offer of choice. It’s also the default option for buyers who don’t want to scroll through the offers page and prefer to “Buy Now” instead.
The Amazon Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More shows who sells the item, who dispatches it, the price, a quantity drop-down box, shipping options and charges, import fees, and gift wrapping options. The offer that wins the Buy Box is chosen automatically, based on Amazon’s algorithm.
Does Every Product on Amazon Have a Buy Box?
Some types of products, such as media items, come with two Amazon Buy Boxes: one for ‘New’ offers and the other for ‘Used’ ones. The same goes for listings with offers from Amazon Renewed or Warehouse Deals. All other listings should feature a single offer, unless the Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More is suppressed.
What Is Amazon Buy Box Suppression?
As seen on the right hand side of the image above, the Buy Box may be missing. Instead, Amazon displays a box that says “See All Buying Options”. This is a case of Amazon Buy Box suppression, where nobody owns the Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More.
Amazon suppresses the Buy Box for all sellers on account of a single rule-breaker. It can happen to you too for a variety of reasons, but the cause is most likely price-related. Here are 10 of the most common reasons for Amazon Buy Box suppression:
- Exceeding the daily cap on repricing attempts and getting the 8182 error code in the feed.
- Overpricing bundles or multi-packs, which is against the Amazon Fair Price Policy.
- Breaking the Price Validation rule with a price 6 times greater than recent values.
- Conspiring with other sellers to ‘fix’ the price, which is against Seller Code.
- Noncompetitive price as compared to other sites, as Inc.com warns.
- Getting dragged into a Price War.
- Rise in customer complaints.
- Sales volume is too low.
- The listing needs optimizing (images, bullet points, etc.)
- Seller metrics are below par.
Buy Box suppression can affect any listing; even the ones with an Amazon’s Choice badge. In the example below, seller metrics and listing optimization are clearly not the issue. What triggered the suppression is the fact that the lowest offer is 26% cheaper than the next one.
In this case, the seller tried to undercut his competitor and brought the price down drastically to win the Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More. But then they left it there, where it was flagged up by Amazon bots and rejected by the Amazon algorithm.
This algorithm determines who is eligible for the Buy Box, who receives it, and how long they get to keep it. This reshuffle is something automatic repricers can’t wrap their heads around. Luckily, BuyBoxBuddy is more than capable of winning and holding onto the Buy Box for you.
Amazon’s Buy Box Eligibility Algorithm
All offers must meet certain conditions in terms of availability, fulfillment, and price to qualify for the Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More. But nobody knows the weight of each of these parameters. Here’s how to satisfy these three conditions and not forfeit the Buy Box:
- Availability. Have at least one unit in stock at all times.
- Price. Choose a competitive price that doesn’t break Amazon Fair Price Policy, Price Validation rules, or Seller Code.
- Fulfillment. There must be at least one active Shipped by Amazon or FBA offer for an item listed as ‘New’. If not, then an SFP or MFN offer with dispatch speed and shipping options comparable to Amazon’s.
Sellers must also meet certain conditions. To begin with, they must subscribe to a Professional selling plan, which costs $39.99/month. Secondly, their accounts must meet the minimum threshold for seller metrics, as well as sales volume and trading history criteria.
Most of the metrics below apply to all Amazon sellers. For instance, no Amazon seller can cancel more than 1 out of every 40 orders in a week. But Buy Box candidates must go above and beyond. For instance, 90% of their responses to buyers must be sent within 1 hour.
Why and How Does the Buy Box Rotate?
Nobody gets to keep the Amazon Buy Box indefinitely, even if they’re the only seller on a listing. Instead, there’s a reshuffle called Amazon Buy Box rotation. That’s why it’s so important to find that pricing ‘sweet spot’ and keep the price high as soon as you win the Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More.
The Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More tends to rotate every few minutes, but it all depends on the product category, the competition, and various other factors. Here are the 10 main principles of Buy Box rotation:
- The Buy Box is shared proportionally. Everyone gets an equal share, all else being equal.
- Price changes are the main cause for rotation because they happen often.
- Rotation favors specific price points, so not all eligible offers are Buy Box candidates.
- Choosing a price that’s out of bounds will tilt the odds in your competitor’s favor.
- Amazon will swap the Buy Box even if there’s no price change.
- Amazon Buy Box rotation is fast and often biased toward specific sellers.
- When there’s a clear favorite, focus on them and don’t overcut them.
- Amazon can swap the Buy Box while an item is in the cart. Buyers may not even notice.
- Once the Buy Box is yours, it stays yours for your share of time, all things being equal.
- You are free to tweak your price, within reason, while you own the Buy Box.
That last point is very important. After all, what’s the point of winning the Amazon Buy Box if you can’t raise your price quickly to turn a profit? But you need to do that for several items at once, and repricers don’t have that ability; with one exception: BuyBoxBuddy.
BuyBoxBuddy is different in many ways. It enables you to check listings with suppressed Buy Boxes. It lets you see when your prices aren’t competitive. It shows you when you’re competing for the Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More. And if you win the Amazon Buy Box, it fights to maximize your price.
Why Does Buy Box Eligibility Matter?
The importance of being eligible for the Amazon Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More can’t be overstated. As shown in the example below, you can’t win the Buy Box if you’re not eligible. If your account loses its featured merchant (FMS) status (a.k.a. Buy Box eligibility), the Buy Box will go with it.
If you don’t own the Amazon Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More, you’re missing out on a lot of sales. Roughly, 90% of all orders go through the Buy Box. Also, your Sponsored Product ads won’t run. And your Sponsored Brands Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad platform f… More ads will just send buyers to the competition, on your dime!
But being eligible for and winning the Buy Box are two different things. As the graph below shows, you can have exclusive Buy Box eligibility with no price changes across your inventory for weeks. But you still won’t reach 100% Buy Box ownership for all your items.
How to Check Buy Box Eligibility on Amazon
Buy Box eligibility applies to listings, not sellers. To check that a listing is eligible for the Buy Box, check the Buy Box Eligible column in the inventory table. If it’s not shown, go to Seller CentralAmazon Seller Central is a portal or a h… More > Manage Inventory > Preferences > Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More Eligible > Save Changes.
Another option is to type “Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More” in the search bar at the top of your Seller CentralAmazon Seller Central is a portal or a h… More home page. The Help window will then display a tool called “Check Buy Box Eligibility”. This tells you if you’re eligible to win the Buy Box for specific ASINs and SKUs on Amazon.
What Is the Buy Box Win Percentage?
Amazon Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More Percentage is a seller metric. Amazon refers to it as “Buy Box Wins”, but this metric has nothing to do with winning the Buy Box. It just shows how many times you have the Buy Box out of all the times buyers check an active listing’s product page.
You could think of it as your Buy Box popularity. It can rise significantly during promotional campaigns. It’s not an indication of sales, but it can point to sales potential. It won’t trigger a suspension on its own, so it doesn’t carry any real weight with Amazon.
How Is Buy Box Percentage Calculated?
Amazon calculates two separate values for “Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More Wins” in Seller CentralAmazon Seller Central is a portal or a h… More. One is for your Amazon Buy Box percentage over the last two days. There’s another one that spans a 30-day period. The first comes with a handy little trend arrow icon.
What Is a Good Buy Box Percentage on Amazon?
There’s no benchmark for Amazon Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More Percentages. That’s because it’s influenced by things like seasonality, ads, and category-specific standards. Some sellers do well with Buy Box Wins rates as low as 2%-5%, while others can only expect decent sales at 15%. It’s up to every seller to find the optimum rate for every item.
How Can the Buy Box Percentage Help?
As shown in our blog post Amazon Buy Box Secrets, there’s a positive link between Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More percentage and sales on Amazon. So, the higher your Buy Box percentage, the more likely your item is to sell.
One way to make the most of your Amazon Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More Percentage is to monitor it. There’s a handy little report for that in Seller CentralAmazon Seller Central is a portal or a h… More called Featured Offer. To reach it, locate the Buy Box Wins metrics tab on the homepage and click the percentages in the table above.
Buy Box Percentage vs. Ownership
The Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More Percentage metric is useful, but only up to a point. It’s a metric for page views, not Buy Box ownership. Page view counts are vague. So, if your product is mistaken for a trending item, you might wrongly deduce that there’s something wrong with your item if it doesn’t sell.
Secondly, Buy Box analytics need to be used alongside sales charts. Otherwise, you could fail to spot a competitor’s pricing pattern, the buyers’ favorite shopping time, or the effect of specific price changes on sales.
BuyBoxBuddy can address these and many other issues!
It doesn’t care about page views. Instead, it calculates your actual ownership rates over the last 24 hours for all the items in your inventory. This enables you to spot missed opportunities, make adjustments for price-sensitive items, or rethink your Buy Box strategy.
How to Improve Buy Box Ownership This Holiday Season
1. Switch Fulfillment
Do you want to bypass sales and performance requirements for Buy Box eligibility? Half of third-party sellers in the USA do, according to Forbes. It’s why they eventually switch to FBA.
That’s because FBA offers for items in ‘New’ conditionProducts can only be listed on Amazon if… More are automatically eligible for the Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More. Also, FBA offers are prioritized for Buy Box ownership. After Amazon’s own offers come Warehouse Deals, then FBA, then SFP, and finally FBM.
2. Opt for Prime
Alternatively, you can climb the eligibility ladder by applying for Seller-Fulfilled Prime and passing the SFP trial period. Why Prime? It’s not just about fast delivery or free customer service. The Prime badge reels in Amazon’s most cash-rich and time-poor customers. Their propensity to spend translates into sales, which feed into your continued Buy Box eligibility.
3. Optimize the Price
Price changes trigger Buy Box rotation. But forget pricing by hand! Tweaking, testing, and checking takes too long. Using the BIL tool to port your listings isn’t always the best option either. You risk losing the Buy Box on foreign venues because of a minor price tweak.
As for automatic repricers, the wrong set-up can cause them to drag you into price wars. Then there’s the daily cap on price updates, as well as a lag between the time you set a price and the time it goes live. BuyBoxBuddy can push it through in an instant, safely, and in line with Amazon’s pricing rules. That way, you’ll always have the winning price + shipping combo.
4. Change Product Condition
If you sell non-media items in ‘Used’ condition, consider sourcing and selling new units instead. For media items, one option is to switch items between New, Like New, and Collectible to win the prefered Buy Box. Alternatively, look into other packaging, shrink-wrapping, storing, handling, and shipping options.
5. Streamline Inventory
Stockouts mean no Buy Box. To address stocking issues, find a good inventory management tool that will notify you that stock levels are dropping days in advance, based on realistic sales forecasts. This gives you plenty of time to replenish.
6. Monitor Your Metrics
We mentioned eligibility metrics above. When it comes to winning the Buy Box, customer experience metrics matter the most. That’s Order Defect Rate (ODR)To put it simply, the Order Defect Rate … More, Cancellation Rate (CR), and Late Shipment Rate (LSR). The lower the better.
For MFN sellers, the most important metric for Buy Box ownership is the ODR. In our post titled Amazon Buy Box Secrets, we show this metric’s impact on a seller’s ability to own and keep the Buy Box. But there may be other metrics at play.
Not all sellers have the time or resources to monitor and improve performance indicators. But outsourcing to experienced professionals can go a long way toward boosting metrics. Our Account Health Monitoring service works around the clock, serving as an extra pair of eyes.
7. Gain Authority
Seller authority is a major factor in Buy Box ownership. FeedbackA performance rating on a scale of 1 to … More score, responsiveness, sales history – they all matter. When it comes to sales, there’s even a category-specific minimum volume. Try to pinpoint this number, then plan your feedback and ad campaigns accordingly.
Now that you know all there is to know about the Amazon Buy BoxThis refers to the situation where a sel… More, it’s easy to see why you should make BuyBoxBuddy your partner in Prime. But don’t take our word for it. Try this amazing new repricer today! It comes with a 15-day free trial. No strings attached.
The product of 20+ years of Amazon experience, BuyBoxBuddy is SellerEngine’s crowning achievement. Download this cutting-edge repricer today to enjoy all the graphs, analytics, and color-coded lists. Find out how to win the Buy Box on Amazon for all your items, all the time!
Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed.