Win the Buy Box

August 5, 2022

Putting your product on the other end of Amazon’s all powerful button holds the key to 82% of all Amazon sales

People head to amazon for convenience. While they may scroll through the customer reviews and watch a video or two before a purchase, most buyers don’t take the time to check out each individual seller’s feedback rating or weigh minute price differences. 

Instead, they click on the one button that fastest confirms their purchase: Buy It Now. Winning the buy box is essential guaranteeing your sale. Outside of a small subsection of shoppers, the buy box algorithm chooses which seller takes home the business without any input from potential customers. 

The numbers are staggering. Every individual seller’s offer is just a scroll away, but whoever is first in line takes home the sale over 80 percent of the time.  Anyone looking to push their product sales up a notch must start their search at the buy box. 

So, let’s get your products to the top. Great customer service, clear advertising, and quality products might get you close, but reaching the peak isn’t simple. You’ll have to duke it out with any other sellers for the prominent spot at the top of the totem pole.  

Amazon doesn’t make it easy to manipulate their system. They haven’t released the official algorithm that fuels buy box selection and are constantly rotating products and sellers through the elusive button. Every time we get a hang of something, Amazon adjusts percentages and variables just to keep us on our toes. 

However, the impact of the buy box means digital marketers have spent thousands of hours using trial and error to find new ways to win the buy box. By capitalizing on a few key metrics and optimizing every step of the production process, you can get a step ahead of the competition and help customers buy your product fast. 

Buy Box By The Numbers:

  • Amazon accounts for 56.7% of US total ecommerce sales in 2021
  • 82% of all Amazon purchases come from the buy box 
  • 14 million shoppers from 25-34 access Amazon only on mobile, where the buy box is the only clear choice.

To be Buy Box Eligible: 

  • 96% of your Shipments must go out on time 
  • order defect rate < 1% 
  • pre-fulfilment cancel rate < 2.5% 
  • Customer feedback score > 90% 
  • 95 minimum seller rating

What is the Amazon buy Box?

The key to conquering the biggest worldwide E-commerce marketplace is the “add to cart ” button. This is known to sellers as the Buy Box, and it’s step one towards to taking your product page from side hustle to sizable income. 

Buyers have come to trust the buy box automated algorithm as an amazon endorsement that subtly declares one particular product and seller as the best possible option.

You Need to Pay Attention to the Buy Box

Amazon knows every choice the customer has to think about gives them time to change their minds about a purchase.  The buy box takes away a decision from a customer and makes their purchase one click closer. 

It’s no secret that listing your product on the Amazon marketplace is far and away the best E-commerce platform to drive sales. Unless you’re sporting an incredible niche, you’re likely not the only one selling your particular product who knows amazon is the place to go. While there is enough potential for everyone, there is no better way to guarantee sales on Amazon than having your product list first.

Especially On Mobile

Very few shoppers question the will of the buy box, and that becomes even more apparent on Amazon's mobile website, where millions of shoppers browse exclusively. When accessing Amazon from a smartphone, the “other sellers” section doesn’t even appear. The only user-friendly purchasing option that presents itself is the buy box, and most users won’t hesitate to get the shopping done one click earlier. 

Are your products eligible for the Buy Box?

To immediately weed through some sellers, there are a few standards that need to be met in order to enter the running for the buy box. Every seller has a chance to win the buy box provided they have a professional seller account and are selling new products. 

How to Check If you are Buy Box Eligible

 Check your buy box eligibility at any time by heading to your Amazon Seller page. 

  1. Log into your Amazon Seller Central Account
  2. Go to “inventory” tab
  3. Select “Manage Inventory” tab
  4. Select “Preferences” tab
  5. Look for “Buy Box Eligible”

There, you’ll see either a “yes” or a “no”

Remember: just because your product is eligible for the buy box doesn’t mean it’s going to be number one. Gaining Buy Box Eligibility is just step one towards earning that coveted click. 

Keep A Stellar Seller Rating

Each order you fulfill comes with a grade which will define everything from search result listing to winning the buy box. Your seller rating is a combination those scores, which represents practically every metric that also impacts your buy box rankings.

Amazon assigns a separate score for every order over the last 365 days, combines those numbers and divides the total by the amount of orders to calculate your seller rating. Because several metrics that define your seller rating also directly impact your buy box score, you  can use your seller rating to gauge your buy box readiness.  

Not all statistics carry the same weight. Amazon pays extra attention to order defect rate, pre-fulfillment cancel rate, and late shipment rate, but there is no harm in increasing your scores across the board. 


Amazon uses the following metrics to define your seller rating: 

  • Perfect Order Percentage - Ideally, this number should be 100. It tracks the amount of orders that arrive at the doorstep to the customers' complete satisfaction.
  • Order Defect Rate - Number of defective orders divided by the total orders. 
  • Pre-fulfillment Cancellation Rate - How often you run out of stock.
  • Return Dissatisfaction Rate -  how seamless the return process is for a customer. 
  • Customer Service Dissatisfaction Rate - Percentage of customers not sastisfied with seller's responses
  • Negative Feedback Rate - Each instance of negative feedback is a hit, but the algorithm graciously takes into consideration the ratio of positive to negative when determining fault. 
  • Valid Tracking Rate - Everyone likes keeping an eye on where their product is. It’s up to the seller to provide that information. 
  • Refund Rate - Nobody expects a 0% refund rate, but if this number starts to climb your ranking will drop. 

These metrics are viewable from your Seller Central account, both over the last few days and over the last 30. You can also access your Buy Box percentage from a metrics tab labeled ‘Featured Offer Overview,' so looking at that statistic in comparison to your buy box trends can give you a slight inclination of where to address concerns immediately. 

Lowest Price Doesn’t Always Win

Price is definitely a factor when deciding the buy box, but there is no need to set the bar too low. Having the lowest price doesn’t guarantee your product will show up first. Constantly scan competitors pages and gauge different prices to get an idea of a median rate.  A generally accepted rule of thumb is to stay within 2% of the competition’s prices, but that’s not a guarantee either. 

There are two ‘prices’ on Amazon, and buy box eligibility is often determined by landed, not listed, price. Landed price is also known as total price, and this number has a much higher relationship to garnering buy box favor than a low listed price. This price point calculates every cost it takes to make your product and get it shipped to a customers doorstep, and it will constantly change with the market. 

Therefore, you’ll have to spend a few minutes every week tinkering with pricing models and making sure your product is competitive while staying profitable. It boils down to a whole lot of hours spent fighting over pennies. 

Instead of using price as your key to the buy box, you should look to remain competitive and accomplish great metrics on deliverables to get the algorithm’s attention. 

Fulfillment by Amazon Almost Always Does

If you want to win, you’ve got to play the game. Fulfillment method defines whose logistics network sells, boxes, and ships your product.Amazon is going to encourage sellers to incorporate their services anywhere they can. While the marketplace may give you many fulfillment options, Amazon is the one keeping track of the score. Here is their ranking system: 

  1. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) - Inventory is sent straight to Amazon and they take care of the rest, for a fee to the seller based on product weight. Amazon also handles customer service and returns.  

  1. Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) - Inventory is in charge of the seller, but they work with the Amazon Prime logistics system to guarantee speedy delivery. It's an exclusive designation that requires a trial period and a certain warehouse service level to qualify. 

 

  1. Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) - Inventory is collected, shipped, and returned directly to the seller. The main benefit of FBM is that you don’t have to meet ultrafast delivery times, but it is almost impossible to outrank competitors for buy box rankings. 

FBA gives you the highest possible score in the fulfillment section of the algorithm, and it also provides the highest possible seller rating in other important categories like customer service satisfaction rate, return dissatisfaction rate, and anything else related to what happens after your product ships. 

SFP has come about as a sort of middle ground, where sellers can retain some control over their product while staying Amazon Prime Eligible. This is a great option for sellers who already have their own warehouses and facilities established as it provides sellers with a wealth of data points and can save you a few bucks if you’ve already got a system in place. 

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get SFP access, and you currently have to be located in the US, UK, Germany, or France to even be considered. 

FBM is the only option that grants you full control over your product and also reduces the amount of fees you’ll have to pay Amazon, which is why they work so hard to actively discourage it. Any FBM product won’t be eligible for Amazon Prime, which is a buy box killer. There are a few arguments for Fulfillment by merchants, but since this piece is centered on winning you the buy box, for that specific purpose we advise strongly against FBM.  

If you must use FBM, your best bet to stay competitive is to offer free shipping, but you're facing an uphill battle. Amazon has great confidence in its own logistics system and will often rank FBA products higher than FBM, even if the price is higher. 

Enroll in Amazon Transparency

You may temporarily lose out on the buy box when competing with counterfeit products, but the cream will eventually rise to the top of any sales page. A new system is in place to ensure a product is exactly what it is advertised as at every step of the process, called Amazon Transparency. 

This tool is a numerical code that works like a barcode and follows a product all the way back to the point of manufacturing. This gives Amazon customers access to data that shows where and when the product was made, what ingredients went into it, and where these materials came from. 

The entire system is built around reducing counterfeit products stifling the marketplace, and anyone selling the real deal will greatly benefit from signing up. 

Ship Quickly 

It may not seem like a big deal to wait a day or two before sending off your product, but the Amazon Algorithm is all about efficiency. 

Amazon sets a default handling period of 1-2 days, and divides sellers into the following categories: 0-2 days, 3-7 days, 8-13 days, and 14+. There is a bit of wiggle room with this period, and you can adjust that timing your Seller Central Account. The most important thing is to stand by the agreed upon period. To be Buy Box worthy, you need at least 96% of orders to ship on time. 

Beyond that, your best bet to improve buy box eligibility is to jump up into the next category. Amazon’s rankings don’t currently care if you move your shipping time down from 6 days to five, but crossing the 3 day threshold will catapult your product higher on the leaderboards. 

Stay Active with Your Business

If your amazon marketplace isn’t your main source of income, it can be easy to neglect your virtual storeroom on busy days at home. Amazon has built an empire on speed, and they expect that same efficiency from sellers. 

Ideally, you should answer any questions within 12 hours, but any responses that take more than 24 hours are against Amazon policy and negatively impact your place on the rankings. 

Not only should you stay on top of communication, but you’ll also need to make sure you’re not running out of stock. Buy box winners are constantly changing. Every few minutes is a new chance to have your product at the other end of the coveted button. 

However, Amazon will only reward the buy box to a seller with an item that is actively in stock. Being out of stock when your name is called will result in you missing a turn, and the algorithm will be less likely to consider your listing in the future.

Because You never know when a sales boom is coming, you shouldn’ wait until your stock drops to zero to re-up. Buy box winners should never dip below enough product in stock to fill at least 10 orders.

Don’t Be afraid to Delegate 

That’s a whole lot to keep track of, all while monitoring your inventory and ensuring every purchase is completed to satisfaction. If you want your business to keep growing, eventually you’ll have to pass on some responsibilities and look to automate certain aspects of your listing. 

metric monitoring programs can send out restock alerts, send follow up emails to clients, and provide you with minute to minute performance statistics that help you win the buy box. Take things a step even further with stress free advertising content that will increase your position in the search results and boost your buy box performance. 

Vime.AI’s automated amazon video creator to save some serious time while crafting personalized advertisements that will boost your seller ranking and hook your customers - all with just one click from you. Try it out today and let our system build up your ad campaign while you focus on getting orders out and enjoying the results.