Tag Archives: Buy Box

How to Win the Amazon Buy Box for Maximum Sales

We left off on the previous blog post with my top 6 points that you need to understand about how the Amazon buy box works. If you haven’t checked out that post, I highly recommend that you read it first before moving forward with how to win the buy box.

As a reminder, Amazon does not reveal their algorithm for how the buy box works, who will be eligible for it, who will win it, and for how long. But if you pay attention to certain factors when listing your inventory for sale on Amazon, you can increase your chances of winning the buy box and getting more sales – which means more profits!

Let’s jump right into my top strategies for winning the Amazon buy box:

1. Be a pro seller on Amazon.

You must be a pro seller on Amazon to win the buy box. This means you must pay the montly $40 fee as a seller, rather than skipping the monthly fee to be an individual seller. Individual sellers are not eligible for the buy box. Now, at this point I typically get beginner sellers who complain to me that “I don’t have enough money as a newbie to pay the monthly fee.” And I get it. But the buy box is where 70-80% of the sales on Amazon happen, so it’s really up to you to decide – is it worth it to you to pay $40 and dramatically increase your sales? If you’re doing FBA as a business instead of a hobby, you really need to be a pro seller, get the buy box, and get those sales.

2. Be priced competitively.

Please note what I’m saying here in strategy #2 – and what I’m not saying. I did not say “be the lowest price.” I said “be priced competitively.” There is a difference. Rather than just setting your price to be the lowest, you need to check the current buy box price and make sure you are priced competitively. Sometimes that means matching the buy box price, and sometimes it means pricing somewhat higher than the current buy box (within 2-5% of the price). There’s not one tried and true formula, so it may take a little fiddling with your pricing to figure it out for each item.

3. Meet performance-based standards, such as feedback scores.

Amazon uses several performance-based criteria to determine who is eligible for the buy box (or eligible for a more significant amount of time). One of the most important factors considered in the buy box algorithm is your seller feedback score. Sellers with a lower percentage of positive feedback will receive a lower percentage of time in the buy box for items with sellers who have a higher positive score. The impact of feedback scores on my eligibility for the buy box is one of the main reasons I use the feedback service Feedback Genius to email my customers as a way of increasing my positive feedback and reducing my negative feedback. I have a full review of Feedback Genius in this blog post.

You also want to make sure you have a low order defect rate as an Amazon seller. Your order defect rate is a metric Amazon calculates based on how often your orders end up marked as defective or damaged.

Another factor related to how often you earn the buy box is your customer service as an Amazon seller. For FBA sellers, Amazon handles the majority of our customer service, but we still need to handle communications with customers correctly and provide good service when issues arise. In particular, if you receive emails from customers, you must make sure you are replying within 24 hours and not constantly marking emails as “no response needed” without first sending some type of reply.

One more potential factor is your time and experience as an Amazon seller. This factor might not be as heavily weighted as others, but it does make an impact. A more experienced seller tends to earn more time in the buy box than a “just launched” seller.

To find out more information about your performance metrics, log in to your account in Seller Central and click on the “Performance” tab to see different areas of your account.

4. Have multiples of an item in stock.

Amazon wants to make it easy for customers who might want to buy more than one of an item. If you have multiples of an item in stock, you are more likely to receive the buy box over a seller who only has one item in stock. For certain items (like shoes or clothing, for instance) it doesn’t matter as much if you only have one item in stock, but for consumable items you might want to try keeping multiple items in stock as a strategy for earning the buy box more often.

5. Sell via Amazon FBA.

Chances are if you’re a regular of this blog, you’re already an FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) seller as opposed to an FBM (fulfilled by merchant) seller. For so many reasons, the FBA program is a more profitable and more efficient way of selling on Amazon than selling via merchant fulfilled. If you weren’t already convinced to commit the majority of your Amazon inventory to the FBA program, hopefully the buy box will convince you – Amazon strongly tends to award the buy box to FBA sellers over FBM sellers, even if the FBM seller has a much lower price. If you’re only selling through FBM, you are losing out on sales that you could easily win if you used the FBA program and earned the buy box more often. The Amazon selling platform is very centered around Prime shoppers, and you want your inventory to be fulfilled by Amazon and available to those Prime shoppers.

Before we finish with this topic, I want to let you know how to find out which of your inventory items are eligible for the buy box. You can follow these steps to see the buy box eligible items when you’re looking through your Amazon inventory:

  1. Log in to Seller Central.
  2. Click on the Inventory tab.
  3. Click Manage Inventory.
  4. Go to Preferences and click to show whether items are buy box eligible.

I really hope the above strategies are helpful for you and your business and that you are able to win the buy box more often and get more sales. If you implement some or all of these strategies, you should be able to increase your time in the buy box and, as a result, increase your sales. If you’ve tried any of these methods and found success, let us hear about it in the comments!

Special Offer From Feedback Genius

FB-GeniusI spoke with Jeff from Seller Labs (creator of Feedback Genius) and he is offering my Full-Time FBA blog readers a special offer of a 60 day free trial (that’s twice as long as their normal 30-day trial period) with the coupon code fulltime. That’s 2 months worth of being able to contact your buyers asking them to leave you 5-star reviews or to contact you if there is a problem. Again, use the code fulltime at checkout to get double the free trial. There is really no reason why you shouldn’t give Feedback Genius a try today. 

6 Things You Need to Know about the Amazon Buy Box

Perhaps the most important goal of any Amazon FBA seller is getting more sales, so today I want to cover a topic directly tied to the majority of sales on Amazon – the Amazon buy box.

If you look on an Amazon product page, the buy box is the little box in the top right corner of the page where you can buy that product. The buy box should say something like “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now,” depending on the settings for your Amazon account.

The buy box is one of the most important topics to learn when you’re selling on Amazon, but it can also be very confusing because Amazon doesn’t always make their guidelines on the buy box clear. Amazon does not reveal their algorithm for which seller receives the buy box, but we as sellers can still deduce certain information about how the buy box works and thus make informed, intelligent decisions on sourcing and pricing inventory to get the buy box.

For the rest of this post, I want to share with you 6 important points that you need to know about the Amazon buy box.

1. 70-80% of Amazon sales come from the buy box.

This is a staggering number. Let it sink in. When a customer lands on a product page and is deciding to buy an item, 70-80% of the time (possibly more, on certain items) the customer buys the product from the seller who has the buy box. Most buyers aren’t looking for the small line lower on the page that says “11 more new and used offers,” and rather than clicking to see more prices and more sellers, they click the yellow box that says “Add to Cart.” If upwards of 80% of sales come from the buy box, you as a seller want your item to get time in the buy box. Which leads me to my next point…

2. The buy box rotates.

Unless someone is the only seller of an item, one seller won’t keep the buy box 100% of the time. Amazon will rotate the buy box throughout the sellers who are eligible for the buy box. That rotation will depend on Amazon’s algorithm, but it generally rotates according to all the sellers who are priced competitively, typically within a percentage of the current buy box price. Which leads me to my next point…

3. Having the lowest price does not guarantee the buy box.

The buy box price is not always the lowest available price on Amazon. Most customers assume the buy box price is the lowest, and most new sellers assume they have to price their items to match the lowest price in order to get the buy box – but that just isn’t true. Sometimes the buy box price will be $1 or $2 higher than the lowest price, and on certain items it can even be up to $5 higher than the lowest price. Many new sellers use a pricing strategy where they price their items a penny or a nickel lower than the lowest price thinking this will guarantee the buy box, when they could be pricing higher than the buy box and achieve the same results because (remember point #2?) the buy box rotates and doesn’t depend on who has the lowest price. Which leads me to my next point…

4. The buy box is geographical.

Sometimes an Amazon buyer sees a certain seller in the buy box based not on the price of their item, but on the location of that seller’s inventory in the FBA warehouse. If the customer is on the west coast and is a Prime member, Amazon will likely show them an offer in the buy box based on the fact that it’s located in a west coast warehouse and should be easier for them to deliver within the 2-day Prime window than an item that’s priced $1 cheaper but is located on the east coast. I could be sitting here in my office in Texas looking at the exact same product page at the exact same time, and I could see a different seller in the buy box than that west coast customer because Amazon wants to ship my purchases from a Texas warehouse.

5. The buy box is for items in new condition only.

If you are selling an item in used or collectible condition, you aren’t going to be eligible to get the Amazon buy box for that item. The exception to this rule is on certain media items, where you can see both a new buy box and a used buy box.

6. Sometimes Amazon as a seller shares the buy box with third party sellers, but usually not.

Most of the time, if Amazon is one of the sellers of an item, they will hog the buy box and not share it with other sellers who are priced competitively. Sometimes they will give the buy box to a seller who is priced significantly lower, but even then it’s no guarantee. In these instances, third party sellers generally have to wait for Amazon to go out of stock before they are able to gain the buy box and get sales of that item.

Amazon hogging the buy box is just one of many reasons why I love to use Keepa to do sourcing research. Keepa is a free program that will show you if Amazon is in stock on an item or if they’ve ever been in stock in the past. When I’m sourcing for inventory, I typically avoid buying items where Amazon is in stock because I know they probably won’t share the buy box with me. I use the Scoutify app to do my retail arbitrage sourcing, and there’s a button on the app that I can click to see the Keepa data on the item I’m researching. Looking at the Keepa data makes my decision making process so much easier because it clearly shows me whether Amazon is likely to be my competition if I sell an item.

If you want more information about how to interpret Keepa data, check out my blog post on How to Read and Understand Keepa Graphs. The post includes a video tutorial about reading Keepa graphs and is a great introduction to the program.

Now, you might be wondering at this point, “So how do I actually win the buy box?” That question is big enough that I’m going to cover it in its own blog post, so stay tuned for the next post later this week.

If you’re looking to learn more about how to make smart sourcing decisions while doing retail arbitrage, be sure to watch my free tutorials on how to understand Keepa, and how to understand CamelCamelCamel or check out my book/video course, The Reseller’s Guide to How to Keepa Camel: Using Amazon Sales History to Make Smart Sourcing Decisions.

Have you made any other observations about how the buy box works that we didn’t cover in this post? We would love to hear from you in the comments!