The Amazon Buy Box – What It Is and How to Win it
Last updated November 1, 2022
The orange “Add to Cart” field – also called the Amazon Buy Box – is the most coveted button on the platform for sellers. And why shouldn’t it be? Not only do Buy Box winners gain higher visibility for their products, they also make a lot more sales than their competition. Find out everything there is to know about the Buy Box in this article – especially how to win and keep it.
What Is the Amazon Buy Box?
The Buy Box is the box which is placed on the right-hand side of the Amazon product detail page and is used by customers to purchase items in their cart. Let’s have a look at an example and also use that opportunity to check how the e-commerce giant structures a page to influence the buyers’ decisions:
As you can see above, the “Add to Cart” field is prominently placed next to the item and visually emphasized in a prominent orange. On the other hand, the competing sellers – those that have not been awarded the Buy Box – are placed in an inconspicuous position below. In our example, the other sellers have their own smaller “Add to Cart” field, drawing attention to their alternative deals. This is very beneficial for them but not usually the case.
Does the placement of these elements have any effect on how the buyers react? Very much so. About 90 percent of all purchases take place by buyers clicking “Add to Cart”. In other words: the seller who was able to win the Amazon Buy Box, wins most of the sales as well.
So in short: the sales go to the seller with the most Buy Box wins on Amazon, meaning that any enterprising seller on Amazon would do well to constantly work out ways on how to win the Amazon Buy Box and keep it.
Let’s take a look at the possibilities.
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How to Become Buy Box Eligible?
Amazon decides whether selBeing eligible for the Buy Box means that you have fulfilled certain criteria that enable you to be placed in the “Add to cart” field due to your high performance as a seller. What do you gain from the status as an eligible seller? For one, heightened visibility. Even if you are not in the Buy Box itself, you are still eligible for placement in the section ‘More Buying Choices’, which also makes you more attractive to buyers. While there isn’t a set formula for getting into the Buy Box or winning it, there are certain requirements that you must fulfill in order to be considered:
1. Professional seller account
In order to be eligible, you have to be a professional seller for at least 3 months. Someone with an individual seller account (‘Basic Account’ in Europe) will not be considered.
2. High performance metrics
In alignment with Amazon’s customer-first mantra, only sellers that provide their customers with an amazing experience can become Buy Box eligible. We have listed all the factors that you need to excel at below.
The newer the items are that you sell, the higher the chance of you winning the Amazon Buy Box with them. Only if no new items are available, eligible sellers will be considered who are offering used items.
Your listed item needs to be inventoried.
If you run out of stock, the Buy Box will directly go to the next seller. This is why it is vital to always have a sufficient order volume (the “sufficient amount” varies among categories).
5. Dynamic Pricing
While Amazon does not communicate this, it is a well-known secret that it is mostly sellers with the most competitive price that hold the Buy Box. While pricing your items very cheaply is a surefire way to win the Buy Box it can also lead to price wars with your competitors. Find out here how to circumvent this.
How to Win the Amazon Buy Box
Is there an easy way to do this? Unfortunately no, winning is never easy and Amazon is no exception in that regard. There is no ingenious workaround, no Amazon buy box hack that will let you win the orange button without being a formidable seller. There may be one or two Buy Box tricks that will raise your chances but the best way to win it is the old-fashioned way: outperforming the competition. Here’s the Amazon Buy Box explained:
The better you rank, the more you sell
With the number of sellers and customers constantly rising, only those with the highest customer satisfaction rating are shortlisted. Criteria that guarantee customer satisfaction are shown in the Amazon Buy Box KPI (key performance indicators) which the online giant gathers from the sellers’ business activities on the platform. These include – among others – shipping time, order defect rates and/or return satisfaction.
Those who are looking to win the “Add to Cart” field should be familiar with every important metric and have them under control accordingly. The bar is set quite high here – as an example, the defect rate should be as close to zero percent as possible if you want to win the Amazon Buy Box.
Pricing is also extremely relevant, but is there such a thing as the correct Amazon Buy Box price? There is no definitive answer here because Amazon adjusts the price range for every product. Any seller that goes above this price range will not be able to win.
It is unlikely that you will win the “Add to Cart“ field if your products are too expensive. On the other hand, a higher price can be compensated for by excellent seller performance, as long as you are within the above-mentioned price range. In other words, sellers with a higher price can still be awarded the Buy Box if they have better overall KPIs than the competition.
Key Parameters Considered by Amazon’s Buy Box Algorithm
Here is a fast little takeaway for you: a Buy Box cheat sheet which lists all the aspects that are important for getting your brand in the Buy Box.
1. Order defect Rate
Amazon keeps track of your short- and long-term ODR (Order Defect Rate), which spans over the previous four months. Maintaining an ODR of less than 1% is essential if you want to win the Buy Box. Anything that surpasses that will make it challenging for you to place your goods in the Buy Box.
2. Stock availability
The Amazon Buy Box will instantly shift to another seller if you don’t have the item on stock. This is why it is essential for retailers to maintain healthy stock levels of their best-selling items.
The following rule does not apply when a product is marked as “back-ordered” and has a note on the product page. When a consumer places a backorder, they do so knowing that the item won’t be delivered and won’t be available right away.
3. Landed Price
Including the shipping fees, this term refers to a product’s final cost on Amazon.
The Buy Box share increases as the landed price decreases. You can also charge more and keep your portion of the Buy Box if your performance metrics are better than those of your immediate competitors. However, if your rivals have better all round metrics, you’ll have to lower your pricing to keep the same Buy Box share.
4. Delivery Period
The time that the merchant commits to dispatch the item to the buyer is the most basic metric that the Buy Box considers.
The influence of this parameter on the Buy Box will be even greater for some time-sensitive products and categories, like perishable goods and birthday cards, where buyers frequently demand quick shipping.
5. Amazon Fulfillment (FBA)
The product’s fulfillment strategy is the factor that has the biggest influence on the Amazon Buy Box.
The simplest approach to improve your chances of being in the Buy Box is to use Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), since Amazon naturally rates its own fulfillment services at a very high level – which, in all fairness, they are.
That’s not to say Fulfillment By Merchant (FBM) sellers can’t ever outperform FBA sellers; it’s just more difficult and requires really high scores across all variables as well as a very low pricing. Click here to find out more about Amazon FBM, e.g how it works and for whom it works the best.
6. Customer Feedback
Amazon will review feedback from the previous 30 days, 90 days, and 365 days. Your chances of winning a Buy Box are at their highest if your customer feedback score is at least at 90%.
How Do Shipping Methods Affect the Amazon Buy Box Percentage?
Amazon did not become so successful by not listening to their customers, and what customers want is fast shipping. In the past few years, the online giant has therefore massively expanded its own logistics service, while at the same time building up a strong partnership with external service providers such as DHL or Hermes. But how can this improve your Amazon Buy Box eligibility?
Amazon not only offers its services to buyers but to their sellers also. Fulfillment by Amazon, or Amazon FBA, is a program that – for a certain fee – enables sellers to delegate storage, shipment and customer service to Amazon, leaving the sellers with the most important part of their business: the actual selling.
What are the benefits of this? For one, you have more time to expand your business and also – and this is the reason why we mention this here – it will increase your chances of winning the Amazon Buy Box. As an FBA seller, you already fulfill two vital factors that the online giant takes into account when awarding the popular orange button: pristine customer service and very reliable shipment. Click here if you want to find out more about Amazon FBA.
Here is a list of minimum requirements the seller needs to fulfill:
- Status as a professional seller.
- A low order defect rate (ODR) which takes customer feedback, A-Z claims and chargebacks into account.
- Good pricing.
- Impeccable customer service.
- Fast shipping.
Can You Lose the Amazon Buy Box?
Yes, absolutely. As we mentioned above, only the merchant that brings his/her A-game every day of the week gets to keep Buy Box benefits. If you are caught slacking, you will pay indirectly by giving away around 90 percent of sales to the new owner. The question is: how do we get it back?
There are situations where the Buy Box is simply rotated without any particular reason. Sometimes the algorithm even awards the Buy Box to sellers who, apparently, have worse metrics than you. As a matter of fact, sometimes the loss of the Buy Box may even be the fault of another competitor with whom you share the listing.
Here is how it could happen: You sell gaming headphones and share the popular listing with three other sellers. Due to careful monitoring of all relevant metrics, you have won the Buy Box and are working hard to keep it. Seller XYZ on the other hand – one of the three other sellers on your listing – is highly unreliable in terms of shipping and customer service. Because of this, he has received several complaints from multiple buyers in the past weeks. Amazon therefore decides to suspend the Buy Box for the gaming mouse, which leads to you losing it even though you did everything right.
Your best bet is to get back up on your feet and keep working hard. If your Buy Box share drops over a longer period of time, you should investigate the cause and re-check the metrics we mentioned above.
Do Sellers Have to Qualify for the Amazon Buy Box?
Another popular question is how to become Buy Box eligible on Amazon and whether a brand new sellers is able to be a Buy Box winner even though he/she just started selling. As a general rule, you have to have a 90 days sales history as a professional seller in order to be eligible for the Buy Box – as long as you aren’t using FBA.
This makes sense insofar as that the requirements needed by an Amazon seller who wants to increase his Buy Box share needs time to establish itself, thereby making it highly unlikely – but not impossible – that someone who has just begun selling would be able to steal the Buy Box away from other experienced and well-established sellers on the same listing.
What Role Does It Play for Private Label Sellers?
Unlike wholesale merchants who sell other people’s branded products on Amazon, Private Label sellers trade in their own branded products. This has advantages as well as disadvantages alike. One of them is that Private Label sellers usually win the Amazon Buy Box automatically, since there is no competitor selling a similar product on Amazon.
However, the emphasis lies on “usually” – selling one’s own products is not a hundred percent guarantee that the Amazon Buy Box algorithm will award the “Add to Cart” field to you forever.
Poor seller performance to price increase, the reasons for a loss of the “Add to Cart” field can be manifold for Private Label sellers. Once again, all that you can do a this point is look for the issues by combing through the relevant metrics we mentioned above.
What to Do When Amazon Enters the Ring
It makes sense to be realistic at this point. If Amazon is competing against you for their own Buy Box, on their own platform, with their own product (you see where this is going, right?), your chances of winning are not zero but they are indeed quite slim. However, if you have a formidable seller performance record and are willing to undercut Amazon on the price, you might just stand a chance. After all, Amazon is customer-centric to the core. If you are able to provide the customer with a better shopping experience than Amazon, then they will leave the Buy Box to you.
The Importance of Buy Box Mobile
Mobile shopping is more popular than ever among Amazon customers. The Buy Box is located directly under the product image on the mobile site, which is different from how it appears on a desktop or laptop. Customers place their order by clicking “Buy now” without looking at the Offer Listing page.
Notably, the “Other Sellers on Amazon” box is not shown on the Amazon mobile website. The Buy Box winner’s name is the only thing that is shown. Another reason to put winning the Buy Box at the top of your priority list is if you care about reaching mobile shoppers.
Tools That Will Help You Win the Amazon Buy Box
We don’t need to tell you that competitive pressure on the online platform is high even when Amazon is not competing for the Buy Box. In order to gain a proper foothold, you need a professional business with the corresponding demand for optimization. What are your Buy Box benefits on Amazon worth if you can only profit from them once every blue moon? This is the reason why certain automatization tools have become vital for success.
A repricer is one of these tools. Repricers automatically adjust the price of your product based on the current market situation, a job that requires permanent monitoring. A good repricing solution works dynamically and intelligently. Instead of setting rigid rules (“always two cents cheaper than the competition”), a dynamic repricer reacts to the current market situation and adjusts the sales price accordingly.
Once the product is in the “Add to Cart” field, the repricer sets the highest possible price with which the Buy Box can still be kept. In this way, can win and hold the “Add to Cart“ field while generating maximum profit for the seller. Click here if you want to find out more.
Another seller essential is a solution that detects and reports FBA errors. Why do you need to detect these? Mainly because they entitle you to a refund. Amazon FBA sellers have to pay a fee in order to benefit from the program and are therefore entitled to a refund if Amazon does not hold up their end of the deal and your product goes missing or breaks due to a mistake that took place in an Amazon warehouse. Our Lost & Found solution detects these errors and enables our customers to get their money back from Amazon. Click here to find out more.
If Amazon had a Holy Grail, it would be very much like the Buy Box:
- Everyone wants it.
- It is very hard to attain.
- The exact factors that will lead you to it are downright mythical.
- Even the color is golden (kind of).
At the end of the day, the algorithm decides how the Amazon Buy Box works and which products are displayed – but sellers are able to actively influence their chances. As an example, the right shipping method is extremely important in order to keep up with the competitors.
For Private Label sellers, on the other hand, the Buy Box does not take on such great importance. Normally, Private Label sellers own the “Add to Cart“ field with their product anyway. However, never forget that Amazon is always able to withdraw Buy Box privileges even from a Private Label seller – as is the case when sellers perform poorly.
It is also important for sellers to monitor the market situation in order to win and stay in the “Add to Cart“ field. Without constant price adjustment, it is hardly possible to be competitive, which is why using a dynamic repricer is not only commonplace but a must among Amazon sellers.
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Buy Box is just a term that has evolved and established itself for the orange “Add to Cart” field on Amazon. The seller who is “in the Buy Box” is usually the one making most of sales, leaving a meek 10 % of sales for other sellers of the product on the same listing.
That differs on a case by case basis. Amazon’s diplomatic answer is that, on average, every seller on the same listing should have a similar Buy Box percentage. This means that if you share your listing with two other people, any Buy Box percentage over 33% would be considered “doing well”.
– Low order defect Rate.
– Status as a professional seller.
– Good pricing.
– Excellent customer service.
– Fast and reliable shipping.
Since using Amazon FBA means that your customer service and shipping will be handled by Amazon, two of the above-mentioned criteria will already be fulfilled, leaving you with more capacities to focus on the remaining three. If, however, your customer support and shipping methods are already excellent, then you will have nothing to gain in that regard from using the Amazon FBA program.
Image credits in order of appearance: © Claudio Divizia – stock.adobe.com / screenshot @ Amazon / screenshot @ Amazon