Winning the Buy Box and Protecting Your Brand on Amazon
Every Amazon seller knows that owning the Buy Box is one of the most crucial segments in sales on Amazon, especially with more than 82% of Amazon sales going through the Buy Box, which makes it a critical element of a product detail page.
In that sense, in this article, we will discuss what is the Buy Box, the measures to own and influence it, and also how to protect your brand with it.
Amazon offers the ability for multiple sellers to offer the same product on a single detail page, where customers have options from which they can choose the offer they like the most: The Buy Box and the other sellers on the Amazon box. And when multiple sellers are selling at the same time, they are competing to win the Buy Box.
Even if you’re the sole product page seller, you should not assume that you’ve already owned the Buy Box. The Buy Box isn’t available to all sellers. To use this option, you must first become Buy Box eligible. To do so, you’ll need a professional selling account, and you’ll have to meet a few performance-based requirements, such as:
- Order Defect rate (ODR)
- The customer shopping experience you provided, such as the speed of delivery, shipping options, price, and customer service
- Time and experience
- And other metrics
The Buy Box eligibility varies by category. Learn more about the Buy Box on the following link: “The Buy Box on Amazon: What’s the Big Deal?”
Factors to win the Buy Box?
Amazon’s Buy Box algorithm (Amazon, 2020) is one of the most mysterious concepts. We believe there are a few factors that we’ve noticed that play a key role in determining whether a product page has the Buy Box: (The factors are listed from very important to somewhat important)
- Fulfillment method and Prime Eligibility (FBA or SFP),
- Landed Price,
- Shipping Time,
- Order Volume,
- Available Inventory,
- Order defect rate,
- Valid tracking rate,
- Late shipment rate,
- Delivered on-time rate,
- Feedback rating,
- Feedback count,
- Customer response time,
- Cancellation and refund rate,
- Inventory Depth
Amazon has launched two new seller metrics, Return Dissatisfaction Rate and Customer Service Dissatisfaction Rate, to improve the shopping experience. These metrics are currently not considered Buy Box factors, but they should be properly maintained.
About the Author
Catalina Santana from Colombia is an Amazon Strategist at BellaVix, a solution-oriented e-commerce specialist with the ability to develop and implement strong strategies that can drive a company’s online growth. She is passionate about digital business and is always looking for new ways to grow business in this digital world.
Owning the Buy Box
Owning the Buy Box is not an easy task when having in mind all the factors that should be fulfilled and monitored, but also that the Buy Box is not “given” for the whole day. This means that more than one seller can compete for it, and it alternates among sellers depending on many factors. For example, if several sellers offer the same offer, then based on the factor performance (for example, highest stock inventory, shipping time), the Buy Box will be awarded. The better selling metrics also determine the percentage of the day that the seller owns the Buy Box.
Also, Amazon has Amazon Fair Price Policy which means the seller needs to be sure that Amazon price is the lowest price on the internet; otherwise, Amazon can remove the Buy Box, remove the offer, suspend the ship option, and much more.
Here is an example where Amazon remove the Buy Box because the product had better pricing outside Amazon.
We suggest several steps and strategies that may help in increasing the Buy Box ownership percentage, such as:
- Understand and know the metrics: every seller should know metrics that are the main “force” of the before-mentioned factors.
- Choose the best-proven strengths: every business has strengths that can structure its first steps in securing the buy box, for example, the fulfillment method, (In some cases, FBA or Amazon sellers have a higher chance of winning the Buy Box, but if you are an FBM seller, you can enroll in the Seller-Fulfilled Prime and will have a greater chance of winning the Buy Box) shipping time, landed price, or stock availability. Start with the ones your brand is the best in, and work from there.
- Improve the performance: Use Amazon Seller Central to pinpoint the key areas you need to improve. Metrics such as Order defect rate (ODR), Valid tracking rate, Late shipment rate, customer response time, etc
- Competitive price: Set a competitive price. Choose and test the best pricing method available on Amazon (Manual, Rule-based, Algorithmic).
Ensuring that most of the factors for owning the Buy Box are met is one of the main factors for brand protection.
How to protect your brand on Amazon
Let’s start by mentioning that Amazon adheres to The First Sale Doctrine. The First Sale Doctrine states that someone who purchases a trademarked product has the right to resell that same product. A situation in which the brands need to take a holistic approach to protect themselves.
One of the ways that brands can protect themselves is by using a Minimum Advertising Price (MAP) pricing policy. Manufacturers’ MAP policies dictate the lowest price their distributors or resellers can advertise products online or in marketing materials.
Also, knowing who are your brand resellers or third-party sellers and creating a good and clear resell standard and policy can ensure better brand protection.
Amazon has created brand protection services that can help and safeguard customers and brands from fraud and abuse. These services are:
- Brand Registry
- IP Accelerator
- Report a Violation
- Project Zero
- Counterfeit Crimes Unit
To learn more about the Amazon services and programs, visit https://brandservices.amazon.com/
If you’re the manufacturer or an OEM with a branded product, you can enroll in Brand Registry to ensure that other sellers do not alter your brand’s product detail page. You’ll still be able to list your brand’s product, but it will help ensure that it’s represented correctly.
Additional advantages of enrolling are:
- Don’t have to use UPCs to list your brand items,
- Recognized as the brand owner and can contribute content to your brand’s product listing in addition to the content contributed by other sellers. Your content will override any content that other sellers attempt to provide.
- When a physical or non-physical difference exists between products sold by authorized resellers vs. unauthorized resellers, brand registered sellers can open a case for trademark infringement in the brand registry.
Additionally, if applicable, use the barcodes and transparency codes:
- Transparency codes are one-of-a-kind, encrypted codes to identify individual items, preventing counterfeits from reaching consumers. It improves customer engagement and provides brands with valuable information on how to optimize their supply chains.
- Always use the Amazon sticker barcode label if your brand is using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) – whit this, your packages and product can be spotted if mixed with some of the counterfeited items
For more proactive and reactive steps to protect your Amazon brand, visit “Your Key to Success: Brand Protection on Amazon.”
Owning a bigger Buy Box ownership percentage shows that the brand ensured that most of the factors for winning the Buy Box are met. This is one of the main steps for brand protection on Amazon. Owning the Buy Box is a constantly evolving process, and it is not an under-the-hood button that can be pushed.
Amazon’s ecosystem is highly competitive, and the Buy Box is just one part of the puzzle. Choosing the best-proven strengths of the brand, utilizing most of the Buy Box factors, and setting a competitive price will be the best steps in protecting your brand on Amazon. If you feel that you need more help in protecting your brand on Amazon and ensuring a bigger percentage of the Buy Box ownership, contact BellaVix, a Marketplace management agency that can help you on your Amazon journey.
Image credits: ©Drobot Dean – stock.adobe.com