What is the Amazon Buy Box?
While many of Amazon’s products are sold directly from the company’s own warehouses, third-party merchants generate a huge chunk of its online revenue. Now that these third-party sellers make up the second largest income for Amazon, there’s more competition than ever to gain priority over other merchants.
In the same way that search engines rank websites using SEO criteria, Amazon has its own set of requirements in order to consider sellers for the buy box. Winning the buy box gives the seller an incredible advantage by increasing its visibility on Amazon.
As mentioned above, not all of Amazon’s items are sold directly by them; those that are not are sold by third-party sellers, which are all in contention for the buy box. From the customer’s point of view, this is the white box on the right hand side of the screen that displays the yellow “Add to Cart” button. The product description in the middle of the screen will indicate which seller is offering the item, but there are often numerous merchants selling the same product for similar prices.
To avoid confusing the customer or sacrificing its user-friendly website layout, Amazon has chosen to only feature one seller on any given product page. This is the seller that gets top priority whenever a customer buys a particular item. In much smaller print below the buy box, you’ll see a hyperlink that indicates how many other sellers that offer the same product. Most buyers never make it to this list. If you want to get the most exposure on Amazon, winning the buy box is your best bet.
Becoming eligible for the buy box can be done by having all three of these prerequisites:
- Availability – You need to have plenty of inventory for your item, or else the box will switch to someone else.
- New Items – Used or Like New items will not be given priority over other sellers that offer new products.
- Professional Seller Account – An Individual Merchant (Basic Account in Europe) is not qualified for buy box status. Instead, you’ll need to be a Professional Seller (Pro-Merchant in Europe).
If you have all of these requirements, you can check your buy box eligibility status on Amazon’s Seller Central website.
Increasing Your Odds
Acquiring the coveted buy box, especially for popular items, is never a sure thing. There is no single strategy to guarantee that you’ll get featured as the top seller. That being said, there are a host of ways to better your chances of doing so.
The first thing to understand is that the buy box is never permanent. Amazon constantly pits sellers against each other in order to maintain the best service for its customers. That means that one particular seller may get buy box priority for one half of the day, while another gets the top spot for the next half.
Three main statistics that Amazon considers when ranking sellers are:
- Fulfillment Services –Amazon trusts its own service, FBA, over any other offered by third party sellers. While Fulfillment By Merchant (FBM) services can technically beat out FBA in some cases, it requires extremely reliable metrics to do so.
- Shipping Time – Faster is better, especially for perishable items.
- Landed Price – This includes shipping and product prices, so free shipping often gets prioritized.
By keeping these points in mind, winning the buy box on the world’s largest online retail site is not out of the question. As with any e-commerce store, maintaining quality order fulfillment and customer service is the key to staying on top. For more e-commerce selling tips, head over to Listing Mirror.
Sell More. Work Less.
Erin is the Co-Founder of Listing Mirror.