Demystify the Amazon Buy Box in 2021

Demystify the Amazon Buy Box in 2021

Understanding an eCommerce platform is relatively simple. There is a seller, there is a consumer, and there is a platform through which the business occurs. As easy as ABC, right? But when there are multiple sellers for the same product, that's when it gets tricky. The competition is fierce, and sellers need to optimize their strategy with data-driven decisions to win the Amazon Buy Box and get the sale.

But let's start by the beginning: what is the Amazon Buy Box?

1. What is the Amazon Buy Box?

Demystify the Amazon Buy Box in 2021

Many boxes are on the cart page. In this case, Amazon refers to the buy box by calling it the "featured offer." This featured offer is a last-ditch attempt for the competition to substitute their items. 

Here's a quotation on the featured offer section:

If more than one eligible seller offers a product, they may compete to become the Featured Offer for that product (as long as it can be shipped to the customer's address) If more than one eligible seller offers a product, they may compete to become the Featured Offer for that product (as long as it can be shipped to the customer's address) 

This quote means that a customer can use this page to compare similar items. This situation applies to your page or their page, so you need to have a good defense against others taking advantage of the buy box. 

The most common question sellers ask is how to win the buy box on Amazon. To answer that question, one must understand the essential elements.

The Essential Buy Box Elements

Looking at the image above, you can see what examples answer the "how to win the buy box on Amazon" question. The general elements include the following:

  • High-quality images: The images need to be professional and showcase the product in a high-quality setting. 
  • High ratings from other Amazon shoppers: The buy box is typically limited to those who can maintain a four-star rating (or higher).
  • A good description of the product in the title: The amazon buy box only has room for the title, meaning that the title has to be detailed enough for the buy box to understand comparable products. 

Amazon utilizes this information combined with the seller's quality ratings to determine if they would be an appropriate Amazon listing in the buy box. Amazon will not place sellers here if they have a poor history, are new, or don't have a successful track record of quality. 

What are the Amazon Buy Box Eligibility Requirements?

The Amazon Buy Box Eligibility requirements include the following areas:

  • You need to have a professional selling account. 
  • You need to have experience in providing customers a great shopping experience.
  • You need to have eligible items. 

Amazon has a simple method that allows you to check the eligibility of your items. Follow these quick steps:

  1. Go to seller center
  2. Click on "manage inventory"
  3. Select "preferences"
  4. Choose "buy box eligible" after scrolling to the bottom. 
  5. Click on "save changes"

At this point, you will see a column devoted to items that are buy box eligible. The minimum requirement is to have them be new items. Otherwise, they will need to meet other quality standards. 

How to Switch to a Professional Selling Plan on Amazon?

Part of the Amazon Buy Box Eligibility requirements is to switch to a professional selling program. Thankfully, Amazon provides you some helpful steps on how to get this done:

  1. Under "account info," select settings 
  2. Go to the "your services" account section and select "manage" 
  3. Look for the row that says "sell on amazon," choose "upgrade" if it does not display you with a professional account

Account upgrade requests can take up to three days for Amazon to review. Professional sellers are granted additional tools and do not have to pay a fee per item. You can confirm this by looking at the "statement view" tab. 

Doing this not only allows your items to potentially be part of the desktop buy box, but you also get access to the mobile version. 

Why is Buy Box Mobile so Important?

Demystify the Amazon Buy Box in 2021

Mobile eCommerce sales have hit nearly 3 trillion as of last year. With this in mind, it is arguable that the mobile buy box is more important than the desktop edition. 

There is plenty of evidence telling us that people prefer mobile over a standard desktop computer. With this in mind, the more simplistic buy box means that your public offering needs to look more attractive than what they have in their cart. 

With a less complicated interface, you need to answer "should substitute what I have in my cart" with an engaging image and a clear first-part-of title. If your goal is to reach a more vast mobile audience, prioritize ranking high in the buy box. 

Updates on the Amazon Buy Box 

If you wonder how to get the buy box on Amazon, it's essential to know their changes over time. Some of these changes have come from speculation, but the results have made some Amazon sellers nervous.

Buy Box Glitches 

Sellers wondering how to get the buy box on Amazon had issues back in July of 2020. The eligibility ranking came out lower, some FBA sellers lost the buy box for unclear reasons, and some sellers could not add non-buy box offers to the checkout.

Some speculate some errors came from the COVID-19 pandemic, but most assume that removing the buy box widget caused this issue. Forum users of Seller Central discussed the problem in detail. 

Selective Removal of One-Click Purchases

Some Amazon sellers understandably have concerns with replacing the "add to cart" button with "see all buying options." It takes from the instantaneous feel of adding an item. Instead, it allows the shopper to have more profound thoughts on the subject. 

An article states that an Amazon spokesperson had this to say on the matter:

"Sellers set their own product prices in our store. If a product is not priced competitively by a seller, we reserve the right to not feature that offer. Customers can still find all offers on the offer listings page.

The images above reveal that most people seem to have the "see all buying options." That's because the writer created the article in 2018. Price competition means that you need to have similar pricing to others. 

Here's a guide for you to Identify Amazon Buy Box Competitive Dynamics.

Price Wars

When asking how to get the buy box on Amazon, price battles are pretty standard. While you shouldn't get into the habit of lowering your price to match others, it is an unfortunate reality of things. 

In this case, you can try and match their prices but cutting costs elsewhere. But in the battle of quality, you can find other methods to increase your sales. This target doesn't always have to be through your Amazon buy box percentage. 

Later in the article, we plan on mentioning alternatives to the buy box.  These alternatives sometimes have similar requirements, but others do not. 

2. How to Check Your Amazon Buy Box Percentage Share?

Demystify the Amazon Buy Box in 2021

To find your Amazon Buy Box percentage share, you need to start by checking if you are on the list of featured offers. You can do this in one of two ways:

  • Add a competitor's item on your cart to see if your product appears among featured offers. 
  • Check out the column under your list of Amazon Products to see if it indicates the buy box.

Neither of these options will tell you the share, but they will confirm that you are here.  To verify your Amazon buy box percentage score, follow these instructions:

  1. Log in at Amazon Seller Center 
  2. Under "reports," select "business reports"
  3. Sort data by date or ASIN
  4. The buy box percentage tracker is on the far right of the table 

Breaking Down the Buy Box

The Amazon Buy Box percentage by itself doesn't tell us much information. Instead, you need to compare it with other figures to determine how you need to adjust your strategy. 

For example, imagine that you have a buy box percentage of 10% and limited page views. This information may tell you that you need to make your images or title a bit more appealing to those who click. You may also work on weaker aspects of your business. 

If you have a high number of page views, but a low Amazon buy box percentage, that may tell you your offer is enticing, but the price is too high. People might think about clicking "add to cart" if you decrease your costs.

If you have very high sales and a high buy box percentage, check out your profit margin. You may be able to take advantage of the popularity of your item to drive that number up. There is always a balance between the number of units sold and the cost of goods sold. By tweaking the strategy, you will figure it out. 

What Happens When Amazon is Also a Seller?

What Happens When Amazon is Also a Seller?

Because Amazon builds the Amazon buy box algorithm, you may feel like they prefer its products. However,  Amazon addresses this issue by having a specific section devoted to its own (or similar) products called Amazon's Choice. 

Amazon's choice is another category of buy box that prefers Amazon's products. For example, the image above indicates the most appropriate item for a tablet case is an Amazon Fire 7. Not all products are like this, so Amazon's products may not always be at the top of Amazon's choice. 

Much like being a featured item, your item needs to be popular enough, be associated with good customer service, and have a low return rate. But if Amazon also sells these items, be prepared to compete with them.  

3. Debunking the Amazon Buy Box Algorithm

Debunking the Amazon Buy Box Algorithm

Companies have spent years trying to know more about the Amazon buy box algorithm. There are countless questions to discover. Thankfully, we've created a system to help you pursue this issue. 

With DataHawk's Amazon Buy Box Monitoring, you will receive regular reports of how your products' changes increase your ranks in the buy box. This information includes valuable areas of concern about your competitor, which are paramount to understand how and why they get where they are. 

This tool also lets you know your probability of getting in the buy box with your current strategy. With this in mind, below are some tips you can use to increase that ranking: 

Tips You Need to Know to Become the Featured Offer 

This section will be essential if you want to know how to win the buy box on Amazon. Here are some general tips you need to know about based on Amazon's suggestions

Be the Best at Customer Service 

A big part of working with the Amazon Buy Box algorithm comes back to being the best in the business. One of these focuses comes down to good customer service. As a vague term, let's break this down a bit:

  • You need to offer products with fast shipping, so being on Amazon Prime will increase your chances.
  • It would be best if you had a consistently packed inventory to meet the needs of those who are buying.
  • You need to offer a quality product that meets (or exceeds) user expectations on what your product claims are. 
  • You need to have a responsive customer service staff just in case something goes wrong with your product. 

Amazon Seller Central contains a database that will inform you of your account's health. Anything that is negatively affecting your account's health needs immediate handling.

Have Good Habits of Inventory Management

Going back to bullet point number two, having a complete inventory is essential. But what can you do to handle this while also managing other day-to-day aspects of running a business? You can rely on the Amazon Selling Coach

The Amazon Selling Coach provides you information on different opportunities for improvement. For example, inventory opportunities inform you when it's time to restock so you can avoid the potential of order cancellations for customers who are unwilling to put up with a delay. 

Other areas of importance include increasing inventory numbers for trendy and associated products that may interest customers. The Amazon Selling Coach also addresses potential shipping issues. 

Focus on Better Shipping Practices 

By being an FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) seller, you already know about the importance of offering products through FBA. These products will include free shipping, Amazon Prime, and other benefits unique to FBA sellers. 

The overall focus on providing these FBA-specific selling opportunities involves you attracting more potential customers. If Amazon is handling much of the heavy lifting, you can focus on brand-building activities.

Whatever you choose, ensure that you utilize a high-quality shipping service and continue to follow informative best-practices to reduce order cancellations and delays. 

4. Best Pricing Strategies for the Buy Box 

Demystify the Amazon Buy Box in 2021

If you are wondering how to get the buy box on Amazon, you can take various pricing strategies to get there. The Amazon buy box algorithm is somewhat picky, but your standard approach still applies. In this case, we will go through the following methods for your buy box:

  • Competitive pricing
  • High-low pricing
  • Dynamic pricing

Competitive Pricing

Competition-based pricing is the most common method for winning the buy box percentage for sellers. Why is that? Because it seeks to match the pricing of other competition in the area. 

Given Amazon's high priorities of comparable costs, it's understandable why this pricing strategy wins. For cost-leaders and FBA sellers who keep their other costs low, this strategy can work great. That's because they are the best positioned to win a price war, as they keep costs down automatically. 

Those who emphasize quality in products cannot hope to win this fight. Quality producers invest more into their production, resulting in lower cost to profit margins when they participate in price wars. In the end, the worst-case scenario of this strategy makes everyone a loser. 

High-Low Pricing

A high-low pricing strategy is another way on how to win the buy box on Amazon. The price goes high when the demand goes up and drops down when the opposite happens. You see it a lot with Easter- or Halloween-themed candy. Off-season items always receive discounts during unpopular periods. People find it appealing to look for deals, and customers understand when some of these items are reaching the discount period. If you are phasing old technology out, this is an example of "low" pricing coming into action. It's great for encouraging your customers to be engaged with pricing. However, you the lack of focus to when these prices drop lack in a thoughtful reduction. 

Dynamic Pricing 

A flexible pricing strategy is less common among sellers because it causes price fluctuations based on customer demands. For example, the cost of hotels will fluctuate heavily depending upon local events. Have you ever tried to get a hotel during a major music festival? That's one great example. 

Not many products on Amazon can take advantage of this, meaning that it's not typical for winning the buy box on Amazon. However, there are some products with significant demand fluctuations that may appreciate additional attention. 

5. Alternatives to Buy Box 

Demystify the Amazon Buy Box in 2021

When looking at Buy Box Alternatives, there are a few areas for more consideration. These are best if you are struggling when wondering how to get the buy box on Amazon:

  • The Other Sellers Section & Offer Listing Page
  • Amazon Posts & Amazon Ads (Sponsored Products) 
  • Your Amazon Store Page

You will also see sections related to "items you've viewed" and "top picks for you." These are also sections, but only if you make a wide array of similar items. As a result, we won't delve into those as profoundly. 

The Other Sellers & Offer Listing Page

When your Amazon Buy Box percentage is low, you are more likely to appear in the "other sections." these are not located on the top of the considerations list, as these get less visibility. However, you are still an alternative to the associated products. 

Follow all of the same advice to pursue these pages. The same logic also applies under Amazon's Choice list. Quality across the board is how you get on any of these lists. Once you've found Amazon Buy Box eligibility, everything else is a quality focus. 

Amazon Posts & Amazon Advertising

Amazon Posts are a beta method for you to take advantage of an entirely new platform. While the tracking on this is pretty weak, you can potentially find yourself suggested as an alternative before adding the item into their cart. 

Advertising is a way you can eventually find yourself in these top slots beforehand. You can advertise on almost any section of Amazon. You can even choose to target off-site locations. Part of beating the Amazon Buy Box algorithm is to gain enough attention from Amazon. 

Amazon Store Page

One way to increase your Amazon buy box percentage is to gain attention. You can do this strategy with ads, posts, and your store page. This option is limited to Amazon Brands, so check this out if you have a product that you would call branded. 

If you want to know more about Amazon branding and their storage page, check out this article on utilizing Amazon Brand Analytics. This target goes beyond having a professional seller account, providing you more significant analysis potential

6. Final Thoughts

If you want to know how to win the buy box on Amazon, your first goal is to understand it. While having your Amazon Buy Box Eligibility is first, that's just the beginning. You need to be able to have the best quality, quickest shipping, and best customer practices. 

You can choose a variety of strategies in these fields. They can include inventory boosting systems, customer service strategies, and pricing strategies. Whatever you pick, the idea is to be better than your competition. 

Don't be afraid to try things out until you get the right balance of things. Adjust your price dynamically to be responsive to changes in demand or competition. Try to keep a similar profit margin and win the war on both title, image, and customer review quality. 

Oh, and try not to get into any price wars, as that ends up ruining everyone. 

To win the buy box, you might have to try a few things out. Once you find the right balance, this buy box can be yours. 

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