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 Buy Box and get the sale.
But let's start by the beginning: what is the Buy Box?
Amazon Buy Box | What is it?
The Amazon Buy Box is the box on a product detail page where customers can begin the purchasing process by adding items to their shopping carts. Amazon awards the Buy Box to the seller who has the product listed usually at the best price along with other factors such as:
- FBA/Prime shipping offered
- Availability of product
- Good seller feedback
- A competitive price
We know that 83% of all sales made on Amazon are made through the Buy Box. People rarely purchase something without adding it to their basket. The percentage is even higher when it comes to mobile purchases. This shows you the importance of the Buy Box. If you have it, people are far more likely to buy your product.
But since there's vast competition among retailers on Amazon, only the best of the best in terms of retailers can win it. 1 out 5 lost Buy Box happens because of stock issues (BlueBoard-2019) and 66% of lost buy boxes are explains by price competition (BlueBoard-2019).
Amazon is well known for its customer-oriented mentality and has done the best it could to preserve the rights of customers. It owes a great deal of its popularity to such a customer policy.
Amazon Buy Box | The Status
Amazon have build the Buy Box and the algorithm behind it in favor of the customers. Basically, the product who owns the Buy Box is the most interesting for the final customers in term of pricing, reliability in term of reviews and ratings, and so on.
The products on Amazon that no longer own the Buy Box is listed in "see all buying options" function. This button allows the customer to virtually see the same or very similar products with different price tags, usually more expensive.
Naturally, no seller is satisfied with having her product in the "see all buying options" list, as this reduces their possible profits. Amazon gave the reason behind this decision, and it goes as follows:
"Sellers have their product prices on our platform. If a product is not priced competitively by a seller, we reserve the right not to feature that offer. Customers can still find all offers on the offer listings page."
Amazon Buy Box | The Rules
You're not eligible to be the sole owner of the Buy Box. Consider the Buy Box as a stock like style, allowing you to win shares of it.
Once you've passed the eligibility requirements, the Algorithm roots out the best deal, giving competitors more strain and consumers a better buying option.
There are quite a lot of popular items on Amazon with an abundance of resellers, and Amazon is well aware of this fact.
While other eCommerce platforms like AliExpress might have quite the price difference for the same product, Amazon cutted down on this through its advanced Algorithm.
The high tech algorithm compares the listings by numerous factors, including:
- Using Fulfillment By Amazon
- Seller-Fulfilled Prime
- Landed Price
- Shipping Time
It inspires a more competitive attitude among sellers, making them adjust their price accordingly, basically homogenizing the market value of certain items.
The final addition is the time balance. While the top-ranked seller of the item can hold the item Buy Box share for most of the day, the lower-ranked seller can hold it for a smaller amount. It cuts down the chances of the market becoming monopolized, while also looking out for the little guy.
The Balancing Capabilities
The balancing capabilities allows the consumer to get the most bang for their buck, cutting down on stiff price differences between sellers.
The Buy Box algorithm compares prices against the seller metrics, allowing people to sell at their desired price if their parameters match.
If you're a good seller and your price is a little bit above the competition, you're still going to get props for being the awesome seller you are.
If you have mid-range seller metrics, you're in for a little bit more trouble. You need to get the parameters up to participate in most Amazon feats, and the Buy Box is one such feat.
Getting your metrics up while obtaining your Buy Box is as simple as cutting down on price. Most of the simplified over-offered products are extremely overpriced anyway, so cutting a little bit on profits now might earn you a small fortune later.
This procedure adds a healthy dose of competition, allowing sellers to compare themselves with other sellers for consumers' wallets. If all goes bad, you're still eligible to share the Buy Box feature, perhaps with Amazon themselves, which isn't a bad thing.
Amazon would die out quickly if it had no consumers, but the sellers are an essential part of it as well.
You can't buy anything if there is nothing to buy. Amazon is not discriminating against sellers; it's just favoring the consumers.
The Buy Box Requirements
The sellers at Amazon need to secure their place in the Amazon marketplace, and getting your store eligible for the Buy Box is no easy job. There are a couple of different things you need to do, such as:
- Having a professional seller account. You can purchase a professional seller (Pro-Merchant) account to raise your chances at the Buy Box. This account standing has numerous other benefits, which you can read up on through our website
- All your items must be new. Used items aren't eligible for the original Buy Box, but they will be offered through the Buy Used Box, which is the same, but for used items.
- Your items also need to be in stock. All the questions you want to add the Buy Box must be in stock. The "currently not in stock" red text is reserved for your product link, which is not going to present themselves anymore unless you're specifically looking for them.
4 Insider Tips for Buy Box Eligibility
Mind The FBA
The FBA stands for Fulfillment By Amazon. It’s by far the biggest thing that impacts whether you're going to get the Buy Box or not. Amazons' fulfillment service is the be all end all metrics which span all of the variables, utilizing FBA within your product and business is the best way to get a shot at the Buy Box.
FBA does cost some money and isn't spare change. You need to think if you've accomplished everything else before you've considered FBA. Think of FBA like a final coat of polish on a car. It's going to be incredible if you've prepared your paint, but mediocre if you've applied only the polish.
Mind the SFP
The SFP stands for Seller Fulfilled Prime, which offers top-performing fulfillment by the seller the chance to fulfill their existing orders and accompanying Amazon Prime, at the same time.
SFP is the overall most balanced method, combining control potential and Buy Box eligibility. This feature is not easy to achieve and requires proper metrics to even apply for it. But since it doesn't ravage your budget, it's a good thing to keep in mind when you're trying out for the Buy Box.
Adjust the Landed Price
Adjusting the landing price of your product is the simplest way to get your product to be Buy Box worthy. The landing price entails the total cost of your product, plus the shipping, customs, and handling fees.
The smaller the price, the bigger the share of the Buy Box. As this is a consumer-oriented feature, try to square off your price to make it more appealing to both consumers and the Amazon algorithm (To keep track with your competitors, try our advanced alerts tool!).
The second most significant thing that is often looked at by consumers, and the Algorithm, is the shipping time. This metric is strongly favored if short and actively antagonized if long. This exact reason is why one-day shipping is such a popular feature
For certain products and categories, faster shipping is strongly preferred. Cutting down on the shipping time of your product is probably the quickest way to get favored by the Buy Box algorithm, and secure your place in the Amazon ecosystem.
The Trinity of Amazon Product Pricing
Properly pricing your product is the only way to ensure that your product is going to get the Buy Box. The primary metric that is looked upon by the Buy Box algorithm is the overall price of your product. If your product is competitively priced and fulfills all the parameters, it's almost guaranteed that it's Buy Box eligible.
-Manual Pricing: Manual pricing and repricing is the process in which a seller manually updates the price of a product. For each of your ASIN's, you need to update the price, making sure that all of them are proper and competitive. The perfect method for people selling original or unique goods. If you're a reseller, this might be a waste of time.
-Rule-Based Pricing: Pricing and repricing your products based on the rules is yet another way to achieve Buy Box eligibility. This process entails examining your competition and repricing according to them. One cent less can make a world of difference in such a competitive market. Setting up rules isn't a straightforward process, and you do need to know what you're doing. You're not going to keep the smallest price on the market for long, and some people are willing to lose money to gain more in the long run temporarily.
Another thing that you might kick-off is a never-ending spiral of price cuts. Some businesses can keep this up for quite a long time, but most can't. Cutting down on the price of a product is a good thing in the short term, but creates long-term losses for everyone involved. Amazon has done this themselves, through their brick and mortar stores, putting businesses like Sears out of the competition. Rule-Based pricing is best when left to professionals, which you can find on numerous websites. While they might add another fee, they are going to save you money in the long run, and get you that Buy Box.
-Algorithm Pricing: Pricing and repricing your ASIN's through an algorithm is the highest tech option of the bunch. It does the job for you, thoroughly considering everything before repricing and pricing your existing products. The Algorithm takes into account all the different factors which might find themselves in the Buy Box Eligibility sheet. Employing the Algorithm within your repricing technique is by far the best way to get your products Buy Box eligible, and increase your existing shares.
It's not there solely to get you to Buy Box eligibility but to secure, protect, and maintain your existing profits. The Algorithm is preferring the Buy Box, yet it functions in such a way that it saves you money as well.
Such a fantastic option is the best that money can buy, but buying it isn't exactly a small feat. Algorithmic pricing is the most expensive of all the repricing options and might set you back by quite a lot. If you're a smaller reseller or a hand-crafted store, this isn't for you.
There is not one single highway to win the Buy Box, but rather a series of actions and data-driven decisions.
And as Mariah Carey sings at the end of every year, "All I want for Christmas is the Buy Box", we wish you a lot of success in your hunt :)