To be blunt, there is not a single answer that will guarantee you winning the Amazon Buy Box. It's like the secret of the secret-‘est’ recipe of Amazon that’s buried a thousand leagues down under. Perhaps, this is how Amazon would like to maintain fair competition in response to more and more sellers entering the platform.
But that's what makes things exciting! You'll need to educate yourself constantly and study about what the most sales-generating combination of factors are, that will win you the buy box.
But before we dive more into how to win the buy box, let's first brush up a little bit on the basics.
What is a buy box and why is it important?
The buy box is basically the white box on the upper right corner of your product listing where you can see the "add to cart" or the "buy now" button. This is the ultimate key to profit heaven. All your hardwork in creating great quality products and awesome marketing content will be accelerated tremendously if you are able to win the buy box.
Stakes are high as only one seller is granted the buy box at a given time. Related products are assigned a similar Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN). The Amazon algorithm then chooses the best listing within a particular ASIN to be granted a buy box.
In addition, if an order is fulfilled or delivered directly by the seller, and not through amazon, the seller will have no buy box if there is a competitor who has the fulfilled by amazon (FBA) sticker.
Why is there even a buy box in the first place you might ask. Well, since Amazon allows third party merchants on the platform, the buy box serves as kind of a regulatory mechanism; somehow also as a form of quality control. Products / sellers who win the buy box are only those with proven grade-A quality, along with the services of the seller or company. Amazon would want to provide its customers with only the best products and services in the market.
Can you make a sale without a buy box?
Yes, you can make a sale without a buy box. But the chances of you making that will be a needle in a haystack. The buy box is sort of like a fuel engine for your sales -- you can still move your car, in this case your product, without fuel, but you're going to have to put in a lot of manual labor.
If you have your own private label and are selling products that's one of a kind, generating sales without a buy box will be much easier than if you're a seller whose products are those of other labels.
How do you win the buy box?
Winning the buy box is not a permanent thing especially when you have a lot of competitors. You can even lose the buy box even if you are the only seller! As more sellers compete for it, you may as well be hiring someone to look after your listing if you don’t have the time, or you might wake up the next morning too behind on winning the buy box back.
As mentioned in the intro, a good combination of factors will help you win the buy box more often. Based on our research, we give you the most important factors you need to consider to win the buy box.
Is it true that the lower the price, the better? In some way, it is. Amazon favorably detects lower prices for their customers, however, not all the time. A good exercise to address this is to regularly modify your pricing based on your competitor’s pricing. Expect that they too, will change their pricing regularly to compete with you and the others.
Amazon has a manage pricing tool that helps you decide the best pricing for your listing at a certain time. If this is too strenuous, you have the option to let Amazon automatically reassign prices to your product listings.
The next most important factor on the list is how the customers rate your product and service after the transaction. It is crucial that you encourage feedback from your customers as Amazon considers this in their evaluation. You can send your buyers an email once they’ve notified order completion or a few days after product receipt just to give them time to try the product out.
Seller Rating based on Customer Metrics
Your seller rating is calculated based on five (5) customer metrics that you can monitor under your performance tab (then account health tab). These are your:
- Policy Violations
Maintain a healthy relationship with Amazon and play by the rules. Violations are categorized according to the degree and such may affect your seller rating. Amazon will notify you of any violation so be sure to check your performance notification once in a while. Should you fail to address or correct the violation, it may mean serious consequences.
- Cancellation Rate
At times, sellers cancel orders perhaps due to unavailability of stock. This is considered negligence on the part of the seller for not updating Amazon with the stocks or not restocking right away to meet demands. This will give a bad image to the seller and might drag Amazon along which is why it is considered a critical index in the evaluation. Amazon recommends a cancellation rate of less than 2.5%.
- Contact Response Time
How fast you respond to your clients is a big factor in your evaluation as well. Amazon highly emphasizes on excellent customer service, therefore, you as a seller, are expected to respond to your customers or buyers right away. And this is regardless of if it is a weekday or a weekend. Amazon recommends that you respond to messages within 24 hours to get a great contact response time grade.
- Order Defect Rate
When customers are not happy with what they receive, this may reflect through negative ratings or chargeback requests. This is where your ODR is calculated. When customers are not satisfied with the product, this could mean that the product was not what they expected as compared to your ad / posting and this is seen as a failure on your part. This is why it is also important to publish genuine product images that showcase your product beautifully, but authentically at the same time.
It's also important to note that Amazon recommends less than 1% ODR to have a good account health score.
- Late Dispatch Rate
It is important that you stick to your committed delivery date. Delayed dispatch is deterred by Amazon and them knowing will depend on your manual status updating. Should you have dispatched the product during the right time but weren’t able to notify Amazon, then the dispatch will be considered late. Amazon recommends a late dispatch rate of less than 4%.
It is said that your account health should be indicated as good , which translates to a seller rating of more than 90 points.
Maintaining a good account health, positive customer feedback and a reasonable product pricing will increase your chances of winning the buy box. If you cannot address all three (3) measures at the same time, don’t fret! You can always make up by improving more on the other factors. And of course, don’t forget to always bring to the stage a ton of patience and due diligence. It's okay to not be able to get this right the first time around. Or even the first few times! Stay determined, and it will be a matter of time before you hit the jackpot!