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The Amazon Buy Box: How It Works for Sellers, and Why It’s So Important

Confused about the Amazon Buy Box? Here's our guide to qualifying.

David Zaleski

October 7, 2021

What Is The Amazon Buy Box?

The algorithms of Amazon are customer-driven. The site is built to get the customer in and out quickly with the best deal possible. Therefore, you should utilize tools like the Buy Box in order to get your products in front of the customer first - every time!

3 foam finger hands waving in the air, each with #1 written on it.
Source: Giphy

The Buy Box is the box to the right of the product detail page on Amazon, which allows a customer to quickly add their item to the cart, or even purchase their product immediately. The buy box is most important if you are not the only seller on Amazon selling your product. With the massive marketplace that exists on Amazon today, it’s quite likely this is the case.

Example of a listing with the Buy Box featured. Listing is a plaid dog jacket.

 If you’ll notice, at the bottom of the Buy Box you’ll see the note: “Sold By: Kuoser.” This is the Amazon seller offering this product who, in this case, has “won” the Buy Box for this item. If you’re working with third-party white label products, odds are you’re not the only one competing for that item (you’re not the only one with this smart idea). Most people are not going to look at the other sellers available to purchase from, and will go with whoever’s products are in the Buy Box. Winning this placement is vital to your success as an FBA seller using a dropship model.


Getting the Buy Box

First, and most importantly, your item will need to be Buy-Box eligible. This does not happen right away, and you will have to sell on Amazon for about 90 days before you can be featured and winning the buy box. The algorithm looks for professional sellers who know what they are doing. You will need a Professional Selling Plan account, which means you will pay a monthly fee whether you have items listed that month or not. This type of account will allow you to use some helpful features like inventory trackers, which will help you remain qualified as well. 

Using Amazon Fulfillment or FBA can also speed up the process of becoming Buy Box eligible for new business owners, by helping to move your orders quickly. Very rarely will a seller who is not offering free Prime shipping win the Buy Box. FBA is the quickest way to make this happen.

GIF of a box sliding down a factory ramp.
Source: Giphy

Some ways you can improve your shipping: 

  • Provide several shipping options, including fast-moving and free shipping if possible. 
  • Ship items on time. 
  • Do not cancel orders. 
  • Send packages with tracking numbers.

Next, make sure that your product is available. If your product is consistently out of stock or low on stock, it can reduce your chances of appearing in the Buy Box. Availability is important for many reasons in your Amazon store, but this is among the top reasons to keep your store stocked up. Be careful - being inconsistent with inventory volume (very low to very high too often) can also impact your score in this area. As we mentioned earlier, a Professional Selling Plan account can help you to manage your inventory and steady out any spikes or drops. If your inventory is up-to-date, it decreases the possibility of a customer ordering something unavailable. 

If a customer does order something unavailable or out-of-stock, they may leave a negative review, which leads us to our next point: good feedback from customers is essential for your Buy Box status. If your items have a high ratio of negative to positive reviews, you are less likely to be featured. Make sure that you are asking your customers to leave comments, and providing excellent customer service if you notice problems or recurring critiques especially. It’s important to build this practice into your consistent habits because more recent reviews are prioritized over old ones.

GIF of 5 stars, starting transparent and gradually filled in with yellow.
Source: Giphy

Of course, we know that pricing is an important piece of the puzzle when competing to be the top offer on a customer’s search. It is important to stay on top of your prices and keep them competitive. However, if you follow the other tips above, including keeping a good inventory, good customer feedback, and shipping things on time, you do not have to have the lowest price available to be featured. 

You do have to offer the best value for the price you ask, however. If there are other sellers charging less who have a recent slew of bad reviews, poor customer service, and a lack of inventory - you can get away with slightly higher prices. But remember - the Buy Box is for multiple sellers offering the same item. So if your store is offering the same product for more money and your competitors are on their A-game, you need to compete with their prices or you will lose the Buy Box.

Amazon wants customers returning to their site, and if you hold up your end of the sale, they are likely to do so. You will be rewarded for positive customer interaction and seller feedback with more time in the Box. 

 

So How Do I Know? 

You can actually check on whether or not your product has Buy Box eligibility within your Amazon sellers account! 

  • In Amazon Seller Central, choose the ‘Inventory’ tab. 
  • From there, select ‘Manage Inventory.’
  • Choose the ‘Preferences’ tab. 
  • Under the column display, look for ‘Buy Box Eligible,’ and choose ‘Show When Available.’ ’ 
  • Now, when your item is Buy Box eligible, the column next to its SKU will say ‘yes.’ 

If you are still unsure of how to navigate your Professional seller account, or you’re not sure you are doing all you can to become the buy box winner, sign up for a consultation with one of our qualified coaches. We will help you do what it takes to step up and compete in Amazon’s fast-paced environment.

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David Zaleski

David Zaleski is an entrepreneur, Amazon seller, and the founder of EcomHub. He's been operating in the eCommerce space since the age of 14 years old. At the age of 18, he started his own Amazon business with just $4,800 in start-up capital.

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