[This is a guest post from Sharline Shaw of leelineSourcing.com – bio at bottom]
Statistics show that the Amazon Buy Box accounts for up to 90% of Amazon sales. As such, millions of Amazon sellers are scrambling to win the Buy Box. They are looking for all possible measures to be the Amazon Buy Box winner. In their eyes, if you have no Buy Box, it means you have no sales.
What is the Amazon Buy Box?
The Amazon Buy Box is the white box on the top right-hand side of the Amazon product page that includes the most important call-to-action message: Add to cart” or “Buy Now.” This feature makes it very easy for shoppers to add the item to their cart. The Amazon Buy Box is a great way to get more sales for your business. Usually, there is only one seller who can win the Buy Box. The Amazon algorithm determines the winner according to various factors. Pricing, availability, fulfillment, and customer service are all considered important factors.
The Amazon Buy Box is also important for Amazon PPC campaigns and other promotions. Losing the Buy Box means that you are losing a powerful marketing channel. In addition, the Buy Box offers great product visibility and exposure. It allows millions of online shoppers to buy directly from their smartphones. How to win the buy box? This is the million dollar question. Do you want to know the answer? Let’s get started.
Tip 1. Become Buy Box Eligible
To win the Amazon Buy Box, firstly you have to be eligible to join the million-dollar scheme. You have to create a professional seller account on the Amazon platform. There are two types of seller accounts: individual account and professional account. The former is free of subscription cost, while the latter costs $39.99 per month. But the latter will come with many privileges. One of the privileges is the access to the Buy Box. With a professional seller account, you have to engage in selling for at least 90 days to be eligible.
The product you are selling must be new and available in stock. The Amazon algorithm selects the winner of the Amazon Buy Box. The algorithm determines which seller wins the Buy Box for a particular product. It will assess the seller’s feedback and ratings. Thus, sellers must emphasize their brand reputations and customer reviews. According to the past data, only sellers with a great reputation and many positive customer feedback have a chance to win the Amazon Buy Box. Trusted by online shoppers, Amazon tends to give customers the best purchasing experiences. As such, it’s in Amazon’s core interest to deliver high-quality sellers to its customers. Normally, these sellers will enjoy a lot of positive testimonials. They will offer affordable prices and great purchasing experience to online shoppers. If you meet these basic requirements, you are eligible to become the Amazon Buy Box winner.
Tip 2. Get More Positive Feedback
As we know, Amazon always put the customer first. The customer’s’ feedback for their buying experience greatly impacts the seller’s ratings. As a result, what customers say about your sales performance and your products goes a long way in determining your business success. Seller feedback ratings have a great impact on whether you win the Buy Box or not. Negative feedback will undermine your feedback rating and lower down your POP score. While positive feedback will help boost your sales and gain an advantage over the competition. Here you will see the power of positive seller feedback. Amazon is most likely to give the Buy Box to the seller who always makes their customer happy. What if you have negative feedback? Remember to respond quickly. First of all, you have to contact the shopper and understand the situation. And then, adopt relevant remedy measures such as refunding, sending another new item, or compensating the buyer for proven loss.
Normally, the most recent feedback will have the greatest impact on your score in the Amazon algorithm. The number of seller feedback or customer reviews will also matter for the Amazon Buy Box holder. A feedback scoring over 90 percent is essential for obtaining the Amazon Buy Box share. Make sure you get the positive feedback. You can send post-purchase emails to follow up on the customers’ purchasing experience. This is a great way to increase the amount of seller feedback.
Tip 3. Choose the Right Fulfillment Method
The Amazon algorithm rates order fulfillment as one of the most important factors that determine the winner of the Amazon Buy Box. For Amazon sellers, order fulfillment can be done in three different ways:
- Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon)
- FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant)
- SFP (Seller-Fulfilled Prime).
The best way to win the Amazon Buy Box is to use Amazon FBA or SFP.
Amazon FBA means Amazon is responsible for your order fulfillment. It will help product inventory, package, and shipping to the customer. On the sellers’ side, they only have to send their items to an Amazon warehouse. Some of Amazon sellers source from China and send products to Amazon warehouses straightforward.
For most Amazon sellers, the Amazon FBA is the easiest way to win the Buy Box. This is because these products are Prime eligible. Amazon has “Perfect Seller Rating” for product shipping time and on-time delivery which means your score will be higher too. What’s more, any problems during the Amazon fulfillment will not affect your sores. These accidents are deemed as the fault of the platform. What is more, FBA sellers are eligible for Amazon Prime which offers a great chance for winning the Buy Box.
Seller-fulfilled Prime is a new program offered by Amazon. Top-performing FBM sellers are allowed to fulfill their orders by themselves and enjoying Amazon Prime. Sellers have the highest level of control over their products. But they have to manage their product’s shipping from their warehouse within a given time frame. SFP sellers will benefit from a higher chance to win the Buy Box and access to the Amazon Prime members.
Tip 4. Optimize Pricing
The product price is the second most important factor considered by Amazon. As we know, the price plays a vital role in customers’ buying decisions. To get more sales, you have to create an excellent pricing strategy. To stay competitive in the Amazon market, remember to list your products at a lower price compared to your competitors’ prices.
Generally, if your price is lower compared to your competitors you have a better chance to win the Buy Box. As we know, Amazon is customer-obsessed. It always favors a business that offers the lowest price with the best customer service. The Amazon algorithm will definitely take your product price into account during the selection. If you are planning to win the Amazon Buy Box, remember to research your competitor’s price first. And then set your price and determine if you can match or beat that price.
[Want to learn how you can price your listing upwards? Read this post].
Make sure you have taken all possible factors affecting price into consideration. To ensure a profitable business, you have to understand product costs, shipping costs, and employees’ wages before you set up your price. This should be the basic step to estimate your price range. Set up your price competitively after a careful analysis. What’s more, repricing is another method for you to stay competitive on the market. Many repricing tools are available for Amazon sellers. They can help monitor price, and change price at any time according to the price changes of your competitors. This strategy is a great way for you to stay competitive in the market.
Tip 5. Minimize the Shipping Time
The amount of time a seller takes to ship an ordered item is known as the shipping time. On Amazon, the faster items are shipped, the better chances of winning the Buy Box. Usually, the shipping time depends on your order fulfillment method and your product. If your actual shipping time is longer than advertised, it will undermine your performance metrics. To note, here we are talking about the FBM sellers. As we know, Amazon FBA will take you little time to think about speedy shipping service.
Shipping time has a big impact on winning the Amazon Buy Box. Particularly for perishable products such as birthday cakes and flowers. Usually, shipping time can be broken down to different brackets – 0-2 working days, 3-7 working days, 8-13 working days, and 14 or more days. Remember to offer a speedy shipping service and get the product to your customer fast to win the Buy Box.
Tip 6. Offer the Best Customer Service
You need to optimize your customer service to give customers the best purchasing experience possible. It’s a given that great customer service enables you to stand out among numerous competitors. The problem lies in a different definition of customer service from the Amazon perspective. It is called Customer Service Dissatisfaction Rate from the Amazon algorithm. It is a system that calculates your response rate. This rating currently has nothing to do with the Buy Box. How quickly you reply to all messages (otherwise known as the customer response time) is very important to Amazon.
To gain the Buy Box, remember to keep your response time within 12 hours, or you will lose the chance to be the winner. If your late response rate exceeds 10%, you definitely won’t win the Buy Box even if you offer FBA and a relatively lower price. Make sure you reply to every message. If you think that there is no need to respond, mark it as ‘no response needed’ to excludes the message from the metric calculation. On the whole, better customer service will increase your conversion rate and boost your sales. This will entice them to leave positive feedback for your business. All these will increase your rankings as well.
Tip 7. Keep Your Inventory Stocked
Stock availability can be easily neglected, but it is another factor that may impact your efforts to win the Amazon Buy Box. Amazon favors sellers that always strive to maintain a minimal inventory threshold. It would be impossible for Amazon to offer a direct link to a product that is running out of stock because that threatens the customer experience. Remember to keep your stock consistent for your Buy Box promotions. FBA sellers get updated info about their inventory level. They can use multiple shipping options to increase the chance of being the Buy Box winner. This process gives Amazon sellers higher control of the number of their stocked items. You can be updated on your inventory level at any time and be able to keep your products stocked to a higher threshold. This policy will increase rankings and the chance to win the Buy Box.
If you are fulfilling orders by yourself from your inventory, remember to get the inventory run rate. Tracking these numbers helps you know your inventory threshold. Usually, you should hold at least 15 days’ worth of inventory in stock.
Tip 8. Reduce Cancellation Rate & Refund Rate
The cancellation rate is the number of orders canceled before being shipped by the seller. How often a seller cancels an order will impact his chances to get the product on the Buy Box. The best situation for a potential Buy Box winner is to have 0% cancellation rate. The standard is less than 2.5% in the last 90 days. Most of the time, sellers will cancel their customer’s order due to a low inventory level. What about the refund rate? It is the number of orders refunded after being shipped. Refunds happen when the customer requests one, and this may be due to a high return rate. Check your products, find possible causes, and address them quickly. If there isn’t an easy way to do this, you should consider removing it from your product listings.
Both of these two factors greatly affect your ranking. Try to reduce their incidence to stand a higher chance of being the Buy Box winner.
Tip 9. Keep Order Defect Rate (ODR) as Low as Possible
The combination of the negative feedback rate, the A-to-Z Guarantee Claim Rate, and the Service Chargeback Rate defines the order defect rate. These three things are areas that you have to avoid as much as possible. They will impact your chance to win the Buy Box. They measure how well you take care of the buyer after the order is placed, and how the shopper feels at the end of the day. And the percentage over the last 90 days is taken to calculate your order defect rate. The best situation is to maintain 0%, the standard to win the Buy Box is less than 1%. Remember to keep your order defect rate as low as possible for a better chance to enjoy the Buy Box privilege.
Pay special attention to this data and analyze it for solutions. If you find your return rate is high, you may change to a freight forwarder to ship your item. If it is the defect rate that is high, you may consider a different supplier or a manufacturer. Make sure to offer the best customer experience to reduce negative feedback.
Summary: How to win the Amazon Buy Box
By this point, you should have a profound understanding of the Amazon Buy Box. It is there for you to win. If you want to get the most out of Amazon, remember to optimize for the Buy Box. It’s time to do your best to incorporate our 9 tips into your strategy to be the Amazon Buy Box winner.
Guest Author Bio:
Sharline Shaw, the founder of a leelineSourcing.com, is an expert on Chinese export trade. With 10 years experiences in the field of sourcing in China, she is familiar with all relevant regulations and laws about China’s exporting. She’d love to share her experience with people and has written many helpful articles.