How to Win the Amazon Buy Box in 2023

If you’re a third-party Amazon seller – especially if you’re a reseller – you need to know how to win the Amazon Buy Box, how it works, and why it’s so important.

The typical Amazon shopper’s journey works much the same every time:

Search for a product -> check out a couple of options from the SERP -> scroll down, skim listing, check reviews -> hit the orange “Buy Now” button on the right side of the listing.

Between 80-85% of sales on Amazon come through this one orange button. You want to make sure your product is the one the customer purchases when they click it. Keep reading to learn how.


Table of Contents

What is the Amazon Buy Box?
Why is the Buy Box Important?
Benefits of Having the Buy Box
How to Win the Buy Box
Requirements for Amazon Buy Box Eligibility
Factors in the Amazon Buy Box Algorithm
5 Tips to Win the Buy Box
How to Make Sales If You Don’t Have the Buy Box
Amazon Buy Box FAQs
Final Thoughts


What is the Amazon Buy Box?

The Amazon Buy Box is the area on the right side of a listing that contains pricing information, shipping info, the seller name, and the big, prominent “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” buttons.

On mobile, it shows up just below the fold, below the images and variations.

One Amazon listing can have a number of different sellers, all selling the same item. But only one seller can get the sale when a customer clicks one of these two buttons.

This is known as “winning” the Buy Box – the seller who shows up as “sold by ___” in this section, and who gets the sale when a customer buys the product.

Why is the Buy Box Important?

More than 80% of Amazon sales come through the Amazon Buy Box. And if anything, it’s surprising that this number is not higher.

Customers can still purchase from other sellers, even if they don’t have the Buy Box. Below this section, you’ll see a small area that says “Other Sellers on Amazon”. 

These are the sellers who don’t have the Buy Box. And as you can imagine, not many shoppers scroll down the page to choose a seller from this list (most Amazon shoppers probably don’t even know that there is more than one option for buying the same product).

Amazon has made it a little easier to buy from other sellers, adding a yellow “Add to Cart” button to this area, directly on the listing. But the lion’s share of sales will still go to the primary seller.

Benefits of Having the Buy Box

Amazon did $469 billion in revenue in 2021. If we take the estimated share of sales that go through the Amazon Buy Box (~83%), this comes to $389 billion in sales facilitated by the Buy Box.

In reality, it’s probably more than that, as the share of sales on mobile is even higher.

Most of this is simply due to being the easiest option for the customer. Amazon leads them along a specific journey when they buy a product, which ends with them clicking the “Buy Now” button.

The customer has to make a detour to buy anything else, which is very uncommon.

Having the Amazon Buy Box is also a sign of social proof and legitimacy for your brand. It makes you look like a real, Amazon-approved brand.

On the other hand, it’s easy to assume the sellers in the “Other Sellers” area are at best resellers, or at worst, selling knockoffs.

So even if you make a sale without having the Buy Box, the chances that someone remembers your brand are lower, and the chances that you get a negative review higher, because the customer comes in with lower trust right from the start.

How to Win the Amazon Buy Box

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Now we get to the important part – how to make sure your product is the one that owns this key piece of real estate on the Amazon listing.

Amazon has an algorithm that decides who owns the Buy Box at any given time. Like all inner workings of Amazon (such as the A10 search algorithm), no one outside of Amazon knows 100% how this works.

We do have some information about the Buy Box algorithm, in terms of which factors it considers in making its decision.

We’ll examine these factors in a moment – but first things first, you need to meet a few basic requirements for the Buy Box.

If you as a seller (or the product you’re selling) don’t meet these requirements, all the rest doesn’t matter. You’re not even in the running.

Requirements for Amazon Buy Box Eligibility

How to ensure you’re eligible to win the Buy Box?

There are four criteria you need to meet.

  1. You need to have a Professional Seller account (also known as a Pro Merchant account in some marketplaces). This is the account type that comes with a monthly fee, as opposed to only charging you per item you sell.
  2. Your account has to be “Buy Box Eligible”, which essentially means it’s in good standing. This involves meeting several performance criteria – such as being under a certain threshold for Order Defect Rate, Cancellation Rate and Late Shipment Rate.
  3. The item you’re selling has to be new. Used items cannot win the main Buy Box.
  4. Your product has to be in stock.

Meeting these four criteria won’t guarantee you the Buy Box, but it will at least ensure you have a chance of winning it.

Factors in the Amazon Buy Box Algorithm

Now we get to the key factors that decide the Buy Box winner, and who is relegated to the relative Siberia of the “Other Sellers on Amazon”.

These factors all contribute to customer satisfaction – which is what Amazon’s Buy Box algorithm is designed for.

Amazon wants to provide the best experience possible for customers, so they’re more likely to come back and shop on Amazon again.

They want to be able to offer low prices, short shipping times, and no headaches for the customer. 

Use that as a baseline for optimizing for the Buy Box, search rankings, or anything on Amazon. How am I providing the best shopping experience for Amazon customers?

Now let’s deconstruct the algorithm.

High Importance Factors

  • Fulfillment method
  • Landed price
  • Shipping time

It’s generally accepted that these three things make the biggest difference in winning or losing the Buy Box.

Fulfillment method and shipping time are vital, to get the product to the customer fast and without hiccups.

“Landed price” is the other big factor. This means the final price the customer pays, including shipping and VAT (if applicable).

Lower prices are better – though it doesn’t guarantee you the Buy Box just because your price is lowest.

Medium Importance Factors

Factors that are less important, but still hold some weight in the algorithm, include:

  • Order defect rate
  • Valid tracking rate
  • Late shipment rate
  • On-time delivery rate
  • Seller feedback score
  • Customer response time
  • Seller feedback count

All these factors are important for producing happy customers. Some, like order defect rate and late shipment rate, should be as low as possible (ideally zero). While others should be perfect, or as high as possible.

Feedback score and total feedback count indicates your trust as a seller, and that a lot of customers have had a good experience when buying from you.

Low Importance Factors

The last three factors to consider are:

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  • Inventory depth
  • Cancellation rate
  • Refund rate

Ideally you want to have very low cancellation and refund rates, to make Amazon confident that the sale will go through smoothly.

You also want to have enough depth to cover the increase in sales you’ll get from the Buy Box without running out of stock.

These factors are less important than the others we’ve mentioned, but still come into play when deciding the Buy Box.

Further Reading: all the pro tips you need to increase your Amazon sales in 2023.

5 Tips to Win the Amazon Buy Box

So now we know a little about how the Buy Box works, how to ensure your Buy Box eligible status, and the factors – of high, medium and lower importance – that go into the Buy Box decision algorithm.

We can use that information to put together a plan to help you win the Buy Box as often as possible.

Here are five tips to do so.

1. Sell With FBA

First, one of the biggest things that makes a difference is selling with FBA.

We said that the fulfillment method is one of the most important factors in the algorithm. Amazon wants to provide a perfect shipping experience to their customers. And they’re most confident that they can do that if you let them do it themselves.

That’s why FBA sellers have a much better chance of winning the Buy Box. If you really can’t, or don’t want to use FBA, at least make sure you offer Seller-Fulfilled Prime via FBM.

These options will also help keep your shipping time and landed time low, which are also hugely important factors in winning the Buy Box.

2. Price Your Product Competitively

Pricing is not the only thing, but it is extremely important. If you can’t offer a competitive price, you’ll be at a huge disadvantage.

This is another thing that Amazon wants to be known for. They want to be the place you go for all the best products at the lowest prices.

That’s why the Buy Box often goes to the seller who can provide the customer with the lowest price, which will be most likely to lead to a sale.

You need to satisfy all the other factors as well, but if all else is equal, it’s probably going to come down to price.

Related: how to optimize your Amazon Pricing Strategy.

3. Manage Your Inventory Well

Inventory is another key area to get right

Amazon wants the seller who has the Buy Box to be able to handle all orders – and the more the better.

If you don’t have any inventory in stock, you’re not going to win the Buy Box. It will go to someone who actually has product on hand to ship to the customer.

4. Maintain Perfect Performance Metrics

All these small seller metrics – order defect rate, late shipment rate, cancellation rate – are not just for show. They’re indications that you’re providing a perfect customer experience.

This is not just important because Amazon says so. You want to offer a great customer experience to reduce refunds and cancellations, get positive reviews and customer feedback, and increase the chance that people seek out your brand and buy again.

And for the Buy Box, these performance metrics are everything. Amazon’s not going to put an unreliable seller in the Buy Box – you need to be exemplary.

5. Reach Out for Seller Feedback

Finally, make it a priority to get seller feedback as often as you can.

We usually reach out to ask for reviews. But customers can also leave seller feedback after an order, which is essentially a review of how their experience with the seller went, rather than the product.

Reviews are generally more important than seller feedback, but that doesn’t mean seller feedback is not also valuable. As we can see above, it makes a difference in winning the Buy Box. And if it proves to be the tiebreaker between you and another seller, this feedback becomes vital.

Further Reading: How to Get Reviews on Amazon (the right way).

How to Make Sales If You Don’t Have the Buy Box

Is it the end of the world if you don’t have the Buy Box?

It’s bad, sure. Most of the organic sales for the product are going to go to whoever is in the Buy Box.

But if you’re sending traffic to Amazon from external sources, you can send them through a link that puts you as the main seller.

To do this, take the product URL, and attach “&m=[your merchant ID]” to the end. This will direct Amazon to show the product as sold by you, by specifying the merchant ID.

This is very useful to know, in case you happen to be sending external traffic to your product and run into competition from other sellers, or you want to boost your sales volume despite not having the Buy Box.

Amazon Buy Box FAQs

Let’s finish up with some commonly asked questions relating to the Amazon Buy Box.

Does the Buy Box Rotate?

The Buy Box is not a static thing. Amazon doesn’t decide that one seller will win it all the time. It can rotate between multiple sellers who are Buy Box eligible and offer competitive pricing. It can change on a daily or hourly basis, or even change based on the location of the shopper.

Does the Buy Box Always Go to the Lowest Price?

Contrary to popular belief, the Buy Box does not necessarily go to the seller offering the lowest price. Price is a big factor, but there are others that the algorithm considers. Don’t expect to win the Buy Box if your seller feedback and performance metrics are poor, just by offering the cheapest price.

What is Buy Box Percentage?

Buy Box Percentage is the rate at which your product is in the Buy Box.
As established, Buy Box rotation is a thing. You can calculate your percentage by diving the number of times someone viewed the listing while you’re in the Buy Box by the total number of page views.
This information can be found in your Amazon Seller Central account, under the heading “Buy Box Wins”, which will give your win percentage in various marketplaces.

What is a Good Buy Box Percentage on Amazon?

There are too many factors at play to be able to say what is good and what is not when it comes to Buy Box percentage. It depends on the amount of competition on the listing, whether you’re selling private label or arbitrage, your investment in products/advertising, and much more.

Why Was the Buy Box Removed on My Listing?

You might find your listing doesn’t have a Buy Box at all. This is known as “Buy Box suppression”. It generally happens when the product is offered for a lower price somewhere else on the internet (e.g. Walmart or Ebay). It can also be that the product is out of stock, or there are authenticity concerns about the product or the listing.

What Difference Does the Buy Box Make to Sales?

It’s estimated that 83% of sales on Amazon come through the Buy Box. That means you’re likely to se around 5-6x more sales if you have the Buy Box, as opposed to being one of the “Other Sellers on Amazon”.

I’m a Private Label Seller – Why Don’t I Have the Buy Box?

One of the biggest Buy Box myths is that you’re guaranteed the Buy Box if you’re selling your own private label products.
For one thing, the Buy Box may be suppressed, as talked about above. You might be offering the product for a better price somewhere else, or you may not be Buy Box eligible. Additionally, other sellers can still jump on your listing and sell the same product, unless your brand is gated.
You can still expect a much higher Buy Box percentage if you sell your own products, but it’s not uncommon for your Buy Box percentage to be less than 100%.

Trending Article: How to Use TikTok to Promote Amazon Products

Final Takeaways

The Amazon Buy Box is one of the most important things to understand as an Amazon seller.

If you’re competing with other sellers on the same listing, the Buy Box is crucial. If you don’t own this key piece of real estate, you’re out in the cold, and shoppers are going to have a hard time finding you.

Even if you’re selling your own branded products, it’s important to understand how the Buy Box works, and what Amazon wants to see for this, to avoid having your Buy Box suppressed, or allowing resellers to jump on your listing and take your sales.

You can still make sales without the Buy Box – but you’ll need to be crafty about it, and proactive in driving traffic from outside Amazon.

Hopefully, from this post you’ll have gathered a good insight into how the Buy Box works, and how to optimize to win the Amazon Buy Box. Nail this, and your business has a great chance of succeeding.

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