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E-commerce: how to get the Buy Box on Amazon

Find out what the Amazon Buy Box is, its importance, how its algorithms work, and how to get it to perform on Amazon.

 Amazon's Buy Box is a central feature of the platform, often misunderstood, but essential for online sellers. In this article, we will explore in detail what the Buy Box is, how it works, how sellers can get it , and how monitoring and price intelligence tools can be powerful assets in the quest for the Buy Box. Knowing that 85% of sales are made via the Buy Box, all sellers want to win this coveted Buy Box.

1/ What is the Amazon Buy Box?

The Buy Box is the order block located on Amazon's product page, allowing customers to add an item directly to their cart. It is usually placed at the top right of the page. Only one seller holds control of that box for a given product at any given time. This means that when customers click "Add to Cart" or "Buy Now," they are purchasing the product from the seller who currently holds the Buy Box.

 Competition on Amazon is fierce, and all sellers are engaged in a price battle. Since there is no limit to the number of sellers on Amazon, multiple sellers offer the exact same item. They will then all be present on the same product page. And that's where the Buy Box comes in. The seller who owns the Buy Box is almost the only one who is visible on Amazon.

In fact, on a desktop (and not mobile) purchase, the other sellers are presented below the Buy Box. But only the following 3 sellers are visible on the product page. Although they are not as visible as the Buy Box, they still have a small chance of conversion. For other sellers, it is necessary to click on the number of offers available to access the full list of sellers. These sellers are therefore at a disadvantage in terms of visibility.

The notion of a Buy Box is all the more important in the age of mobile shopping. We know that almost half of all purchases are made on mobile among young people under 35 years old and winning the Buy Box offers maximum visibility on mobile, since it is presented directly under the product. Unlike a computer, all other sellers are hidden in the offers underneath. This makes the conversion even more complicated without the Buy Box on mobile


2/ How Does the Amazon Buy Box Work?

The algorithm that determines which seller gets the Buy Box is complex and takes into account several factors. While Amazon isn't revealing the precise details of this algorithm, here are some of the key factors that influence the decision :

A. Professional Seller Account

The first step is to benefit from a professional seller account. 90 days of seniority as a seller are also required to be eligible for the Buy Box.

B. FBA Delivery Method

One of the variables that has the most influence on the allocation of the Buy Box is the shipping method chosen by the seller: sellers who use the FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon)  delivery method are favored by Amazon and are more likely to get the Buy Box than an FBM seller who will ship their products themselves. Using the delivery service managed by Amazon will strengthen the seller's positioning. If a seller is positioned on a product by being FBA, they can get the Buy Box with a higher price than FBM competitors on that product. If all sellers use FBA delivery, the allocation of the Buy Box will be based on other criteria.

C. Competitive Pricing

Amazon, of course, favors sellers who offer competitive prices for a given product. However, it's not just the lowest price that matters, but also the overall value the customer perceives. In addition, the price to be taken into account is the total price including shipping costs called on Amazon " landed price". You have to make sure that the total price is always competitive.

D. Stock and delivery times

Amazon obviously favors sellers who have the product in stock and can ship it quickly. Stock availability is a crucial factor as Amazon wants to provide a seamless shopping experience for its customers. Delivery times will also play an important role in the allocation of the Amazon Buy Box. The shorter the delivery time, the better the chances of winning the Buy Box. Some products and categories are very time-sensitive, such as birthday cards and perishables. The impact of this criterion on the buy box will be higher because customers often demand prompt delivery of these items. The Prime delivery method  is also taken into account since delivery is done in two days maximum and sellers eligible for the Prime program must have good sales indicators.

E. Seller's Performance

Seller reliability, shipping speed, customer ratings, and other seller performance metrics are also taken into account. Sellers with a good reputation and a satisfactory customer service history are more likely to win the Buy Box.

Amazon combines several criteria to evaluate the performance of sellers:

  1. Customer reviews: The number of positive customer reviews and reviews  improves the seller's performance, and the most recent reviews have the most impact. The positive review rate should not fall below 90%. The closer the rate is to 100%, the better the chances of appearing in the Buybox. The number of comments is also very important for obtaining the Buy box.
  2. The rate of defective orders : This rate corresponds to orders that have had one or more defects (negative evaluation, return, complaint, dispute of direct debit, customer service dissatisfaction, etc.) in relation to the total number of orders over 60 days. This rate must be less than 1% to win the Buybox and any seller above this threshold will be penalized.
  3. The perfect order rate: This corresponds to the percentage of orders completed without incidents. Amazon calculates the percentage by dividing the number of perfect orders by the total orders in the last 90 days. This perfection rate drops at the slightest negative customer review, cancellation, refund or A-Z guarantee request or late delivery.
  4. Customer response time: To maintain the edge, customers must be responded to within 24 hours of the request. A late response or no response will have a very negative impact on your chances of getting the Buybox. So try to answer 90% of messages within 24 hours to stay in Amazon's good graces.
  5. Valid tracking rate : This rate includes all shipments with a valid tracking number as a percentage of total shipments. Amazon customers rely on the tracking number to know where their orders are and when they are going to receive them. Sellers must have a valid tracking rate above 95% to keep their performance.
  6. The Late Shipment Rate : This corresponds to the shipment of orders confirmed after the estimated shipping date. Orders must be confirmed to be shipped by the estimated shipping date so that customers can view the status of their order online. Sellers must have a late shipment rate of less than 4% to qualify for the Buy Box.
  7. The on-time delivery rate : This is the percentage of orders received by buyers by the expected delivery date. Sellers should aim for 97% or higher.
  8. Inventory:  When a product is out of stock, it automatically loses the Buybox of course but also the lower the stock of the inventory, the more chances of winning the Buy Box are too. Amazon often checks the frequency of stock shortages, so it is necessary to maintain a stock rate at 100% in the majority of cases. Especially for the best-selling products so that you can meet any potential increase in demand.


3/ Strategies to Get the Buy Box

While there is no guarantee of getting the Buy Box, there are strategies sellers can implement to increase their chances:

  1. Maintain Competitive Pricing: Keep a close eye on your competitors' prices and adjust yours accordingly. This doesn't necessarily mean having the lowest price, but rather offering high perceived value relative to price. It is necessary to determine the price adjustments to be put in place while ensuring the best possible margin. It's not about getting the buy box to sell at a loss. Having access to in-depth analytics or dynamically changing prices can help. For  example, automatic repricing software like Price Observatory will allow you to change your prices instantly based on the competition.
  2. Optimize Seller Performance: Make sure you maintain fast delivery rates, provide excellent customer service, and get positive reviews. Amazon takes these factors into account when assessing customer trust and satisfaction.
  3. Manage Inventory Efficiently: Keep your products in stock and ready to ship quickly. Effective inventory management is essential to meet customer demand and to achieve Amazon's preference in the allocation of the Buy Box.


4/ Holding Contracts

Amazon uses holding contracts to determine which seller gets the Buy Box for a given product at any given time. These contracts can be short-term or long-term, and they are usually based on the seller 's performance and other key factors.

Amazon's Buybox can be shared between multiple sellers with a rotation system. When multiple sellers on the same listing have a similar profile, Amazon will share the Buy Box. Amazon can rotate the buy box every hour, for example.

Amazon may also decide to remove the Buy Box from certain products. For example, if no seller meets the requirements of the Buy Box or the prices are unreasonable.

  1. Short-Term Holding Contracts: Amazon may temporarily grant the Buy Box to a seller based on their recent performance. For example, if a seller offers a competitive price and fast delivery for a certain period of time, Amazon may award them the Buy Box as a reward for their performance.
  2. Long-Term Holding Contracts: Some sellers may benefit from long-term holding contracts, which means they have more stable access to the Buy Box for a specific product. These contracts are usually reserved for sellers who have exceptional performance and a trusting relationship with Amazon.


5/ Maximization Strategies for holding Contracts

While Buy Box holding contracts are not directly negotiable, there are strategies sellers can implement to maximize their chances of securing these long-term contracts:

  1. Maintain Exceptional Performance: The key to obtaining and maintaining long-term holding contracts is to maintain exceptional performance in terms of price, delivery, and customer service. Sellers who provide a great shopping experience are more likely to be rewarded by Amazon.
  2. Invest in Quality: Invest in the quality of your products and customer service. Sellers who offer high-quality products and resolve customer issues quickly are more likely to gain Amazon's trust and secure long-term holding contracts.

Collaborate with Amazon: Work closely with Amazon to understand the expectations and requirements of the platform. Sellers who meet the needs of the platform are more likely to be considered for long-term holding contracts


6/ The Importance of Tariff Monitoring Tools

Price monitoring tools play a crucial role in the management of the Buy Box. Here's how they can be used to optimize your ranking:

  1. Competitive Price Monitoring: These tools allow you to track your competitors' prices in real-time. By monitoring price fluctuations, you can adjust your own prices to stay competitive and maximize
    your chances of getting the Buy Box with Automatic Repricing or Dynamic Pricing  features
  2. Price Change Alerts: Receive instant notifications when your competitors' prices change. This allows you to react quickly and adjust your pricing strategy accordingly to stay competitive in the market.
  3. Market Trend Analysis: Analyze market trends and competitor behaviors to make informed decisions. Understand pricing schemes, demand seasons, and other factors that could affect your positioning in the Buy Box.
  4. Information to find out which seller has the Buy Box: follow in real time which seller has the Buy Box
  5. Buy Box Gain or Loss Alert: Get alerted if you lose the Buy Box or get it back


All of these features are available in the Price Observatory  app to maximize your chances of getting a permanent Buy Box holding contract.
Discover the benefits of Price Observatory for Retailers
View the Features for Retailers brochure

In conclusion, Amazon's Buy Box is a crucial component for online sellers, and mastering it can make a huge difference in sales success. By combining effective strategies with the judicious use of price intelligence monitoring tools, sellers can improve their performance and maximize their sales opportunities on the Amazon platform.

For personalized advice on the pricing of your products, do not hesitate to contact our team of experts on our Price Observatory website. Contact us for a demo, a real-life test or information

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