What is an Amazon Buy-Box?
The Buy Box or Featured Offer on Amazon is probably the main feature of any product detail page, it allows customers to add items to their shopping cart with a single click. The Buy Box displays the price of the item being purchased, the Seller’s name, Delivery timeline, Stock position, and the all-important “Add to Cart” button.
Also, because Buy Box is the default choice that the majority of customers use, it is particularly important for third-party sellers on Amazon. Amazon chooses which seller receives the Buy Box when there are several sellers selling the same item, this is determined based on a number of variables including price, seller performance, availability, and fulfillment options(FBA or FBM, more on this later). We will dive a little deeper into each of these variables a little later in this post.
Why is the Buy-Box important?
Amazon had a revenue of $502 billion in 2022 and over $416 billion of that came through the Buy-Box. With over 83% of sales on Amazon(converted sales) going to the seller who had the Buy Box, it is probably the single-most important purchase influencer from a customer/buyer’s perspective. You win the Buy Box, 9 times out of 10 a customer is going to end up purchasing from your listing for a particular item. (Source: Statista)
Some of the most crucial reasons why winning the Buy-Box is of utmost importance:
- Visibility/Discoverability: The most visible and easily available choice for customers/consumers is the Buy Box because of its prominent placement on the product detail page. In essence, it enables customers to buy anything instantly without having to scroll or check out other listings for the same product, in fact, most customers do not explore beyond the Buy Box option for most products when making a purchase. As a result, items listed in the Buy Box typically get the most sales and we have data to back this claim.
- Conversion Rate: Most customers would want a simplified buying process that reduces friction and has the shortest no.of touch-points, these greatly increase conversion rates. The convenience of the Buy Box and the credibility it offers helps customers make that buying decision quicker.
- Competitive Advantage: Winning the buy box gives you(the vendor) a big advantage over other vendors who are selling the same product. Particularly in highly competitive categories where numerous vendors compete for the attention of customers, it enables the vendors to stand out and take a larger market share.
- Mobile App: When the real estate to shop for a customer is small(Amazon mobile app) the Buy Box becomes even more critical as it is displayed the most prominently within the limited space of a mobile screen. It is easily clickable and facilitates quicker checkouts for mobile users.
Factors that Influence the Buy Box for Amazon / Seller Central offers
Amazon does not explicitly state the metrics that influence a Buy Box win, based on our experience helping vendors sell on Amazon we can predict(and list) the most likely metrics in no particular order.
- Fulfilment Method: This is quite straightforward, Amazon favors vendors who use Amazon as a fulfilment partner(FBA-Fulfilled by Amazon) because this usually guarantees reliable and fast shipping for customers. So let’s say there are 2 vendors who have listed the same product on Amazon, Vendor-A lists the product as an FBA listing while Vendor-B lists the same product as an FBM listing, the probability of Vendor-A winning the Buy Box is a lot higher.
However, with the announced re-introduction of Seller-Fulfiled Prime(SFP) sellers who have enrolled for SFP have an equal chance of winning the Buy Box as FBA.
- Price: The landed price of a product which includes the list price and shipping is a very important factor in winning the Buy Box. Having said that, it’s not always the case that the vendor/seller with the lowest offer for a product will always win the Buy Box. We have noticed that sometimes a vendor/seller with a higher seller performance than other competing vendors might be able to win the Buy Box even without having the lowest offer for a product.
- Seller Performance Metrics: Amazon considers various metrics like seller feedback, order defect rate, valid tracking rate, late shipment rate, and overall customer satisfaction. Maintaining excellent numbers in these metrics is also vital for winning the Buy Box consistently.
- Stock Availability: Now let’s assume a seller/vendor fulfills all the above-mentioned conditions but is out of stock for that product, of course, Amazon is not going to give them the Buy Box. Having a sufficient and consistent stock of products is crucial for winning the Buy Box. Sellers with consistent stock availability are more likely to win the Buy Box compared to sellers who frequently run out of stock or have delayed fulfilling orders in the past.
- Lead time/Shipping time: The amount of time it takes for a seller to ship an item after an order has been placed is also very important. Stock availability and shipping method play a major role in determining shipping times, this is a metric that affects FBM listings more than FBA as FBA lead times are not really in the seller’s control as the products ship directly from Amazon fulfillment centers.
- Fair Pricing Policy: Amazon tries to make sure that if a product is offered on their platform, that product is priced the lowest on Amazon. In this regard, from time to time if a seller/vendor fulfills all the 5 broad criteria mentioned previously but the same product is priced lower on a 3rd party marketplace platform like Walmart or Best Buy the seller will still not win the Buy Box. In this case, if none of the sellers match the pricing given on a 3rd party platform the product on Amazon will not have a featured offer(Buy Box) and will only show the “See All Buying Options” button.
Other than this Amazon also states that the 4 key requirements to be eligible to get the Buy Box in the 1st place are,
- Having an FBA offer
- A Professional Selling Account
- Good Account Health Score and Performance Metrics
- The Listing must have enough volume
It’s also important to keep in mind that the Buy Box algorithm that Amazon uses is complex and takes into account many other variables. Amazon does not publicly publish the exact relevance or weightage assigned to each factor and the algorithm is dynamic In nature.
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