How to win
the Amazon "Buy Box"

The meaning and purpose of the “Buy Box” might seem confusing to some eSellers who are new to Amazon. However, it’s a simple, yet important concept.  “Buy Box” is a term that refers to a yellow outlined box which appears to the right of product listing pages enabling customers to easily add goods to their “buy cart” by simply clicking on the “Add to Cart” button (see screenshot below, the area is framed in yellow).  Each product model can only appear once even though multiple e-sellers could be offering the same model. This means if there are several sellers offering the same product, each eSeller will have to compete to win the Amazon Buy Box.

“To win the Amazon Buy Box” means to do well with a number of KPIs which may prioritize your listing ahead of similar products from other sellers.  After a customer goods search, all listings from other sellers would be hidden and accessible only via “Used & New” sub-category button on your listing (see the area framed in red).

An eSeller will need to excel in each of the KPIs in order to win the Amazon Buy Box. So, how do you win the Amazon Buy Box? If your shop and listing underperforms on any of the KPIs, your listing may be removed from the Buy Box and dropped to the “New & Used” sub-category.  Keep in mind that winning the Buy Box does not mean that your listing will retain the winning position for extended periods of time so you need to stay on top of your game! Here are some strategies which may help you win the Buy Box. 

It is important to understand that Amazon values the buyers' Amazon shopping experience the most.  Amazon believes that higher competition among eSellers will ultimately provide a superior buyers’ shopping experience.

The key factors that contribute to winning the Buy Box can be categorised as follows:

1. Product
2. Services
3. eSellers' Performance

1. Product

- Price

One of the main reasons shoppers buy online is access to cheaper prices. If your price is not competitive enough, it’s difficult to win the Buy Box. However, it doesn’t necessarily need to be the lowest one as long as you perform well on other key parameters.

- Stock Availability

You must be clear on your listing page about how many items of a product you currently have available in stock! It is important because you will be immediately moved out of the Buy Box and replaced by other sellers if your listed stock reaches zero. Therefore, remember to constantly track and update your inventory, especially during the seasonal high sales periods. Moreover, if your listing suggests that a product is still in stock but the actual inventory has been depleted, then buyers may be disappointed if they place an order for a product which was in stock but actually isn't. This will likely result in negative comments and ratings that buyers assign to your store. These comments will definitely hinder your chances of being attractive to other buyers and negatively affect your chances of winning the Buy Box.

- Rating

Amazon buyers can leave comments and give ratings on the items they have purchased. If a rating is 2 stars or less, it is considered as negative by the Amazon system, which will automatically reduce your chances of winning the Buy Box. If this occurs an eSeller can contact the buyer who left a negative rating and try to persuade him/her to change the rating and/or remove a negative comment by offering some kind of compensation or replacement. In order to reach the Buy Box status, you should try to accumulate as many 5-star ratings as possible.

2. Services

- Replying to customer enquiries

After customers write to you about the products, please try to answer them within 24 hours. The Amazon system detects and tracks your response rate and speed.  Being quick in responding to your customers will increase your chances of winning the Buy Box as well as build a better image for your E-store. 

- After-Sales

After-sales service is really important, especially when dealing with returned items, late delivery and quality issues. Good after-sales service will make customers feel appreciated and having been taken good care of even after a purchase has been made. It helps to provide a better shopping experience and enhances clients’ trust towards your store.

Keep in mind Amazon provides professional after-sales service on behalf of eSellers who opted for using the FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) service.

- Logistics

On-time deliveries will also result in greater chances of winning the Buy Box. We have discussed different logistics options that sellers can utilise in our dedicated article (click to read). The main options are: FBA, Overseas Warehouses, Direct Mail. Amazon prefers eSellers to use the FBA service because this helps ensure faster deliveries and higher quality of after-sales service.

3. eSellers' Performance

While the key success factors discussed above deal with listings, it is also important to ensure the overall strength of your store’s status. If you perform well overall, you will be recognised by Amazon as a Featured Merchant.

- Perfect Order Percentage (POP)

The POP is used to measure how many orders are perfectly fulfilled. For a perfectly fulfilled order, customers will need to receive the best shopping experience in delivery, customer service, quality etc. The higher your POP is, the easier it will be for you to win the Buy Box.

- Order Defect Rate (ODR)

The ODR consists of three parts:
- Negative Feedback
- A-to-Z Guarantee Claim
- Service Credit Card Chargeback.

Negative Feedback
Apart from being able to leave a comment and rating for any given listing, a buyer can also leave feedback about the overall shopping experience at a given e-store.

A-to-Z Guarantee Claim
If an eSeller violates certain Amazon trade rules, a buyer can apply for an “A-to-Z Guarantee Claim” in order to receive a refund. 

Service Credit Card Chargeback
A Service Credit Card Chargeback is similar to an “A-to-Z Guarantee Claim”. If the purchase is made using a credit card, then a buyer can dispute the charge by contacting their bank and receive a subsequent chargeback.

An eSeller should avoid having any of these 3 scenarios in order to get and maintain a sound Amazon business record. If the ODR of your store increases, your store will eventually be suspended. You should try to maintain the ODR at below 1%.

- Pre-Fulfilment Cancellation Rate

The Pre-Fulfilment Cancellation Rate shows how many orders are cancelled by an eSeller before shipping. These cancellations are normally related to insufficient stock. Maintain the Pre-Fulfilment Cancellation Rate at below 2.5%.

- Late Shipment Rate

The Late Shipment Rate reflects how many orders are not delivered by the promised date. Maintain the Late Shipment Rate at below 4%.

- Valid Tracking Rate

The Valid Tracking Rate shows how many orders have been properly tracked.  Each order will have a tracking code which can be used for viewing the status of the order. The Valid Tracking Rate should not be less than 95%.

- Return Dissatisfaction Rate (RDR)

The Return Dissatisfaction Rate (RDR) shows how many returns have not been processed properly. If a return request is not handled by a seller within 48 hours, receives inadequate response or is rejected by a seller without proper explanation then the RDR will increase. 

- Customer Service Dissatisfaction Rate (CSDR)

The CSDR shows how many customers are dissatisfied with the eSeller's responses. After receiving responses from sellers, customers will be prompted by Amazon to click whether responses were helpful or not. If a customer clicks “no”, then the seller’s CSDR increases.

Importantly, if a store performs poorly on the above-mentioned parameters, Amazon may exact a “punishment” i.e. a seller’s account can change to either “Under Review” or “Suspended”.

If an account is “Under Review”, a store can continue selling on Amazon.  However, sales revenues will be temporarily withheld by Amazon until the review is completed. 

If an account is “Suspended”, a store is stopped from selling and sales revenues are temporarily withheld until Amazon completes an investigation.

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