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    How to Win the Amazon Buy Box in 2021

    Written by Tristan Williams
    on June 28, 2021

    Winning the Buy Box is important for Amazon sellers; in fact, 83% of sales come from the Buy Box. Though Amazon used to award the Buy Box to one seller, now it rotates between multiple sellers. Here’s how it works - Amazon’s algorithm will start by analyzing each listing and seller, evaluating the offers based on a variety of factors. After the analysis, Amazon then rewards the Buy Box to whichever seller and listing they deem the best buying option for customers. First and foremost, the Buy Box will rotate between sellers who have Buy Box eligibility and are competitively priced. However, having the lowest price does not guarantee the Buy Box. There are many other factors that come into play as well, which we will review in-depth. Before diving in, let’s discuss who is eligible to win the Buy Box...

    Are You Eligible to Win the Buy Box?

    In order to be considered to win the Buy Box, there are multiple qualifications a seller must meet. First, you must have a Professional Seller Account. You must be selling products in new condition. And you must have available inventory. You can check your Buy Box eligibility status in Amazon Seller Central. 

    How to Win the Buy Box in 2021

    Pricing

    One of the first factors to consider when aiming to win the Buy Box is price. Oftentimes, but not always, the Buy Box price is the lowest possible price for a given product. According to Amazon, listing your product within 5% of the current Buy Box price will increase your chances of winning the Buy Box. Price is one of the reasons Amazon so frequently wins their own Buy Box over other sellers, as their strategy is to automatically price competitively. 

    Fulfillment Method and Shipping Time

    Fulfillment can now be done in three ways, through Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), Fulfilment by Merchant (FBM), or Seller-Fulfilled Prime (SFP). Amazon gives FBA a perfect score for shipping method and other factors such as on-time delivery and inventory depth. Because of this, it is difficult for FBM sellers to win the Buy Box over FBA sellers. However, through SFP, FBM sellers are able to sell to Amazon Prime members without storing inventory in Amazon’s fulfillment center. This option appeals to sellers with heavy goods as they can make savings through alternative shipping methods. SFP sellers have as good if not greater a chance of winning the Buy Box over FBA sellers. To enroll in SFP, a seller must have very strong performance metrics and a proven record of meeting customer’s expectations. 

    The amount of time a seller takes to ship an item can also have an impact on winning the Buy Box. Shipping time is particularly important for time-sensitive items such as perishables and birthday/holiday items.

    Inventory Levels

    Amazon gives Buy Box preference to sellers who have enough inventory to handle the additional demand which the Buy Box can create. For sellers with low inventory levels chances of winning the Buy Box decrease significantly. Additionally, if a seller is out of stock the Buy Box will rotate to another seller. A history of going out of stock frequently will hurt your chances of winning the Buy Box, which is why it’s crucial to keep good stock levels of best-selling products. Backordered products can sometimes still be featured in the Buy Box, however, sellers with products in-stock will get preference. To summarize, sellers with a large inventory, consistent sales, and good stock history will be granted the Buy Box more often.

    Seller Feedback and Performance Metrics

    When it comes to awarding the Buy Box, sellers with negative feedback and poor performance metrics have a lower chance of winning. Amazon wants to bring their customers the best possible shopping experience on their platform, so they are motivated to award the Buy Box to sellers who are likely to provide a positive customer experience. For example, if your seller performance is higher than your competitor’s, you may be able to price your product higher and still get your share of Buy Box. Finally, the new A10 algorithm has put more weight on seller authority, which means well-established sellers who have been on the platform for a long period of time and have a strong sales history receive preference. Additionally, having a low return rate and handling returns efficiently is important. 

    How to Avoid Losing the Buy Box 

    Keep Good Seller Performance Measurements

    Once you’ve earned a share of the Buy Box, don’t lose it! Keep good seller performance metrics including...

    • A low Order Defect Rate (ODR). ODR is measured based on a combination of the negative feedback received, number of A-to-Z claims made, and chargebacks processed. Amazon recommends sellers aim for an ODR of less than 1%.
    • A low Late-Shipment rate. Amazon considers a late order to be an order that received an overdue status exceeding two days. Sellers should aim to keep their Late-Shipment Rate below 4%. Logically, this means a seller’s Delivered on Time rate (the percentage of orders that buyers received by the estimated delivery date) should be above 96%. Both of these metrics can be viewed for the last seven and thirty days in Seller Central.
    • A low pre-fulfillment cancel rate and a negligible refund rate. Pre-fulfillment cancellations are initiated by the seller prior to shipment confirmation, and sellers should aim for a rate of under 2.5%. Refunds that are initiated by the seller should also be kept low. Though Amazon doesn’t have a target metric for refund rate and won’t suspend you because of it, it can affect your overall seller performance and ability to win the Buy Box. 

    Keep your Account Health High

    If your Account Health falls below certain thresholds, Amazon may remove your Buy Box eligibility. Additionally, if your seller privileges are suspended or if one of your ASINs is suppressed, you will lose the Buy Box. Read more about the common mistakes sellers make that lead to account suspension

    Have a High Valid Tracking Rate

    A newer performance metric from Amazon is the percentage of a seller’s total packages shipping with valid tracking. To protect your Buy Box eligibility, valid tracking numbers should be provided for at least 95% of packages shipped. Having a valid tracking rate of below 95% can negatively impact a seller’s chance of winning the Buy Box and even selling in a certain category.

    How to Track Your Buy Boxes on Amazon Seller Central

    Through Amazon Seller Central, you can check your Buy Box eligibility for your products, and get some limited insight into how often you’re winning the Buy Box. 

    At the top of the Seller Central Dashboard and just below the menu, there are five metrics. The metric on the far right gives you your 2-Day Buy Box percentage. Clicking this opens it up so you can view your Buy Box standing in each market that you sell in. You can also view data for your Buy Box standing for the last 30 days. The Pricing Dashboard shows you your Buy Box Percentage, which is the number of times you won the Buy Box divided by the number of views the page had overall. If 500 people viewed your listing and you won the Buy Box 200 times, then your Buy Box percentage would be 40%.

    How to Use myHorizons to Monitor Buy Boxes

    At Envision Horizons, our proprietary software simplifies the process of tracking Buy Box wins and losses. The feature “Listing Status” is located under the Health tab on myHorizons. Here, a user can view every product they sell along with its price, the Buy Box status, and the Buy Box price. This makes it extremely easy to track whether you are winning or losing the Buy Box and, if you are losing, to see how your price compares to the Buy Box price. Additionally, the page shows an overview of your overall Buy Box status in the form of a pie chart, where you can see what percentage of the time you are winning/losing the Buy Box. 

    For full-service clients, account managers are notified about Buy Box status changes for their clients, meaning that if a Buy Box is lost they can immediately take action and attempt to win it back. 

    Below, we’ve included a screenshot of the myHorizons Listing Status feature…

    Lisiting Status Pie Chart

    myHorizons Listing Status feature

    Learn More About myHorizons

    Our technology, myHorizons, is a real-time marketing analytics and AI-powered advertising optimization platform. Built by our software developers, myHorizons enables our team and our clients to analyze profitability, optimize advertising, monitor consumer behavior, discover new opportunities, and make business decisions with confidence. Learn more about the many features and tools included in myHorizons on our technology page.

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