How to Win the Amazon Buy Box

Amazon has no small number of resources available to drive your traffic. Sponsored Products. PPC Ads. Enhanced A+ Content. Sponsored Display Ads. But there’s one tool—one vital and positively indispensable tool—you’re missing out on. It’s a tool that’s reportedly responsible for conversion rates of up to 83 percent for third party sellers. It’s a tool that can drive your sales to entirely new heights.  And it’s a tool you just can’t purchase.

It’s called the Amazon Buy Box. And while you may have heard of it, you may not know that winning it can mean the difference between a ripple and a tidal wave.

Who Is Eligible For The Amazon Buy Box?

Amazon Buy Box eligibility is only available to merchants with a professional seller account selling new items. It’s a proprietary feature, which means Amazon will automatically favor sellers who are already using their internal marketing and fulfillment services. That doesn’t necessarily mean seller fulfilled merchants will be excluded. They just won’t have an added advantage.

In addition, Amazon recommend the following performance metrics as the bare minimum for your eligibility:

  • Cancellation rates of less than 2.5 percent

  • Late shipment rates under 4 percent

  • On time delivery rates of at least 97 percent

  • Order defect rates below 1 percent

  • Return dissatisfaction rates under 10 percent

  • Valid tracking rates over 95 percent

Meeting these criteria for at least six months may be minimum requirements for Buy Box eligibility. But it still won’t grant you automatic access.

The Science Of The Amazon Buy Box

Winning the Buy Box on Amazon rests on two fundamental pillars: product pricing and fulfillment metrics. Both of which can have a reciprocal influence on one another. And both of which should command your full attention if you hope to survive on Amazon, Buy Box or not.

Product pricing may not seem like rocket science, but it does depend on Amazon’s landed price; the total amount your product retails for, including shipping and handling costs. Naturally, the more competitive your landed price is with other sellers, the greater your product pricing advantage is going to be. There’s just one problem with this theory.

The competitiveness of your product pricing may entice new customers but does it generate profit? Every week, sellers rival one another on Amazon in the hopes of earning that coveted Buy Box. And at the end of the week, they don’t always have a lot to show for it. Keep your prices just low enough to entice without costing you in the long run. In other words? Make certain the price advantage for your customers isn’t actually a disadvantage in sales for you. Keep your prices just low enough to entice. 

Fulfillment metrics, on the other hand, can be largely dependent on any number of factors including:

  • Buyer Feedback

  • Customer service

  • Inventory availability

  • Order defects

  • Reviews

  • Returns

  • Seller longevity

  • Shipping times

  • Stock replenishment

Is the Buy Box an exact science? No. In fact, it’s not even the least bit predictable. Winning the Buy Box on Amazon requires a certain amount of seller dexterity; a dexterity which balances consistency with creativity.

The Art Of The Amazon Buy Box

Competitively pricing your products may seem like one of the most obvious ways of winning the Amazon Buy Box, but it’s also a time consuming one. It requires constant review of both other vendors as well as your own profit margins. And if you’re hoping to list multiple product lines through the Buy Box, you may find yourself spending more time on pricing strategies and less on actual product development.

There’s a host of automated pricing solutions available from third party vendors which claim to gain you instant access to Buy Box eligibility; and while some might perform better than others, most should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Amazon’s own automated pricing solution is probably the most reliable and easiest to use. It requires nothing more than logging into your Seller Central account, clicking on the Automate Pricing drop down from your Inventory tab and creating a new pricing tool for each ASIN. From there, you can choose to match, beat, or stay above the listed Buy Box price.

But it’s not just price alone which can help you win and maintain your Buy Box status. Your fulfillment performance can be even more integral to your eligibility. If you’re not currently using Amazon FBA services, you’re going to be finding yourself spending more time on fulfillment than necessary; and you will find yourself making errors which can wind up costing you a good chunk of your business. In fact, the likelihood of seller fulfilled merchants matching FBA sellers is virtually none. That’s because Amazon regularly rotates the buy box depending on seller performance and pricing.

How Do I Know If I’m Eligible For The Amazon Buy Box?

Verifying your eligibility for the Amazon Buy Box is simple.

  • Log into your Seller Central account.

  • Select the Manage Inventory drop down from your Inventory tab.

  • Click on Preferences.

  • Look for the Buy Box Eligible field under the Column Display tab.

  • Select Show When Available.

  • Review the Buy Box Eligible column for any available ASIN.

Tips On Winning The Amazon Buy Box

  • Always ensure your product listing is up to date and optimized with clear, keyword-rich descriptions, bullet points and high resolution images.

  • Periodically review competitor prices and analyze how you can lower yours without sacrificing profit margins.

  • Unauthorized resellers offering aggressive pricing tactics have been a tremendous problem for many vendors. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t automatically review whether or not a merchant is authorized to resell. Don’t bother confronting unauthorized resellers. Report them directly to Amazon within 48 hours of their listing.

  • Avoid selling the same product on other marketplaces. Amazon can actually penalize you for selling externally at a comparable or lower price.

  • Emphasize customer service by personalizing interactions with customers, but be careful to avoid violating seller communication policies.

  • Maintain a positive feedback rating of at least 90 percent for six months or more.

Amazon doesn’t just favor FBA merchants for Buy Box eligibility. They favor sellers leveraging their own proprietary set of marketing and advertising solutions, as well. Unfortunately, managing Amazon optimization yourself can be as confusing as it is lengthy. And there’s no guarantee that winning the Buy Box will allow you to maintain the Buy Box. But it’s a status you can be proud of. And you hope to be competitive on Amazon, you may have no other choice but to think inside the Box.


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