If you are an Amazon seller with a Professional selling account, you likely spend time thinking about how to win the Buy Box. It’s a coveted spot that guarantees your item will be featured first over other sellers with the same product. Though Amazon is elusive about the exact algorithm that determines which seller gets to sit in the hot seat, author and successful Amazon seller Skip McGrath, a great Amazon seller resource, has determined five key factors that contribute to Amazon Buy Box eligibility.
1. Price Products Competitively
Customers want to buy products for the lowest price possible – I’m sure that’s not news to any of you. Amazon understands this desire, and will often feature sellers with the lowest price (with shipping included) over those with competing prices. Check out Amazon’s Pricing Dashboard to see how your prices compete with other sellers. For more advanced pricing strategies, check out our ultimate inventory management guide!
2. Utilize FBA
Amazon is very customer-driven, they want to guarantee the best possible shopping experience for their buyers…and having control over the fulfillment process gives them some peace of mind. The Buy Box often favors sellers who offer Amazon Prime/Free 2 Day Shipping versus those who fulfill orders themselves, because Amazon can (most of the time) guarantee an impeccable shipping process. If the order is merchant fulfilled, they cannot control every aspect of shipping and issues may arise…which can result in dissatisfied buyers. If you want to better your chances at owning the Buy Box and can afford to use FBA for some of your items, FBA may be worth looking in to. FBA sellers are often featured in the Buy Box for longer than competing sellers fulfilling the order themselves. Skip McGrath has experienced this first-hand.
“I have one product where I am the only FBA seller. There are two other sellers who match my price and have good account standing, but I get the buy box for about 4 days at a time while they get it for about 1 day at a time.”
– Skip McGrath, Online Seller’s Resource.
3. Communicate Effectively With Customers
By providing customers with pristine customer service, they are more likely to leave a great review on your product(s)! By earning customers trust, you are more likely to earn Amazon’s trust and work closer to winning the Buy Box. Encourage customers to leave reviews after every interaction and always be quick to respond to any concerns/comments. Here are some more tips on boosting customer service in ecommerce.
4. Track Your Inventory
If you run out of product, you can’t win the Buy Box for that item. Yes, I know – Captain Obvious over here. But if you run out of the product and still haven’t killed the listing, it’s very possible a shopper will buy the item without knowing it’s no longer in stock.
When you experience stock-outs and overselling, you have to cancel orders. This negatively impacts your ODR (Order Defect Rate) and leads to poor feedback, both of which can disqualify you from winning the Buy Box and lead to eventual account termination (ouch). To eliminate the risk of overselling, enlist a ecommerce inventory management software that will automatically update inventory quantities any time an item is sold.
5. Plan Your Time Off
If you fulfill orders yourself and are planning on taking a vacation (which you likely deserve), be sure to plan ahead so that your account is safe in your absence. FBA sellers using a software that automatically routes their orders don’t have to worry about this, but merchant fulfilled orders will still need your attention, whether or not you are sipping Mai Thai’s on a beach somewhere.
To ensure that all orders are still shipped to buyers within 48 hours and inventory quantities are accurate (if you aren’t using a software to do this for you), have a trusted employee, business partner or friend take over order fulfillment during your absence. Delegate this task at your own discretion – after all, your business will be in someone else’s hands. If you’re already on board with Tip 4 and have an inventory management software, you can login to answer all customer inquiries virtually, while your team stays back and ships new orders. You also have the option to temporarily put your account on vacation mode in your absence, but you will not be able to qualify for the Buy Box during that time.
If you can nail all five of these factors, you will better your odds at winning the Buy Box and earning more sales.