Winning the Amazon Buy Box in 2021

July 29, 2021
| READ 11 MIN
Winning the Amazon Buy Box in 2021 Download PDF
win amazon buy box in 2021

Whether you are a first-party (1P) seller or a third-party (3P) seller, winning the buy box on Amazon gives you a massive edge against the competition. Winning the buy box increases your chances of making a sale and allows you to create PPC (pay-per-click) ads on Amazon for those products. Every seller wants their products to be the one that gets selected when a consumer clicks on “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now”.

In this article, we will walk you through what is the Amazon Buy Box, why it matters to sellers and the factors that help you win the buy box.

What is the Amazon Buy Box? And Why does it matter to sellers?

The Amazon ‘Buy Box’ is a highly valuable piece of real estate on the digital shelf for brands and retailers. It is the section on the right side of the product detail page where shoppers can click on the ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Buy Now’ button.

Amazon Buy Box

Over 80% of Amazon website sales today go through the Buy Box, and this number increases with Amazon mobile sales. In mobile, the Buy Box takes on heightened importance. That’s because, unlike on a desktop or laptop, the mobile site features it directly under the product image. Customers click “Buy now” to place their order, without the Offer Listing page being in their line of sight. Therefore, it is imperative for competitive sellers to understand how Amazon determines who acquires this coveted spot, as it directly impacts impressions, clicks, and sales.

The goal of the Amazon Buy Box is to provide the best shopping experience for the customers. So, it is typically won by the seller that has the best performance metrics (customer reviews, shipping, order defect rate (ODR), product quality, etc.) and provides the best value (low price).

How to become eligible for the Buy Box?

Not all sellers are eligible to win the ‘Buy Box’. To even be eligible for it, sellers must have

  • A professional Amazon Seller Account
  • Must be selling brand new products
  • Must have a selling history

As per Amazon’s customer-obsessed approach, only businesses with excellent seller metrics stand a chance to win a share of this valuable real estate. If multiple sellers with excellent metrics are eligible, they will share the time as the Buy Box winner. For instance, if there are three sellers eligible for a particular product, then the one with the highest rank and best metrics will get the majority share of the buy box (50%), the seller with the next highest metrics will get 30% of the share and the 3rd seller will get 20% of the share.

How to Win Buy Box on Amazon? The Winning Factors

Winning the buy box means the Amazon algorithm considers your product to be trustworthy, high-quality, and of the best value. While the exact algorithm that Amazon uses in determining the Buy Box winner is not disclosed, we can surmise the most relevant variables and factors that increase a seller’s chances of winning the buy box.

  • Competitive Pricing

An important factor considered by Amazon in winning the buy box is competitive pricing. The Buy Box price is usually the lowest possible price for a given product. According to Amazon, the chances of winning buy box increases if your amazon listing is within 5% of the current Buy Box price. If your product is competitively priced and you are considered a good buying choice you can win the Buy Box.

Price Intelligence tools can help you win the buy box by making sure your prices are optimized and are dynamically competitive against your competitors without compromising your base cost.

  • Customer Reviews, Ratings, & Feedbacks

Positive customer review is an important factor in winning the Buy Box, and the more recent the review, the greater its impact. Amazon wants to provide value to customers, only trustworthy merchants who consistently provide positive customer experiences get a share of the Buy Box. Amazon considers how many reviews you receive relative to your selling history. A review score above 90 percent is essential in obtaining the Buy Box.

Another big influence on your ability to win the buy box is the Amazon order defect rate (ODR). ODR is the measure of negative feedback rating, A-Z guarantee claim rate, and service chargeback rate. According to Amazon, the ODR should be below 1%. A consistently high ODR may result in the removal of selling privileges. Sellers with a large inventory, consistent sales, updated inventory, and quality stock history can be granted a higher Buy Box share.

Our data analysis showed that almost 80% of the buy box winners had over 100 reviews on it and over 90% of them had a rating higher than 3 as shown on the graph below.

Ratings and Reviews

  • Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) vs Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)

Fulfillment is one of the biggest factors considered by Amazon. Amazon’s FBA is an extremely efficient and cost-effective shipping system that gives sellers a leg up against those that use FBM. FBA gives sellers a 30-50% increase in sales. A big reason for this is that most people don’t like to pay for shipping and since prime members get free shipping with FBA, they will often pick those products. Another reason is that people are more likely to trust Amazon’s shipping vs others.

  • Shipping time and cost

Shipping time has a high impact on winning the Buy Box as well. The faster you ship and deliver orders, the higher your chances are of winning the Amazon Buy Box. Amazon requires at least 96% of orders to ship on time. In Seller Central Account, you can adjust your handling time to suit you. If you don’t, it defaults to 1-2 days. The shipping time stating the approximate date the item should arrive can be shown on the product detail page. A late shipment rate below 4% will aid your chances of winning the Buy Box.

Shipping cost also influences the overall price of the product. The Buy Box considers the price of the product plus shipping costs. For instance, if your product price is $10 with an additional $6 shipping cost, you will lose out to competitors offering products for $15 with free shipping. Therefore, it is crucial to take this into account when pricing your product on Amazon.

Our data showed (graph below) that 90% of the buy box winners were offering ‘Free Shipping’ and only 10% weren’t. This means that a seller on Amazon seriously hurts their chances of winning the buy box if they do not offer free shipping.

Shipping Annotation

  • Content quality

Always make sure your product content is optimized. You should provide the best quality content to the customers to separate yourself from the competition and to increase your chance of winning the buy box. Product Intelligence tool gives you detailed scores into various aspects of your product’s content as well as your competitors’ product content like title, image, price, promotion, ratings, etc. The image below shows the product detail page scores of Wranglers on their jeans products.

Detailed insight into each part of the product content allows you to see what you need to improve on, where your competitors are stronger, and increase the score of each part of the content. This way you maximize your optimization efforts without having to wonder what to improve.

Wrangler Product detail page scores

  • Inventory Availability

This is self-explanatory: for your listing to be eligible for the buy box, you need to always remain in stock. If your product is out of stock then you are unable to ship right away then, you will lose out to another seller that can fulfill it right away. It is very important to manage your inventory flow like a well-oiled machine. Running out of stock multiple times can hurt your credibility which will affect your chances of competing for the buy box in the future.

An exception to this rule is when a product is listed as ‘back ordered’ on the product detail page. Products with this label are eligible to win shares of the Buy Box but if a competitor has that product available, they will be chosen as the buy box winner.

In Summary

There is no magic bullet for winning shares of the Amazon Buy Box. Amazon’s customer-centric approach means that sellers need to deliver quality products, excellent performance, and low prices to be eligible for the Buy Box. Sellers need to consistently observe, track, and optimize the above-mentioned factors and metrics to have the best possible chance of winning the buy box.

As a brand or retailer, observing, tracking, and optimizing all these factors may seem like a daunting feat, but there are tools and software that can help you in winning the Amazon Buy Box. GrowByData’s Marketing Intelligence gives sellers on Amazon the ability to

  • Dynamically reprice the products per the market demands.
  • Get comprehensive insights and reports on your product performance as well as your competitors’.
  • Deep dive into each component of the product detail page and optimize it.

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GrowByData Content Team

Team of Data Analyst, Business Analyst, and Project Managers with years of experience in data analysis and online retail industry

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