If you compete with other sellers to sell the same product when the Buy Box is of critical importance to your Amazon strategy.
What is the Amazon buy box?
Essentially, on a product with multiple sellers then the buy box is the button the buyer clicks to buy. The customer may not be aware of who is selling the item, often just assuming that it is Amazon. But in reality, multiple sellers may be offering their products for sale. Only one of them wins the buy box.
Of course, Amazon has a tendency to put products they sell directly into the buy box. But items Amazon does not sell that item or if another seller is cheaper, the buy box winner is determined by algorithms. And there are strategies to legitimately improve your chances of winning.
Why is the Buy Box Important to you as a seller?
Simply because winning the buy box is the single biggest factor that you can do to boost your sales on Amazon.
Yes, customers can search beyond the product page to research all the sellers and their prices, but few do. The Buy Box with its obvious prominent position and bright colours are all most customers will see. Whoever wins the buy box gets that sale.
Keep in mind that more and more sales are being made on mobile devices. While other sellers are visible on a full computer screen they are all but invisible on a mobile device.
The Buy box is also a confirmation that Amazon approves of you as a seller, they don’t just let anyone have such a coveted position. You need to have a Pro Merchant account and on your performance indicators such as speed of response to customer messages, order defect rate and your seller feedback need to outperform the minimum standards.
How long you have been selling on Amazon also has an effect.
What factors determine who wins the buy box?
Of course the exact determinates of the algorithms which do this, Amazon does not disclose. Price certainly seems to be the biggest determinate, if you are the cheapest all other things being equal it will be you who wins the Buy Box. It is estimated your products need to be around 3% cheaper than the next cheapest to ensure winning.
But companies with a poor feedback and metrics will still struggle to win the buy box. Even if they are much cheaper. Shipping delays, customer complaints, returned items and A-to-Z claims all count against a seller. Again it comes to the self-interest of Amazon, they demand high customer satisfaction because they want customers to come back. Customers are better than sellers with poor satisfaction.
The fulfilment method also comes into play. Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) merchants where Amazon can combine the shipment and offer Prime or Free Delivery, also have an advantage in winning the Buy box.
Between sellers that are equal price, then Amazon will rotate between sellers. This is where factors such as seller ratings, made up of factors such as seller feedback have such a crucial role.
The critical importance of seller feedback on Amazon
Seller rating is a is a significant component of the algorithm which determines who wins the Buy box. Seller ratings, is not simply a composite of the feedback a company receives, although this is an important part of this.
Amazon uses a number of metrics which it combines to give an composite score. These are.
- Perfect Order Performance – The percentage of orders which are dispatched with no problems
- Cancellation rate – the percentage of orders which are cancelled prior to dispatch, which highlights the importance of good stock management.
- Last Ship Rate – Percentage of orders which have delayed shipping confirmation
- The order defect rate – which is the percentage of orders which have negative feedback, or an A-to-Guarantee refund
- Order refund – the percentage of orders which are refunded
- Feedback Score – The aggregate score of all the feedback of the seller in the last 365 days, but Amazon weigh feedback in the last 90 days heavier than older feedback.
Beware being out of Stock
Inactive and Out of Stock items are not eligible for the buy box. Good stock management is crucial as cancelling or delaying orders can stop you winning the buy box even if you are the cheapest.
How requesting feedback can help
The simplest and most effective way to boost your seller feedback is simply to ask for it. After you sell to a customer send a polite email asking for feedback. With a link to the Amazon page where they can leave the feedback. Making it really easy for customers to leave feedback will have a significant effect on your overall score.
Why? Well, 96% of people polled said they would leave 5 stars simply for having their expectations met. Many people just don’t think or are not motivated enough to leave feedback. Put it in front of them, make it a straightforward process and more of your happy customers will leave you positive feedback.
Remember that Amazon weight recent feedback more than older feedback so the recency of the feedback is important. Sellers need to be constantly striving to keep their feedback profile fresh.
trustr can help with this. We have a direct integration with Amazon which automates this process. We cover all the European Amazon marketplaces, the UK, Spain, Italy, France and Germany. More will be added soon. You can learn more about the trustr Amazon review and feedback tool.