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Growth calendar    Feb 21, 2023

The coveted Buy Box: find out the 5 secrets to getting it

Standing out among Amazon sellers is not an easy art. How to get closer to your customers' thanks to Amazon Buy Box? Find out in today's publication.

We don't have to convince anyone that Amazon is a real sales giant. According to the marketplace itself in officially published data, total revenue of a whopping $469.8 billion in 2021. Statista portal reports that Amazon's business earned a net income equalled $33.36 billion in 2021, up $21.3 billion from 2020. And these values are still growing, and this is undoubtedly not their last word. Behind such sales results are, of course, the retailers and their customers. The latter number more than 310 million worldwide.

At first glance, therefore, it is clear that competition on Amazon is enormous. However, there are rules to the game of customer acquisition in this marketplace - if you know them and follow them, you can achieve a lot. And one such rule to fight for is the mythical Amazon Buy Box.

What is the Amazon Buy Box?

The best way to stand out from other retailers is to try to win the eponymous Buy Box.

It's a tool to highlight your product, making it easier for customers to find your goods quickly and efficiently. A product that is awarded this accolade by Amazon is recommended as the best in its category.

The designation of this badge itself can be found in the top right-hand logo of the product page - it includes a dedicated 'add to cart' CTA, and what's more, it allows you to compare prices with competitors' prices, which are displayed below.

Amazon Buy Box: the view of exemplary product.

In simple words, the Amazon Buy Box is the white box on a product detail page where customers begin the purchase process by adding items to their cart, or clicking the "Buy now with 1-Click" button. It is usually located on the right-hand side of the page. Only one seller's product can be featured in the Buy Box at a time, and Amazon uses a variety of factors to determine which seller's product to display, including price, availability, and seller performance. Winning the Buy Box can greatly increase a seller's sales on Amazon more than significantly.

Top tips for winning the Amazon Buy Box

As I mentioned at the beginning of the text, getting a Buy Box is not easy - but not impossible either. So let's take a closer look at some of the most popular ways to win a Buy Box - and continue to be successful on the Amazon marketplace:

  • Offer competitive prices and regularly monitor prices of similar products.

  • Maintain a high order-fulfillment rate and fast shipping speed.

  • Provide excellent customer service and maintain high seller ratings.

  • Keep a healthy inventory level and minimize stock shortages.

  • Adhere to Amazon's policies and guidelines.

  • Use Amazon's fulfillment services, such as Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), to meet the prime delivery requirement.

  • Continuously monitor and optimize your product detail page, ensuring all information is accurate and up-to-date.

  • Make use of Amazon's advertising and promotional tools to increase visibility and sales. Remember, winning the Buy Box is not a one-time accomplishment but requires continuous efforts to maintain high performance and meet Amazon's changing requirements.

I know, it's simple in theory. But what does it mean in practice? Below you will find longer descriptions of some of the elements that make it possible to win the Buy Box.

  1. Product availability

Product availability is one of the factors that Amazon considers when determining which seller's product will be featured in the Buy Box. A seller's product must be in stock and available for purchase to be eligible for the Buy Box. If a seller's product is out of stock, Amazon may show a different seller's product in the Buy Box.

However, product availability is just one of many factors that Amazon uses to determine the Buy Box winner. The price, seller performance, shipping speed, and customer service are also considered. So even if a seller has the product in stock, they may still not win the Buy Box if their price is too high, their shipping speed is slow, or their seller rating is low.

  1. Your item must be in new condition

    To be eligible for the Amazon Buy Box, a product must be listed as "new" condition and meet Amazon's condition guidelines. The "new" condition means the item must be in its original, unopened packaging, and unused with all its original components and accessories included.

    Amazon has strict guidelines for the condition of products sold on its platform, and items that do not meet these guidelines may be removed from sale or face penalties. So it's important for sellers to accurately describe the condition of their products and ensure that they are in compliance with Amazon's guidelines.

    Having a product in "new" condition can increase its chances of success, as customers often prefer to purchase items that are in their original packaging and have not been used. However, other factors such as price, shipping speed, and seller performance are also considered when determining the Buy Box winner.

  2. Customer feedback count

    Customer feedback is a key factor that Amazon considers when determining the winner of the Buy Box. Amazon tracks customer feedback and reviews through metrics such as order defect rate (ODR) and late shipment rate (LSR). A high ODR or LSR can negatively impact a seller's performance.

    In addition to metrics, Amazon also considers overall customer satisfaction, as indicated by customer reviews and ratings. A high number of positive customer reviews and a high seller rating can improve a seller's chances of winning the Buy Box. On the other hand, a high number of negative reviews or a low seller rating can reduce a seller's chances.

  3. Shipping Time

    Shipping time is a key factor that is considered when determining the winner of the Amazon Buy Box. This marketplace values fast shipping and offers Prime, a service that provides free two-day shipping on eligible items. To be eligible for the Buy Box, a seller's product must either be fulfilled by Amazon through the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program or meet Amazon's shipping speed requirement for non-FBA sellers.

    Sellers who fulfill their orders through FBA benefit from Amazon's widespread network of fulfillment centers, which allows them to offer fast and reliable shipping. Non-FBA sellers can also increase their chances of winning the discussed mythical award by offering fast shipping and meeting Amazon's shipping speed requirements.

    Amazon values customer satisfaction and quick delivery. Sellers should strive to meet Amazon's shipping speed requirements and, if possible, use FBA to benefit from Amazon's fulfillment network.

Pro-tip: staying on the subject of FBA: it is in this tab in the seller's account that you will be able to check the Buy Box availability for selected products. You have to enter the "manage inventory" section - then the Buy Box Price and Buy Box Eligibility columns appear in the product listing. If they are still hidden - enter the Column Display section, locate the field for Buy Box Eligibility. Simply click on it to select the desired view.

Management Inventory section view.

  1. The key role of competitive pricing

    The price of a product plays a significant role in determining who wins the Amazon Buy Box. Amazon's algorithm takes into account multiple factors when deciding who wins the Buy Box, including price, shipping speed, and seller ratings. A lower price can increase the chances of winning the Buy Box, but it is not the only factor. A seller with a higher rating and faster shipping can still win the Buy Box over a seller with a lower price but lower ratings - so you do not have to literally offer the lowest price. You just need to centre financial returns on sales and regularly check what prices are being offered by competitors.

  2. The matter of tracking rate

    The Buy Box Valid Tracking Rate known as VTR is a metric that measures the accuracy of tracking information for orders that are fulfilled through the Amazon Buy Box. It is the percentage of orders that have a tracking number entered and confirmed within 48 hours of the shipping confirmation. A high VTR indicates that a seller has an efficient and reliable fulfillment process, which is one of the factors that Amazon takes into account when determining who will be the lucky one to get the Buy Box. In other words, to maintain a high VTR, sellers should ensure that they accurately track their shipments and enter the tracking information into the Amazon system in a timely manner.

  3. Customer response time

    Running a professional seller account requires a rapid response to any concerns expressed by buyers. What is more, on the marketplace you have to comply with a very strict SLA, according to which you have to respond to the seller's enquiries no later than 24 hours after they arise. Interestingly: this also applies to weekends and public holidays. The quicker you response, the better. The customer is the king - and your chances of winning the buy box increase as the level of care for the satisfaction of your buyers increases.

  4. FBA

    Yes, using Amazon's Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program can increase a seller's chances of winning the Buy Box on Amazon. This is because FBA offers fast and reliable shipping to customers, which is one of the factors Amazon considers when determining the winner of the Buy Box. Other factors include price, seller performance, and fulfillment method. Sellers who choose FBA can show Amazon that they are committed to providing a good customer experience and increasing their chances of winning the Buy Box.

Pro tip: Let's not kid ourselves - not all retailers are able to meet the guidelines that need to be met to qualify for the FBA. In such cases, it makes sense to place the logistics in the hands of professionals such as Linker Cloud - where products that don't fit into the FBA are more than welcome.

Description of the fulfilment process: logistics in the hands of professionals.

9. On-time delivery rate

Another point related to customer service - as mentioned above what makes the buy box eligible is putting extra care on the customer satisfaction level. Other sellers are also concerned with reducing the late shipment rate while improving the on-time delivery rate: experts are of the opinion that anyone aspiring to sell successfully on Amazon should aim to achieve 0% or less than 4% late-shipment rate and 100% or more than 97% on-time delivery rate. You can check this data from the time perspective of the last 30 days in the Amazon Seller Central panel.

Are these requirements difficult to achieve? Perhaps. Fortunately, you don't have to struggle to achieve them alone - and you can put your goods in the hands of logistics specialists such as us, who can guarantee your shipment & delivery success.

  1. Order defect rate (ODR)

The order defect rate (ODR) is a metric that measures the percentage of orders that have defects, such as customer complaints or returns.

A low ODR is important for winning the Buy Box, as Amazon considers it as a measure of customer satisfaction. The lower the ODR, the better the chance of winning the Buy Box. Again, restrictions are really strict - industry pros=professionals report that ODR must be less than 1% to sell on Amazon, and accounts of people with an ODR over 1% can even be suspended or completely removed.

Summing up: how to win the Amazon Buy Box

Buy Box algorithm is quite strict and makes winning it quite complicated. As the seller, you have to put in a lot of work to achieve success: focus on selling new products, enriching buying options or putting your offers into more categories.

At the same time you will need to take care of all the logistics issues mentioned above: from shipment time to on time delivery rate. Instead of worrying about and rescuing an unreliable supply chain, we recommend leaving it in the hands of professionals - who will not only help you with this, but will actually give you something much more valuable: time and resources to focus on for example the development of sales and marketing itself and the product range.

Every seller is facing similar problems and challenges - so let us help you, use the Amazon to grow your business and get ahead of your competition.

Amazon FBA - Fulfillment Linker Cloud

Head of Marketing at Linker Cloud who gained experience in the insurance and tech industry. She also has a marketing agency perspective.

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