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Why Winning the Amazon’s Buy Box is Crucial to Your Success

Why Winning the Amazon’s Buy Box is Crucial to Your Success

Why Winning the Amazon’s Buy Box is Crucial to Your Success


You may not know what the buy box is, but if you’re an Amazon prime member you have used it for at least 90% of your purchases. If you are a seller competing for the buy box, however, you might be keenly aware of how important it is to secure this position.


What is the Buy Box on Amazon?


The buy box is located at the top right corner of the Amazon product detail page. When I refer to a detail page, I’m talking about a listing on Amazon after you’ve clicked on a product and can see the additional images, the bullet points, and description of that specific product. The top right corner of this page is where the yellow “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button is located and where customers can make an instant purchase with a single click.

This is an example of an FBA product in the Buy Box

The mysterious Amazon buy box formula (or the A-9 Algorithm) decides who gets the buy box based on several factors and including price, availability, shipping, seller rating, and stock availability. Having the buy box means that Amazon trusts you as a seller which, in turn, helps the customers trust that they will get what they expect.

Understanding the buy box is essential to capturing the 90% of purchases that are made through it.

PPC and Buy Box Rules

Sponsored Product Ads: Have you ever wondered if you’re paying for other sellers’ sales via PPC when you don’t have the buy box? You can relax and realize that all Sponsored Product ads stop running as soon as you lose the buy box. Of course, this negatively affects your sales rank, sales velocity, and searchability of your own product listing. You will want to adjust the variables on your listings so that you can to get the buy box back.

Headline Search Ads (HSAs): If you are actively advertising with banners and headlines, you run the risk of advertising a brand for someone else’s buy box. HSAs don’t take into consideration who has the buy box, so it will require your team to closely monitor your HSA campaigns in conjunction with when you have/don’t have the buy box.

Buy Box Eligibility

Amazon gives the buy box to sellers who meet certain criteria that support Amazon’s overall goals of “customer first” and reliability. To be eligible to get and keep the buy box, you’ll need to consider these main factors:

  • Order Defect Rate (ODR)
  • Performance Metrics
  • Seller Rating (time selling)
  • Customer Service Quality
  • Pricing and Inventory

Amazon Chooses the Buy Box Winner

Amazon’s algorithm selects and rotates through sellers based on price, inventory availability, prime shipping. There’s no way for us to perfectly determine who will get the buy box. It’s not a perfect science. You may have the lowest price, have plenty of FBA inventory, a great seller rating, and then a new seller snags it from you. Amazon is always changing their policies and algorithms. Part of these changes and Amazon’s unpredictability is exhibited in how they rotate sellers through the buy box even if each seller isn’t equally qualified.

If you want to check your buy box eligibility, please follow these steps:

1. Go to the “Manage Inventory” section in your Seller Central account.

2. In the right-hand corner, click “Preferences” then “Buy Box Eligible” in the dropdown menu.

This will add another column that simply states yes or no for Buy Box Eligibility on your products.

3. If you want a birds-eye view of your products and their current buy box percentages, you can view this under Reports in Seller Central “Reports > By ASIN > Detail Page Sales and Traffic by Child Item”.

Consider the following key strategies to see the buy box more often for your listings:

  • All things equal between sellers, the best pricing and Prime Delivery help the most with earning the buy box. This can become a race to the bottom when one cent can earn you the buy box over a competitor, so please be careful and know your limits.
  • If you can’t send in FBA inventory (you sell a food item that will go rancid sitting in a warehouse, for example) you need to meet amazon’s strict shipping and customer service requirements or your shipment health will negatively affect your ability to get the buy box. You may need to speed up your product shipment and processing.
  • Build your Amazon account health (Seller reviews, no late deliveries, no stock out,
    Improve your Seller Feedback score.
  • Amazon doesn’t promote listings that don’t have enough inventory on hand to sustain the sales that come from having the buy box. If a listing sells 400 units a day on average and your listings only has 25 units on hand, you may not be promoted to buy box very often or at peak hours because your inventory levels don’t support the customer experience.

When No One Has the Buy Box!!

You should be aware that anyone (even those who have listings with no other 3rd party sellers vying for the buy box) can find themselves without a buy box at all. This can happen for several reasons even if your seller ratings, your ODR, your pricing, and inventory are all in line. This is what the buy box looks like when the buy box isn’t an option:

The buy box can be eliminated for several reasons.

  • The most common reason why the buy box disappears is when there are dramatic price increases or decreases. Amazon is careful about protecting the customers from fraudulent products listed at very low pricing. It is an immediate flag to amazon when someone starts selling something for less than the Amazon fee.
  • If you are selling your product at a very reduced price on your website compared to Amazon, Amazon may penalize your listing by removing the buy box until it is at parity with your website pricing.
  • If there are excessive complaints about your product and you have not taken care of the product or customers who are unhappy about the quality. Some customers may say that the product listing misrepresents its purpose, so you may need to correct some keyword optimization to better align Amazon customers’ expectations.

We hope this article has been helpful to you regarding winning the buy box and moving up the path to Amazon success. Knowing these basic concepts about the buy box and how to keep it will be a difference-maker in hitting your sales goals and losing out to your competitors.

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