Running an Amazon store can be difficult. Amazon sellers face so many challenges in turning their account into a profitable business, and it can be exhausting to constantly feel one step behind the competition. If you’ve been running your Amazon store for a while, you know how frustrating it can be to try many different approaches, only to see your sales remain stagnant. If you’re relatively new to life as an Amazon seller, then you’ve probably heard some terrifying stories.
Thankfully, there’s a reliable way you can maximize your results. Chances are, you are already familiar with the Amazon Buy Box. But the ability to find it on an Amazon product page is one thing. Knowing how to leverage the powerful possibilities of the Buy Box for your store’s benefit is something else entirely. Today the goal is to learn the basics regarding how the Amazon Buy Box works and how to use Amazon listing optimization strategies to increase the chances that your products get featured in this valuable real estate.
Meet the Amazon Buy Box
As its name implies, the Amazon Buy Box is the section on the right side of a given Amazon product page wherein shoppers can choose their purchase options. At first, these will include adding the selected product to their cart or the faster checkout option. Most Amazon shoppers will simply purchase whichever version of their selected item is the default in the Buy Box. According to Statista, 83% of all Amazon purchases are made through the Buy Box. So, as you can imagine, you definitely want to aim for the Buy Box product to be yours.
Because this is the ultimate destination where a purchase happens, the Buy Box is the pure embodiment of your marketing journey. No matter what led Amazon shoppers to that point on your part, it’s firmly on you to convert those prospects into paying customers. More savvy Amazon shoppers will check which seller is behind their impending purchase, whether Amazon itself or a third-party reseller.
These sellers, as you may have guessed, are all scrambling to be included within the Buy Box. Such positioning leads to an incredible advantage over the competition, especially since the Buy Box is overwhelmingly responsible for most Amazon purchases. So you know you want to get into that Buy Box. The next step is to figure out how you can make that happen. First, let’s start with which sellers qualify.
How to Qualify for the Buy Box
As much as the Buy Box presents a clear advantage to third-party Amazon sellers like you, not just anyone with an Amazon account can get their product listed. In order to do so, a seller needs to meet a few simple criteria. Then they can begin ramping up their competitive strategy to win the Buy Box more frequently and boost their sales accordingly.
- First, you’ll need an Amazon Professional Seller account. If you’re early in operating your Amazon store, you might not have made the switch just yet. But at a certain point, you will probably want to consider it. After all, the Amazon Professional Seller account might cost money, but that $39.99 per month will be well worth it in the long run if your business picks up. Not to mention individual plans carry a 99-cent cost per item anyway.
- Once you have an Amazon Professional Seller account, you need to work towards becoming what Amazon calls “Buy Box-eligible.” This distinction only goes to sellers who have hit specific performance milestones in their sales performance. Amazon will also use metrics such as order defect rate, shipping time, fulfillment method, price, and customer service when choosing the Buy Box winner to make sure that shoppers will have a pleasurable buying experience when ordering items.
- If you’re focused on selling used items, you might run into issues. The primary Buy Box is solely for new items. If you’re reselling them, that’s fine. But if you’re a seller interested in dealing with second-hand goods, this isn’t the Buy Box for you. Likewise, you need to have enough inventory of your products in stock. Otherwise, you’re unlikely to stand much of a chance of winning the Buy Box.
How To Win the Buy Box on Amazon
You’ve got your Amazon Professional Seller account ready to go. You’re Buy Box-eligible and all stocked up on your new products. But that’s not all. Now you have to implement key product listing optimization strategies to make Amazon’s algorithm work for you. Of course, search engine optimization is a key part of that, but you’ll have to go a step further to beat out any competing sellers offering products similar to yours.
- Fulfillment by Amazon: When you’re an Amazon seller, one of the most impactful decisions you can make is how you handle your fulfillment. On one hand, handling your own fulfillment -- known as Fulfillment by Merchant -- allows you to take full control of your Amazon business. But FBM sellers are at a disadvantage when it comes to the Buy Box. Because Amazon stands behind its own fulfillment system, Amazon prioritizes sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon. And the site is not willing to risk its reputation by putting undue faith in FBM sellers.
- Shorten your shipping: Likewise, Amazon FBA sellers who offer expedited shipping -- especially those who are eligible for Prime shipping -- have a more direct route to the Buy Box. Amazon knows how much shipping time affects a customer’s purchase decision. So if you are able to present a fast turnaround time on orders, your product is far more likely to beat out competitors. With that in mind, you can see why FBA sellers again have a distinct advantage over those who handle their own fulfillment. Very rarely are FBM sellers able to compete with the service Amazon itself can provide customers.
- Offer competitive pricing: At the end of the day, Amazon most wants to secure a customer purchase. So it shouldn’t surprise you that the same attributes which make for the most compelling sales offer also result in the best opportunities to win the Buy Box. To that end, sellers who are able to present Amazon shoppers with lower prices for the same quality products stand a good shot at getting in the Buy Box. Of course, you don’t want to go too far below your competition either. That will only devalue your product and potentially your brand.
- Positive Seller Feedback: When it comes to ranking for the Amazon Buy Box, it is extremely important to have your Seller Feedback remain high, specifically above 95%. Amazon sellers can keep their Seller Feedback high by ensuring excellent customer service and fast delivery on all orders that are dispatched. Amazon will favour sellers with higher feedback since it directly represents the customer’s experience with that seller, and customer experience is Amazon’s number one priority.
Customers are Key
Even if you have all the above covered, you will be severely undercutting your own success without a solid approach to customer service. After all, your customers are the ones who dictate whether you are able to establish a long-running Amazon business or struggle to distinguish yourself from the crowd of sellers. So making your customer experience a priority is essential.
This mentality should inform your every decision, and Amazon SEO should only sharpen the effectiveness of the strategies we’ve covered above. With any luck, you’ll be able to incorporate at least some of these best practices into your Amazon store as soon as possible. Once you do, you’ll be in a much better position to compete for the Buy Box and, and as a result, maximize your sales potential.