How Brands Prevent Losing the Buy Box

When multiple sellers are selling your product at the same time on the same marketplace, there is competition for which seller will 'win' the Buy Box — also known as the “Add to cart” button—. Marketplaces algorithms identify who has the best offer. This offer 'wins' the buy button. This way, marketplaces guarantee their customers you are a reliable seller providing high-quality products and top-notch customer service. 

If the Buy Box suggests your competitors over you, you’re probably missing out on a great deal of money. As a brand or manufacturer, it is not self-evident that you win and keep the buy box.

In this blog:

 

What is the Buy Button or Buy Box?

The buy button or buy box refers to the yellow/ orange button which indicates: 'Buy now' or 'Add to Basket'.

On Amazon:

 

image-png-Mar-02-2021-10-15-27-57-AM-1

 

Not all sellers are eligible to win the Buy Box. On Amazon a seller can only compete for the Buy Box when meeting the below criteria:

  • Has an Amazon Professional Seller account. Sellers with a Professional Seller Account are eligible for Amazon Buy Box while individual sellers are not. 
  • Is “Buy Box-eligible,” a status awarded to experienced sellers who have spent time selling on the Amazon platform. Selling some items through Amazon’s own fulfillment services (FBA) may help for new sellers.
  • Sell new items. There is a separate Buy Box for second-hand items.

 

As a Vendor, can I still lose the Buy Button?

Keeping a position in the Buy Box is an ongoing challenge and with the growing online competition, it has become harder than ever.

Being a vendor and directly selling to Amazon, doesn't assure you to always win and keep the Buy Box. A vendor can lose the buy box due to performance issues. Third party sellers can 'steal' your Buy Box position if they beat you in: Stock availability, Price, or Customer Satisfaction.

 

The Variables that Affect the Buy Box Win

Whenever a seller is "Buy Box-eligible", most marketplaces algorithms look for 'the best offer'. The seller with a combination of outstanding:

  • Chances of conversion
  • Product information
  • Customer satisfaction

 

Win Buy Box diagram

Factors that affect a sellers' chances of winning the buy box.

 
As you can see in the diagram above, there isn’t one magic element, but a whole bunch of factors that go into deciding who wins. Each element is connected, influences the success of your product, and thus the winner of the buy button.
 
Let's elucidate the variables a bit more!


Product Information & Content


Good descriptions, with keywords used by shoppers

Products with a good description rank highest. By matching your product content as closely as possible to what consumers are looking for, your product will rank higher. Describing and displaying product descriptions, images and videos, as closely as possible to reality, prevents customers buy the wrong product, based on inaccurate assumptions.

Product videos and images help the customer make an informed buying decision. Make sure that images are correctly displayed on all sales channels to avoid disappointments. 

Winning-on-the-Digital-Shelf dark-BGWinning on the digital shelf - How brands benefit from rich, fresh, and unique page content.

 

Review count: Higher is better

More reviews = more sales.

According to Bazaarvoice:

  • 1 review = 10% lift in orders
  • 50 reviews = 30% lift in orders
  • 100 reviews = 37% lift in orders
  • 150 reviews = 41% lift in orders
  • 200 reviews = 44% lift in orders

Use product reviews to optimize your product content, with the language used by shoppers.

(Search intent) Optimized product content, in combination with a high amount of reviews, provides fresh and unique information to your product pages. This will improve the findability of your product which leads to more product page traffic and conversions.

More conversions will lead to more product reviews!

And so on...

 

Reviews - Findability - Product page traffic

 

Chance of Conversion

 

Price: The lower, the better?

Sellers who offer the lowest pricing options on a marketplace can take over the Buy Box from you as a brand owner/vendor. On the other hand, if your products have (near)perfect performance metrics, you may be able to price higher than other sellers and still win/keep the Buy Box. 

Make sure the landing prices (total price with shipping included) of your products are competitive and avoid price wars - an attempt by a market participant to undercut competitors by continuously lowering product prices to capture greater market share

To keep your prices stable and competitive, and to be aware of losing the Buy Box, it is necessary to monitor listings and prices constantly. Not only the prices of sellers on the platform, but also external sites of retailers, and even competitors.


 

Stock Availability

If product listings are presented as out-of-stock, a marketplace allows other retailers, sellers, and 3P sellers who are eligible can take over the Buy Box quickly.

Running out-of-stock can not only ruin your sales but also your relationship with Amazon. The more frequently your products run out of stock, the fewer chances you have of winning the buy box. The algorithm prefers sellers that have full inventory most of the time. 

 

High Search- and Category Ranking

About 90% of the sales on Amazon are generated on the first three pages of search results. Whether your product can be found on these top three pages depends on the right keywords you use. Marketplaces show your product in search results if the words that the shopper uses in the search bar appear in your product description, title, and bullet points.

Besides using the right keywords, profit margins, best-selling products, personal brands, local availability, and same-day delivery help you rank higher in search results. 

 

Search ranking marketplace buy box

 
 

Sponsored Ads:

As a seller on Amazon, you can put your products in the spotlight through Amazon Sponsored Products. Your chosen products will then, for a fee, be shown at the top of the search results or shown on the detail pages of other products as a recommended alternative.

With Amazon Sponsored Brands you put your entire brand, instead of one product, in the spotlight. At the top of the search results, an advertisement is displayed, including multiple products and your brands' logo.

Amazon Sponsored Ads are ideal for generating more orders for instance if you are new on the marketplace, or are introducing new products.
 
Sponsored Ads affecting buy box

As we pointed out before, higher sales are automatically translated to better organic search results that again lead to more visits to the product detail page. Getting more orders results in more reviews. With reviews, you can optimize your product and content. More reviews = more sales. More conversions will lead to more product reviews! And so on! 
 
Result: more chances of winning the buy box.
 

 

Customer Satisfaction

 

Review Rating - Most recent is most important

The higher a products' star rating, and overall seller star rating, the better! Besides quantity, customers care about the average star ranking of all feedback you have received. The period your star rating impacts your chances of winning the buy button is lifetime, but both customers and the marketplace algorithm care mostly about the most recent ratings.
 

According to PowerReviews, purchase probability peaks when a product’s average star rating is 4.2 or higher.

 

Short customer response time

Reply to customers within 12 hours.  If the contact response time is slow, the buyers may become frustrated and that may lead to negative feedback.

 

Low Return Rates

Make sure you analyze your return data and address the products with the highest return rates and volumes. High return rates have a bad influence on winning the buy box on marketplaces!

Keep your return percentage as low as possible. The best case is when your Return Rates in the last 90 days are less than 1%.

Read 6 tips to prevent eCommerce returns

 

Fulfillment by...

Each marketplace assigns a relative weight to each 'Buy Box-criterion', based on how important that criterion is. The order fulfillment variable, together with price and shipping time, is usually the most pressing!

Because of fast delivery times, products from sellers with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) score better as a result. Also on #1 Dutch marketplace bol.com, it appears that with 'Logistics via bol.com' you have a better chance of the buy button.
 
Keep the number of orders shipped later than the expected ship date as low as possible, and below 4%.

 

Overview of Amazon variables

Variable / Metric How important? Definition Best way to win Minimum Period that metric impact the Buy Box
Product Price Very Important The total price plus shipping lowest is better   Current
Order fulfilment Very Important How the seller ships the item FBA FBA / FBM Current
Shipping time Very Important Time it takes to ship the products <2 days <14 days Current
Late shipment rate Important Number of orders shipped later than the expected ship date 0% 4% 7-day or 30-day period
Feedback score Important Total of all feedback the seller has received Higher is better.    Lifetime. the most recent is most important.
Customer Response Time Important How long the seller takes to reply to the customer <12 hours <24 hours Last 90 days
Review Count Important The number of reviews Higher is better   Constant
Return rate less Important How often customers return products Lower is better <1% Last 90 days
Availability rate less Important How often the seller runs out-of-stock Lower is better   Last 90 days

 

 

How Can SiteLucent Help Brands Win the Buy Box?

Many of the variables we talked about are even more an indicator of success on 'the digital shelf' rather than a goal in themselves. 

SiteLucent software continuously crawls eCommerce shop and marketplaces shelves, including amazons', looking through the customer lens to capture anything a shopper can potentially see. 

Why? Because product detail pages are full of eCommerce touchpoints that are helpful to monitor for you as a Brand-owner or eCommerce professional.

We collect data that can help you protect your brand from price wars, be brand-compliant on reseller sites, and be findable and available there where you should be!

 

Are you selling your brands' products on multiple online channels, including marketplaces?

We'd love to show you how your brand and products can:

  • Drive eCommerce sales
  • Be brand-compliant on all eCommerce channels
  • Avoid channel conflicts
  • Lower return rates
  • Win the buy box

Or all of the above! 

Contact us