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Amazon Buy Box Brief:

Amazon sells products; products stocked in their own warehouses, products drop shipped from distributors, and most importantly products from other merchants. Many times merchants sell the same products as other merchants. Amazon has devised a method of competition between the merchants and sometimes Amazon itself concerning which merchant fulfills the order.

Amazon Buy Box areaTwo areas commonly exist on the main product page and a third secondary (New & Used) page which allow the consumer to purchase the item. The "Buy Box" and the "Lineup"(Top 3 featured sellers) on the main page are considered the most important. The Buy Box is most prominently displayed in the top right corner of the page, this is where most consumers add the item to their cart. What they may not have realized in most cases, is that they have made a choice as to who will fulfill the order.

The Buy Box contains Amazon's choice as to which merchant will (by default) fulfill the order and the top 3 remaining "options" or merchants are listed in the featured merchant lineup area. All other "Secondary Page" sellers are listed on Amazon's "New & Used" page, which takes an additional click for the consumer to view. (CompetitorEye only reviews NEW items, even on the secondary page) Although consumers can specifically choose which merchant fulfills the order by selecting the small "Add to Cart" button from the Lineup area, most do not and click the much larger, prominently displayed Buy Box "Add to Shopping Cart" button.

As a merchant trying to sell your products, this aspect should interest you greatly.
Amazon Lineup area

The choice of Buy Box owner / item fulfiller is solely Amazon's decision and formulas and "secret" magic is involved. But realistically it boils down to the following:

Each merchant is ranked and scored. That scorecard is used to determine who owns the Buy Box, and in what order the other merchants will be listed in the "More Buying Choices" (Lineup) area.

Although Amazon's method of determining the Buy Box "owner" at any given moment is not published by Amazon, the following factors should be considered which may greatly increase the opportunity for a merchant to appear in the Buy Box:

  • Your overall merchant rating having more positive than negative surveys. Keeping your customers happy is key, and very important to Amazon.
  • Merchants overall back order & cancel counts. Not being able to deliver when you said you could, creates a negative customer experience.
  • Merchants available inventory for the item.
  • Merchants delivered price including shipping.

Merchants that appear in the Buy Box on individual items have described it as "opening the floodgates of orders". With Amazon's sheer volume of sales, appearing in the Buy Box can be worthwhile goal.





Buy Box as described by Amazon:

The "Buy Box" is the box on a product detail page where a customer starts the purchase process by adding an item to their shopping cart.

A key feature of the Amazon.com platform is that the same product can be sold by multiple sellers. If several sellers offer the same product in "New" condition, they may compete for the Buy Box for that product.

Sellers must qualify for Featured Merchant status in order to compete for Buy Box placement. Featured Merchant status is tied to specific seller performance criteria that determine the sellers who have consistently provided customers with a great buying experience on the Amazon.com site.

Please note: Seller offerings for Books, Music, Video and DVD products (BMVD Products) are not eligible for Featured Merchant status and will not appear in the Buy Box on the product detail page. See also The Buy Used Box

Product Placement

When you place your products in the Amazon.com catalog, anyone browsing Amazon.com can find them and buy them. After customers find what they want, they can put the product into the shopping cart (and ultimately purchase the product) using one of three methods:

  • By using the Add to Shopping Cart button (in the "Ready to Buy" box, or the "Buy Box").
  • By browsing seller offerings in the More Buying Choices box and then clicking the Add to Cart button next to the seller from which the customer wants to purchase the product.
  • By clicking the "used & new" link, browsing all offering for the item, and then clicking the Add to Cart button next to the seller from which the customer wants to purchase the product.
    Note: If there are no used listings, the link will say "# new."
Buy Box

The Buy Box winner for a product is selected from the pool of eligible sellers offering that product based on, among other things, price and availability. Amazon will present the winning seller's "New" offering as the first choice for buyers using the "Add to Shopping Cart" box on product detail pages. For many sellers, this placement may lead to increased product sales.

After the Buy Box winner is selected, up to three Featured Merchant offers are displayed in the More Buying Choices box on the product detail page. The remaining seller offers (Featured Merchants and the remaining sellers) are available to customers who click the "new & used" link (or new link) at the bottom of the More Buying Choices box to go to the offer listing page.

How a seller's listing gets placed in the Buy Box

Buy Box eligibility is evaluated based on factors that have been carefully chosen in an effort to give customers the best shopping experience. Sellers must qualify for Featured Merchant status before their listings can being considered for Buy Box placement. All Featured Merchant listings are evaluated based on what the customer will pay (price + shipping) and availability among other factors, and one listing is selected for the Buy Box.

How sellers can increase their chances of winning the Buy Box

Since seller performance metric targets can vary by category and are subject to change, Amazon does not disclose specific targets needed to qualify for Featured Merchant status. Featured Merchant status requires meeting very high standards, and excelling in the qualifying criteria is the best way to work toward achieving Featured Merchant Status.

If you are an eligible seller, you can increase the chances of winning the Buy Box using the following guidelines.

Pricing:

  • Since we look at the price the customer will pay (price + shipping), price your products competitively, including the shipping rates. The lowest price doesn't guarantee winning the Buy Box, as pricing is just one factor that is evaluated.

Availability

  • Keep stock available: If you have no current stock for a product, you cannot win the Buy Box. Use inventory planning best practices to keep your popular products in stock.
  • Update your inventory: Customers who submit orders for products that are not in stock are likely to leave negative feedback, especially around the holidays. To ensure that buyers cannot place orders for out-of-stock items, keep your inventory updated.
  • Plan vacations: If you are going on vacation, make sure that customers are not left waiting for orders to arrive. See Vacation Settings for more information.





Featured Merchant as described by Amazon:

Featured Merchants are Pro Merchant sellers who have met performance-based requirements. There is no additional fee for being a featured merchant, and sellers must maintain their performance levels in order to retain the status of Featured Merchant. Sellers with Featured Merchant status gain placement advantages for their listings on Amazon.com. Their listings are eligible to compete for the Buy Box and listings that do not win the Buy Box are eligible for placement in the More Buying Choices box. Amazon does not guarantee placement in either of these locations. Customers can find listings that do not win the Buy Box or placement in the More Buying Choices box when they click the "# used & new" link at the bottom of the More Buying Choices box. Note: If there are no used listings, the link will say "# new."

Featured Merchant Qualifications

Sellers are evaluated based on factors that have been carefully chosen in an effort to give customers the best shopping experience. Featured Merchant status is evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • ODR (Order Defect Rate)--ODR is based on customer feedback, A-to-z claims and chargebacks
  • Other seller performance metrics
  • Time and experience on the Amazon selling platform
  • Gross Merchandise Sales (GMS)
  • Status as a Pro Merchant

A seller's Featured Merchant status and eligibility to win the Buy Box may change over time based on the seller's performance against the eligibility criteria mentioned above and the criteria is subject to change. Sustained seller performance and low ODR will help achieve, and preserve, a seller's Featured Merchant status.

Note: Specific performance metric targets can vary by category and are subject to change. Earning Featured Merchant status in one category does not automatically qualify a seller for Featured Merchant status for all categories. Some categories do not offer the benefits of Featured Merchant status.

Monitoring Featured Merchant Performance

Since seller performance metric targets can vary by category and are subject to change, Amazon does not disclose specific targets needed to qualify for Featured Merchant status. Featured Merchant status requires meeting very high standards, and excelling in the qualifying criteria is the best way to work toward achieving Featured Merchant Status.

You can determine if you have achieved Featured Merchant status in one or more categories by monitoring your listings on Amazon.com. When you see one of your listings has won the Buy Box or is one of the listings in the More Buying Choices box, you have earned Featured Merchant status in that category.

If your listing has not won the Buy Box and is not in the More Buying Choices box, click the "# new & used" link (or "# new" link) at the bottom of the the More Buying Choices box to go to the offer listing page. If your listing is displayed under the Featured Merchants heading, then you have met the requirements for a Featured Merchant in that category.

If you are not currently a Featured Merchant you can work toward becoming one by improving your Order Defect Rate and your other seller performance metrics. These metrics can be improved by maintaining high-standards over time, which helps develop customer trust. The following best practices can help you develop such customer trust.

Featured merchant

Customer Trust

  • List accurately: Carefully title, describe and categorize items and their conditions to avoid customer confusion.
  • Ship accurately: Customers might leave negative feedback if they receive the wrong item. Build reliable fulfillment and shipping procedures to prevent this.
  • Ship on time: Customers expect to receive their orders by the estimated delivery dates. This is especially important around the holidays. Ship order with enough time to meet or beat the estimated delivery date then confirm shipment to avoid unnecessary cancelled orders. If you are not going to make the estimated delivery date, notify your customer right away, even for issues outside of your control (for example, a natural disaster or carrier issue).
  • Communicate with customers: Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than not knowing the status of their order. Notify customers when an order is delayed and respond quickly to customer contacts requesting order updates. The right communication at the right time can help build trust between you and the customer.
  • Provide excellent customer service: Provide post-transaction support (refunds, returns, and exchanges) to help ensure customer satisfaction.






CompetitorEye monitors Buy Box owners, featured merchants and lineup participant placement and pricing. With our tools, you can be alerted when your pricing is to low or to high for Buy Box ownership allowing you to maximize profitability, or alert you if your organization falls out of the top 3 featured merchant status. We provide the current pricing, stock and delivery charges of your organization and your competitors -- So you know exactly what your competition is doing in relation to your own marketing efforts.

Alerts can be sent every 30 minutes and full product reports are sent up to 4 times a day giving you a clear picture of your offerings on Amazon as the market fluctuates.

For more information, see the links below.
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