Brick-and-mortar stores continue to close their doors as ecommerce businesses continue to thrive in the global market. In fact, global ecommerce sales are slated to nearly double from $2.8 trillion in 2018 to $4.9 trillion in 2021. Amazon is in the driver’s seat of this ecommerce boom, raking in $178 billion in total revenue last year and projected to exceed $180 billion in global online sales by 2020. Additionally, the ecommerce leader has captivated the entire consumer experience, with nearly three-fourths of consumers going straight to Amazon’s search bar when they are ready to make a purchase.
With numbers like these it is easy to see the potential that Amazon holds for sellers and retailers looking to expand their e-commerce presence. For these stakeholders, effectively navigating the Buy Box is essential to running a successful storefront and optimizing their seller performance and account health metrics. In fact, 82% of all Amazon sales are funneled through the Buy Box, and this percentage of sales increases when looking specifically at mobile purchases. By understanding the Buy Box and its intricacies, such as obtaining, maintaining and increasing share on an ongoing basis, sellers and retailers can positively impact other aspects of their business, such as pricing, inventory, demand, customer experience and more.
Below are some tactics that sellers and retailers can begin integrating into their Amazon strategy today to increase their Buy Box share and maximize sales and profits.
Understanding Your Fulfillment Methods
The most important variable considered by Amazon’s Buy Box algorithm is an item’s fulfillment. Unsurprisingly, Amazon considers its own Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service to have a perfect score across multiple categories including Shipping Time, On-Time Delivery Rate and Inventory Depth. Because of these perfect scores in such crucial categories, FBA was traditionally considered the quickest and easiest way for a seller to improve their chances of winning the Buy Box.
Amazon also offers Seller Fulfilled Prime, or SFP, which gives qualified sellers the option to display the Amazon Prime badge on orders filled within their own warehouses or third-party logistics providers. Sellers and retailers should take their catalog composition and goals for the year into consideration when figuring out which fulfillment method makes the most sense for their business.
Creating a Seamless Shipping Experience
In addition to understanding the fulfillment methods that work best for their Amazon store, sellers must also establish a seamless shipping experience that will both benefit their bottom line and deliver on customer expectations. When it comes to competing for the Buy Box, the simplest metric considered is the time in which the seller promises to ship the item to the customer.
The shipping time that a seller can select is broken into several brackets and measured in standard business days. These brackets are divided into 0-2 days, 3-7 days, 8-13 days and 14+ days. Jumping between these brackets will have the greatest significance for sellers looking to improve their Buy Box share. For example, sellers who improve their shipping from six days to three days will see a positive impact in their Buy Box share. However, sellers who improve their shipping from three days to two days will not see much change. Given that FBA and SFP are Prime-eligible and require sellers to deliver according to Prime requirements, the aforementioned shipping brackets apply, but not for Prime.
It is important to select an accurate shipping time, as on-time delivery rates also have a substantial impact on a seller’s ability to win the Buy Box. Amazon measures on-time delivery as the percentage of orders that buyers received by the estimated delivery date, according to the tracking information. A score of less than 97% in this category will have a strong negative effect on a seller’s Buy Box share. Similarly, late shipment rates are also factored into a seller’s ability to win the Buy Box. This number should be kept below 4% in order to maintain a strong Buy Box share.
Lowering Your Landed Price
For sellers, the landed price is arguably the easiest variable to manipulate when competing for the Buy Box, as it is the only one that sellers can control both directly and instantly. The landed price is the total amount that the product is sold for on Amazon, including U.S. shipping, as well as shipping and VAT in both the UK and Europe. Achieving a lower landed price will increase a seller’s potential of gaining Buy Box share.
Monitoring Your Stock Availability
In order to win the Buy Box, there must be available stock of the item being sold. In most cases, if the item is not in stock, the seller cannot win the Buy Box. It is important to note that having out of stock inventory will also decrease product visibility, as the Buy Box will not show ‘out of stock’ and instead will rotate the position to another seller. Therefore, it is critical for sellers to track and maintain inventory levels that keep top-selling products in stock.
The single exception to this rule is for backordered items. While backordered items can be featured in the Buy Box, items that are immediately fulfillable are favored so avoiding backorders should be a priority for all sellers.
The Amazon Marketplace is a complex ecosystem that poses immense potential for online sellers and retailers to grow their businesses as they scale. By understanding these intricacies, sellers and retailers will be better positioned to win the Buy Box and increase revenue for their Amazon storefront.
Victor is the CEO and founder of Feedvisor