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Why you really need to win Amazon’s Buy Box

By Chris Dawson August 20, 2015 - 9:24 am

We’ve written much about how it’s important that your listings be mobile friendly on eBay, on your website and everywhere else that you sell online. What we don’t tend to mention is how important mobile friendliness is for Amazon.

There’s a good reason for not writing about Amazon – you don’t control your listing, the template, the mobile design. You can’t screw up a potential buyer experience with an awful description template because Amazon won’t let you. They control how the information is presented to the buyer so sellers are protected from themselves and their creative aspirations on what makes a fantastic listing.

What you may not have realised however is quite how important winning the Buy Box is on mobile. We know that well over half online purchases are now transacted on mobile platforms and there’s no reason to suspect that Amazon is any different – I know I personally use the Amazon app and suspect that I’m not unique.

Amazon Moblie vs Desktop Buy BoxSo what do you see with the Amazon app? What’s more important is what you don’t see. Here side by side are the desktop view of the Amazon Buy Box alongside the mobile view.

You’ll immediately notice on the desktop view (left) that prominently displayed are “Other Sellers on Amazon” with offers from 3 additional sellers. In this case Amazon themselves have the Buy Box, but at least if you’re one of the next top three sellers you’ve a chance of clinching the deal. Then there’s a link for “63 New & Used from £29.32” to tempt buyers after a bargain to dig deeper into their buying options and perhaps again find your offer to purchase.

The Mobile view in stark contrast (right) simply shows the Buy Box and immediately below the Buy Now button. On my mobile everything below the Buy Now button is hidden unless I scroll down. I’m lazy, I’m unlikely to scroll down and even if I do the “New & Used (63) from £29.32” is way too small to grab my attention and encourage me to explore further (I highlighted the link in red otherwise you’d probably miss it!)

Another important feature that’s missing on mobile is that even if you don’t win the Buy Box, on a desktop your business name will be shown. If I’ve purchased from you before (or if you have a well known business name) I might be tempted to buy from you regardless. This might be more important for brands, but on a mobile your name will never be displayed on mobile unless you win the Buy Box.

We know that to win the Buy Box you need to have a competitive price, good seller track record (low defects) and that using FBA gives you a massive advantage. With Christmas just five months away, this year your mobile strategy for Amazon should be to win the Buy Box at any cost (so long as, of course, you’re still making a profit).

  • Mark Townsend
    2 years ago

    Item code B00C38LJ7U: I am the only UK based seller, my overall price is the cheapest (£7 versus £8.80), neither seller uses FBA..but the more expensive US seller still gets the buy box and I am not even named in the “Other Sellers” section.

    It gets worse (for me) in Europe…

    Germany – B00B8QCMHY & B00C38LJ7U: I am the only seller and I still do not get the Buy Box. Instead, with only my product available, the shopper sees the “All Offers” button.

    … and so on. I do get the Box a couple of times but in most cases where I am the only supplier, the shopper still gets the local equivalent of the show all offers button making a purchase from me (the only seller) at least 2 more clicks away.

    (I have not checked this in the mobile view)

    Mark.T

    • Kieran
      2 years ago

      This may well be due to the amount of feedback you have vs another seller, especially for international markets where you might be expanding and have little or no feedback.

      For Germany it could simply be that you do not have enough feedback on your german account to qualify for the buy box, certainly in the early days of an Amazon account you would not normally qualify for the buy box, i believe we still struggle to get the buy box in Germany because we have sold next to nothing in Germany and have little feedback.

      In the UK, if the other seller has a higher level of feedback then they may win the buy box over you, this is my understanding. The buy box algorithm does not just take into account price, it also takes into account your account health and feedback i believe against the other competitors.

      Using FBA is an option to get around this issue and win the buy box depending if FBA would work for your business and products.

      Kind regards

      Kieran

    • Mark.T
      2 years ago

      All valid points and useful so thank you for that but, inevitably, this raises yet more questions which I am not expecting answers to but which indicate how random the whole system can appear.

      So, no Buy Box but…

      Why no specific mention as an ‘Other Seller’ when I am literally the only other seller?

      Why, despite all the valid points you and others have kindly made, do I get the Buy Box at all as I do in Spain for both products despite even lower sales?

      As I said, no answers expected. My solution is to sell through the current stock and stop selling on Amazon. For a business of my size and with the product I sell, it makes no sense any more.

      Anyone want 200 pairs of earphones?

    • A+
      2 years ago

      82% positive feedback is a really low score and this is the reason why the other seller’s offer is more prominent. Also you only have 17 feedbacks. Give it some time once your score improves it is more than likely that you will win the buy box.

      If you want to speed things up, definitely use FBA.

  • james
    2 years ago

    Hi Mark.

    you appear to have 2 products, 17 feedback total, and an 82% buyer satisfaction rate from those 17 feedback.
    you really shouldnt be expecting to win the buy box vs anyone at this stage.

    • Mark.T
      2 years ago

      I do see your point but unless one does know what Amazon take into account, where does improvement come from?

      Given the immediacy people expect nowadays, I would have hoped that ‘cheaper and faster’ would get some traction but sadly not.

  • Glenn
    2 years ago

    As far as ASIN B00B8QCMHY is concerned,your listing is nearly £10 more than Amazons and the next seller.
    There is no way you are going the win the buy box this way.

    • Mark.T
      2 years ago

      Quite so and this is why I did not refer to this item in relation to the UK but inly to item B00C38LJ7U.

  • Jon
    2 years ago

    So it’s far from what you would call a level playing field. Is it really that fair?

    • Mark.T
      2 years ago

      A question I suspect we all know answers itself.

      Amazon are there for Amazon’s benefit.

      If others happen to benefit as well, that is a by product but benefitting thee and me is not Amazon’s prime directive.

  • 2 years ago

    Can you maybe help me with my problem, i used to have the buy box for loads of listings, now i don’t have it for ANY including items i am cheaper on, were called saver specs on amazon?
    any help would be appreciated.

    had 1 negative feedback recently, but that shouldn’t throw it off so much surrely

    • james
      2 years ago

      Hi James
      (i need to revise my username, theres soo many james’ here i feel like a scizophrenic)

      i had a quick 5-minute look for your store, the only item i find naturally in search results (i didnt spend long tbh), was a multi-listing, you had the buy box for one product, the other one you werent the cheapest, so didnt.
      most of the others i saw from your store you were the only seller, so naturally had the buy box.

      i would make an off-topic suggestion – i think you should revise your store icon to include the store name in some way, the big eyeball with no indication of what store it belongs to (even when i’m specifically looking for you) is a little sinister. i’d have picked one of the other sellers from that list due to this alone.

    • Buyboxhelper
      2 years ago

      Hi James I had a quick look also.

      Strangely even when your cheapest you are not showing up even in the other sellers box. Assuming you are a professional seller(pay the £30 a month fee) and have been selling in this category for a while it would appear your feedback is effecting your buy box eligibility.

      I would suggest sending items that are good sellers to FBA this will win you the buy box and also help raise your feedback .

      Good Luck

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