I hate when no one wins the Amazon Buy Box!
As Christmas approaches I’m finding it increasingly frustrating shopping on Amazon when no one wins the Buy Box.
Having paid for an Amazon Prime membership, I tend to instantly click the Amazon Prime option to limit my search to items that can be delivered for free, usually the next working day. This suits me as I can order when I know I’ll be at home the following day to accept delivery.
Generally Amazon will make a decision for me and either Amazon Retail, or a favoured seller will win the Buy Box and that’s almost certainly the seller I’ll purchase from. I’ve clicked the Prime only option in search so I’ve effectively told Amazon I’m only interested in products in Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) but they insist on forcing me to make a decision myself.
What’s frustrating is that when I click the “See all buying options” button, Amazon show me a full list of sellers I can purchase from. This includes FBA sellers and those shipping from their own warehouse. Amazon have made a decision and put the seller with the lowest cost to me at the top of the list so that’s the one I’d purchase.
Why are Amazon forcing me to make a decision? Amazon have obviously ranked sellers as the “See all buying options” list is ordered so why not give the Buy Box to the seller at the top of the list?
It’s Christmas, people are buying a lot. People are conditioned to expect Amazon to make shopping frictionless and take away the hassle of having to think or make any choices. Why is buying on Amazon suddenly so difficult?
Many sellers think that this happens when, in Amazon’s opinion, no seller is offering the product at a reasonable price. Hence Amazon throws all sellers into the same basket to encourage price drops in the hope of bringing the buy box back. I’ve not seen anything official from Amazon on this but it does seem to hold true. It therefore suggests that, where you see this as a buyer, you’ll know that the product is obtainable at a better price elsewhere in the online market.
The opposite is true as well. One of our bestsellers selling for £44 last year, most sellers have dropped their price to £25 (including us with the only FBA offer) and the buy box is suspended.
Seller Support say they can’t do anything about it and offer no explanation. Very frustrating as we’re trying to get rid of the stock.
I don’t do FBA, not practical for me – I must say my sales are now so low I’m thinking of giving up selling on Amazon. Unique items.
Amazon called us the other day to talk about this and I have a very strong opinion on it…
Its an absolute joke…I fully understand what they are trying the achieve, however they just arent doing a good enough job of it – the prices they expect is just unobtainable for the vast majority of sellers both SF and FBA.
One of the examples we spoke about was a £50 RRP LEGO line – Amazon were out of stock. Our offer was £37.99 and the next cheapest was £45. Online via google shopping all the large retailers were £45-50 also. But regardless of all this Amazon gave nobody the buy box – the chap from Amazon said it was 100% to do with the price.
So that afternoon we experimented and only at £29.99 did we get the buy box, nearly half price and some £15 cheaper than Smyths and Toys R Us..
I have witnessed this change a lot over the last couple years, its gone from cheapest price having BB regardless, then for the last couple years providing you were under RRP you got the BB, but now you need to be within 10%ish of Amazons best selling price – which for most of my products is our COST price!
I also think its crap for buyers, dont get me wrong they want to give their buyers the best price regardless of who fulfils the order – but the page at the moment isn’t good enough. Its too much of a barrier and I simply see buyers leaving and buying elsewhere… It offers a poor experience to buyers, but its also a very poor show to us merchants who invest a lot of time and ££ into their site.
Fair enough whip out the people trying to profiteer too much, but simply remove their offers – dont put a brick wall infront of everybody else… who might actually be selling their product at the going market rate. (Just not the giveaway at cost Amazon price).
People usually call this Buy Box “suppression”.
I haven’t seen an official statement on it from Amazon, but everyone says it is down to unreasonably high pricing.
Maybe Amazon have set the bar too low in some cases but overall I think suppressing the Buy Box makes sense. It makes people think twice before buying, but still gives them the opportunity to do if they are willing to pay over the odds for something that’s hard to get hold of.
Not every product is buy box eligible.
Not every seller is buy box eligible.
you could say its better for some sellers as it forces buyers to look at feedback and condition notes rather than blindly clicking the buy button.
“People are conditioned to expect Amazon to make shopping frictionless and take away the hassle of having to think or make any choices.”
this is a good thing? stupid lazy buyers should be encouraged? forget that whole (yeuch) having to think malarky! what they think this is, the 1920’s? expecting you to turn on your brain for 3 seconds is completely effing unreasonable! and to (cant believe i’m actually typing this) force you to make a choice???? in these days when the choice available is such a plus point? the bloody cheek of them!
Amazon search stinks to high heaven anyway. I have hundreds in Amazon giftcards unspent because it’s so hard to find what you want – at any price.
Pages of (often comically) irrelevant results, spare parts or accessories instead of the product you want, a few useless filters that ignore your exclude commands while eliminating valid offers. Lousy crippled display and sort choices too.
Light years behind eBay’s brilliant intuitive search that can fine tune every aspect and finds the exact product from all sellers and at best price including delivery. And none of Amazon’s creepy manipulation of buyers AND sellers using ‘Buy Boxes’
Ali Express knew which search system to ape and is always my second option. Amazon last resort after Googling the web direct.