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The 3 Most Important Factors to Winning the Buy Box

*The following is an updated version of an old blog post.

The Amazon Buy Box is really similar to winning the student of the month award in elementary school. You weren’t exactly sure what you did to deserve it, but you are ecstatic about the victory regardless. Amazon is the only entity that completely understands its Buy Box algorithm, but that doesn’t make it a lost cause.

For years, professionals have speculated about Amazon’s requirements to win the coveted Buy Box and for a good reason. The Buy Box accounts for 82% of Amazon’s sales, and we want to make sure you get your fair piece of the pie. Nothing is for sure, but we have a rough road map of the path Amazon sellers can take to end up in the most desired space on the Amazon marketplace.

Three of the biggest factors that go into the algorithm are inventory levels, shipping and handling speed, and final price. To help you on your quest to the Amazon Buy Box, here are three recommendations to remove the roadblocks that stand between you and success on the Amazon marketplace.

Give Your Inventory a Smooth Ride

Amazon takes a seller’s inventory levels very seriously. The point of the Buy Box is to offer their shoppers the best experience with the best sellers possible. Therefore, they’re not going to consider a seller whose inventory levels are constantly fluctuating. What I mean by this is it’s more important to constantly restock a lower amount of inventory for a few months than to carry a huge amount of inventory and restock only when you run out. An erratic inventory reflects an undependable business, and that is extremely disconcerting to Amazon.

The best piece of software you can use to keep your inventory smooth? We recommend SKUVault. It’s an inventory management software that acts as a pretty killer set of hydraulic springs on your Amazon selling vessel. Instead of a bumpy ride of ups and downs, SKUVault smooths the process to keep your inventory at the same level throughout your Amazon selling experience. The inventory management system alerts sellers on what items are selling the fastest to ensure an effective reordering structure, making them appear reliable and consistent to Amazon.

Ship Your Products in No Time

Shipping and handling is another major piece of the Buy Box puzzle. Amazon wants to give customers the most efficient and pleasant experience possible. All sellers must ship items within two days of purchase, and they have to take it a step further if they want to win the Buy Box. It can be hard to fulfill all orders on your own, especially if you are a popular seller.

The solution to a fast shipping and handling time? Placing the burden on Amazon with their Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service. Amazon offers this service to sellers who sell a large volume of goods every month. FBA puts your inventory in Amazon’s hands to ship and also takes away the burden of the customer service required to run a successful business on Amazon. FBA’s efficiency can help your Buy Box odds because if there is an error with your products’ shipments, Amazon will quickly correct it. FBA also helps improve the Amazon Prime selection for Prime members.

Make Sure Your Price is Right

Another large determinant of Buy Box winners is a seller’s final price (product price + shipping and handling fees). Competing on price on the Amazon marketplace is no easy feat, especially with Amazon constantly undercutting sellers with their own products’ prices.It’s not always possible to have the lowest price on Amazon, but it’s still possible to stay competitive.

Manually changing prices on Amazon is impossible, since Amazon alone changes prices on many of its items every 15 minutes. The solution? Wiser’s Amazon repricing software. Our repricing software automates the entire pricing process to find the sweet spots that can stand up to your competitors. The dynamic pricing rule enables you to win the Buy Box by constantly changing the price of your goods until you are in the Buy Box. Once it is there, it will increase the price to maximize profit. And as always, its price guards will make sure your price is never lower than the minimum price you set.
Obviously these factors carry different weights depending on your product categories. Sometimes inventory levels are more important than price, and vice versa. Perhaps the most effective tool an Amazon seller can have in their arsenal is experience. If you’re just starting out on Amazon, don’t expect to win the Buy Box immediately. However, making sure your inventory, pricing, and fulfillment strategies are efficient is the easiest way to eventually win the most famous box on the internet. There’s no clear cut formula to win the Buy Box, but once you land in it you are indubitably happy to be there.

Arie Shpanya

Arie is the former COO, Executive Chairman, and Co-Founder of Wiser, a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine for online retailers and brands. He has extensive experience in business development with a focus on eCommerce (eBay and Amazon), and is a guest blogger on Econsultancy, VentureBeat, and more.

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