Formerly known as Amazon Featured Merchant Status, Buy Box Eligible Status on Amazon is exactly what it sounds like. Sellers with Amazon Buy Box Eligible Status are able to win the Buy Box, which leads to at least 82% of sales on the world’s largest online marketplace.
But how do you get Buy Box Eligible Status on Amazon? And, more importantly, how can sellers retain Buy Box eligibility after they get it?
This article will delve into every detail of how to get Amazon Buy Box Eligible Status so you can start boosting your products’ exposure — and driving more sales — to seriously scale your eCommerce enterprise.
What is Amazon Buy Box Eligible Status?
According to Amazon:
“Buy Box eligible sellers are Professional sellers who have met performance-based requirements. There is no additional fee for being Buy Box eligible, and sellers must maintain their performance levels in order to retain the status of Buy Box eligible.
“Sellers with Buy Box eligible seller 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 and Buy Box eligibility. Amazon does not guarantee placement in either of these locations.”
While Amazon is clear that there’s no guarantee you’ll win the Buy Box after you get Buy Box Eligible Status, the fact that you’re able to get this prime product placement on the main pages of Amazon listings is the first major step to elevating your eCommerce business to a bigger stage.
How to get Amazon Buy Box Eligibility
You know you want to be Buy Box Eligible on Amazon, so the question now becomes how do you attain that privileged status?
According to Amazon, sellers are evaluated “based on carefully chosen factors in an effort to give customers the best shopping experience.”
The criteria that Amazon uses include:
• Order Defect Rate (ODR) based on customer feedback, A-to-z guarantee claims, and chargebacks
• Status as a Professional Seller
• Time and experience selling on Amazon
• Overall customer shopping experience offered on an item, including metrics such as:
○ Shipping time and handling days (speed of delivery)
○ Fulfillment method (FBA or MFN)
○ Customer service
It’s very important to note that your Buy Box eligibility is subject to change over time if you fail to maintain your seller performance metrics against Amazon’s Buy Box eligibility criteria.
Also, Buy Box Eligible Status differs from category to category and is subject to change (with some categories not even offering the benefits of Buy Box Eligible Status), so don’t expect to be Buy Box eligible in every category if you get approval for certain ones.
The most important notes from the above list should be repeated for emphasis, and in some instances, they need to be decoded from Amazon-speak.
First things first: Sellers who just start out on Amazon will not be Buy Box Eligible instantly.
Lots of newbie sellers assume that the Buy Box is up for grabs for everyone right away, but Buy Box eligibility is a privilege that must be earned through time and experience selling on Amazon.
That means you’ll need to make sales without the advantage of the Buy Box when you’re first starting out in order to eventually become eligible to win the Buy Box and have the chance to make sales more easily. Not only that, you’ll also have to be aware of different performance standards per category, as not all category requirements are created equal.
Talk about a conundrum!
You’ll also need to be considered a Professional Seller in the eyes of Amazon before you the Buy Box will ever be in reach. Visit Amazon’s page on Individual and Professional Seller plans to start deciding whether it makes sense for you to upgrade from Individual to Professional status based on your current sales figures (and future projections) and to find out how to make the change.
Lastly, since Order Defect Rate (ODR) is such a major factor in attaining Amazon Buy Box Eligible Status, it’s clear that using a trusted fulfillment method (Amazon FBA, anyone?) will help you keep this vital metric at optimal levels.
And, once you become Buy Box eligible, you’ll win the Buy Box more often if you use Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) versus using another fulfillment method, since FBA helps boost your shipping times, improve your customer service, and deal with returns in an optimal manner.
How to monitor and retain your Buy Box Eligible Status
As the most customer-centric company on the planet, Amazon enforces rigorous standards upon its third-party sellers. And, what makes it even tougher for these sellers is that Amazon doesn’t disclose the exact performance targets it requires sellers to meet if they want the privilege of winning the Buy Box.
So, according to Amazon, here’s how to monitor your Buy Box eligibility:
If you aren’t eligible to win the Buy Box, here’s what Amazon suggests you do:
“If you are not currently Buy Box eligible, you can work toward becoming one by improving your Order Defect Rate and your other seller performance measurements. These metrics can be improved by maintaining high-standards over time, which helps develop customer trust.”
Amazon suggests focusing on the following aspects of your business to gain Buy Box Eligible Status as fast as possible:
• List accurately: Carefully title, describe, and categorize items and their conditions to avoid customer confusion.
• Ensure your shipments are correct: Build reliable fulfillment and shipping procedures to avoid customers receiving the wrong items.
• Ship on time: Ship orders with enough time to meet or beat the estimated delivery date, especially around the holidays. And 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: 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.
By reading into these bullet points, you can see that it’s vital for sellers to create positive experiences for customers in order to build their reputations. Because without great feedback and a high seller rating, you won’t be able to go very far on Amazon.
Of course, fulfillment plays a critical factor in how customers perceive the experience of buying from you.
But, perhaps the most important factor of the Amazon customer experience -- and when it comes to whether or not you’ll win the Buy Box -- is your prices, which present a whole new set of issues for Amazon sellers to deal with, the most pressing being whether to use manual price changes or strategically automated price changes with the help of an intelligent automated repricing platform.
How to boost your chances of winning the Buy Box
Hopefully, you’re either well on your way to gaining Buy Box Eligible Status or you’ve already attained it.
So now that you’ve progressed on your Amazon selling journey, here’s some advice based on what Amazon suggests about how you can increase your chances of winning the Buy Box:
Pay close attention to your pricing
Customers have come to expect Amazon to offer the lowest prices on most items, so third-party sellers who use Amazon as a selling platform must conform to Amazon’s best practices for pricing. That means you must offer competitive prices if you want to win the Buy Box, and, in turn, drive sales.
Amazon suggests you watch your competition to stay competitive. But when it comes to having more than a handful of listings, watching your competitors for each of those listings can become an impossible proposition to keep up with.
That’s why you may want to consider using a strategic piece of software to monitor your competitors’ prices and automatically update your prices in relation to any price changes your competitors make.
While these tools require a small monthly fee, the peace of mind you’ll have from not having to perform tedious reconnaissance (read: spying) on your competitors will be more than worth the investment — especially when you’re still making profitable sales in the process.
Stay in stock
When you’re out of stock, you’re out of luck. At least that’s the case on Amazon.
That’s because you won’t be able to win the Buy Box if you’re out of stock, and rightfully so; Amazon wouldn’t be a happy if one of their customers had a lousy experience because the product the offered from you was actually unavailable for a month.
So, in order to avoid losing out of sales, you must ensure you follow inventory best practices and maintain stock of your top-selling items. Otherwise, your bottom line — and your Amazon performance metrics — will suffer.
One way to do that is to streamline your operations with sophisticated inventory management software to ensure you never run out of your best products.
Focus on fulfillment
Amazon gives preferences to sellers who offer multiple shipping options, especially free shipping. If you want to instantly boost your credibility with Amazon and seriously increase your chances of winning the Buy Box, then consider using Amazon FBA for at least some of your listings.
While some listings are better off being fulfilled by you, including high-ticket items, fragile and/or products, any items that don’t fit these descriptions could have their fulfillment outsourced to Amazon’s highly trained team of warehouse employees.
Aside from offering competitive prices, your fulfillment methods have the most weigh when it comes to influencing your chances of winning the Buy Box, so it pays to invest in this premium service to eliminate tedious work and to drive more sales through the Buy Box.
Offer exceptional customer service
You already know that Amazon puts their customers first every time, so it’s crucial that you get into the same habit.
Customers have incredible power on Amazon, in that they’re able to leave feedback that can either boost or hurt your Seller Rating and, therefore, your standing in Amazon’s eyes. That means you must do everything in your power to ensure your customers have positive interactions and an amazing overall shopping experience with you.
Otherwise, you may find that you’re making it harder on yourself than need be when it comes to attaining Buy Box Eligible Status.
Using FBA gives you the added benefit of outsourcing the hassles of customer service and dealing with returns, giving you even more incentive to consider using this premium service for third-party Amazon sellers.
The bottom line on attaining Amazon Buy Box Eligible Status
It’s easy to see how important Buy Box Eligible Status is for Amazon sellers, and by now you should have an idea of how to attain it, if you haven’t already.
Clearly, Amazon is all about its sellers offering competitive prices, and the only way to ensure your listings’ prices are continually optimized for driving sales is to automate your price changes with strategic, intelligent repricing software.
That way, you’ll be able to make sales in your sleep because your automated repricer is constantly changing your prices 24/7 in strategic fashion in relation to what your competitors are doing with their prices.
On top of that, you won’t get caught up in the emotion of having specific competitors getting under your skin with annoying pricing tactics — simply leave it to the software and have your prices run on strategic autopilot until you want to try out a new strategy that has the potential to work even better.
If you’re still working on being granted Buy Box Eligible Status from Amazon and you’re concerned it’ll never happen, don’t fret; the process takes time, and without plenty of patience, you might start to get frustrated.
Just know that with perseverance, a sound strategy, and high attention to detail, you’ll be in prime position to score Buy Box eligibility sooner than it may seem when you’re busy working hard to get it.
And in the game of Amazon, being granted the privilege of winning the Buy Box is just the beginning, so do your best to enjoy these initial steps on your eCommerce journey and know that, over time, the process gets easier — and a lot more fun.
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