Definition of the buy box

Definition of the buy box (buy box):

The shopping box corresponds to the button ”  Add to Cart  »On marketplaces. Whoever has the best combination of low price and good service will see their offer associated with the add to cart button, which buyers click on. The seller is said to have won the buy box.

In marketplaces, many sellers can offer the same product.


How does the buy box work?

The shopping box is the result of an algorithm specific to each marketplace, and kept secret. At Amazon, it is a combination of the selling price, the merchant’s level of service, their age, the availability of the item, the refund price or the product dispute. In other marketplaces, the algorithm works on the same criteria, but sometimes the purchase box is reserved and cannot be won by the merchants. At Fnac for example, a merchant cannot win the buy box if Fnac has stored the product and distributes the product directly. At Back Market, the criteria for winning the buy box are displayed: the marketplace asks the merchant to match a given sale price in exchange for the buy box.

The importance of the buy box

The shopping box is in a way the pole position of merchants on marketplaces. Whoever obtains it will make most of the turnover on the product in question. Getting the buy box is like getting # 1 on Google. Get it and multiply your number by 10. The effect on turnover is clearly visible on the sales curves. Salespeople may find that the number soars when they have the buy box and it crumbles when they lose it. On some sites, only one seller is visible. This is the case with Back Market for example. In other words, only the seller who obtains the buy box is visible, which in this case makes obtaining the buy box the only way to make sales on the Back Market.


The criteria to win the shopping box

Contrary to what one might think, the buying box is not won with a low price. On most sites, the purchase box also depends on the merchant’s quality of service, its rate of disputes, product availability, speed of delivery, etc. It is therefore not enough to lower its price to obtain the buy. box.

  • Selling price  : the total price of the item, added to the shipping costs is one of the main components of the algorithm.
  • Quality of service  : merchants whose rate of defective orders, disputes, reimbursement are too high for a given item will not be able to win the buy box.
  • The target for Amazon is less than 1% defective order rate, including negative reviews, inventory errors, AZ warranties.
  • The late delivery rate must be less than 4% and the refund rate less than 2.5%.
  • Response time to customer emails
  • The rate of negative evaluations  is also evaluated  : The most recent evaluations weigh more in the algorithm than the older evaluations.
  • See the list of performance indicators by marketplace here , which each has an influence on the ability to get the buy box:
    • Availability  : at the same price and equal service, the merchant with the most stock will get the buy box. Merchants who have a stock strategy of putting small quantities will therefore be penalized. A fortiori, merchants who are out of stock will be penalized. Shortest delivery times are favored  : The time to prepare your order, as specified in your feed, must be as short as possible. If you use the services ”  Fulfilled by Amazon  “And therefore the delivery”  Premium  », You will be favored by the rapid availability of deliveries and the low rate of defective orders.
    • Seniority  : on Amazon, sellers open for less than 3 months are not eligible for the buy box. This limit can be lifted if the merchant opts for the ”  Fulfilled by Amazon  “.

How to keep the buy box.

The Buy box is won product by product and is called into question at any time.  The criteria for obtaining the buy box being multiple, you have to act on each of them to keep it. Reports and indicators exist to monitor the products for which the buy box has been obtained, and therefore allow immediate action to correct the situation where necessary.  : lowering its price, adding more stock, checking customer disputes, etc.

Sellermania, for example, displays buy box indicators that let you know immediately if you have obtained it. Price strategies are also possible in order to keep the buy box if you have it, and to win it if you don’t.


Locked buy box

On some sites, the buy box is locked in certain scenarios. On the Fnac site for example, if Fnac offers a product for sale, alongside certain sellers, the buy box will be reserved for Fnac and it will then be impossible for the sellers to obtain it. On other sites, like Amazon, it is not possible to get the buy box in the first 90 days of a seller’s sale, this measure aimed at observing the quality of a seller before allowing him to access the purchase box. Finally on certain categories of products, the buy box is sometimes locked and cannot be obtained by the sellers. This was the case for media products at Amazon for example until December 2017, or for second-hand products.

In the example below, the seller EGK distribution won the buy box:


Buy Box pricing strategies

The buy box is so important that it helps to develop specific pricing strategies to win it. At Sellermania, pricing is up to us. For years, we have implemented pricing strategies that allow you to win the buy box when you don’t have it, and keep it when you have it, while maximizing your margin. It is possible, for example, to win the buy box, to settle directly on the price you need, within the limits of your price limits. Once obtained, it is possible to increase its price gradually and automatically, in order to gain margin, without however losing the buy box. This type of advanced strategy is essential for merchants and is a game-changer for selling intelligently on marketplaces.

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