Why Did I Lose the Amazon Buy Box? [2021]

A shopping cart with boxes

The Amazon Buy Box is essential for sellers. If you earn the buy box, Amazon’s algorithm believes you are the best seller for your product, so you earn the sale!

You can also lose the Buy Box — whether you are a seller competing against other sellers who list the same product, or a brand who has the same product listed across multiple marketplaces.

Losing the Buy Box can have severe ramifications for your business on Amazon  — you’ll lose out on the sale of that particular item, and Amazon will suppress your Sponsored Product advertising. Not being able to run sponsored products ads will open the door for competition to run conquesting ads, which can damage the velocity of your products These two effects combined could cause a dramatic loss in sales. After all, Amazon is a pay-to-play platform, and advertising is required to grow your business (that's the whole idea behind our bidding philosophy, Search Term Isolation).

What if you lose the Amazon Buy Box? Did you do something wrong? Is there an unauthorized reseller who is beating your prices?

Before we get into why you might have lost the Amazon Buy Box, let’s review what the Buy Box actually is.

The Amazon Buy Box is located on the right side of the page on desktop, and partway down the page on mobile.

amazon buy box desktop
The Amazon Buy Box on desktop

The Buy Box consists of the “Add to Cart” button and the “Buy Now” button, both of which purchase the product from that specific seller. If a product has more than one seller, and no one is winning the buy box, you’ll see a “See All Buying Options” button, which opens a pop-up window to show all the different sellers who are selling that specific product.

amazon buy box buying options
See All Buying Options button

There are a few criteria to winning the Amazon Buy Box, whether you’re a sole seller or competing with sellers who sell your exact same product.

In order to not lose the Buy Box, you need to meet these threshold standards that are set by Amazon:

  • Have a Professional Seller Account
  • Sell new items (used items have a separate Buy Box)
  • Have inventory availability (if your product isn’t available, it goes to another seller)
  • Have high-quality products (with low order defect and return rate)
  • Have high seller performance metrics (clickthrough rate, purchase rate, etc.)
  • Have fast and comprehensive customer service (low dissatisfaction rate)
  • Length of time selling product on Amazon

These standards are the basic requirement to win the Buy Box, but they’re not everything. While there are many variables that influence your chances of winning the Buy Box and getting favored by Amazon’s algorithms, these are the 5 key factors that can impact your loss of the Buy Box:

  1. Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)
  2. Competitive Landed Price
  3. Inventory Health
  4. Overall Amazon Account Health
  5. Seller Feedback Score

We’ve outlined these five requirements below, and explained how they impact why you may have lost the Amazon Buy Box!

You Aren’t Using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)

Fast shipping is one of the key factors to winning the Amazon Buy Box. With Amazon Prime, products are usually packed and shipped within a day, and arrive within two days. Whether your products are fulfilled by you or Amazon, they need to match Prime’s shipping rates.

When you allow Amazon to fulfill your orders, you will be more likely to meet Amazon’s quick shipping threshold that would better qualify you for the Amazon Buy Box.

You Don’t Have A Competitive Landed Price

It’s no secret that Amazon favors lower prices. If your competitor’s prices are higher than yours, they’ll likely win the Buy Box instead of you. To combat this, you can incrementally lower your prices to beat out the competition.

You can choose to manually adjust your prices, or set them up to adjust automatically. Whichever option you choose, you should keep your MAP pricing and profitability in mind.

Manual Adjustment

You can choose to manually adjust your prices to beat out the competition. If you have a limited number of SKUs, this process might work for you, as you can easily monitor your competitor’s prices and quickly adjust your own prices to be slightly lower. This does require constant monitoring, so if you have an expansive catalog it might be too much of a time investment.

Automatic Adjustment

Many brands, especially those with a large number of SKUs, choose to automate their price adjustments. There are many third-party integrations that can automate this process for you, whether you choose to adjust based on a simple price differential (automatically reprice your item to be $0.50 less than the competition) or a more complex repricing structure based on an algorithm. An algorithmic adjustment can take your profitability margins into account, so many brands prefer this option to keep their profitability high.

Your Inventory Health Is Poor

If your products are continually out of stock, Amazon will likely strip you of the Buy Box. Because Amazon is so customer-centric, they won’t recommend products that aren’t available because it won’t result in a sale. Keep meticulous track of your inventory, and make sure your products don’t dip below a certain threshold.

Your Overall Amazon Account Health Is Poor

This qualification is a little more intangible than some of the others, but it’s vitally important to winning the Amazon Buy Box. Your Amazon Account Health consists of a few factors:

  • Order defect rate
  • Cancellation rate
  • Late shipment rate
  • Valid tracking rate
  • On-time delivery rate

All of these factors except for order defect rate only apply to seller-fulfilled orders. So, if you are utilizing FBA, you won’t have to worry about any of these impacting your account health — just be sure to pay attention to your order defect rate.

If you are fulfilling and shipping orders yourself, you’ll need to be cognizant of all of the above factors. The speed and accuracy of your shipping must match Amazon’s impeccably high standards — specifically matching Prime shipping rates.

To see the status of your Amazon Account Health, look under “Account Health” in Seller Central for an overview of your account.

You Have A Low Seller Feedback Score

Your Seller Feedback Score is another factor that impacts whether your product is winning the Amazon Buy Box. Amazon created this system to better monitor its third-party sellers and determine who provides the best customer experience — and who should win the Buy Box.

Your Seller Feedback Score is based on a customer’s experience with your packaging and shipping, customer service, and general professionalism.

Sometimes, customers mistakenly leave product reviews on your Seller Feedback page. If this is the case, you can contact Amazon to remove the review. Usually, it will be rectified quickly. Additionally, if you are shipping with FBA and someone is unhappy with their product’s shipping or packaging, you can report that to Amazon, since they are responsible for that portion of the order. Amazon will also remove that incorrectly placed review.

Another Marketplace Has Your Product at a Lower Price

Amazon is not the silo marketplace it once was. You can no longer afford to keep your revenue streams and marketplaces separate from one another! (We call this omni-eCommerce.)

For example, if you also sell your products at Walmart.com and there is a promotion on your product on that marketplace, Amazon will likely suppress your listing, causing you to lose the Buy Box. Why? Because your listing on Amazon no longer has the lowest price — not just on Amazon, but across all marketplaces.

Want to optimize your Amazon Advertising efforts to help beat out the competition and ensure you don’t lose the Amazon Buy Box? Get a no-cost audit from the experts at Blue Wheel today.

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