How to Win the Amazon Buy Box
Selling Guides
Business Education
February 1, 2023
How to Win the Amazon Buy Box

Selling on any online platform comes with stiff competition whether we like it or not. When it comes to selling on Amazon, the intensity of the competition is much, much higher than most other platforms, being the most popular online marketplace in the world. 

As a result, sellers are all after one thing: the Amazon Buy Box. Amazon is well aware of this and has specific criteria for a seller to win the Buy Box. In this article, we will go over what the Buy Box is, how you can win the buy box, and what criteria you should focus on most, depending on the seller program you are in.

What is the ‘Buy Box’?

Unlike on some other platforms, like eBay, where a product catalog of all the listings of the same product is shown separately, Amazon will only show one listing of the product and include all seller listings as secondary purchase options. This means that only one seller’s listing will be the go-to option when clicking on that yellow “add to cart” button. 

That very same yellow button is what online sellers refer to as the Buy Box. Not only do the majority of sales result from the Buy Box, but also the Buy Box favors specific sellers over others based on a series of metrics

As we will see further into this article, simply lowering the price is not enough to win the yellow button and it is not easy to win - though it can be incredibly lucrative if you do.

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Key Facts about the Amazon ‘Buy Box’

  • Up to 90% of the purchases on Amazon happen through the Buy Box.
  • The Buy Box is for new items only
  • The lowest price does not guarantee the Buy Box

Winning the Buy Box

How Amazon manages the length of time a Buy Box is awarded to a specific seller for a specific item is not well known. However, there are certain factors that influence how long a seller is awarded the Buy Box and even the frequency with which the seller will be awarded the Buy Box. 

In order to qualify for the Buy Box, there are certain criteria that need to be fulfilled. In the following sections, we will go over each criterion and what you can do to gain an advantage over the competition.

Source: Data Feed Watch, 2022.

1. Join a Fulfillment Program 

Amazon offers 2 fulfillment programs: FBM and FBA. The former, FBM, allows sellers to utilize the Amazon platform to sell their products while retaining all the shipping, storage, and handling responsibilities. The latter, FBA, allows sellers to entrust all their inventory and shipping responsibilities to Amazon by sending their inventory to an Amazon warehouse. 

Amazon heavily favors the FBA program when allocating the Buy Box. One of the main reasons stems from pricing because FBM sellers have a ‘landing price’ that includes shipping as opposed to FBA listings which only have the product price and taxes. This is because of Amazon prime shipping which allows consumers with prime subscription, as well as anyone who purchases above a certain price point (which varies from region to region), to benefit from free shipping.

2. Landing Price

The landing price is the displayed price tag for any listed item on Amazon. For FBA sellers this listed price does not include shipping until the customer is at the checkout, which depending on variables may include free shipping. 

The landing price for FBM sellers will include a calculated estimate (or fixed value if the seller had set it up that way) of the shipping cost added on top of the product price as well as the taxes (which also vary by region). Generally, this will favor FBA sellers, however in cases where the customer is neither near the Amazon warehouse nor a prime subscriber, the Amazon algorithm may award the Buy Box to the FBM seller if they offer a combination of better shipping and product price.

3. Shipping Time

Amazon also takes into consideration the shipping time of the product when evaluating the Buy Box eligibility. 

For FBA sellers, this will make no difference because Amazon themselves handles the shipping, but for FBM sellers, you need to offer products with fast shipping times (and have a track record of consistent fast shipping times) in order to have a chance to win the Buy Box over FBA competitors. 

4. On-Time Delivery Rate

Product delivery is another important factor that Amazon takes into consideration when awarding the Buy Box. FBM sellers with a high shipping and delivery success rate, meaning that the product arrived on time or earlier, are more likely to be awarded the Buy Box. This consideration does not apply to FBA sellers since Amazon handles the shipping.

5. Rate of Cancellations and Refunds

As with any business, there are always occurrences of order cancellations. There are also times when an already sold item is returned, and a refund is requested. For online sales, especially on Amazon, these factors are very important to determine customer satisfaction and seller proficiency. 

It is also important to note that refunds are 2-3x higher for online sellers than for traditional in-store sellers. The lower the instance of refunds being requested, and the better and faster your response to these issues, the higher your seller rating will be which factors into your Buy Box eligibility. 

6. Order Defect Rate

In addition to returns and refunds, Amazon takes into consideration the reason behind the return. Of course, this does not mean that all returns are considered damaging to the seller’s reputation: things like mistaken orders or regretting buying the item are the buyer’s fault and do not reflect badly on the seller. 

On the other hand, should the item be returned because of product defects, the seller’s reputation is affected. Amazon measures this as the Order Defect Rate (ODR). Of course, not all items sold by any manufacturer are of the same quality, mistakes happen, and errors occur. 

For any seller, prevention of selling faulty items is essential - the lower the ODR, the better.

Source: EcomEngine, 2022.

7. Buyer Feedback

On Amazon, the product listing is accompanied with a summary of the seller’s track record from previous customers’ feedback. This includes a percentage of customer satisfaction as well as written reviews with photos (should the buyer choose to add them) of the product. The better the satisfaction percentage, the more likely the seller is to be awarded the Buy Box, considering that the other factors are also satisfied. 

8. Customer Response Time

Amazon factors in the time a seller takes to respond to customers when calculating the Buy Box allocation. This is measured in periods of 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours and longer. Sellers that reply to more than 10% of messages longer than 24 hours after the buyer has sent the message tend to have significant decreases on their Buy Box allocation.

9. Order Fulfillment Rate

Another factor to consider is the rate of pre-order cancellations. When a product is added to the cart, Amazon considers the rate in which it is removed prior to being ordered. When the cancellation rate is higher than 2.5% there is an impact on winning the Buy Box.

10. High-Volume Seller Status

Amazon knows that awarding the Buy Box will increase the risk of an item selling out. Amazon makes sure that the Buy Box is given to sellers with a large inventory of listed products, and will penalise those who do run out of inventory. To increase this factor and win the Buy Box for longer, invest in expanding your inventory especially on top-selling items.

How Amazon Balances Buy Box Sharing Between Users

Amazon’s algorithm essentially focuses on finding the best deal for the consumer while matching the best high-volume seller (seller that has been selling a lot of stock with high customer satisfaction rate) offering that product. It is not enough to just have the lowest price or just having the status of being a high-volume seller. 

To better understand how Amazon balances this sharing of the Buy Box, it is important to consider the Buy Box percentage. This is displayed on your seller central screen as the percentage of times a customer saw a listing which had your product winning the Buy Box.

How is the Buy Box Percentage calculated? The percentage is measured by the number of times you owned the Buy Box when customers viewed the listing divided by the total number of page visits you had within the same period. There are 2 calculated periods on Amazon central: 2-day and 30-day periods. The measurement of which values are best varies from niche, product, and region. For some sellers, 2-3% may be a high percentage while for others 15% may be low. 

Source: grepsr, 2022.

Key Targets to Hit for FBA/FBM Seller Programs to Win the Buy Box

FBA Sellers

A Greater Volume of Inventory

In order to improve your odds for winning the Buy Box for longer periods and more frequently, invest in greater volumes of stock. All things considered equal, Amazon will preferentially choose a supplier that has the most amount of merchandise available, in order not to show an item as unavailable, or have to cancel customer orders.

High Customer Engagement

As you’re not in control of the logistics, you have more time to focus on customer engagement. Fill out descriptions as much as possible, always aim to answer questions within 12 hours, and give concise, factual answers. This will help reduce return rates, and increase your seller rating.

FBM Sellers

Fast Shipping

If your shipping times are lower than your FBA competitors and Amazon has a recorded history of you fulfilling shipping timing faster than them, you have a higher chance to win the Buy Box.

Higher Product Fulfillment

Invest in having a very low product in-cart pre-order cancellation rate by spending more time on descriptions and photographs. If consumers are happy and they know exactly what to expect, they will be less tempted to back out of an order before it has been finalized. Cancellation rates above 2.5% prior to being sold or “fulfilled” have substantial damage to the likelihood of winning the Buy Box.

Low Product Pricing 

If you want to win the Buy Box, you must properly price your items so that they are low enough to give you an advantage over FBA sellers. This is essential in cases where the customer is far from an Amazon distribution center or does not have prime status, giving you the chance to be a better option for the Amazon algorithm.


For those looking to increase their sales rate on Amazon, winning the Buy Box is a must. It is important to note that a new seller will at least initially find it very difficult to win the Buy Box because the Buy Box is essentially a recommendation of you from the Amazon algorithm.

On the other hand, for veteran online sellers with a proven track record of sales, good reviews, low return rates, and active customer engagement, achieving the Buy Box is a clear and accessible target. 

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