Winning the Buy Box

Part 2/3: Customer Service and Feedback

Winning the Amazon Buy Box

This is part 2 of 3 in the series Winning the Amazon Buy Box. Read the earlier parts below:

Winning the Buy Box is one of the most important ROI generators for Amazon sellers. It accounts for nearly 90% of all product page conversions. Plus, it means the opportunity for product discoverability and subsequent brand awareness are unmatched. The formula, however, is less certain. Once the best practices are in place, what hacks can we deploy to go the extra mile when trying to win the Buy Box?

Buy Box Factors According to Amazon

Amazon has published their page with seller performance metric targets: pricing, availability, fulfillment, and customer service. It’s so brief that it really only serves as a starting place.

We discussed one of the most important metrics, pricing strategies, in part one. For part two, we’ve broken down additional notes on pricing and added tips on feedback and customer service. The following factors for Buy Box eligibility are the four main areas where any seller can focus and take action, broken down into bite-sized pieces. The best starting place is to understand each of them and find ways to fine-tune your efforts.

  • Fulfillment method
  • Final price to customer
  • Seller rating
  • Shipping time
  • Feedback score
  • Order defect rate
  • Late shipment rate
  • On-time delivery
  • Customer response time
  • Tracked delivery rate
  • Feedback count
  • Inventory depth
  • Cancellation rate

Pro Tip:

Eligibility criteria changes over time. Sustain high seller performance and low order defect rate (ODR) to achieve and preserve eligibility.

Competing Against Amazon: Pricing is More Than a Race to the Bottom

Winning the Buy Box, part one covers important factors, such as how competitor inventory stock plays a role in the ways price is weighted by Amazon. So, the Buy Box can’t be won with the lowest price alone because there are too many other factors.

As an additional note, keep in mind that if you’ve decided to compete against Amazon on a product, they will always win the Buy Box.

Even if no one is competing with you, the Buy Box may still be out of reach. Check your pricing if this happens. Amazon not only weighs the lowest price, but fair pricing. Having no competition may make it tempting to price high, but do so knowing that Amazon may decide to keep you out of the Buy Box until market prices are established.

Amazon makes the decision to feature sellers and will upgrade your account if you are buy box eligible. Highest odds for sellers to get into the Buy Box are sellers that have a successful track history of selling and fulfilling orders to their customers

This Repricer Express can be helpful for those who want to analyze the feasibility of selling certain items on Amazon and analyze across all channels. This tool has a 15 day free trial. Build pricing strategy into your Buy Box eligibility plan from the beginning.

Pro Tip:

Performance metrics vary by category. One Buy Box win doesn’t extend across categories. Manage overall performance, but know that great reviews in one category won’t make up for low inventory in another.

Reviews and Feedback May be a Marketing Conversation, but Amazon has the Final Word

Similar to pricing strategy, when working toward the Buy Box, Amazon doesn’t just look at quantity, but at quality. This is mostly due to customers also reacting positively to reviews that provide meaningful insights. That’s why there’s an option to vote feedback up the chain of visibility, “[x] number of people found this review helpful. Did you find it helpful?”

Quality means the review is more than a thumbs up emoji and a perfunctory response like, “got it. Thanks.” Reviews must provide value and be unbiased. That’s why some say “verified purchase” next to them, while others say “customer review of free product.” Excessive free offers can mean there’s a problem.

A tool that’s good for post feedback to get customers post transaction to leave reviews is Kibly, which gives sellers the option of sending an automated personalized email to the buyer after they received product as well as other communication tactics.

Customer dissatisfaction is a major consideration. A 2% or lower negative feedback rating is considered excellent. If you fall into the 5% or higher rating, re-evaluating business practices might be in order. Luckily there is the option of working with the customer to resolve issues, and you can respond to negative feedback to show outsiders you are responsive.

If reviews are your focus when it comes to winning the Buy Box, Amazon publishes a list of it’s top 10,000 reviewers. The most active on the list are likely to have inundated inboxes, so start toward the end of the list when requesting reviews and work your way up. Be sure and check their profile where they list the types of products they are willing to review.

Pro Tip:

Amazon reviews your Seller Status every 90 days, so if your status hasn’t improved after you’ve put in the necessary effort and you feel like it should improve, email to ask for a review. This could help you speed up the review and improve your Seller Status sooner.

Customer Service is Key: Metrics Aren’t Hoops if You ‘Get’ the Amazon Buy Box End Game

It’s easy to focus on transactions and selling, and when those are the goals, Buy Box tunnel vision is a common pitfall. Just remember that it all comes down to customer service. With the customer in mind, your success equation takes on a different feel. Utilize feedback. Charm the customer. Be available and communicate often.

Consider including a thank you note and your contact info in the order shipment in case there is a problem with the product. You can arrange for this through FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) if you’re an FBA seller.

Provide usable tracking information if you are shipping the product yourself. Customers often leave negative feedback if they don’t know when to expect the product and being to feel like it is late. Buy Box eligibility factors account for recent negative feedback.

Think like your customer and consider free shipping if you are able. Have a liberal return policy, optimize your product description and images, so they’re accurate. Better yet, use pictures that show the item, but also use images that show the item in use. Lifestyle images, such as a person holding or using the item, help the customer imagine using it in their own life, which brings better conversions. Read more on “Optimize your Amazon listings

Pro Tip:

Ultimately, it’s about maintaining the trust and satisfaction of Amazon’s 300 million active buyers.
Being able to provide quality customer service, evidenced by great reviews and fair pricing can sound easy, but is an everyday challenge. Find out how Payability can help ease some of the stresses associated with winning the Buy Box.

Payability is a finance technology company that helps ensure sellers get paid faster so you can focus on keeping inventory high, prices low, and all the other metrics within reach, paving the way to the Buy Box holy grail.

Call us at (646) 494-8675 or email sales@payability.com if you’d like to learn more about how you can get paid faster.

This is part 2 of 3 in the series “Winning the Amazon Buy Box.” Read the earlier parts below:

By | 2017-05-12T14:20:41+00:00 May 11th, 2017|Amazon, eCommerce, Series|

Meet Michelle Lievense

mm
Michelle is a marketing strategist, writer, and educator. For over a decade, she's been helping budding and established small businesses, social enterprises, and non-profits. She helps them tell their stories, compete in landscapes that favor big business, and grow and mobilize loyal customer followings to inspire social action.