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Buy Box Series: Requirements for Buy Box Viability

By Tami Ben-David June 18, 2015
Requirements for Amazon Buy Box Viability

The 4 Key Criteria for Buy Box Eligibility

The 4 Key Criteria for Buy Box Eligibility

About the Author

A British ex-pat, Tami been writing and content-strategizing for Israeli tech start-ups for the last 5 years. When she's not writing nerdy content, you can find Tami on open water charity swims or traveling to far-flung countries.

In this installment of our Buy Box series, we’ll discuss basic requirements any seller hoping to win the Buy Box needs to meet.

In competing for the Buy Box, the seller has to first meet a certain certain criteria.

1. Professional Seller Account

Only sellers paying Amazon the monthly fee for a Professional Seller account (known as a Pro-Merchant account in the UK and Europe) will be considered for the Buy Box.
Individual Seller accounts (known as Basic accounts in the UK and Europe) cannot compete for the Buy Box.

2. Buy Box Eligibility from Amazon (formally Featured Merchant)

In order to win the Buy Box, a seller must be Buy Box Eligible for the product. This status is awarded to Professional Seller account holders who have been selling on Amazon for a minimum of 2 to 6 months, and have high levels of performance.

This status was formally known as Featured Merchant and was visible to anyone. Any buyer or seller could see who was a Featured Merchant, by looking at the Offer Listing Page for a particular product. Today, this information is only disclosed to the seller themselves in their Seller Central account.

How to Check Buy Box Eligibility:

  • Click on the Inventory tab in Amazon Seller Central and select Manage Inventory.
  • Click on the Preferences tab.
  • In the Column Display section, locate the field for Buy Box Eligible.
  • Select Show When Available from the drop-down menu.
  • Look at the Buy Box Eligible column for a particular SKU. If the seller is eligible, it will say yes.

Note: the seller may see that they are eligible to win the Buy Box for some products but not for others.

New sellers eager to acquire Buy Box Eligibility can speed up the process by selling some items through Amazon’s own fulfillment services (FBA). Selling even a small number of popular products at a competitive price through Amazon can enable the seller to receive Buy Box Eligible status even on those items not Fulfilled By Amazon.

If a seller believes they have met all the required criteria, and has not been awarded Buy Box Eligible status, they can contact Amazon seller support directly to request they be considered for this status.

3. New and Used Items

New Items

The item being sold must be new. Used and refurbished items often have their own unique Buy Box, called the Buy Used Box (see below).

Used Items

Used items cannot be featured in the regular Buy Box. They often have their own Buy Box, called the Buy Used Box. The Buy Used Box operates in a similar way to the Buy Box for new items, and to win it, sellers need to fulfill similar criteria, such as having a Professional Seller account and being Buy Box Eligible.

Amazon has recently raised the profile of the Buy Used Box by changing its positioning. Used offers that win the Buy Used Box are now featured simultaneously with new offers that win the Buy Box in an expandable, accordion-style Buy Box. If a product has both new and used offers available in the Buy Box, the Buy Box defaults to the winning new offer. Customers can view winning used offers by selecting the Buy used option.

Even though the Buy Used Box appears with the Buy Box for new items, the two operate in a mutually exclusive manner and do not affect one another.

4. Availability

There must be available stock of the item the seller is trying to sell. If the item is not in stock, the seller cannot win the Buy Box. The Buy Box will not feature a seller’s product as out of stock, rather it will just rotate the Buy Box to feature another seller’s product. Therefore, it?s important to use inventory best planning practices to keep popular products in stock.

There is only one exception, and this is for a back-ordered item. Today, most products that are listed through the Fulfillment by Merchant service can be listed as a back-order. This means that the seller will accept orders for it, even though the product is out of stock and will only be shipped at a later date. Customers will see that the item is not available for shipping until the restock date which the seller has entered. Back-ordered items can be featured in the Buy Box, but only if it will be back in stock within 2 days.

Note: availability is not the same as inventory depth which is a Buy Box variable, not a requirement, and will be discussed later on in the Buy Box series.

These are the 4 basic requirements any seller needs to win the Buy Box. Interested in learning more? Download the Buy Box Bible.

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