What is the Buy Box?

It is no secret that in order to get real, substantial sales, being able to take advantage of primary placement on a listing is paramount. Called the Buy Box, this is where the majority of Amazon shoppers engage and commit to buying a product. Having control of this space can make or break a seller.

Originally, I had put this content in a section of another post, but after writing way more than I originally anticipated, I cut it all out and put it here.

I quickly realized there’s way more to this topic and didn’t want to hijack a related topic and dump too much information on you at once.

Let’s sit down and spend a few minutes talking about The Buy box. It’s the space on an Amazon single page listing where customers do their shopping, essentially. You’ll see some statistics later that really hit home why that’s so important to consider when building your listings or selling your wares on the Amazon marketplace.

Ok, So What is it?

Amazon’s single page listings have what is called the Buy Box. It’s the space on the right side of the page (most of the time) with the “buy” and “add to cart” buttons.

An example of the buy box, featuring an $18.99 price tag.

With this example, it is quite literally a box with a “buy” button, hence the term “buy box.”

Sometimes the price will appear in the listing and the buy buttons will still be off to the side. I couldn’t find a quality example of this as I wrote the post, but once you see it, you’ll immediately recognize it.

Being in this position is the most coveted of all sales opportunities for a few reasons:

  • Over 80% of Amazon shoppers just click the buttons.
  • These shoppers often don’t evaluate the price or from whom they are buying their wares.
  • Listing pages don’t make it obvious where one can even go find other sellers or prices.
  • On mobile, this is even more obvious as finding alternative sellers or pricing is even less convenient.

Further Reading: When should you start thinking about a repricer?

On that third point, specifically, here’s a great example:

Screen Shot 2020 05 25 at 4.52.33 PM
Two places where other sellers could potentially be found.

I highlighted the two primary areas where one could click to find alternative sellers. The problem with that is if I didn’t highlight them, would you have taken the time to go find them?

Sure you would, you’re an Amazon seller. You know these things exist.

The average shopper doesn’t.

Or if they do, they don’t care.

Amazon knows this, too, so they bury it as much as they can get away with without stumbling too far into the anti-competitive territory.

How Does Amazon Decide Which Seller Gets the Buy Box?

If I knew the answer to this, I would be a millionaire overnight. The algorithm behind Amazon’s decision is top secret. Years of data and experiences have led the overall third-party seller Amazon community to believe these factors play a part in the sorting hat decision:

  • Inventory location as it relates to the shopper
  • Inventory quantity
  • Seller feedback score
  • Seller account age
  • Price
  • Price as it relates to the larger market
  • Condition
  • Source of traffic for the listing

There is a lot in that listing to consume so let’s break down a couple of key points that really make a difference.

First, inventory location. Amazon is a stickler for the “customer experience.” So much so, that they often will display a listing from a seller that does not have the lowest price if it means the customer will get the product sooner.


 Option 1Option 2
Distance1,000 miles85 miles
Delivery time:2 daystomorrow morning

Which one do you think Amazon would most likely offer to the customer in order to replicate the “as fast as possible” and “as convenient as possible” brand?

Exactly. While it doesn’t always happen, it’s not uncommon to see this. I see sales in my order history where I was not the lowest-price seller. It happens every day and I imagine it’ll continue to happen.

Second, price. We have to talk about this one. If all other things are equal, the lower price is going to prevail. Granted, there are a lot of other things that need to be equal, but there’s little to no chance a seller with a price 50% higher will get the sale.

The consensus among the speculation-filled third-party seller communities is that if the price is within 2% of what is in the buy box at any moment, that seller is likely to get buy box air time.

Tips on Getting More Buy Box Time

Based on our last two sections, these should become clear by now, but if not, let’s review.

Here is what you should focus on to ensure you are getting the most “air time” when it comes to the Buy Box:

  1. Be competitively priced.
  2. Have a good level of inventory.
  3. Keep your feedback score high.

Even though there are a lot of factors that go into whether one gets the buy box, these three main points are going to take you almost all the way if not entirely all the way to getting those sweet buy box-infused sales.

If that doesn’t sound good, there’s always waiting for the other 20% of buyers to come stumbling through the “all sellers” page and hope they pick your listing.


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