Amazon’s buy box is a white box on a product detail page that has the "add to basket" or "buy now" button. Since there could be multiple Amazon online arbitrage sellers on a product listing, the seller who appears on the buy box i.e. wins the buy box, usually takes up a chunk of the sales. This is mostly because a lot of Amazon shoppers don’t bother to go through other listings or compare prices. They see a product they like and they hit the add to cart button.
Reportedly 83% of sales on Amazon come from the buy box and the number is believed to be higher on mobile. The buy box is really valuable to an Amazon online arbitrage seller and while there are no golden rules to winning it, there are factors that make you buy box eligible and more likely to win the box.
What is a Suppressed Buy Box?
A suppressed buy box happens when instead of seeing the yellow button that says "add to cart" or "buy now", the button reads "see all buying options" which means you have to go through a list of seller options and select the most favorable.
Reasons for a Suppressed Buy box
If you already won the buy box and suddenly it's yanked from you but not by another Amazon seller, it's just yanked away into nothingness, you’d be pretty bummed. Here are a couple reasons why Amazon might have suppressed the buy box
- The products are priced too high
- No seller is eligible for the buy box
- The product listing does not meet Amazon's standards
The products are priced too high
Amazon is one of the leading online retailers in the world - in 2020, Amazon topped the list by taking 7.7% of the global market share and 40.4% of the retail e-commerce market share in the US. Amazon is not trying to lose any share of the cake they already have so they take the pricing of products on their platform kind of seriously.
If Amazon’s pricing algorithm finds your product to be priced higher than the Recommended Retail Price (RRP), you won't be eligible for the buy box and will lose it to an online arbitrage seller with more competitive pricing - might just be a dollar or two below your price. But if none of the prices on that listing are considered competitive, the buy box becomes suppressed.
If you stumbled on a goldmine of profitable FBA deals and can afford to price a little lower, you might just get the buy box back. There are pricing software that allow you to automate reducing your selling price bit by bit to see if it gets the buy box back.
But what if you’re selling at exactly the same price as when you had the buybox?
In this scenario, it could be that demand for the product on Amazon has simply dropped. In certain seasons, you can get away with selling above the RRP because demand for that product is there but once it's out of season, your price is no longer considered justifiable.
No seller is eligible for the buybox
Amazon buy box suppression could be because no seller is eligible for the buy box. To be eligible for the buy box, you have to have a professional account, low order defect rate (ODR), low cancellation rate, and Late Shipment Rate (LSR). The Amazon sellers on the listing might also have low seller feedback and high return rates so Amazon has chosen not to give those sellers a wider audience.
Basically, your account health needs to be good to be eligible for the buybox.
Check the price history for the product - if it's consistent, and you can list close to the price, you might have a good chance of winning the buy box if you’re already eligible.
It's worth noting that just because you already won the buy box in one category does not mean you are 100% eligible - requirements for eligibility differ from category to category. In categories like books where Amazon holds the buy box with an iron grip, if Amazon does not have the product in stock, the buy box is typically suppressed.
The product listing does not meet Amazon's standards
The buy box for your product might be suppressed because your listing needs improvement. Maybe your product images do not meet Amazon’s standards or the product is listed in the wrong category. It's worth going over your listing again to ensure that they’re optimized and meet Amazon’s standards.
How to spot a Suppressed Buy box when sourcing
Whether you’re sourcing for online arbitrage deals yourself or for someone else, Amazon sellers tend to stay away from products with a suppressed buy box because every seller wants a chance at winning the buy box.
The easiest way to identify a product with a suppressed buy box is by looking at the product detail page. If, instead of seeing an ‘add to cart’ or ‘buy’ button, you see ‘see all buying options’, then it's probably the case of a suppressed buy box.
But it could also be that all the sellers on that listing do not deliver to your location which means the purchase is impossible for you and as a result, there is no buy button.
To verify that there is a suppressed buy box, use tools like Keepa to check the buy box history - sellers that got it and how much they were selling for when they won the buy box. Information like this could help you decide the best way to price your product. To see this information on Keepa, you have to turn on buy box data in settings.
What a suppressed buy box means for Amazon shoppers and FBA sellers
For Amazon shoppers, a suppressed buy box means the shopping process is one step longer. Where they simply would have added to cart or instantly purchased via the click of a button, they would now have to go through a list of sellers to select.
In this process, the cheapest prime-eligible option is the one most customers go for. If with a suppressed buybox, you can still manage to sell at a reduced price from other sellers (while still making a profit) then you can keep getting a lot of sales.