The ultimate road map to winning the Amazon Buy Box as discussed in the previous article tells you that as a Professional Seller who exhibits good performance, there are three primary components you need to focus on when working your way up to the Buy Box. These are maintaining a high seller approval rating, competitive pricing, and keeping the right inventory level. There were no hidden tricks, just a straightforward guide to winning the Buy Box. This time, however, you will learn that under each component, there are ‘secret’ tips to help you speed up and shorten your route to the Buy Box.
Boost Number of Positive Customer Feedback to Sustain High Seller Approval Rating
Increase number of positive ratings and customer feedback with customized e-mails.
A seller that maintains an approval rating of 98 – 100% with a constant number of positive feedback per month will elevate its rank as a top Amazon seller. Not only does higher rating take the seller to the Buy Box, but also earns the trust of buyers. To do this, a seller must constantly communicate with its customers through sending a ‘customized’ email all throughout the fulfillment process. The seller can send a message manually or use a feedback software to tailor the message to the precise customer name and product purchased. Schedule the email to be sent together with the ship confirmation of the product that contains a ‘thank you’ message for the customer. When the product reached the customer, send a follow-up email to ask about any problems with the purchase and tell the customer how important a positive rating is to your business. This type of customer communication is not against Amazon policy since the timing is appropriate and the message is specifically related to a customer order.
Go the extra mile in resolving customer complaints to avoid or obliterate negative ratings.
If the vendor is certain that it is at fault, it is crucial to contact the customer promptly through email or by phone to sincerely apologize for the error. Take this chance to inform the buyer of the company’s outstanding customer service – immediate shipment of the replacement without requiring the customer to return the wrong or defective item (think of the benefits versus the costs). Talking to the customer before any replacement or refund requests happen can save the company from a negative rating and preserve its Order Defect Rate (ODR). After the replacement has been delivered to the customer, again send a follow-up email to remind the customer how important positive ratings are for the company (without directly requesting for a positive rating or removal of a negative rating). A satisfied customer will not hesitate to give a positive rating or voluntarily take down a negative rating.
Drastically Change Product Price to be Competitive
Reduce product minimum price up to 12% lower than Buy Box competitor’s landed price (if margin permits).
Actually, a price difference of merely a cent can already pass on the Buy Box to the other seller especially if the top spot contenders are in a dead heat (a tie in Buy Box metrics scores). However, if the Buy Box winner is a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) seller and the challenger is a Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) seller, the latter has to give away as much as 12% of the competitor’ s landed price in order to snatch the Buy Box glory. You may manually fix the product price directly on Amazon or reset your default floor and ceiling prices in your repricing tool. This strategy really works; but, there is a caveat: going below your floor price means dissipating your profit goals. Therefore, the seller has to weigh the benefits against the costs of thinning out margins (e.g. disposal of idle inventories wherein storage and opportunity costs eat up profits, impending price drop due to market saturation, etc.).
Scale up product floor price at least 10% higher than Buy Box competitors’ landed price (when stockout is imminent).
With the help of a quantity tracking tool like Amzpecty, a seller can foresee competitors’ stockouts. So, passing the Buy Box placement on the remaining seller/s when competitors run out of stock is inevitable. The succeeding seller then has the option to leave the product price as it is or let the repricer do its job. However, the seller still has another option — to adjust in advance product minimum price as much as 10% higher than the Buy Box current offer price in order to maximize profits. Take note that data exchange between Amazon and your repricing software takes time, and it takes 15 – 30 minutes for Amazon to process a price change request. During sales peak hours, as much as 30 orders can be generated in 30 minutes ( one order per minute). So if the seller is dealing with high margin products, 30 orders can be a source of substantial opportunity loss. This may sound greedy but raising prices during supply shortage is just a response to the increased demand of the product. Besides, it is the moment when sellers can make up for its lean sales period. Doing it ahead of time can save the seller from incurring profit opportunity loss.
Skillfully Handle Product Inventory Stock Quantities
Offer unique and bundled products to eliminate Buy Box competitors.
To reduce the chances of competitors if not eradicate them, a seller has to list a product that is unique. A seller can choose to offer exclusive lines or originally manufactured products. In addition, a seller can also bundle different products and assign a single SKU (stock keeping unit) or Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) not just to promote sales of idle inventories but also to conquer the Buy Box. Listing an exclusive product or a product bundle can make tracking and competing your listing difficult for your competitors. Moreover, the seller can create one of a kind product title, search keywords and description for each product to make the listing stand out. The only stumbling block for this strategy is the need of the seller to purchase a Universal Product Code (UPC) for each distinct product listing which adds up to the product cost. Nonetheless, the huge earnings that an exclusive product or product bundle brings to the table is too much to ignore. Above and beyond, there is nothing more satisfying than dominating the Amazon prime location — the Buy Box.
Pool inventories from different sales channels when Buy Box competitors’ quantities are waning.
A quantity tracking tool such as Amzpecty does not only provide the seller a heads-up of an approaching overall supply shortage, it also assists the vendor in determining the daily demand to compute for the reorder point and amount of buffer stock to keep. When Buy Box competitors’ inventory stock quantities are depleting, a seller needs to list enough inventory quantities for its product in order to successfully win the Buy Box. This is the moment when a vendor has to pool majority of its inventories from different sales channels and move them to Amazon. Sales velocity must be kept uninterrupted, otherwise the seller will miss the opportunity to optimize revenues in a given time.
With a dash of creativity and resourcefulness, a seller can eventually come up with his/her own game plan to beat competitors. No matter how promising winning the Buy Box is, it always boils down to contemplating the cost versus the benefit of a certain action. After all, the end goal is your bottom line.