When you are selling a product and notice a drop in sales one of the first things you should look at is whether your Amazon listing has additional merchants. If that's the case, are they winning the buy box? Were they winning previously? You may have just found your issue if there were no other sellers in the listing before, or if they weren't winning the buy box earlier. What can be done if you lose control over your product's buy box?
Strategies on Winning the Buy Box
If you're both a manufacturer and a retailer, try to keep your distribution network under strict control. You'll always win the buy box if you make sure you're the only Amazon seller with inventory. If your distribution network is vulnerable, illegal third-party sellers and retail arbitrage may gain access to your buy box and undercut your pricing.
You must always have inventory on hand, but you should also not store too much inventory at FBA to avoid incurring long-term storage fees. You must strike a balance between having enough inventory at all times and never having too much. You may need to invest in inventory forecasting tools to accomplish this. For a while, you might be able to get by with an Excel spreadsheet and macros, but as your business grows, you'll need software. Inventory forecasting software should factor in production times, lead times by segment (on the water, in port, transporting to warehouse), inventory currently available, forecasted sell-through date, location and expected arrival of new inventory, current sales velocity, year-over-year trending and seasonality, and more. It should provide you with all of the information you need in real time to adjust marketing as needed to keep inventory levels stable during replenishment.
At least twice a day, check your buyer-seller messaging. Amazon expects sellers to reply to customer messages as soon as possible. Your score will drop if you do not react quickly enough.
Amazon's consumer success is largely due to its fast delivery. As a result, Amazon prefers deals that can provide speedy shipping, which usually involves FBA. Sellers can deliver speedy shipment through FBM in many circumstances thanks to third-party logistics providers (3PLs), but Amazon still prefers FBA. Because this is the subject of some regulatory attention, it is possible that it will alter in the future. Brands should always attempt to have an FBA offering online, backed up by an FBM backup, until it does.
My Listing's Buy Box is Missing
You might notice that the buy box isn't there in some circumstances. At least, not entirely. This is referred to as "buy box suppression" or a "rolled buy box."" The "Add to Cart" and "Buy Now" buttons, as you can see, are concealed from view. Shoppers must click "See All Buying Options" to see the regular buying information and place an order."
A Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy is enforced by Amazon and other large online marketplaces. This policy basically permits Amazon to penalize sellers by collapsing the buy box if a product is offered at a lower price elsewhere online. While a suppressed buy box may appear to be a little distinction, it might have significant consequences. Amazon effectively makes buyers pause and wonder why the experience is different by disturbing the typical Amazon purchasing experience by concealing information behind additional clicks. Because Amazon has so many options, many shoppers prefer to leave the unusual listing rather than click through. As a result, sales plunge when the buy box is disabled.
Standardizing your pricing across online marketplaces is the best way to avoid a suppressed buy box. This is yet another reason why maintaining control over your distribution network is critical. Other sellers can still trigger a suppressed buy box by offering the product somewhere online, even if they don't display in your Amazon listing.
The Buy Box and Advertising
The Amazon Sponsored Product advertising for a seller only appear when that seller is winning the buy box. If more than one seller is vying for the buy box, Sponsored Product advertising will only appear if the current winning seller is also running them. If you're a manufacturer who distributes through a number of different third-party vendors, this means that your products will only be advertised for a portion of the time. When competing against a competitor's goods sold by a single seller who advertises, the single seller has a significant advantage. Regardless of whether the seller is winning the buy box, Sponsored Brand advertisements will continue run, but the seller may be less willing to run Sponsored Brand ads that support another seller's sales.
The Best Solution for Buy Box Issues
The ideal technique for overcoming these barriers is to have only one exclusive seller for the products. If you manage your own Seller Central account, or if you work with a third-party seller, this might be you. If you understand the value of the buy box in terms of sales growth but still want to work with various third-party sellers, the next best solution is to require all sellers to conduct Amazon advertising campaigns. That way, no matter which seller is in the buy box, your listings will always have advertising running to compete with rivals.