The Buy Box is the main conversion point on Amazon, making it the most important detail on your product listing. Buy Box Suppression on Amazon is an enemy to executives because it hinders your brand’s visibility and blocks sales. Not to mention the time and resources it takes to restore your Buy Box.
Pattern is an ecommerce accelerator who understands Buy Box suppression and provides the resources and expertise for brands around the world to take control and continue growing profitably. Keep reading to learn 4 ways Buy Box suppression blocks sales and what you can do about it.
To ensure we’re on the same page, let’s start with defining Buy Box Suppression. Buy Box Suppression is when Amazon removes the bright yellow ‘Add to Cart’ and ‘Buy Now’ buttons on your product listing and replaces them with a subtle gray ‘See All Buying Options’ alternative.
While you may have previously faced losing the Buy Box to other sellers, suppression is different. When the Buy Box is suppressed, no seller wins the Buy Box for that ASIN—it’s not just you being blocked, it’s anyone selling that product. However, similar to losing the Buy Box, customers can still purchase from you, it just becomes much harder.
In order to purchase from you, customers now have to click the gray ‘See All Buying Options’ button, scroll through the list of sellers, and click Add to Cart on your listing.
Why does this happen? Funny enough, it’s Amazon’s way of supporting customers. Amazon wants to provide the lowest price, so it scrapes prices from across the web to find lower priced competitors. If Amazon finds a lower price for the same product elsewhere, it will suppress the Buy Box until the price on Amazon is equal to or less than the prices found elsewhere.
While this sounds like a simple fix, it always takes longer to get out of suppression than to get in. And in the meantime, suppression blocks your sales in more ways than you may realize.
While Buy Box suppression has an immediate consequence of adding more steps to the purchase process, it affects your sales beyond creating friction for customers.
Every product you sell on Amazon gets a Best Seller Rank (BSR) that communicates how well it’s selling in its category. Just like golf, you want a low BSR—being the #1 best seller is better than being #86. The higher your BSR, the less relevant you are in your category, the worse you rank for search terms, and ultimately the harder it is for customers to find your listing.
But when Amazon suppresses your Buy Box, your sales decrease and your BSR is raised, penalizing your product even after you’re no longer suppressed. At Pattern, our brand managers know how to help you improve your BSR, search rank, and sales, even after suppression.
Because your BSR is so important to your Amazon business, you’ll have to spend time improving the rank when it increases. In order to fix your BSR, you’ll have to solve the price difference causing your suppression, which may include identifying and removing unauthorized sellers. Then you’ll have to re-gain traction to increase product sales, which may mean running promotional discounts that give up margin or increasing ad spend to drive traffic.
Whatever strategy you use, improving your BSR will take time and resources away from other important aspects of business, and may impact your short-term goals. With Pattern, our team becomes an extension of yours, handling the extra tasks needed to get back in control on Amazon so you don’t miss a beat.
The longer your Buy Box is suppressed, the longer you are sitting on your inventory. Depending on your product category, old inventory can be a death sentence for sales. If you have food or supplements with expiration dates or fashion products that go out of style, time is of the essence.
Even without time sensitive products, being overstocked can complicate inventory planning and sales forecasts, consume your Amazon storage allowances, and force you to discount and liquidate what you are unable to sell, opening the door for leaky distribution.
Stale inventory is never ideal for any brand, in any category but can become detrimental on Amazon. At Pattern, we work with you to find the best liquidation strategy since, through our model, we’re just as on the hook for old inventory as you are.
74% of U.S. consumers begin their product research on Amazon, so it’s vital to be available on the marketplace. If you’re not showing up on Amazon, new customers may have a harder time finding your brand. In turn, they may not look for you when shopping in-store.
When your Buy Box is suppressed, you don’t just lose Amazon sales, you lose the opportunity to build awareness and generate sales across other channels. Following the ecommerce equation, revenue = price x traffic x conversion, Buy Box suppression eliminates your price control, bars your traffic, and complicates your conversions. In short, you block the profitability flywheel. At Pattern, we specialize in keeping your growth and profitability flywheel running strong across all sales channels.
Pattern helps you take control to prevent the unauthorized, lowered prices that cause Buy Box suppression on Amazon. With brand control, we help you better forecast, efficiently advertise, and improve your BSR.
Using expert strategies, proprietary technology, and experienced legal partners, Pattern simplifies and expedites removing unauthorized sellers, stabilizing online price, and taking control of the Buy Box.
Ready to stop Buy Box suppression? Get in touch today.
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Developing your ecommerce strategy for digital marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, Tmall, and Alibaba gets complicated fast—there’s a lot to think about, including marketplace SEO, product photography, advertising tactics, disjointed sellers, distribution logistics, managing ratings and reviews, and more. It can be overwhelming for brands, especially those with small teams, to know which behaviors to optimize for for the highest gains in profitability.
The good news? Revenue performance all comes down to data. Pattern was built on a data science approach to ecommerce success. We find the patterns that drive profitability, then apply them to boost our brand partners’ revenue on ecommerce channels.
And a key pattern we follow for all brands on digital marketplaces is the ecommerce equation: revenue = traffic x conversions x price x availability. As brands zero in on these four pieces of the equation, they can simplify and focus their efforts to reach truly profitable ecommerce growth.
The first part of the equation is traffic—you need to get people to see your listings if you want to generate sales. There are two ways to drive traffic to your products: through organic search and paid search. Striking the right balance between both for your brands is crucial to driving enough of the right traffic to your products, ultimately increasing your ecommerce revenue.
Knowing this, Pattern provides the resources and technology needed to drive traffic to your product listings. Our brand management team, advertising specialists, and SEO technicians work in harmony to create a unified strategy to boost your brand’s organic profile and balance that with a paid advertising approach that works for your brand and listings.
Using this method, we took Feetures socks from ranking on longer-tail terms like “no show athletic socks black” to driving traffic on parent keywords like “no show socks.”
Getting customers to your product listing is only half the battle. Once on your listing, you need customers to convert. Conversion is key to the ecommerce equation because it leads to real product purchases and revenue. Traffic without conversion leads to more time and ad spend without the ROI.
Optimizing your images, product description, bulleted details, customer reviews, and buy box performance is key to successful conversion. If you’re going to spend time and effort driving traffic, you should make sure customers can easily and clearly find what they’re looking for when they arrive at your listing.
While your imagery and descriptions are important, you also need to build customer trust to drive conversions. Studies show that your customer service efforts matter too—84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends, making strong reviews an important factor of conversion on marketplaces.
The good news is as you provide a quality product and a great marketplace experience, you’ll build brand equity, increasing your customer loyalty. Then, as your reputation, reviews, and traffic grow positively, marketplace algorithms will recognize your popularity and improve your rank accordingly. Rank drives both traffic and conversions, helping you to optimize your performance further. As your brand equity grows, your conversions will continue to grow with it.
While setting a strategic price is an important step in your ecommerce strategy, it takes more than that to truly control your price on marketplaces.
Without proper control and with wide distribution, your product could end up in the hands of disjointed sellers who lower your marketplace price to sell their inventory and make quick profits. With one seller lowering price online, other authorized sellers and retail partners are forced to lower their price to compete, creating price erosion and sending your brand down the profitability death spiral.
This Death Spiral damages brand equity, hurts conversions, and can lead to Buy Box Suppression on Amazon, hindering traffic as well. And as prices get lower and lower, your profit margin withers away, decreasing your overall revenue.
Using our data-driven insights and Pattern’s eControl partner Vorys, we help brands implement narrow distribution, identify and take-down unauthorized sellers, eliminate price erosion, and control their price online. Focusing on price control, Pattern helped LifeSeasons, a premium supplement company, take back 91% control of the Buy Box on Amazon.
The last piece of the ecommerce equation is availability. It makes sense to think of availability as a contributing factor in conversion, but we felt that it’s important enough to call out on its own—you can fully optimize your traffic, conversion, and price, but without availability, you can’t grow revenue for your brand.
A lack of availability leads to stock outs, losing conversions to competitors, losing possession of the buy box, poor customer reviews, a decrease in traffic…the list goes on. The best-performing brands on ecommerce digital marketplaces optimize their availability with high-end technology, optimize their cash on hand, and inventory time on hand to keep the ecommerce equation powered and optimized in their favor.
Pattern is committed to solving the ecommerce equation. We partner with brands to provide the expertise, resources, and technology needed to drive traffic, create content that converts, protect price, maintain availability, and ultimately accelerate ecommerce revenue and profitable growth.
Interested in improving the results of your ecommerce equation? Schedule a call.
A top issue we see with brands struggling on ecommerce marketplaces is a loss of brand control due to disjointed sellers—those that aren't following your brand policies and guidelines when selling your products online. Disjointed sellers can be gray market, unauthorized, and rogue sellers, as well as 3P and other sellers that are noncompliant with your branding, pricing, and other forms of representation online.
It can be very easy for brands to lose control of their ecommerce strategy when they can’t get a handle on disjointed sellers. Typically, these brands are either stuck in a game of whack-a-mole or just ignoring the warning signs of bigger issues and hoping for the best. But, when disjointed selling isn't handled right, the consequences can be devastating to profitability. A loss of brand control doesn’t happen overnight, and the factors that contribute to it are long-standing.
Before the advent of ecommerce, brands favored a wide distribution. It was the easiest way to get products to as many distributors as possible. But wide distribution, when left unchecked, leads to leaky distribution—allowing your excess products to end up in the hands of unwanted sellers.
So brands that continue to operate with a wide distribution strategy are losing brand control and are damaging their brand equity and product performance. Why? You’re unable to monitor your products’ pricing, performance, or quality. You can’t dictate how you’re represented by each seller, creating an inconsistent and false representation of your brand to your new and existing consumers. These issues often lead to poor reviews and erode opportunities to build trust with future customers.
In today’s ecommerce landscape, marketplaces and digital platforms connect people and sellers to make online shopping simple and seamless. They also provide customers complete price transparency. Google, for instance, allows consumers to access any of your products on virtually every ecommerce channel and retail location and posts them side-by-side for you to comparison shop.
Now, everyone from your D2C distributors to large marketplace sellers, legitimate 3P sellers, and rogue and unauthorized sellers are on a level playing field—they’re all presented to the searching consumer, and that consumer has the purchase power.
Disjointed sellers have just as much power and authority to represent your brand as you do, without the same quality, pricing strategy, and customer focus as you.
In most shopping scenarios, consumers will choose to purchase a product from whichever seller offers the lowest price. Marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart know this, and optimize their product selection based on all retail offers to serve consumers the lowest price for the same item.
This means that as one seller drops the price of your product, the next will follow, and then the next, etc. Everyone gains access to the product at or below MSRP. This opens the door for unauthorized sellers to purchase inventory during promotions or at discounted prices and then turn around and sell the same product slightly below competing sellers’ prices—for profit.
As customers search for your product, they notice the cheaper price and purchase from the unauthorized seller, rather than paying the price you’ve established with your retail teams. Simultaneously, as Amazon monitors their product listing against other available channels, they notice they don’t have the lowest price. So Amazon, and other marketplaces, in service of the consumer, drop their price to match the lower price offered by an unauthorized seller. To stay competitive, your other channels follow suit. The cycle, also know as the profitability death spiral, continues to drive down the price of your product, grinding away your margins and profitability.
This doesn’t sound like much of a problem if your brand isn’t actively selling on ecommerce marketplaces, right? Unfortunately, it causes big issues for your brick-and-mortar sales, too. Large retail chains like Best Buy and Macy’s noticed this potential loss of sales from ecommerce and needed to defend and protect their profit. Retailers started telling brands that, in order to keep their products in-store (which accounts for 80% of most brands’ sales) they would need to lower their prices to match online prices. Which led to the concept of price matching. If a customer could prove the price of a product was lower somewhere else, Best Buy would match the lower price and charge the brand for the difference.
As other brick-and-mortar retailers jumped on the trend, brands started to see large losses in their margins.
The danger that disjointed sellers pose to brands is enormous—without a way to control all of a brand’s distribution points on ecommerce, your brand spins farther and farther down the profitability death spiral. Using custom technology and data-driven insights, Pattern can identify disjointed and unauthorized sellers for your brand and develop a custom strategy tailored to your specific needs to address these big issues as soon as possible. Then, Pattern partners with the econtrol law firm, VORYs, to enforce take downs and save brands who find themselves caught on any stage of the death spiral.
With the right resources and expert help, we’ve helped hundreds of brands to regain their footing and control on ecommerce, win the buy box, and grow their sales.
Contact us today to regain your brand control.