The Amazon Buy Box is the goose that lays the golden egg for ecommerce merchants. Not only does it make the buying process much simpler for customers, but winning it can significantly increase your sales.
Buy Box listings are chosen by Amazon based on how well sellers meet Amazon criteria, but just because a brand wins the Buy Box doesn’t mean it will maintain it. Sometimes a brand will fail to be eligible (they run out of stock, can’t meet Prime shipping requirements, etc.), but other times, a brand’s Buy Box will disappear without warning or indication of risk. This is called Buy Box suppression, and it can have serious ramifications for sellers.
What is Buy Box suppression?
Buy Box suppression happens when the “click to cart” button is removed from a listing—typically, customers will see a button that says “See All Buying Options” in its place. Suppression forces customers to take a few extra steps to purchase a product. Without a one-click option, the chance customers will buy a product from you plummets.
“Generally, sales will tank when an item is suppressed and best-seller rank also tanks,” said John LeBaron, Chief Revenue Officer at Pattern.
Along with affecting sales, suppression can erode customer trust in your product and your relationship with Amazon.
Why does Buy Box suppression happen?
In many cases, Buy Box suppression happens because no seller is eligible to win it. Maybe seller metrics have dipped below standard, their listings are incomplete, or their customer service isn’t great. More often than not, however, Amazon price fluctuations are the culprit.
Amazon sets lower prices on their top selling products to drive sales and stay competitive. Their pricing model is centered on offering consumers the best price (or perceived best price) they can find, and Amazon takes active steps to ensure they’re the marketplace offering it.
According to LeBaron, Amazon scrapes the web to find out if an ASIN is being sold cheaper on another retailer’s site. If they find your product being sold by another retailer at a price lower than what you’re offering it for, you could see your Buy Box removed. Amazon will suppress the Buy Box to protect customers from paying more than the Manufacturer's Suggested
Retail Price, or MSRP.
Here’s an example of a listing being suppressed because the cost is lower elsewhere.
Not only does suppression happen when other sellers lower their prices, but it can happen if the price on a product makes a sudden increase.
“If an item on Amazon has been selling for $9.99 for the past year and suddenly the price jumps to $12.99, this could trigger Buy Box suppression,” LeBaron said.
How do you stop it?
In many cases, buyers can stop suppression by making sure their account metrics are in good standing and their listings are complete. When it comes to pricing-induced suppression, the best prevention method is to monitor the listings of other sellers and lower your prices accordingly to remain competitive.
With millions of vendors on Amazon and other ecommerce platforms, monitoring of any kind may sound daunting, but there are tricks and tools your brand can use that can help.
Helpful tools Newel Cobb, Senior Brand Manager at Pattern, says one way brands can see what other sellers are charging is by using the predict tool on Amazon. You access it by clicking “Products” then “Product Details” followed by “Pricing” and then “Price Changes.” This tool shows if other marketplaces have moved first on lowering a price.
There are plenty of other tools that brands can use to monitor price as well.
“I also like to use Chrome extensions like Honey, Price Scout, _or _WikiBuy to compare a product across the web to other marketplaces,” Cobb said. “If you cannot find a new product cheaper on another marketplace, I would use the Keepa _or _Camel Camel Camel Chrome extension to see if the price has moved up or down a ton on Amazon.”
Here’s how monitoring price fluctuation appears on Keepa.
There are other pricing tools available, like RepricerExpress, that can change the price of your product throughout the day so you’re always on top of sudden price drops from other retailers.
By making sure your seller performance and account health are in good shape as well as watching prices on the market to stay competitive, you can help your brand stay in the Buy Box and stop Amazon from removing it.
Want to learn more about how Pattern helps brands avoid Buy Box suppression? Reach out through the form below and we’ll get in touch soon.