The Enigma of the Vanishing Buy Box

Did you know that over 80% of Amazon’s sales come from the Buy Box? This little section on the right side of a product page, featuring the Add to Cart button, is where the magic happens. Both desktop and mobile shoppers rely heavily on the Buy Box to make their purchases. That’s why it’s more crucial than ever to ensure that your offer appears in this coveted spot.

But what happens when the Buy Box disappears altogether? Why does this occur, and how can you bring it back to your listing? In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind a missing Buy Box and provide solutions to help you regain that valuable position.

Why Is the Absence of the Buy Box Such a Big Deal?

Simply put, a missing Buy Box diminishes the likelihood of a sale on your listing. When a customer clicks “Add to Cart,” the seller with the best price and performance usually wins the Buy Box and their product gets added to the customer’s cart. The “Buy Now” button, located below “Add to Cart,” is the most direct path to making a purchase on Amazon. It requires the fewest clicks, streamlining the buying process. When there is no Buy Box at all, Amazon removes the “Add to Cart” button from your listing and displays “See All Buying Options” instead.

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This lack of the “Add to Cart” button presents an additional step for customers. They must click on “Available from these Sellers” or “See All Buying Options” to view the buying choices and proceed to the purchase. Understandably, this extra step reduces customer conversion and encourages them to explore alternative products that offer a Buy Box. Moreover, listings without a Buy Box are not displayed in Sponsored Products ads. As a result, your conversion rate drops, and traffic to your listing diminishes significantly.

Fortunately, the good news is that most issues causing a missing Buy Box can be resolved with relative ease. But first, let’s explore why Amazon suppresses the Buy Box in the first place.

Why does Amazon Suppress the Buy Box?

While it may seem counterintuitive for Amazon to make it harder for customers to buy a product, there’s typically a rational explanation. Price is often a key factor. As you know, Amazon prioritizes low prices to keep its customers satisfied. If a product is not priced competitively, Amazon may opt to disincentivize a purchase and guide the customer towards a better-priced alternative.

However, pricing isn’t the sole determining factor. Concerns about product authenticity, seller ratings, or even errors on Amazon’s part can all contribute to a missing Buy Box. Let’s take a closer look at the most common causes behind a missing Buy Box on your Amazon listing.

Causes of a Missing Buy Box on Your Amazon Listing

There are several potential causes for a missing Buy Box on Amazon. Let’s explore each one:

1. You’re a new third-party (3P) seller and/or not Prime Eligible

If you’re a new seller on Amazon, you may experience a missing Buy Box for the first 30 days. During this testing period, Amazon evaluates your ability to meet their shipping requirements consistently. This includes handling order cancellations, shipping delays, and confirming shipments. Additionally, Amazon directs more traffic to Prime-eligible products. If your product isn’t Prime eligible and you’re the only one selling it, you may not receive enough traffic to create sufficient order experience data. Without this data, Amazon doesn’t consider your listing eligible for the Buy Box.

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2. Your product’s sales volume is too low

Apart from performance data, Amazon may also remove the Buy Box from a product with low sales volume. For instance, a slow-selling product may lose its Buy Box eligibility if it has generated a minimal number of orders within the past 365 days.

3. Your product is priced lower on a third-party site

Amazon actively monitors competitive websites for lower prices using their extensive server network. When they find an identical product listed at a lower price elsewhere, Amazon is likely to suppress the Buy Box to protect customers from an unfavorable shopping experience. This suppression not only reduces the chances of a purchase on Amazon but also affects the product’s visibility in Sponsored Products ads.

4. A similar product is cheaper on or off Amazon

Sometimes, Amazon compares prices of similar products (not necessarily identical ones) with prices on other sites. Amazon or a 3P seller may consider two products similar enough that the higher-priced option becomes uncompetitive. This often leads to the removal of the Buy Box. Additionally, discrepancies in multi-pack pricing between different sites can impact the Buy Box eligibility.

5. Your product’s Amazon price exceeds the MSRP

When a third-party seller sets a price considerably higher than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) listed in Amazon’s catalog, the Buy Box is typically suppressed. This mechanism prevents price gouging and avoids rewarding sellers for selling products significantly above the list price.

6. Amazon is reviewing your product’s authenticity

Instead of removing a product entirely, Amazon may choose to suppress the Buy Box temporarily while reviewing authenticity complaints received from customers. These reviews occur when customers raise concerns about falsely labeled fashion apparel or other similar issues. The inspection period allows Amazon to validate the available inventory and ensure a satisfactory customer experience.

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7. Amazon 1P is unable to procure stock from the brand

In some cases, the Buy Box can be removed for all sellers on a popular item until Amazon 1P restocks. If the brand decides not to wholesale the product to Amazon 1P, retaliatory actions may be taken, impacting the ability to generate sales on Amazon. Consequently, the Buy Box is suppressed.

8. Your seller rating has dropped

If a seller’s trailing 30-day ratings fall below approximately 90% on a listing, they may lose Buy Box eligibility. Moreover, if the only offer on a listing is from a seller with performance issues, the listing itself will lose the Buy Box.

9. Your listing is broken, and Amazon needs to fix it

Occasionally, none of the aforementioned scenarios apply, and the issue lies in Amazon’s listing software. In such cases, contacting Seller Central is necessary to rectify the listing.

10. Your newly listed product is not activated for Buy Box eligibility

An oversight or glitch may prevent newly listed products from being eligible for the Buy Box, even when the seller and offer meet all the requirements. If this occurs, get in touch with Amazon to resolve the issue.

11. Your product’s price is being undercut by a previous promotional price

If your product was temporarily discounted as part of a sale or promotion and then returned to its original price, Amazon’s automated algorithm may view the current price as uncompetitive. This is more likely to happen if you are the only seller offering the item. The algorithm considers the sale price a precedent, causing you to lose the Buy Box.

12. Multiple factors may contribute to a missing Buy Box

In some instances, a combination of factors can lead to a missing Buy Box for a physical product. Issues such as pricing discrepancies between various sites or broken listings can make Amazon question the legitimacy and competitiveness of its own listing.

You Hold the Key to the Buy Box

Buy Box Eligibility is vital for your success on Amazon. Regularly review your products to ensure the “Add to Cart” button appears on every listing. Although some factors causing a missing Buy Box may be beyond your control, you still possess the power to influence the outcome. To maintain an active Buy Box, follow these essential steps:

  1. Sign up for FBA or Seller-Fulfilled Prime to ensure your products are Prime eligible.
  2. Maintain price parity between Amazon and other vendors, or set Amazon as the lowest-priced option.
  3. Continually monitor and improve your seller performance.
  4. Regularly review your listings for any errors or mistakes.

Addressing these issues proactively helps prevent the loss of the Buy Box. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Amazon for assistance with your listing. Remember, at Buy Box Experts, we specialize in helping brands succeed on Amazon. Our experienced team is here to guide you through the platform and its policies. Contact us today for a chance to maximize your success on the world’s largest ecommerce marketplace.

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