Angelica Valentine at Business 2 Community wrote a really excellent piece recently, identifying the things that you need to be up to speed on if you want to win the Amazon Buy Box. If you’re left thinking “How does this translate if I have more than a handful of products?”, then let us give you the benefit of our years of multichannel sales experience on some other considerations for putting yourself in the best position to win the Buy Box. Angelica outlined the key areas as:
In-stock Consistency – as much as it’s important to have an item in stock for as much of the time as possible, as Angelica identifies, you also need to be wary of the cardinal sin of overselling which is by far and away the most common reason for account suspensions. To help with both it’s well worthwhile investigating ways to automatically manage inventory across multiple sales channels. If you sell items that you know you can obtain further stock for, then consider using a system that will give you the ability to set a ‘projected stock level’ so that you can advertise available items on Amazon even if they’re not quite in stock on your systems yet. This helps to ensure that you won’t have any points deducted for inconsistent stock levels. (NB be VERY careful not to advertise stock that will lead to orders you can't fulfil - we can't stress this strongly enough!)
Seller Rating – Amazon’s Seller Rating assigns a score out of 100 for each order you process and covers a number of the items that Angelica outlined in her article. There are component parts to this scoring with each of the following events scoring your organisation a varying number of negative points, damaging a Perfect Seller Rating for that specific order:
- Order related messages from buyers which aren’t responded to within 24 hours.
- Orders which aren’t confirmed as having been shipped within the required time period
- Orders where the actual shipped date is later than the promised ship date.
- Credit card chargebacks where the seller is at fault.
- A-Z guarantee claims where the seller is at fault.
- Negative feedback on orders.
- Seller instigated cancelled orders.
If you avoid any of these issues you will get a perfect score for an order. But there’s more…. There are 10 bonus points available (and what game doesn’t benefit from a few bonus points!?) if you deliver really exceptional service by ensuring that an order meets the following criteria:
- No listed events for the Order Quality Score.
- The order was shipped with a valid tracking number.
- The order was confirmed delivered within three working days of being placed.
- The order was delivered by the minimum promised arrival date.
- The order doesn’t result in any refunds or concessions.
Making sure that you’re developing great relationships with your shipping suppliers, being available to respond to customers queries and orders in real time (or as close to as possible) and ensuring that what you are advertising is absolutely accurate to what you can provide all take a lot of time. Automating marketplace listings, having a single order fulfilment process across multiple channels and automating the update of stock levels across all channels whenever an order is placed will help minimise the amount of time consuming work that may be detracting from things that are going to deliver your customers a great service.
Price – When it comes to the Buy Box – Price is King. We regularly see sellers advertising a lower price, successfully wrestling the Buy Box from the incumbent despite the starkest of contrasts in the other factors that dictate a seller’s Buy Box ranking. Angelica hits the nail on the head, not only with how to go about winning the buy box via incremental decreases in price, but also in terms of increasing prices once you have the Buy Box to maximise profits. If you are selling only a handful of products you can do this manually but as soon as you are in the position of selling a large number of products, managing individual listings manually at this level can very quickly become a vast amount of work. Use of a competitive auto re-pricer is essential, ensuring that you’re advertising the unique or joint lowest cost automatically and increasing your price when appropriate.
As a result of the vast difference in situations which people are in, there are a plethora of solutions out there that are designed to fully automate or help you with individual elements of these important tasks. ChannelUnity covers all of these points and is a great fit if you’re already using Magento, WooCommerce (coming soon), Shopify, Bigcommerce, 3d Cart or Zen Cart and want to retain your store as the centre of your online sales world. We're always happy to chat through the best options for you, even if it's not ChannelUnity, and you'll never get a hard sell from us so get in touch if you're interested in improving your marketplace management.