How to win the eBay buy box

How to win the eBay buy box

What is the eBay buy box?

The eBay buy box is part of the new product focused shopping experience on eBay. Not all products are included, but for ones that are, searches will lead to a grouped listing product landing page with a clear overview of buying options. Ebay’s algorithm assesses offers, and the best will be on the front of the product page with “buy now” button.

eBay buy box

How does the eBay buy box work?

The item in the buy box is not random. Ebay has not published steps for sellers wishing to win the buy box, and like Google’s secret ranking algorithm, the workings of eBay’s buy box algorithm remain a secret sauce. What we do know, is that eBay uses a number of factors to decide who will win the buy box. It’s not like Amazon, where price and fulfillment alone decide the buy box.

The eBay buy box is given to the offer eBay judges to be the best deal for the buyer. This is about quality of service and overall value for money, not just the lowest price. It’s a complex decision made using many factors.

Let’s look at the factors we know affect the buy box:

The Competition

The eBay catalog is still in its infancy and sellers can help it to grow by adding new products. You may go to list a product from a category which is included in the product focused shopping experience but find that there is not yet a catalog entry for this product. Creating a new catalog entry for that item would take time (eBay have to approve new submissions and that takes around 48 hours) but this time investment is more than worthwhile because when you are the only person listing with a catalog entry, you have the buy box all to yourself.

Also, eBay will display listings with catalog information before non-catalog listings. So if other sellers are not using the catalog listing, you will be appearing before them in eBay search.

Price

Although price does not decide the buy box, it is a factor. A product should be competitively priced to try and win the buy box.

The lowest priced offer is mentioned below the buy box offer, so low price can win some visibility, but this would be true happen even without the product focused experience, as customers who want to decide on price alone will simply order results price low to high.

Price will always be a key deciding factor for customers. One study from BigCommerce found that 87% of customers rank price as extremely influential when purchasing online. That said, eBay do not want to encourage a race to the bottom, and so price alone will never win the buy box.

The best way to win the buy box is to price a good offer competitively. Do not focus on offering the lowest price possible, but focus on offering a good value.

Delivery and returns

Delivery and returns are big factors in a customer’s buying decision, so it’s likely that this is an important factor for winning the buy box.

To win the eBay buy box you should offer fast delivery options, preferably for free. The more competitive the offer, the more likely to win that buy box space.

Seller history

This is a very important factor and what makes the eBay experience so different to Amazon. A slightly higher priced item being sold by a seller with an excellent seller history carried over years is more likely to win the eBay buy box than a lower priced item being sold by a seller with a short or poor seller history.

If you’re a new seller, you may find that your ability to win the buy box increases over time. Good communication, leaving feedback and asking for feedback will help you to win the buy box.

Customer service is something eBay constantly stress the importance of, so this one is likely to be a high importance ranking factor for the eBay buy box. Answer your customers thoughtfully, train your support agents well, and accept returns easily. Speed up your replies by integrating eBay with a helpdesk and extend your support hours whenever possible.

The time and money you invest in improving your service will always pay off. It brings you a better feedback score and more repeat customers, resulting in higher engagement, improving your Best Match rankings, and therefore moving you closer to winning “our pick” placement. And these improvements go not just for one listing, but for all your listings.

Location

Delivery is faster if buyer and seller are in the same country. Some items may even be eligible for pick up or local delivery. These facts are considered by the eBay product focused shopping algorithm when it is deciding how good an offer is for the customer searching.

Selling with the eBay buy box in mind

For experienced eBay sellers, a lot of this advice will be familiar from eBay search engine optimization.  Use the advice in this post to get familiar with the new system now. As the eBay catalog and product focused shopping experience expands and more buyers start using grouped listings to make purchases, the importance of being the first choice in Best Match and winning the eBay Buy Box will grow. Sharpening up your selling practices and getting ahead on this now could pay big dividends in the long run.