Has Amazon Tweaked its Algorithm?

Amazon Buy Box Rotation

Attaining the Amazon Buy Box is generally the main goal of all Amazon resellers. However, not all Amazon sellers are automatically listed in the Buy Box, since sellers need to be Buy Box Eligible. Once eligible, seller’ listing can now be part of the buy box rotation. 

Buy Box Eligible Sellers 

The main purpose of the Amazon Buy Box is to provide a platform where a comparison of multiple offerings is available to customers. Hence, Amazon buy box rotation occurs. 

To simply put it, professional sellers who have met the performance-based requirements set by Amazon are eligible for the Buy Box and participate with the buy box rotation. 

Amazon Buy Box rotation is critical in keeping the platform fair and competitive at the same time. The buy box rotation also gives sellers chance to compete with leading brands.

Sharing the Buy Box 

When it comes to popular consumer items, numerous sellers are likely to compete for the Buy Box or be on top of the Amazon buy box rotation. However, the Buy Box is not always awarded to a single seller. In regards to the Amazon algorithm, based on our experience as a software solution, we assume that Amazon distributes Buy Box share between relevant offers that are equally competitive. Hence the term, Buy Box share.

There are many factors being considered in such a process, the most prominent basis would be price, fulfilment method, seller history, and overall customer shopping experience. 

Seller Snap Repricing Method  

As mentioned above, pricing is among the factors being analyzed by the Amazon algorithm and the only factor that you have immediate control over. With emphasis being placed on product price, Seller Snap provides an advanced repricing strategy to help optimize the Buy Box winning rate. 

In scenarios where there are multiple sellers at the same price and with the same fulfillment method who are competing for the Buy Box, Seller Snap takes a conservative approach to repricing. Meaning that we will match the price (specific fulfillment method), under the assumption that Amazon will distribute the Buy Box in a fair way. 

In a way, the Seller Snap algorithm “holds the line”. 

Why Hold the Line?

Holding the line is arguably the best strategy in a scenario where there are multiple sellers offering the product at the same price as the current Buy Box winner.

Trying to gain more Buy Box share by lowering price will almost certainly cause the other sellers to lower price as well, ending up with the same Buy Box share at a lower price.

In contrast, raising the price on such a crowded listing will unlikely encourage all competitors to increase their price. 

Buy Box Algorithm Dynamics & Current Concern

Recently, it has come to our attention that some of our clients observed a change in Amazon’s Buy Box algorithm behavior. Upon investigating several customer requests, we also noticed that Buy Box distribution seems to no longer be happening as it was. From our experience and the experience of our clients, competitive sellers whose products are at the same price point are not getting their “entitled” Buy Box share, as previously experienced. 

Looking at the price change history of various products, we are finding that relevant sellers are having to decrease the price of their listing by more than just a few cents below the current Buy Box price in order to attain it. For example, where a 1 cent decrease used to be enough to win the Buy Box, a seller will now have to decrease price by 15 cents to get the same result.

In Seller Central Forums, Amazon sellers have been discussing the issue in depth and it’s interesting to note that some sellers did receive responses from their Amazon account managers confirming that there is some sort of a Amazon buy box glitch and it is being worked on.

We are still investigating the reason behind such behavioral changes in Buy Box rotation. This article should not be construed, nor be cited as an origin of a potential Amazon Buy Box algorithm glitch claim or change. Our technical team is still looking into the concern that has been recently observed by clients. 

Suspected Factor Causing Change

Although based on pure conjecture and surfacing reports online, the Amazon A9 algorithm allegedly received an update, dubbed as Amazon Algorithm A10. And with such a rumor, it would be tempting to assume that it might be one of the reasons behind the so-called Amazon buy box algorithm change.

Despite the silence of Amazon about the A10 algorithm or even the alleged Amazon buy box algorithm change, it is believed that the new update now gave more importance to seller authority. Sellers’ authority and standing is now viewed as one of the factors affecting Amazon buy box changes. 

Therefore, suggesting that Amazon now places more weight on product return history, selling tenure, and positive feedback. Allegation of changes in Amazon algorithms is nothing new. In retrospect, Amazon also disputed last year The Wall Street Journal report stating that “Amazon Changed Search Algorithm in Ways That Boost Its Own Products.”

In view of such previous reactions, it would be wiser to wait for Amazon’s feedback about the algorithm update, while our team here Seller Snap also continues investigating the concern relating to Amazon Buy Box algorithm change.

Worth noting that these reported Amazon buy box changes should not be directly equated with an Amazon buy box glitch. For such an alleged algorithm change is calculated to address pressing issues during the pandemic.

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