In Part 2 of the Ultimate Guide to Wholesale Sourcing, we’re going to talk about analyzing buy box competition for Amazon wholesale. (By the way – if you haven’t already checked out part 1 about finding niches, check it out here.)

Because analyzing the competition is what really matters.

You see, just because a listing has a third-party seller in the buy box doesn’t mean it’s a great listing.

In fact, a listing with 10 sellers competing at the buy box could be better than a listing with one seller.

Let’s take a deep dive into the buy box, go over everything that factors in to it, and then analyze some competition!

Buy Box Factors

There are tons of factors that go into the buy box. But only a few of them really matter in terms of wholesale.

Buy Box Price

Price is, by far, the most important factor to winning the buy box.

example of a buy box price on Amazon

An example of a buy box price.

Chances are if there’s a third party FBA seller priced lower than you, they’re going to win the buy box (as long as they’re in stock and meet a few more criteria we’ll talk about below).

You’ve got to stay competitive. A repricing solution will help automate this, but if your prices are significantly higher, you’re not going to win the bulk of the sales.

example of buy box offers

A repricer will help you stay within a decent range of the buy box price.

Now, there are a few unique scenarios where you can win at a price higher than the lowest. This brings us into the next factor, seller type.

Seller Type

The type of seller that’s the lowest price really matters here. Are they merchant-fulfilled?

If so, you may be able to gain a decent premium on them in terms of price. We’ve found that this threshold can be from 5% to more than 10% – it really depends on listing price.

example of buy box offers

Only one offer here is Fulfilled by Amazon, if you exclude Amazon’s offer.

In the above screenshot, you can see that only one offer has a “Fulfilled by Amazon” badge. The rest are merchant-fulfilled.

If Amazon was not on this listing, that offer would likely get the buy box, as long as they were within a decent percentage of the lowest offer.

This is where having a handy repricer will help – good repricers will price you up during the period you have the buy box, allowing you to sort of auto-test this threshold and maximize your profits.

Feedback Rating

Feedback rating is another aspect to buy box winning.

Recently, it’s seemed to have less of a weight than it did before, but ideally, you want to shoot for 95%, or at least 90% positive feedback rating.

feedback rating example

Petco, as of this writing, has an 88% feedback rating, as you can see above. Clearly, with 96.5k total ratings, they’re still getting sales – and lots of them!

Any factor that makes you less good in Amazon’s eyes to other sellers will reduce your chances of getting a good rotation, which we’ll describe below.

Number of Sellers

Number of Sellers at the buy box price, of course, is another crucial factor. This brings us into the concept of rotation.

In the buy box, if there’s say, 5 sellers that meet the criteria at that price, all of them will rotate.

how to view offer count on an amazon listing

There’s 12 sellers on this listing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the buy box is rotating between all 12.

This means that if an item usually gets 20 sales per day, in theory, each seller will get 4 sales – if everyone stays at the same price.

Now, this is completely theoretical, because some sellers will have repricers that will go down in price as soon as they lose the box.

This allows for significantly more sales at the cost of potentially crashing listing prices very quickly – if other sellers also have repricers enabled.

Backordered Status

The status of the units per-seller is also a buy box factor.

If someone’s backordered, they’re probably not going to win the box against an FBA seller that isn’t backordered.

backordered offer on Amazon listing example

An example of a backordered FBA offer on the offers page.

Now, if they’re against a merchant-fulfilled seller, or there’s no other sellers, they may have a chance.

backordered buy box offer

An example of a backordered offer that has the buy box.

Ideally, you want to stay in stock as much as you can. This will keep you from losing the buy box.

But on those few initial days that you are waiting for your inventory to come in? Probably won’t win the box too much.

Buy Box Threshold

The buy box threshold is also a factor to winning the box. Have you ever seen a listing that says “Available from These Sellers”?

In this case, Amazon is stating that they can’t find an offer competitively-priced enough to win the buy box.

Likely, the historical price of the ASIN is way lower – or another retailer (in this case, probably Chewy) has the item for a lower price.

This is also referred to as a suppressed buy box.

suppressed buy box example

Now I have to manually look for the offers. No buy box today!

To win in this case, you’re going to need to test lowering your price until you’re within the threshold.

You’ll have to experiment and see whether or not it’s advantageous to have the box at a lower price, because, obviously, this will lower the amount that you take home on the ASIN.

Amazon on Listing

Having Amazon on the listing is absolutely crucial to the buy box. If Amazon is priced competitively, and in stock, you’re probably not going to win the buy box.

example of Amazon buy box on listing

Amazon’s the buy box seller on this one. Probably not a good buy for the time being.

This is why many Amazon wholesalers specifically avoid listings with an Amazon history or an active Amazon offer.

You can do this in Sellonaut by filtering by the “Amazon on Listing” filter.

There are a few unique cases where having Amazon on a listing is OK and may prove to be a decent offer still, and those are the following:

Amazon at a Higher Price than Buy Box

This one is a weird one that occurs sometimes – and a lot of wholesalers still avoid these listings, because the graphs look to have Amazon at the buy box.

But maybe Amazon is 10 cents higher than the buy box. And maybe they have been for the past year.

In this case, it may be worth it testing out with small quantities.

You may have found a winning ASIN that no one’s willing to take on.

Amazon Has a History of Stockout

Another type of listing where this rule can be ignored is if Amazon has a history of stockouts on that particular ASIN.

portion of graph with Amazon stock out

A portion of a history graph where Amazon’s coverage isn’t consistent – they’ve been stocking out a lot here.

If they’re going in and out of stock frequently, and only are in stock for small periods of time, it may be worth purchasing the ASIN.

Do keep in mind, however, that these ASINs are still risky, as Amazon could place a big purchase order at any time and knock you out of the box for quite some time.

Quantity Available

Quantity available is another buy box factor. Amazon is likely to give priority to sellers who have a higher quantity available, as they’re able to fulfill way more customer demand.

Rotating the box between sellers that have 1-3 units isn’t feasible on a listing moving thousands of units a month – especially when there’s a seller at the same price with 10,000 units in stock.

Does this mean you need 10,000 units in stock? No. Just keep enough stock for what you feel comfortable with.

Just know that sending 3 units of something isn’t likely to give you a huge buy box win rate.

Analyzing Competition

Now that we’ve got the basic criteria down, let’s hop on a listing and check out my tips and tricks to analyzing competition.

Here, we’ve got your average wholesale listing. A third-party seller has the buy box.

fba wholesale buy box analysis example

An example listing that has the filters to check out further when sourcing. This one has a third-party buy box, and a decent chunk of offers – but not too many.

Let’s scroll down to take a look at the BSR.

analyzing best sellers rank of amazon item

#7,579 in Pets. Not too bad.

Estimating Sales Based on the Amazon Best Sellers Rank

Quick side note here – if you’re brand new, you’re probably totally confused about what’s a “good” or “bad” BSR. This is kind of a feeling you can learn over time as a wholesaler.

There’s a lot of sales estimate tools out there for a quick glance. JungleScout has a decent one.

how to determine how many units a month based on best sellers rank

A quick search on JungleScout’s sales estimator will tell me I’ve got around 540 units sold a month at #7,579 in Pets.

Plugging it into JungleScout here, I’ve got 540 units a month, so 18 a day. Now, that’s only if I had the buy box all to myself.

Let’s check out the competition to get an accurate estimate.

First, let’s take a look at offers.

Quick Tip: If you want a clearer view, you can go to https://amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ASINHERE instead of having that dynamically-rendered side view.

example of competition on fba wholesale listing

An example of the offers page on a “decent” wholesale listing. And yes, I did change the seller names for privacy.

Here, we’ve got 1 FBA seller in the buy box (Pet Universe, 2nd offer from the top), but one also really close (within a cent – Pet Town), so it’s probably rotating two ways, with one seller lowering the price by 1 cent.

Therefore, we can feasibly expect that three of these sellers are ultra-competitive, with the potential of having a fourth or fifth jump in (as you can see with those nearby offers of $11.30 [Pet City] and $12.04 [Pet Planet]).

We can probably also throw in that first offer at the top – though this is a Merchant-Fulfilled offer (Pet Universe), it is Seller Fulfilled Prime, and thus is treated very similar to an FBA offer.

Estimating Units Sold Based on the Buy Box

So, worst case scenario, you’re looking at 4 competing sellers for the buy box.

Best case, two people besides you.

Throw yourself in the mix and you’re looking at a rotation of three people in the buy box.

Split those units from earlier over three, we’re talking 6 units a day.

Not too bad for a quick review! Especially considering that once you secure a brand like this, we’re talking thousands of listings.

All which you can update in a tool like Sellonaut and make automatic purchases with. Diversify that purchase over a ton of listings selling 6 units a day, and now we’re talking!

Choosing Criteria

Now that we’ve got a good listing picked out, we’ve got to figure out if this is within our criteria.

Is 6 units a day enough for you? It may yield higher profits than a listing that’s moving way quicker.

But then again, it may not.

Having access to a large enough catalog is where you’re allowed to make decisions like this. But if you’re just starting out, criteria like this would make a great intro listing.

If this isn’t good enough, keep hunting and finding niches. Eventually you’ll stumble upon something great.

Now that we’ve figured out how to analyze buy box competition, you’re ready to get started with Step 3: Contacting Brands. Now it’s time to get researching!

And of course, if you’re ready to automate your product analysis, try out Sellonaut for 14 days free today. We take the hassle out of purchase orders so you can spend time on what’s more important – sourcing suppliers and finding niches.