How to Succeed Selling on Amazon

Friday, May 16th, 2014
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Amazon hosts the world’s largest online marketplace and can be a powerful channel for you as a merchant to grow your online sales. Due to the sheer volume of unique visitors, it is a great way to expand your reach and add an additional sales channel for your business. Because of the competition between sellers, it is extremely important to focus on the basics of what it takes to be successful selling on Amazon:

  1.  Don’t Oversell – Only list available products
  2.  Ship Fast – Get orders out the door as fast as possible
  3.  Be honest – Never confirm a shipment until the order is actually shipped
  4.  Be responsive – Answer messages from customers within 24hrs – even on weekends & holidays

If you can follow these guidelines you will be sure to get positive customer feedback and increase your chances of winning the “Buy Box”. The “buy box” also known as the “Add to Cart” button on a product detail page is where customers start the purchase process by adding items to their carts. A key feature of the Amazon marketplace is that the same product can be sold by multiple sellers. If more than one seller offers the same product in “New” condition, they may compete for the Buy Box for that product.

1st shot

To be eligible to compete for Buy Box placement, you must first qualify for “Featured Merchant status”. Featured Merchant status is tied to specific seller performance criteria that determine which sellers have consistently provided customers with a great buying experience on This includes:

  • Order defect rate (ODR) < 1%: Percentage of your orders that have received a negative feedback, an A-to-z Guarantee claim or a service credit card chargeback. *One- and two-star ratings are considered negative.
  • Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate < 2.5%: Number of orders cancelled by a seller prior to shipment confirmation divided by the number of orders in the time period of interest.
  • Late shipment rate < 4%: Number of orders with a shipment confirmation that is overdue by 3 (or more) days divided by the number of orders in the time period of interest.
  • Refund rate: Number of orders refunded by a seller divided by the number of orders in the time period of interest.
  • Customer shopping experience offered on an item, such as speed of delivery, shipping options, price, and 24×7 customer service
  •  Time and Experience on the Amazon selling platform
  • Status as a Professional Seller

This criterion is subject to change, so it is recommended that you monitor your performance using the “Customer Metrics” tool in your Seller Account. This tool provides data on all of the performance metrics so you can easily see if you are meeting Amazon’s targets.

second shot

Amazon selects the Buy Box winner from the pool of eligible sellers based on price and availability. So once you are qualified as a featured merchant, you can increase your chances of winning the Buy Box by pricing your products competitively and keeping stock available. Tip: You can view the price of the offer that is currently winning the Buy Box by turning on the “Show when available” option for Buy Box Price (within Manage Inventory>Preferences>Column Display)

Amazon presents the winning seller’s offer as the first choice for buyers using the “Add to Shopping Cart” box on the product detail pages, which in most cases leads to increased sales. So if you want to be successful selling on Amazon, a key factor is to win the Buy Box. By utilizing Nexternal’s built-in Amazon Marketplace integration, you are able to manage orders efficiently ensuring that you meet Amazon’s seller performance criteria, win the buy box, and ultimately increase your sales. So if you are a current Nexternal client, what are you waiting for?
Contact your account rep to get started selling on Amazon today!


Currently an eCommerce Account Manager at Nexternal, Matthew enjoys helping businesses succeed online. Prior to joining Nexternal, Matthew spent years implementing innovative marketing campaigns for a world renowned design firm and is particularly passionate about online marketing and entrepreneurship.