A vigilante formula for artificially increasing your Amazon seller metrics, getting positive feedback ratings, and winning the Amazon Buy Box with Fiverr.com.
The super controversial and totally vigilante Amazon Buy Box hack
All Amazon sellers with a faint heart and fragile sensibilities: Move along. There’s nothing for you here.
For the rest, let’s dive in…
We’re going deep into a guerilla tactic for those who will do anything to succeed with FBA.
The formula I’m going to outline is for two categories of Amazon FBA seller:
- Newer FBA sellers (or sellers new to a particular category) who want their listings to be eligible for the Buy Box.
- FBA sellers who want to increase their feedback rating (this is most of us).
Problem #1: You are not eligible for the Amazon Buy Box.
Many Amazon sellers who struggle with sales are not even aware that their books (or other inventory) aren’t showing in the Amazon Buy Box. It never occurred to them, and they never checked.
Is this you? You can find out if you’re Buy Box eligible via the following steps:
Amazon Seller Central > Manage Inventory > Preferences (upper right) > check box for “Buy Box Eligible”
Go back to your inventory view, and look at the column for “Buy Box Eligible.” Does it say yes for your inventory, or no?
Why are some FBA sellers ineligible for the Amazon Buy Box?
I don’t claim to be an expert on this. But the biggest reasons are:
- Low positive feedback percentage.
- Low number of feedback ratings.
- Not enough sales in a category.
If your Amazon feedback score is less than ideal, Amazon may prefer to give the Buy Box to a seller with a better chance of providing a satisfactory experience to the buyer.
If you’re new to selling on Amazon in general, you’re probably not eligible for the Buy Box. You’re going to need to get some significant sales before Amazon will trust you enough to refer sellers to your listings.
If you’ve been selling on Amazon for a long time, but have recently started selling in a certain category (like books), Amazon may give you the Buy Box in the category where you have experience, but will make you prove yourself in the new category before you get the Buy Box there.
In a moment, I’m going to show you how to fix all three of these.
What is the Amazon Buy Box? Quick refresher
This is not meant to be a beginners guide to the Buy Box, but in short: It’s the prominent box on the right hand side of the screen (or the middle with textbooks), where buyers can checkout quickly with one (or three) clicks. Some estimate over 70% of all sales happen through the Buy Box. While I don’t believe this number is accurate, I still repeat it to emphasize the Buy Box’s importance in sales.
Once you’re Buy Box eligible, your sales should spike immediately.
A lot of newer Amazon sellers (or sellers new to certain categories) get frustrated because they don’t see the sales they expect, but they never realize their inventory is not Buy Box eligible.
Problem #2: You want to raise your Amazon feedback score
This one is much more simple.
Either you’re balanced perilously on the precipice or getting banned from Amazon due to negative feedback, or you just want to get your numbers up.
This helps get the Buy Box, and it to a lesser extent it can also help directly with sales.
Both of these problems are only solved through one thing: Getting more sales, and getting buyers to leave positive feedback for those sales. That’s it.
Most believe the only way for this to happen is organically: Customers buy your products, about 7% of them leave feedback, and you just tap your toe waiting for that glorious day Amazon declares you Buy Box eligible (or your feedback score hits your desired percentage).
But what if there was a way to artificially generate sales, artificially generate positive feedback, and artificially increase the rate you accomplish all of this? What if….
The old fashioned way to raise your Amazon feedback score
This won’t help with sales (which is a necessary part of winning the Buy Box), but there’s always the option of soliciting feedback from your customers manually. You might get your customer/feedback percentage up from 7% to 15% (or something). There are even services like Feedback Five and Feedback Genius who automate this process.
The new, militant against-the-rules way to raise your Amazon feedback score
I’m going to outline a militant formula for the following type of seller:
- Serious about selling on Amazon in the long term.
- Is willing to invest serious money to accelerate their growth (should apply to everyone).
If that’s you, let’s get into it…
Introducing: Fiverr.com to solve both problems
Fiverr (two R’s) is a marketplace of people who will do almost anything for $5. Seriously.
For $5, you can get everything from someone recording a video of themselves insulting your former landlord by name and mailing them the link, to video editing, to recording a custom made rap song (the last of which I’ve purchased countless times as last-minute birthday presents). It’s endless.
If your imagination can conceive of it, someone on Fiverr will do it for $5.
Maybe you can see where this is going, maybe not…
Solving your Amazon problems with cheap labor
Essentially, all we need to solve the two problems I outlined above is:
- Get more sales.
- Get more positive feedback for those sales.
If someone is willing to ghostwrite a custom love letter to your coworker in the next cubicle for $5 (a service that’s offered on Firerr), do you think they would make a couple clicks on Amazon and leave you feedback (2 minutes work) for $5?
Step One: Post a job request on Fiverr
Post a “gig request.”
In the upper right hand corner of the Fiverr homepage, there is a button to “post a request.” Click that.
Then describe what you want.
It might look something like:
“I am looking for someone to go to my personal storefront on an ecommerce site, make a small purchase, and leave me a review for the purchase. It will require about 2 minutes of work.”
Step Two: Wait
Wait for offers to come in.
Step Three: Have them make a purchase from your Amazon store
Send them a link to your Amazon storefront, with instructions to purchase the cheapest book they can find, and then instructions on how to leave five star feedback once the book has been received.
Pick your target (100 postive feedbacks, for example), and hire that many people accordingly. (I would not advise having the same person make multiple purchases. Could look suspicious in the eyes of Amazon).
Every question about this scandalous tactic, answered
You probably have a million questions right now, so let me address them
I’m not saying I’ve done any of this before (and if I had, I wouldn’t tell you), but here are some notes on making this work.
“What if I don’t have tons of cheap books in my inventory?”
If you haven’t been selling very long, you may not have an abundance of bargain basement books in your Amazon inventory. Personally, I have hundreds of these, and I wish they would just go away.
If you don’t, you have to decide how much this is worth to you. You have the option of discounting your cheapest items even further, since you will be paying for the book on top of the Fiverr fee.
“How do I know how many Amazon sales / feedback ratings I need?”
If you’re trying to get Amazon Buy Box eligible, there’s no easy answer. Amazon doesn’t reveal numbers they need to see. I know of people with over 100 positive feedback scores who are still not eligible, but there could be other issues at work there too. As far as I’m aware, there is no specific target number.
If you’re trying to raise your Amazon feedback score, the answer is pretty simple. Just determine what percentage you’re trying to hit, then do the math on how many positive feedbacks it will take to get there. Simple.
There are so many people looking for “work” on Fiverr, there should be no shortage of takers on your offer.
“This sounds expensive.”
Remember at the beginning when I said this was for serious FBA sellers willing to invest in the long term growth of their business? This is why.
Getting 100 sales & 100 feedbacks could cost as much as $1,000 ($5 Fiverr fee + $5 book cost).
This is a small investment considering 100 positive Amazon feedbacks would get most of us out of any feedback danger zone, and most of us (probably) eligible for the Buy Box. But its a gamble.
“Isn’t this against the rules?”
Covering your bases: How to do this without getting in trouble
Realistically, there is no way for Amazon to have any idea why someone is buying your books, or have any idea they are being paid to do so. This is a virtual impossibility.
As paranoid as you can possibly get, you cannot create a scenario so “Big Brother” as to explain how Amazon could possibly know what’s happening here.
That said, here are a couple ideas to be extra careful:
Don’t mention Amazon in the job request. Because you just never know: Amazon might be searching Fiverr and pull a sting operation on you…
Only hire people in the US. This is also probably the only way to keep it economically viable, since you don’t want to be paying overseas postage (or orchestrating 100 friend’s addresses where the books could be sent). But getting a flood of overseas buyers *might* flag you in the eyes of Amazon.
Don’t have the same person order more than one book. Another thing to avoid triggering any of Amazon’s “irregular activity” algorithms (which probably don’t exist).
Why this trick will pay for itself
Remember the two scenarios we set out to solve here:
- Ineligibility for the Amazon Buy Box.
- Bad feedback score.
As for the first, getting eligible for the Amazon Buy Box should set off a huge spike in sales. Assuming your inventory is big enough, this should offset any upfront costs.
As for the second, we all know Amazon is absolutely ruthless about banning people who fall below the required feedback score. If your business is on the line, almost no cost is too much.
Success in business is about working smarter, not harder. Conquer that Buy Box, get out of the feedback score danger zone, and listen to the cash register ring…