Everything You Need To Know About Amazon Featured Merchant Status
The term “Featured Merchant Status” is no longer used by Amazon, and it has been replaced with “Buy Box Eligible Status.” Check out our recent post reflecting this change: How to Get Amazon Buy Box Eligible Status.
If you really want to bring traffic to your Amazon business, one of the best things you can do is get Amazon Featured Merchant Status (FMS).
With Amazon’s Featured Merchant Status, your listings enjoy optimal viewing locations and can generate more business.
Customers see products from Featured Merchants first and they occupy the Amazon Buy Box, making for an ideal way to get past your competition.
What is Amazon Featured Merchant Status?
Amazon Featured Merchant Status makes you eligible for premium locations in or below the Buy Box.
Your listing can appear in one of these ideal slots on the main listing page. And if you want to win the Buy Box, you need Featured Merchant Status; without it, winning the Buy Box is out of reach.
There’s only one seller who wins the Buy Box at any given time, and she is always chosen from the Featured Merchants pool of listings. Amazon takes various factors into account when granting Buy Box placements, starting with Featured Merchant status and including everything from your price, customer ratings, shipping, to number of listings, and sales rate. If you fall slightly short of obtaining the Buy Box, you can still get
If you fall short of obtaining the Buy Box, you can still get placement on the bottom right of the Buy Box page and be featured in the “Other Sellers on Amazon” section (also on Featured Merchants).
How Can a Seller Get FMS?
Amazon makes its huge customer base available to even the smallest businesses, and Featured Merchants have the highest, most visible status on the site. There is no set list of rules for Amazon Featured Merchant Status, but there are guidelines that you should follow to achieve the coveted title.
First, you need to become a Pro Merchant. Anyone can do this by paying a monthly subscription fee and also closing and commission fees.
Being a Pro Merchant has its own advantages; for example, you can use automated tools for tracking and listing items and avoid paying a fee per item for your sales. It makes sense to be a Pro Merchant anyway if you sell at least 40 items every month.
From there, follow the performance-based guidelines to attain Amazon Featured Merchant Status. Amazon says they give fluid guidelines for becoming a Featured Merchant because target metrics can change and vary by category. One thing is certain: Amazon grants FMS only to the sellers who make their customers happiest.
Amazon looks hard at customer ratings, return rates/reasons for those returns, and pricing.
Ideally, you must attain and keep a high customer satisfaction rating to maximize your chances of becoming a featured seller fast. You will need to create sales by staying most competitive on each offer as it will be harder for you to compete without obtaining FMS. For the most part, a strong three to six months of positive selling or order history is going to be the minimum Amazon will need to grant FMS.
Factors That Affect Amazon Featured Merchant Status
Each of these factors gives a highly accurate picture of your customer satisfaction rate:
Order Defect Rate. Your order defect rate is one of the most important criteria. If an order receives any negative feedback, a chargeback/service credit, or A-to-Z guarantee claim, that is considered a defect. Amazon calculates your rate of order defects by dividing the number of orders over the target time range by the total number of orders during that time. It’s one of the most important ways Amazon assesses your track record and ability to ensure a customer experience that’s great.
Availability. Keep what you need in stock, and especially if you’re in the Buy Box or it’s a busy time for this product.
Competitive Pricing. Having the lowest price isn’t everything, but price does matter. Sellers that are priced competitively, with shipping included, have an edge within the Amazon algorithm because the system looks at the total price with shipping. Employing an automated repricer is a seller’s best bet for making sure their listings’ prices are always competitive and profit margins are maximized.
Contact Response Time. Obviously sellers that respond quickly to customer-initiated messages are at an advantage; Amazon measures this specifically by calculating how many messages you’ve responded to within a 24 hour period. And remember, don’t aim for 24 hours. Aim for much faster to get FMS, and check multiple times during the day, every day.
Late Ship Rate. Any orders that ship three or more days past your expected ship date are late as far as Amazon goes. Even orders that are more than 1 day late can hurt your chances. (FBA is not included in this analysis.)
More factors to consider for FMS
On Time Delivery. This is calculated just like your Late Ship Rate; your score is the number of packages delivered on time divided by the total. This is calculated using tracking information. (Again, FBA does not count here.)
Policy Violations. You might have unread communications in your notifications if you are showing policy violations. Notifications have copies of all important Seller Performance team e-mails you have gotten for the past few years. This means notices of account suspension, account block, or policy violations. If you don’t read these on the actual notifications page they count against you.
Positive Seller Rating. Amazon’s star rating system allows buyers to rate sellers from one star for the worst performance to five stars for the best. Amazon considers positive feedback to be 4 or 5 stars; neutral is three stars and negative feedback is one or two stars. Amazon calculates your score by dividing the total sum of your positive feedback divided by the sum from all of your feedback, and it does that for the past 30 days, 90 days, year, and lifetime.
Pre-fulfillment Cancellation Rate. Obviously, don’t sell things you haven’t stocked; this counts against you.
Refund Rate. Amazon measures your refund rate — how many orders refunded divided by the number of total orders — at seven days, 30 days, and 90 days when determining Featured Merchant Status. All refunds you initiate for whatever reason count here, although it’s not clear what the maximum numbers are.
Keep in mind that using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) gives you an additional edge. For certain categories only FBA users attain FMS, and even in those that don’t you have less to worry about as discussed above. Using FBA also means your buyers enjoy Prime.
How Long Can it Take to Get Amazon Featured Merchant Status?
It can take some time to get Amazon Featured Merchant Status and begin competing for the Buy Box. Amazon will probably need at least three months of top notch data about your selling to grant this to you. FMS is also based on ongoing assessment, and Amazon’s metrics will vary.
Even if you lose FMS at some point you can get it back. Just keep working on your numbers.
How Can a Seller Check to See if They Have Achieved FMS?
Go to your Amazon Seller Central and click on the “Inventory” tab. Select “Manage Inventory”.
Click on the “Preferences” tab. Locate the field for “Buy Box Eligible” in the column display section. From the drop-down menu select “Show When Available.”
If you check any SKU, look at the Buy Box Eligible column; if you are eligible it will tell you “Yes.”
The Bottom Line:
It takes work and dedication to achieve Featured Merchant Status, but so does beating all of your Amazon competition.
Stick with it and mind the numbers to give your e-commerce business the boost you get from FMS and winning that Buy Box.