Hot on the heels of the free Google shopping comes google’s version of the Amazon Buy Box. 

It seems that Google is attempting to emulate the success of Amazon’s buy box – a feature that has played host to over 82% of sales on the platform!

We are seeing the addition of the Shopping Actions Insight tab within some merchant centers. After noticing this function, we compared 100’s of merchant centers to see if this is a new feature applied across the board. At the moment, it appears to only be on a select few accounts. 

Our team has checked on the opted-in merchant programs and there is no clear indication that this is attributed to one program. However, as standard practice, all of Click Convert’s accounts are now activated on ‘surfaces across Google’.

It comes as no surprise that we are seeing additional features being added to the merchant center, with the new ‘free’ listings being introduced on US accounts. The most interesting aspect of the new ‘Shopping Actions Insights’ is it appears to be a direct replica of Amazon’s functionalities. Amazon has been described as a “clear winner” during the Covid-19 crisis with surging share prices, and a steep increase in prime subscription members. Therefore, Google must try to retain their competitive positioning to attract Ecommerce transactions and have done so, by implementing the ‘buy box’ metric to their platform.  

What is a buy box?

Essentially the buy box is the prime real estate, directly in front of shoppers. This has become an incredibly important feature on Amazon with 82% of all sales attributed to vendors in this position. Creating heightened competition to provide customers with the very best (often cheapest) solution to their product requirements.

Taking a closer look at the metrics of the shopping actions insights

From browsing, the new action insights it appears that: 

  • You can differentiate between products, brand and different product category levels.  
  • View ‘buy box’ visibility in the past 7 days.
  • Gain visibility on lowest competitor prices and how this differs from your own.
  • Scan your feed, to understand your most competitive products that have the predicted highest sales potential. 
  • Understand the reasons for loss of favourable positioning. 
  • Attribute the number of orders obtained from Google. 

Google introduced a price competitiveness tab earlier this year, so this almost feels like an extension following a successful pilot. 

What we have learnt from the Amazon Buy Box.  

The primary means of obtaining the Buy Box on Amazon’s platform is through a number of key metrics. It is yet to be clear how many of these metrics Google will incorporate into their Buy Box but they should be considered at all times. The primary metric that Google have highlighted as being pivotal in the Buy Box retention is: 

Total Price – this is the total amount the product is sold for Google Shopping. This will include any shipping prices that you offer. 

There are also a number of Amazon-Specific metrics that play a big role in the likelihood of obtaining the buy box. Mainly: 

Feedback – This is a big aspect of the buy box and plays a key role in deciding who gets the buy box, when all other metrics are balanced. The more positive feedback, the better. 

Shipping Time – The quicker the shipping time, the more likely you are to win the buy box. This is particularly prevalent during the current climate. 

On-Time Delivery – Ensuring your products get to your customers in the quickest time possible is essential. If you repeatedly ship products late (and miss the delivery date provided to the customer) then this will have a negative effect on this metric. 

From our experience, it is essential that businesses that are looking to retain the buy box keep a close eye on each of the key metrics mentioned above, as they all play a significant role in the retention of the Amazon Buy Box. 

Another key aspect of the Buy Box is that it doesn’t make any distinction between the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and a reseller selling the same product. Effectively, an OEM who chooses to advertise via Amazon’s platform must meet the exact same criteria as the reseller to be eligible for the Buy Box, and previous work has shown us that resellers can obtain the Buy Box as frequently as OEM’s, even when they’re selling the OEM’s products. This can sometimes result in conflict. 

Questions about the introduction of Google Buy Box

 We are still left a little in the dark as to whether this Shopping Actions Insights tab will just display total visibility, or whether it will differentiate paid and free exposure for those choosing to keep advertising. Google will want to incentivise ‘free’ shopping users to migrate to paid ads eventually, and will want to deter businesses who currently use paid shopping listings, to consider halting spend. 

There is no early indication that the format of the shopping listings will change, and will likely complement current price comparison layouts on the shopping tab (as shown below). It is unclear how the home page will implement a ‘buy box’ or if it will just be attributed to the first page results.

It has not been stated that you will need to have shopping actions activated within your merchant center, but will Google favour those who do have an instant add to cart function? This is distinctly more in line with Amazon’s instant buying process.

Click Convert will be meticulously monitoring the progress of all new functionalities being rolled out across Google and will update you further when new insights occur. In the meantime, if you would like any further advice about this topic or have any additional digital marketing queries, our team is just a call away.

John Langley

John Langley


I am the founder of Click Convert, an Award Winning agency, here to deliver great marketing for Small and Medium Businesses. We’ve created over $1.1 billion in sales for clients. We’re one of the top digital marketing companies in America and the UK for small and medium businesses digital marketing. We’re a Google Premier Partner, a Google Top 50 agency and our work was recommended by Google’s CEO in 2020. Outside of family and Click Convert, Cars, Adventure and Pizza are my passion. Our vision is to Inform, Empower and Deliver to help both clients and readers.

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