Amazon is a billion dollars company worth nearly $900 billion. It’s the largest retailer in the U.S known for its affordable products and unlimited two-day shipping. The platform has over 8 million sellers across several verticals selling to millions of customers.
While its easy to get eyeballs on your products, its harder to convert those visits to sales. One way of doing this is through feedback from past customers. In this guide, we’ll look into the nuances of reviews and how to work around them to get the best results.
- 1 Why You Need Amazon Reviews
- 2 What are Amazon Product Review Rules: What’s Legal According to Amazon?
- 3 How to Get Reviews on Amazon
- 4 How to Handle Bad Amazon Reviews
- 5 White Hat Vs. Black Hat Tactics
- 6 Black Hat Tactics
- 7 Hall of Fame and Top Ten Reviewers
- 8 Conclusion
Why You Need Amazon Reviews
Online reviews matter in e-commerce. Most buyers don’t have much to rely on when considering a product. This is why reviews are essential—they are triggers for product sales. Past research has shown that 84% of online shoppers trust the feedback of other customers, while 91% of customers read a product review before deciding to buy. Here are some reasons why you need positive reviews on Amazon:
To Grow Sales
Most people check prices, deals, and reviews before purchasing products online. Since they can’t use the products and ask questions in real-time, reviews are quite vital.
If you have good reviews on a product, prospective users are more comfortable with your brand and are more likely to make a purchase.
Boost Brand Reputation
Reputation is a key ingredient for business success. Customers can’t see you, so they need to check your brand reputation before they trust you. When you sell several products, and many buyers have positive things to say about you, future buyers will feel more comfortable taking a chance.
Improve Customer Loyalty
People who visit your store because they’ve seen a spate of good reviews will be more comfortable when they purchase products from you and they are satisfied.
If they need a similar item, there’s a high chance that they’ll come to you first. After all, you have the track record.
Opportunity for Growth
A brand that’s consistent in its offerings for creating high-quality products will have a loyal customer base. Once customers trust the brand and what it stands for, they become raving fans that would even pay higher prices for similar products offered by the firm.
What are Amazon Product Review Rules: What’s Legal According to Amazon?
An important point for you will be to become familiar with Amazon’s guide to reviews. Lots of sellers get the rules wrong and end up violating Amazon’s terms in their mission to get positive reviews. For sellers, Amazon’s review rules are available in the Seller Central account. However, if you’re yet to sign up as a seller on Amazon, here’s a quick rundown of the guidelines:
- You can’t offer products in exchange for positive reviews. However, Amazon has made an exception for Amazon Vine members.
- You can’t write reviews for products that benefit you financially.
- You can’t offer money in exchange for a positive review.
- You can’t offer discounts or some other promotion in exchange for a positive review. Note, however, that you can give coupons.
- You have to get your review from an unbiased party. Your friend or family member can’t come in to save you.
- You can’t make negative comments on the products of competitors.
- All reviews will have to be made after a sale happens. Anything that comes before is unverified.
How to Get Reviews on Amazon
Now that we’ve established the importance of customer reviews and some of the rules surrounding them, how can you solicit reviews without violating Amazon’s guidelines? It’s simpler than most people think.
Automated Follow-Up System
Amazon provides an automated follow-up system that sends follow-up messages to customers once they receive their orders. Amazon sends these messages to customers to encourage shoppers to give feedback on the product.
This is most likely the purest method of getting a review, but it leaves your hopes in the balance. If a disgruntled customer finds one of those Emails, they might take your brand to the cleaners.
If you go to the “Order Reports” tab in your Seller Central, you’ll find the “Request a Review” button. It allows you to send an automatic follow-up email to your shoppers within 30 days of the sale.
You can only send one review request per order, so you have to use it wisely. However, since Amazon will most likely send an Email too, your chances of getting a review are higher.
Amazon Early Reviewer Program
The Early Reviewer Program from Amazon encourages shoppers who have purchased a product to leave feedback. When the purchase gets completed, Amazon sends shoppers an offer to get a $5 gift card for a review.
Not all products qualify for the Early Reviewer Program. To qualify, the product must have fewer than five reviews at the time of application. It should be priced above $15. Amazon will randomly select customers who have purchased participating products in the program and ask for their honest feedback.
Each successful review will cost the seller $60, and Amazon will continue to ask buyers for their opinions on the product for 12 months or until five reviews are received through the program.
Use Amazon Vine
Amazon launched its Vine program in 2007 to allow product publishers and manufacturers to get reviews from buyers and select dedicated reviewers. You pay a fee to Amazon, and the company directs reviewers to publish reviews to the product.
Businesses looking to get reviews through the Amazon Vine program will have to pay a fee that usually ranges between $2,500 and $7,500 per ASIN. The program’s rules restrict the number of free products that a business can submit for reviews. It ranges from 10 to 100 based on product categories.
Contact list for Emails
A contact list is another means of communicating with your buyers and getting them to post their feedback. You can access the contact details of anyone who buys from you on Amazon, add them to a mailing list and keep them updated on new offerings from your company. If they don’t unsubscribe, you have a fan base. Subsequently, you can send them email notifications when you add new product lines. If they follow you and engage often, they are likely to give you a review when next they purchase from you on Amazon.
How to Handle Bad Amazon Reviews
Everyone hopes to get positive reviews on their products. However, you should also be prepared to deal with the situation when a customer isn’t as satisfied as you would like. In this section, we’ll look into some of the facts surrounding Amazon’s negative reviews and how you can work around them.
How to Use Negative Reviews to your Advantage
No business likes negative feedback on their products, but it’s a certainty. At one point, your business will get a negative review from a customer. This could be due to structural defects or issues that arose during shipping. Irrespective of where it comes from, you can use negative reviews to your advantage—you just have to keep the right perspective.
Negative reviews can provide insights that would improve your business. If you’re constantly getting torched online for the same issue, that’s an area of your business you need to fix. Accept the feedback and improve your product.
Tactics for Handling Negative Reviews
However, it’s also vital that you learn how to handle these negative reviews to help your brand and the customers. Primarily, there are two things you can do:
Comment on the review publicly
One of the most effective ways to deal with a negative review is to make a public comment addressing the complaint. This is particularly useful in cases where the issue is not related to the product.
Public statements allow you to achieve multiple things. You get to share your opinions and thoughts on the matter that the customer is disgruntled about. Public comment also allows you to clear the air on any issue with the product—which would be beneficial to others with similar issues. If the problem persists, you can ask the customer to contact you via Amazon’s Buyer-Seller messaging service.
Delete the Review
It is also possible for a negative review to be taken down, if it violates Amazon’s guidelines. Alternatively, you can ask Amazon to delete the review if you think it’s unnecessarily unfair or done in bad faith.
Just go to the product details page, find the review in question, and click on “Report abuse.” You could also send an Email to the company’s community helpline, indicate your product’s ASIN, the details of the review and the reviewer, and the link to the review.
Note that Amazon’s likelihood of taking down a bad review is low. For the company to take such action, the review in question would have to violate its community guidelines in evident ways. So, the mere notion that the reviewer has malicious content won’t be sufficient.
Before looking into handling bad reviews, it’s worth noting what Amazon considers to be one. Some of the top materials in the company’s guide include:
- The review needs to be about the product, not the seller
- The review can’t contain issues like product availability, comparative pricing, or
- alternate ordering options
- Amazon doesn’t allow libelous, harassing, defamatory, or threatening comment
- Amazon doesn’t allow hate speech
- Pornographic, lewd, and obscene comments aren’t allowed
- Comments can’t promote other products
- Comments can’t include private information – Emails, phone numbers, etc.
- Sellers can’t make reviews on competitors’ products
To increase your chances of success, you could explain how the user violated review guidelines. Also, don’t try bulk-reporting. Apart from not working, bull-reporting will only reduce your rating and internal reputation as a seller.
White Hat Vs. Black Hat Tactics
Getting good reviews on Amazon is never easy. The platform is crowded with retailers selling similar products at cut-throat prices. And since positive reviews are part of the ranking metrics, Amazon sellers have devoted several ways to nudge the customer into posting a review. These tactics are grouped into “White Hat” and “Black Hat” tactics.
We recommend using White hat tactics always. They are legal, but they take more time and require a bit of work. Black Hat tactics come with the promises of quicker results, but Amazon has systems in place to detect such reviews, and it often leads to Amazon banning seller accounts.
White Hat Tactics
We spoke a bit about White Hat tactics under the How to Get Reviews on Amazon section. Here are some other tricks to increase your rankings on Amazon legally.
Product inserts are great ways of reminding the customer to leave a review. You can offer a free sample of another product, which can add some value to your package. Free samples can also work to cross-sell customers and introduce them to product lines that they might not be so familiar with.
Note, however, that you won’t be able to use incentivizing. So, saying things like “We’ll give you a discount coupon if you give us a positive review” isn’t allowed.
The Amazon Early Review Program
We already touched on this service before. Mainly, you offer a small reward to customers who give you a review.
Here are the requirements for this:
- The service costs $60, which you pay after you get the review
- It only works for Amazon.com products
- There’s no guarantee that you’ll get five stars
- It only works for products that sell for over $15
- It’s only available for products that have less than five reviews
Use Social Media
You could also leverage social media to get more reviews. When you get a positive review, you can share it on your social media channels. Apart from bringing in new customers, this tactic will also encourage purchasers to leave reviews – and, possibly, share them too.
Black Hat Tactics
Amazon sellers have targets on your back – especially those who are successful. It’s normal to have competitors who employ tactics like counterfeiting, hijacking, and leaving malicious reviews on your products.
Here are some of the black hat tactics you should be mindful of:
A seller gets workers or bots to search for their product on Amazon, then click on their listings and add their products to their carts. This boost in engagement and sales velocity could result in listings appearing higher in search results.
A swarm of unfavorable reviews
Some sellers pay others to post negative reviews on a competitor’s listings to drag their reputation down. They could even liaise with other accounts to mark their fake review as “helpful.”
Bogus safety claims
There have been cases where sellers buy products from a competitor and then post an excessively negative review claiming that it was hazardous. Look out for words like “choking,” “risk,” “dangerous,” etc. These kinds of reviews can be taken down by Amazon if you can prove that it’s malicious.
Fake brand infringement claims
In this case, an unethical seller claims to be the manufacturer of a product, then file a bogus infringement claim against another seller. Amazon tends to act quickly in situations like these—leading to the suspension of the seller. Amazon will notify the marketplace seller of the claims filed, the party that reported them, and on what listing. Unless the seller can prove that the notice is false, Amazon won’t reinstate the listing.
Hall of Fame and Top Ten Reviewers
Some Amazon customers make a living off giving Amazon reviews. These people have become popular on Amazon for writing detailed feedback on the products they use and like. Some of them write as much as 100 reviews a month. You can leverage these rockstars to jumpstart your products. Reaching out to Hall of Fame reviewers is not a black hat tactic, so you have nothing to worry about. Here’s how to get in touch with them:
Find the Top Reviewers
The first step is to check out Amazon’s list of Top Reviewers. The page is divided into Hall of Fame Reviewers and Top Reviewer Rankings. The former category shows long-term reviewers, while the latter shows the top reviewers currently.
Get Relevant Tags
The point here is to find the top reviewers who have used tags related to your product or industry. These are the ones you want to engage with.
Reach out for Partnership
Most of the popular reviewers leave their contact details on their profiles, because they’re open to partnerships. Send them an email and make them a proposal. Let them know that you’d like to send a product they might be interested in. Try to make the Email as personalized and human as possible – not generic or flat.
Make the reviewer understand that you’re looking for honest feedback– they’re not obligated to give you five stars. While there’s no guarantee that this will be successful, the off chance that you could get a top reviewer to provide you with five stars is a significant investment.
It’s easy to see how reviews affect sellers on Amazon. For some, it’s the blood that keeps their business running. You need a constant wave of positive reviews to grow your brand, sales, and profits.
Getting them is tougher than most people think. Creating a scalable review strategy is a head-scratcher for most businesses. The internet is littered with hundreds of tactics that could help you obtain reviews—both legally and illegally.
Ultimately, customers will provide relevant reviews to products that they genuinely love. Have you tried any of this strategy in the past? What is your go-to strategy for obtaining reviews from customers on Amazon?