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Amazon Feedback: 2019 Guide for Sellers

Amazon feedback is a critical part of being successful as a seller on Amazon. This guide has everything you need to know about feedback.

What is Amazon Feedback?

Amazon feedback is a public rating of your performance as a seller. Based on a five-star scale, feedback on Amazon indicates how reliable you are when it comes to packaging, shipping, responsiveness and professionalism. Buyers have a 90-day window to submit one feedback per order made on Amazon. A seller's feedback rating is an aggregated average of prior feedbacks received from buyers.

Feedback and reviews are not the same thing, although you may hear experts and coaches use the terms interchangeably. In reality, feedback is seller-focused; whereas, Amazon reviews are product-focused. In fact, Amazon removes feedbacks that are exclusively about the product rather than being about the seller.

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Why Does Amazon Feedback Matter?

Here's why smart Amazon sellers take feedback so seriously.

 Feedback Influences the Buy Box

Seller feedback is a key component of your Order Defect Rate, a metric that Amazon weights heavily in its Buy Box algorithm. All things being equal, a seller who has a solid reputation will win the Buy Box more often than one who has a track record of disappointing Amazon shoppers.

Buyers Can View Your Feedback Rating

Amazon tracks all of the feedback you earn as a seller and aggregates it into an overall feedback score (expressed as a percentage). Depending on how many feedbacks you've earned in the last 12 months, Amazon will either display your 12-month rating or your lifetime rating on the offer listings page.

Amazon Penalizes Bad Sellers

Speaking of Order Defect Rate, Amazon also uses this metric to continuously re-evaluate its relationship with your business. Sellers can be suspended or banned completely if your feedback rating slips below certain performance targets. Currently, Amazon requires sellers to maintain an Order Defect Rate that is less than 1%.

 Feedback is a Digital Asset

In a paradigm where buyer and seller rarely - if ever - interact with one another, Amazon feedback is arguably your most vital business asset. Think of it this way - if you wanted to buy a competitor's store, what's the one piece of public information that you'd look at first? That's right, you'd check the seller's feedback rating.

Some Buyers Bypass the Buy Box

Sure, the vast majority of orders occur via the Buy Box. That being said, a decent percentage of buyers bypass the Buy Box and compare "Other Sellers on Amazon." Amazon displays your feedback rating on this page, allowing buyers to opt for the seller with the highest feedback rating.

Feedback is a Competitive Advantage

More than 300,000 additional merchants begin selling on Amazon each year. That's a lot of new competition to contend with, even for the most well-established seller. Each positive feedback that you receive serves as a much-needed competitive advantage to protect your business against a growing pool of sellers.

Positive vs. Negative Feedback

5-star and 4-star ratings are considered "positive" feedback on Amazon. 1-star and 2-star ratings are "negative" feedback on Amazon. 3-star ratings, commonly referred to as "neutral" feedback, can have a net negative impact on your seller reputation.

Dividing positive feedback by total feedback earned during a certain period of time tells you your Amazon feedback score. For example, if you earn 1,000 feedbacks and 900 are positive, your feedback score equals 90%. Amazon tracks your 30-day, 90-day, 365-day and lifetime feedback scores and publishes them on your seller storefront page. Your seller storefront page also provides a breakdown of your orders that resulted in neutral or negative feedback. Your seller storefront page is publicly visible by anyone - including buyers.

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How to Get Feedback on Amazon

So, how can you get feedback on Amazon? Here are a few best practices:

Provide Amazing Products & Service

Remember that the main purpose of Amazon feedback is to indicate the buyer's satisfaction. Therefore, satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) will naturally serve as the primary driver behind a customer's willingness to leave feedback. Ensuring an absolutely flawless experience is a necessary first step for earning feedback.

Ship On-Time or Ahead of Schedule

Amazon shoppers have grown accustomed to free, two-day shipping. And, although late shipments are a major cause of negative feedback, early arrivals can delight buyers and result in favorable ratings. Expediting internal order processing and upgrading customer shipment methods can be an effective way to elevate your feedback.

Make Returns Easy

Amazon has taken major steps to automate returns and refunds, which has had a net positive effect on the buyer-seller relationship. Amazon also encourages sellers to "rigorously" review their return policies along with providing full product refunds for a standard 30-day period.

Avoid Inventory Mixups

Running out of stock is a sure-fire way to increase your feedback - negative feedback, that is. No one wants negative feedback, which is why proactive inventory management is such a necessary building block of a healthy feedback score. Keep your inventory available and accurately listed. Participating in FBA can also help.

Create Accurate & Helpful Listings

Buyers don't care about how Amazon detail pages come into existence; they just want a quality product at a fair price. So, when a product fails to meet or exceed expectations, the seller often takes the blame - especially on private-label and bundled items. Don't over promise or mislead. Be honest and transparent. Think like a buyer when creating or updating your listings.

Politely Ask Customers for Feedback

Amazon encourages sellers to "send the buyer no more than one polite request for feedback after the shipment has been received." Sellers can request feedback manually by clicking the "Contact Buyer" link under "Manage Orders" in Seller Central. Third-party apps, such as FeedbackFive, follow up with buyers automatically.

Proactive Management

Sellers sometimes assume (wrongly) that requesting feedback on Amazon is prohibited. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, as we just pointed out in the previous section, Amazon mentions feedback solicitation among its list of best practices for improving your feedback rating.

Why is proactive feedback management considered a best practice for sellers? For starters, Amazon has publicly stated that more than 50% of total unit sales come from third-party sellers. Allowing sellers to request feedback from buyers creates a virtuous cycle for all stakeholders, including Amazon. The simple truth is that buyers are much more likely to share their opinions when prompted. This feedback data benefits the seller and Amazon, which cycles back to the customer in the form of an ever-improved shopping experience.

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What the Experts Say

Most Amazon coaches and consultants recognize the importance of proactively building a healthy seller reputation. Maximizing positive feedback and resolving negative feedback are two best practices that many experts espouse. Here's what a few of our favorite eCommerce consultants had to say about feedback.

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eCommerce-Nurse-logo
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"In the age of online shopping customers want to understand who they are purchasing from, and whether or not they can trust that you'll send the right product on time. A solid feedback rating will communicate to customers that they are purchasing from a reliable retailer."
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Liz Adamson
Founder, egility

"Don't ignore your feedback score. Use FeedbackFive to solicit feedback and quickly address any issues. Don't forget about product reviews and their importance in driving traffic to your product pages."
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Louis Mizzell
Product Manager, eComEngine

"Your seller reputation dictates so much about your business. Quality feedback can help you increase conversions by building buyer trust and reflecting your ability to deliver products as promised."
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Liz Fickenscher
Industry Liaison, eComEngine

"Make the ask. If you aren't already using software to automatically request feedback for every transaction, start now. If you already are, track the percentage of buyers currently leaving feedback and create strategies to increase that percentage."
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Wes Grudzien
Founder, Marketplace Ninjas

"To earn more positive feedback, sellers must respond quickly to any negative or neutral feedback and make quick improvements where possible to enhance the customer experience. The seller must put the customer first and show their customers that they appreciate them for their loyalty and feedback."
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Carina McLeod
Founder, eCommerceNurse
& Vendor Society

 

Staying Compliant with Amazon

Although proactive feedback management is permitted by Amazon, there are important rules that sellers need to follow. Check out our free feedback compliance checklist now.

Don't Incentivize

As Amazon points out here, "You can request feedback from a buyer, however, you cannot pay or offer any incentive to a buyer for either providing or removing feedback." It doesn't get more black and white than that. Any attempt to manipulate feedback is prohibited, and that certainly includes incentives.

Never Pressure Buyers

It goes without saying, but sellers should never pressure buyers to provide, modify, or remove feedback on Amazon. Pressuring buyers is an obvious violation of Amazon policy. It also goes against common courtesy. If buyers want to rate their interaction with you, they'll freely choose to do so without coercion.

Don't Be Promotional or Deceptive

The use of the Buyer-Seller Messaging Service is limited to two primary purposes: completing an order and responding to customer service inquiries. Although requesting feedback may be considered part of completing an order, merchants should not try to game the system. Linking to third-party websites, linking to your Amazon storefront or detail pages and including any marketing messaging or promotions is off limits.

Ask Once

Amazon permits feedback solicitation, but sellers should only make one ask per order. Asking more than once per order is explicitly prohibited in Amazon's best practices guide for improving your feedback rating. Note that the request should only occur after the buyer has received your shipment.

Respect Opt-Out Requests

Buyers are allowed to opt out of unsolicited messages from third-party Amazon sellers. This includes seller-initiated feedback requests. Most buyers have not opted out, but it's important to respect the wishes of those who have. Third-party services, such as FeedbackFive, help sellers comply with opt-out requirements.

Regularly Review Amazon's Guidelines

Smart sellers realize that Amazon policies occasionally change and evolve. Amazon sellers have an obligation to regularly review guidelines in the context of their business practices. At eComEngine, we encourage sellers to pay particular attention to: Buyer-Seller Messaging Service Guidelines, Community Guidelines, Feedback Best Practices Guide, Feedback Removal Policy, and Amazon Seller Agreement.

Asking Buyers the Right Way

Amazon shoppers are busy people who don't want to be bothered with poorly constructed feedback messages. Being concise, professional and courteous are key steps to making an effective ask. Having helped thousands of sellers successfully solicit more than 60 million feedbacks, our data shows that the best feedback requests are:

  • Personalized - includes the buyer's order details
  • Instructive - explains how the buyer can leave feedback
  • Compliant - complies with Amazon's rules for solicitation
  • Error-free - avoids typos and HTML snafus

Check out our free feedback request email template for additional tips.

Download Now

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Visualizing Your Feedback Funnel

You've probably heard the term "sales funnel," which companies often use to visualize their sales and marketing pipeline activity. The funnel mentality can also be applied to your seller reputation on Amazon. The top of your funnel includes all of the orders you have received on Amazon. The middle part of the funnel consists of those orders you choose to solicit for feedback. (Sellers are not required to request feedback on every order, nor should they. For example, sellers should not send feedback requests to buyers who have previously asked the seller to stop sending such emails.) The bottom of the funnel includes orders that have resulted in feedback, which leads to more buyer trust and more sales.

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Amazon Feedback Software

As you scale your Amazon business, sending manual feedback solicitations becomes less feasible. Hiring an administrative assistant or freelancer to manage this process is one option, but the cost usually outweighs the potential gain.

A more affordable and scalable approach utilizes Amazon feedback software. There are several reputation management systems available on the market today, including our FeedbackFive tool. Since 2009, Amazon sellers have trusted FeedbackFive to streamline their proactive feedback activities, such as requesting feedback, buyer opt-out management, reputation tracking, reporting and negative feedback resolution.

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What to Do About Negative Feedback

Not every buyer is a happy camper. Here's what to do when negative feedback strikes.

Verify It's Legit

Buyers make mistakes. Competitors try to do nefarious things. Don't just assume that each negative feedback is legitimate. Spend time evaluating it for authenticity and accuracy. Does the customer seem to be talking about an order that you did not fulfill? Is the comment full of abusive language? Look closely before taking any action.

Report Abuses to Amazon

Amazon has specific criteria for removing negative feedback. Amazon will remove a rating if it uses profane language, reveals too much information about the seller or is actually a product review. Feedback removal requests can be submitted to Amazon using the Feedback Manager in Seller Central.

Help Unhappy Customers

Oftentimes, a negative rating will fail to meet Amazon's criteria for automatic removal. This leaves the seller with two basic options: do nothing or try to make the customer happy. Amazon encourages sellers to work with unhappy buyers and seek to understand why they are dissatisfied.

Resolve Negative Feedback

Buyers have 60 calendar days (from the date of leaving the feedback) to remove the negative feedback that they provided. Sellers should work with buyers to resolve the problem that led to a negative rating. Once the situation is resolved, the buyer can remove the negative feedback (or take no action).

Politely Ask Customers to Reconsider

If, after resolving the situation, the buyer has not removed the negative feedback, the buyer is permitted to follow up and politely request removal. Amazon offers guidance for requesting removal: "Contact buyers with no more than one polite request to remove the feedback after resolving their problem."

Learn from Your Mistakes

As painful as negative feedback can be, it can serve as a valuable learning opportunity for your business. Are certain ASINs more likely to cause negative feedback? Should you reallocate more inventory to FBA to avoid fulfillment delays? Are customers in certain marketplaces more likely to leave negative feedback?

Monitoring Your Reputation

Staying on top of your seller reputation is a key step to being successful on Amazon. Keeping a close eye on the Feedback Manager in Seller Central is one way to monitor for new ratings.

In addition, using a feedback tool like FeedbackFive can elevate your responsiveness to customer ratings. FeedbackFive sends you text and email notifications for issues that require your immediate attention. In addition, you'll receive a daily feedback summary email that provides a big picture overview of recent activity. You can also log in to FeedbackFive for interactive charts, graphs and reports that provide a data-driven approach to reputation management on Amazon.

Try FeedbackFive
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Additional Resources

Check out our other resources for building a healthy reputation on Amazon.

sellers-guide-to-get-amazon-reviews
Amazon Reviews
Guide

Learn why Amazon reviews matter for sellers, too!

download now

Feedback Tracker Spreadsheet
Feedback Tracker
Spreadsheet

Track Amazon seller feedback for deeper insights about your business.

download now

amazon-feedback-compliance-checklist
Feedback Compliance
Checklist

Ensure you are complying with Amazon’s feedback policies

Download Now

Feedback Request Template
Feedback Request
Template

Use this template to craft the perfect Amazon feedback request email.

download now

Brand Monitoring Checklist
Brand Monitor
Checklist

Track the reputations of the brands you sell on Amazon.

download now