Feedback: Beyond the Buy Box

by Colleen Quattlebaum

As a seller, it's easy to think of Amazon feedback as a commodity. Day in and day out, customers come and go. Most are happy, and some even take the time to rate their interactions with you. That's nice, but is it really helpful?

Most Amazon merchants are at least somewhat aware of how feedback impacts their share of the Buy Box. But how else can feedback benefit your business?

In this post, we'll take a closer look at the "softer side" of seller feedback.

Feedback is an Opportunity to Connect

It wasn't that long ago that most commerce was done the old-fashioned way: in person. In nearly every buying scenario, the face-to-face interaction was a necessary component. (Even "big box" stores, despite recent advances in "self-checkout" technology, still depend on a certain level of human interaction.)

eCommerce has obviously turned the traditional buying-selling experience upside down - and, in most cases, for very good reason. Buyers can get what they want faster and more affordably. Sellers can reach new buyers in a highly efficient way (particularly via participation in the FBA program).

Despite its many tangible benefits for all parties, eCommerce does have an often overlooked downside: the commoditization of commercial relationships. Think about it - for thousands of years, buyers and sellers have come into each other's presence to exchange one asset (usually cash) for another (goods or services). Customer feedback was seemingly intertwined into every aspect of the sale. In addition, each new sale had the possibility to bring strangers together in new relationships. Digital commerce, which is certainly faceless and often nameless (at least from the buyer's standpoint), offers little opportunity for such relationships.

Although, Inc. ("Amazon") hasn't yet figured out how to fully replicate the traditional buying experience, it does offer a few consolations: seller feedback and product reviews. By publishing comments on, buyers can express their concerns or gratitude about a merchant (and his or her products). Such feedback becomes part of a greater community of fellow Amazon customers, helping buyers and sellers alike to feel more "at home." Feedback is an Opportunity to Improve

Amazon sellers are under tremendous pressure to perform. New competitors pop up each day (including Amazon itself). Bidding wars happen. Bad restocking decisions can destroy your profitability. And, customer expectations are always increasing.

Although you can't do much about market forces, you can leverage customer feedback to improve your game as a seller. Even negative feedback, albeit painful, can be instrumental in facilitating long-term growth. After all, as Amazon points out, "If you receive negative feedback, it is important to quickly determine the cause of the problem and to work toward resolving it." In other words, feedback is not the problem - it's a symptom of a problem.

So, how can you develop a process to learn from customer feedback? For starters, it's a good idea to enable FeedbackFive's email/text alerts, so you can immediately know when poor ratings occur. You should also make a practice of reading buyer comments in feedback (both positive and negative). For example, let's imagine that you received the following feedback ratings. What can you learn from each?

1-Star Rating Comment: "I tried to contact the seller to make a return, but he never responded. Very frustrated!"

Key takeaways: Did the customer actually try to contact you? If so, how did you overlook the message? What systems can you put into place to avoid such oversights in the future? Is it too late to solve the issue? (Customers have 60 days to remove negative ratings.)

5-Star Rating Comment: "Great product for a fair price. This seller went above and beyond to provide fast delivery and excellent packaging. One of the best sellers on Amazon."

Key takeaways: Was this order fulfilled by you or was this an FBA order? If it was an FBA order, should you consider sending more stock for Amazon to fulfill? If you fulfilled the order, what did you do differently on this shipment? Should you consider thanking the customer for such high marks?

Feedback is a Reflection of You

Sure, you're an Amazon merchant. You spend most of your day looking at inventory data and monitoring your order volume. With such a busy schedule and so many moving parts to manage, simply running your business consumes a significant portion of your daily brain power. But is this really the extent of who you are as a person? Of course not!

Your Amazon feedback rating is not only a measure of your business - it's a reflection of who you are as a person. You care about making people happy. You take great pride in delivering excellent customer service. Each new feedback is one small affirmation of this.

Simply put, your feedback score (especially in the long run) offers buyers a glimpse into how you (and your staff) treat others.

Make the Most of Amazon Feedback

Whether you're looking to win the Buy Box more often or just trying to up your game, seller feedback is an integral part of the Amazon equation. By leveraging FeedbackFive (get your free trial), you give yourself every possible opportunity to achieve these goals.

Originally published on June 2, 2017, updated August 14, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.