How Well Do You Know Your Market?

by Colleen Quattlebaum

"It's important to understand your market, and there are few better ways to understand the market for your product than to see what people are saying on Amazon," says Jay Lagarde.

As president and founder of eComEngine, Jay Lagarde is well versed in the world of eCommerce. In fact, he recently spoke about the importance of product reviews, private-label branding, and more at the European Private Label Summit. (You can watch Jay's conversation with Augustas Kligys here.)

In this post, we'll share some highlights from their exchange.

Providing Buyer Assurance

Seller feedback and reviews have been an integral part of the Amazon marketplace since about 2006. That’s when Lagarde, who already had extensive experience working in internet technology, got interested in eCommerce. He realized that by integrating feedback and reviews into their platform,, Inc. (“Amazon”) was gaining a leg up on competitors.

Product reviews and feedback from real customers provide the perspective and social proof that was once missing from the eCommerce world. “Amazon has always been driven by the buyer perspective. What they want to do is provide assurance to the buyers that they know who they’re buying from and what they’re buying,” says Lagarde. This type of assurance is a key reason that Amazon has become a trusted platform for product research, with many buyers beginning their search for new items directly on the site. Buyers rely on Amazon to vet sellers and ensure product quality.

Private-Label Product Reviews and Feedback

While feedback is essential for all eCommerce sellers, it’s even more important for private-label sellers, notes Jay. Feedback can impact seller eligibility for the Buy Box. It can also help private-label sellers build their brands. Perhaps most significantly, feedback demonstrates a seller’s reputation with both customers and with Amazon. Positive feedback can provide the edge a seller needs to stand out from the crowd.

Product reviews are also important for brand owners because they offer an opportunity for sellers to receive feedback about their products. While it’s always fun to receive positive feedback, sometimes negative feedback can highlight areas for product improvement. “You not only need to watch how your product is doing, you need to look at what kind of reviews your competitors within your particular space are getting, as well,” says Lagarde.

To help merchants monitor feedback, reviews and competitive data, Jay's company offers a suite of solutions including FeedbackFive, RestockPro and MarketScout. Learn more about those tools here.

Apart from feedback and reviews, eComEngine enables sellers to keep an eye on the competition with an automated market intelligence tool, MarketScout, that offers insight into sales rank, number of FBA sellers, and much more.

Proactive Feedback Management

Buyers expect everything to go well with their purchases. That’s why they’re often more likely to leave feedback on their own accord if they are unhappy. To soften the impact of negative feedback, many sellers reach out to buyers to solicit feedback. Simply asking for feedback from buyers can increase your positive feedback, which can build a buffer to prevent a single negative feedback from wrecking your seller reputation. Consider the following examples:

  • A seller with 200 5-Star feedbacks receives a 1-Star feedback, and the rating drops from 100% to 99.5%.
  • A seller with 10 5-Star feedbacks receives a 1-Star feedback, and the rating drops from 100% to 90%.

The first seller will obviously find reputation management much easier, since one negative feedback will make a significantly smaller impact on buyer satisfaction ratings. The second seller will have some extra work to do to improve feedback ratings.

Buyers like to see that a company cares about them, Lagarde notes. Be attentive and proactive when addressing negative feedback.  Amazon wants you to develop a relationship with your customers. After all, a positive relationship with buyers can lead to more sales—a win for you as well as Amazon.

Watch the Conversation

Jay launched FeedbackFive, the first hosted reputation management tool for Amazon sellers, in 2009 after years of providing custom solutions for eCommerce sellers. FeedbackFive makes managing your reputation on Amazon easier with automatic feedback solicitation, product review monitoring, alerts for negative feedback, and much more. You can sign up for a free trial here.

To learn more about private-label branding and feedback management, watch Jay’s European Private Label Summit conversation here.

Originally published on October 12, 2016, updated April 26, 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.