Feedback Solicitation Best Practices
by Becky Trowbridge, on April 9, 2018
Seller feedback allows Amazon buyers to provide their perspective regarding the buying experience associated with an order. As an Amazon merchant, you probably already know that seller feedback is an important metric that can impact your business, from earning the trust of future buyers to improving your odds of winning the Buy Box. In this blog post, we’ll share several best practices related to seller feedback and feedback solicitation.
Defining Seller Feedback
Today, Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) uses a star rating system for seller feedback with one star as the lowest rating and five stars as the highest. Each seller’s average star rating is displayed on their Amazon seller profile.
Buyers can leave feedback about their experience purchasing from your store. When leaving seller feedback, they are asked:
- if the item arrived on time
- if the item matches its description (is "as described")
- if you provided prompt and courteous service if they contacted you
Buyers are also invited to share a comment about their purchasing experience. They might be thrilled with buying from you, or they may provide insight regarding changes that you could make to improve the buying experience. Either way, this perspective is invaluable to a professional Amazon seller.
What about feedback that isn’t related to the buying experience or violates an Amazon guideline? Feedback that falls into one of these categories may be removed at Amazon’s discretion. Feedback that contains obscene/abusive language, promotional content, personal information and/or a product review could be considered for removal, according to their guidelines.
Follow the Rules
As a best practice, Amazon encourages sellers to send a feedback request to buyers. However, it’s important to be aware of Amazon’s guidelines and avoid violating them. The need to have a thorough understanding of these guidelines is a responsibility no seller should take lightly. After all, no one sets out to have their account suspended, but violating Amazon’s guidelines could put your account in hot water.
- You cannot contact a buyer for marketing or promotional purposes.
- Your message cannot include links to any websites.
- You may not link to Amazon detail pages or storefronts.
- Do not include your logo if it contains or displays a link to your website.
- You cannot promote additional products or refer buyers to third-party products or promotions.
Imagine that your daughter’s teacher purchased an item from you on the Amazon marketplace and then received an order confirmation, a delivery confirmation and possibly even a generic feedback request (all from Amazon), followed by feedback or product review requests from you. The teacher merely wanted to make a purchase because he was intrigued by your latest product after your daughter brought it to the class for show and tell last month. Now he’s been inundated with messages about a single online transaction in addition to all of the grading and other tasks he needs to manage.
Your customers are real people, and they might even be people that you interact with in your daily life. While it’s unlikely that you’ll ever meet most of your buyers, it’s essential to write to them as though you might. Treat your customers the way you’d like to be treated.
Make the Subject Clear
Your subject line is key to the success of your feedback request message. Make sure the subject is clear and relevant to the message. (You can use FeedbackFive’s shortcut tags to include the name of the product or even an emoticon in the subject line, which can increase open rates.) Since 47% of email recipients open messages based on the subject line, it’s important to make sure that yours is effective.
Write a Well-Crafted Feedback Request
Your message should be friendly and concise. Use proper grammar and check your spelling. A message that is sloppily dashed off could make buyers see your business as unprofessional or lazy. Avoid making buyers read between the lines to figure out what you are asking of them; be sure that your call-to-action is very clear and polite. You may find it helpful to include a brief background of your company and to explain why seller feedback matters.
One well-written email can generate great results for your Amazon business.
You should test everything from when you send your message to what subject line you use. To do this, you can copy your templates in FeedbackFive and then change one element to see what performs best over time. For example, you could try using the same message with two different subject lines. Avoid testing more than one piece of your feedback request message at once so that you’ll be able to determine exactly what is (and isn’t) working in your current messaging. The results may surprise you!
Enlist a good friend or acquaintance who will be truthful with you to read your feedback solicitation message. Get their perspective and use their advice to hone your messaging. A well-crafted feedback solicitation message can accelerate your Amazon business, so it really is worth taking the time to make sure you’ve set it up well.
After refining your message, you’ll want to test it for desktop and mobile. Litmus's Email Market Share 2017 post reported that mobile is the most popular platform for reading email, and that mobile opens count for about half of all email opens. If you’re using images, make sure that they are formatted correctly for tablets and mobile phones.
Timing is Everything
Sellers frequently ask us about the best time to send a feedback request message. While there is no definitive answer, we’re happy to share some general observations. After all, we’ve helped Amazon sellers get more than 50 million positive feedbacks since our tool was created in 2009, so it’s safe to say that we have a little experience in this matter.
Generally, it makes sense to send a seller feedback solicitation shortly after an item is successfully delivered. Based on our discussions about email timing with users who experience better-than-average open rates, it appears that seller feedback messages sent 3-8 days after the order date are the most successful. (With Pro + plans, you can use FeedbackFive’s delivery timing rule to send your message after the item has been delivered. Otherwise, if you’re using the FBA program, you’ll probably want to send your message 5-7 days after the order date. If you’re fulfilling orders, try sending your message 2-3 days after the estimated delivery date.)
Tuesday through Friday tend to be good days to send seller feedback solicitation messages, but that can vary, so feel free to experiment to find what works best for your business. Messages sent in the morning before 8:30 or around 6:00 in the evening appear to perform well for FeedbackFive users.
Respond Quickly to Negative Feedback
While most seller feedback is positive, the occasional negative feedback can really wreak havoc on your seller reputation. FeedbackFive offers text/email alerts for negative or neutral feedback to keep you informed and ready to act quickly to protect your seller reputation.
Amazon customers expect the very best in customer service. After all, they have been trained to expect fast delivery, quality products and good packaging. If you do happen to receive a negative feedback, it is in your best interest to act quickly. By providing best-in-class customer service, you may be able to turn your negative feedback into a positive. It can be frustrating to occasionally have to operate at a loss, which can happen if you need to provide a free replacement item for one that was damaged, etc. However, this gesture can pay off in huge dividends for your Amazon business. A negative feedback turned positive can show potential buyers that you really do care about their purchase experience.
We're Here to Help
Here at eComEngine (creator of FeedbackFive), we are committed to your success on the Amazon marketplace. If you have questions about feedback, check out our Help Center or contact our top-rated Customer Success team. We hope this list of best practices helps you, and that you'll have your best feedback season ever!
As the Business Development Lead for eComEngine, Liz Fickenscher is committed to providing valuable information to Amazon Sellers through blog posts and informational webinars. Liz is the affiliate ambassador, engaging with customers and strategic partners to build relationships between eComEngine and the eCommerce industry.