Amazon Feedback Rating: Why It Matters
by Colleen Quattlebaum, on February 11, 2017
Amazon merchants are graded in a number of areas.
Order defects, cancellation rates, return satisfaction and on-time shipping are just a few of the seller metrics that Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) keeps close watch over.
With so many benchmarks to track, what makes a seller’s Amazon feedback rating noteworthy?
In this post, we’ll share a few thoughts on why the Amazon feedback rating is among the most important statistics for sellers to cultivate.
What Criteria Does Amazon Use?
Generally speaking, when sellers ask us about improving their “Amazon feedback rating,” they’re usually talking about their overall score out of 5.0 stars. (It is worth noting, however, that Amazon also tracks other feedback-related calculations, such as the negative feedback rate.) As you probably know, customers have the option to review merchant performance for each transaction. A merchant's current feedback score therefore reflects the average of all rated transactions.
Although assigning a star rating to transactions can at first glance seem somewhat arbitrary, Amazon does offer the following guidance to customers:
- 1 star = "awful"
- 2 stars = "poor"
- 3 stars = "fair"
- 4 stars = "good"
- 5 stars = "excellent"
Digging a bit deeper, Amazon also reminds customers to keep seller feedback and comments focused on the buying experience. For example, packaging, shipping, professionalism and communication are all fair game. However, if a customer bases his seller's rating on the product's performance, Amazon will likely remove the feedback. (Amazon will also "strikethrough" the feedback if it is entirely about packaging and delivery AND it was an FBA order. In this case, a comment will be added to indicate that the feedback was Amazon's responsibility and it will no longer affect the seller's score. However, the stricken feedback will still be visible to buyers.) Foul, offensive, or promotional language is also not permitted.
Why is the Amazon Feedback Rating Important?
Amazon is not shy about pointing out the importance of a strong seller feedback rating. As the company points out in this guide, "Your feedback rating is one of the most important measures buyers use when making purchasing decisions."
Aside from taking Amazon's word for it, what proof do sellers have that feedback is important? Here are a few things to consider:
Feedback influences Buy Box position - It's no secret that Amazon uses seller feedback (among other factors) to determine Buy Box share. All things being equal, the seller with the better feedback usually gets the sale.
Feedback impacts your relationship with Amazon - In the case of seller suspension, Amazon does factor feedback into its decision to revoke seller privileges.
Feedback adds intangible business value - Competitively speaking, each new feedback received by a seller provides further differentiation in an ever-growing pool of third-party sellers. By capturing feedback today, sellers can be one step ahead of current and future competitors.
Feedback influences non-Buy Box orders - Yes, believe it or not, some customers bypass the Buy Box and consider "Other Sellers on Amazon." Feedback is particularly compelling in such circumstances.
How Can I Improve My Score?
Amazon doesn't beat around the bush. In fact, the company asserts that "To be a competitive seller, you must build up your feedback score."
How does a merchant do that?
For starters, Amazon advises that sellers gain an in-depth understanding of its recommended best practices. This guide is packed full of helpful links, FAQs, tips and insights for running your Amazon business. Amazon also suggests merchants operate by the "Golden Rule," putting themselves in the shoes of their buyers. Considering that the average merchant has purchased many items on the Amazon marketplace, this step should not be too difficult.
Unfortunately, the digital age we live in has caused consumers to simply expect best-in-class service. With such high customer expectations to meet, the merchant who hopes for feedback to naturally roll in is being a bit naive. For this reason, Amazon permits sellers to solicit feedback from buyers, so long as there is no pressure applied and no incentive offered.
Some merchants start by manually soliciting feedback by logging in to their Seller Central accounts. While better than nothing, this approach quickly becomes unmanageable as order volume grows. For a more automated workflow, many merchants use our FeedbackFive tool. Since inventing automated feedback management for Amazon merchants back in 2009, customers have used our tool to proactively manage their seller reputations. FeedbackFive automates the many time-intensive aspects of feedback solicitation, including: emailing customers, tracking feedback received, negative feedback monitoring and much more. A wide variety of filtering rules help sellers get the data they need quickly.
Protect Your Amazon Feedback Rating
Whether you decide to take a proactive or passive approach to Amazon feedback management, one thing is true: your Amazon feedback rating matters.
For sellers looking to automate their feedback efforts, try FeedbackFive today. Sign up for a risk-free trial and see what our software can do for your business!