Success and failure on the Amazon marketplace is determined by a mere handful of stars.

Reputation concerns almost every Amazon seller, big or small, new or old. But more than the others, private-label sellers rely on their reputations to sustain their businesses. The more unknown a brand is, the harder they have to work to prove themselves.

As Richard Branson puts it, “your brand name is only as good as your reputation.” For private-label sellers — and all other Amazon merchants, for that matter — a reputation is a bit more concrete, and can be calculated from the cumulated feedback, reviews, ratings, penalties and sales performance. This makes reputation management more technical, with its own established list of best practices.

In this article, I’ll share some of those tried-and-true best practices for reputation management. But first, let’s take a fresh look at why reputation is so important for private-label sellers.

How Reputation Makes or Breaks Private Labels

Shoppers trust the word of their peers more than the word of self-promoting brands. That, in a nutshell, is the power of reputation in the Amazon marketplace.

Buyer reviews, the building blocks of your Amazon reputation, have an enormous impact on whether or not new shoppers decide to buy. Reviews can even be more influential than the product itself. Just take a look at these statistics:

And those stats don’t cover the impact Amazon reviews have on SEO and SERPs. For one thing, Amazon.com Inc. (“Amazon”) prioritizes well-reviewed and high-traffic pages in their search results. But even deeper, more reviews mean more words on your page, which makes it more likely for SEO keywords and long-tail phrases to appear naturally.

But more specific to private-label sellers is winning the coveted Buy Box for their product. Even if you’re the only seller for your item, you may not own the Buy Box.

Private-label reputation management is a bit of a specialty for eComEngine: president and founder Jay Lagarde, an eCommerce aficionado, was invited to speak at the 2016 European Private Label Summit (you can see his video interview with Augustas Kligys here). I wanted to share some of his firsthand advice on private-label reputation management, so check out the three tips below.

1. Register Your Trademarks

The first step towards a good reputation is essentially not having a bad reputation. Registering your trademarks is a must for private-label sellers. This legitimizes your brand both within Amazon and beyond. A registered trademark also provides legal defense, especially if another seller tries using a similar trademark.

Your trademark should be customized and distinctive from all over rival trademarks. This both sets you apart from the other sellers on Amazon, and increases your chances of receiving a patent.

2. Proactively Solicit Reviews

As mentioned above, product reviews have a great influence over shoppers. Getting reviews, however, proves a great challenge to all online merchants, private label or otherwise.

Statistically speaking, many buyers will ignore your message, so you have to reach out to a lot of people to get an adequate amount of responses. The more people you have to reach out to, the more tedious this becomes; but the more reviews you get, the more your sales increase. That’s why it might be more economical to use a reputation management tool like FeedbackFive instead of sending these messages manually.

FeedbackFive helps you save time by managing your customer outreach. It also generates daily reports to keep you posted on the state of your reviews. Click here to try it for free now.

Moreover, FeedbackFive sends you direct notifications when you receive negative ratings so you can address them promptly. This provides a huge leap forward for the next tip…

3. Conduct Damage Control on Negative Feedback

Last, your reputation will always be threatened by negative, or even neutral, seller feedback. That’s why you should make efforts to deal with less-than-stellar ratings in the healthiest ways possible.

For starters, you can have Amazon remove seller feedback if their comments…

  • … use profanity or obscenity.
  • … disclose personal information about the seller.
  • … dwell solely on a review of the product and nothing else.
  • … refer only to fulfillment or customer service on an order fulfilled by Amazon.

If none of those apply to your feedback, you can always contact the buyer directly and appeal to them to take down the post within 60 days of publishing it. This also gives you the chance to rectify the problem personally and turn an unhappy customer into a happy one.

Sometimes these workarounds aren’t enough, though, and the buyer will refuse to remove their comment. In this case, you want to reply to the feedback publically in a way that’s “professional and positive.” Present your side of the story and offer appropriate apologies or explanations, and leave it up to the shoppers to decide.

To respond to seller feedback, go to your Seller Account and click “Manage your Ratings and Feedback” under the Reports heading.

Branding Your Private Label

You have your work cut out for you to build a trustworthy reputation as a private label seller. But stick to the fundamentals (and maybe get help from a reputation management tool) and you’ll do just fine. And remember…Branson’s quote about your brand only being as good as its reputation is a two-way street. Likewise, your reputation can only be as good as your brand.

Matt Ellis

Matt Ellis is a freelance online content creator, specializing in eCommerce, content marketing, branding and web design. For over a decade he’s been sharing his industry knowledge through eBooks, website copy and blog posts. You can learn more about his work here.