Understanding Amazon Seller Ratings
by Colleen Quattlebaum, on March 3, 2017
Amazon sellers are graded in a lot of different ways.
In addition to the direct feedback provided by customers, merchants also receive a slew of ratings from Amazon itself.
In this post, we'll explore how Amazon seller ratings impact your business - and what to do about them.
The Complicated Story of the Amazon Seller Rating
A few years ago, Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") introduced the "Amazon Seller Rating," a metric intended to measure overall customer satisfaction from your buyers. As Amazon pointed out when unveiling this feature, "Your Seller Rating information is intended to help you identify customer service improvements that could lead to more satisfied buyers and a better rating for you. The rating is scored on a scale of 0 to 100 (Example: 95.00/100). "
Then, in late 2015, Amazon abruptly removed this metric from the seller dashboard. As evidenced by the forums, many sellers were confused why the rating was discontinued. To this day, if you search for "Amazon Seller Rating," you're likely to find this support page, which makes it seem as though the rating is still live.
So, how was this rating calculated? Although only Amazon knows the weight it placed on each input, we do know that the following considerations were factored into the equation:
- Speed of response to customer inquiries
- On-time shipping
- Order cancellations
- A-to-z claims
- Customer feedback (specifically negative feedback)
To determine your total Seller Rating (the best being 100 points), Amazon averaged the quality scores from each order over the previous 365 days. (To this date, each order is still individually assigned a point value, also out of 100 points.)
When assigning a point value for each order, Amazon considers certain issues to be more severe than others. For example, an order resulting in an A-to-z claim would be penalized more severely than a late shipment. Conversely, you can also receive bonus points (up to 10 per order) for providing service above and beyond the norm.
Sellers looking to improve their order ratings should look here for tips from Amazon. Specifically regarding feedback, Amazon recommends avoiding 1-star or 2-star feedbacks by:
- Keeping plenty of inventory on hand
- Implementing systems to ensure on-time delivery
- Regularly reviewing product listings for quality images and descriptive text
- Publishing your support email and phone number on your profile
- Providing courteous, relevant and helpful communication to customers
Other Important Metrics
What other ways are sellers rated by Amazon? Here are just a few:
- Perfect order percentage - how often you knock it out of the park
- Order defect rate - how often you screw up (negative feedback, chargebacks, etc.)
- Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate - how often you run out of stock
- Late shipment rate - how often you fail to hit the "expected ship date"
- Refund rate - how often you issue refunds
- Valid tracking rate - how often you remember to provide shipment tracking info
- Customer service dissatisfaction rate - how often you fail to solve a customer's problem
- Response times under 24 hours - how often you respond within a day's time
- Late responses - how often you take too long to respond
- Average response time - the number of hours and minutes you usually take to respond
- Return dissatisfaction rate - how often you mess up returns
- Negative feedback rate - how often your orders result in negative feedback
- Feedback rating - how often you receive positive feedback
- ...and many others still in "beta"
While we could spend all day examining each metric in great detail, let's take a closer look at these two (since we're a feedback-minded company): "negative feedback rate" and "feedback rating."
Negative Feedback Rate: Amazon uses the negative feedback rate as an internal (non customer-facing) measure. It is a key component in the order defect rate and can be calculated by dividing orders with negative feedback by the total number of orders for a period. Amazon advises that the best sellers average a 0% negative feedback. However, anything between 0% and 2% is considered "great." Anything greater than 5% is cause for concern.
Feedback Rating: The feedback rating is what most sellers think of when discussing customer ratings. Based on a 100-point percentage scale, a seller's feedback rating is visible to the entire world. By visiting a merchant's seller profile page, a prospective customer can instantly review the frequency of positive (along with neutral and negative) feedback over the past 30, 90 and 365 days. A lifetime count is also visible. Buyers commonly refer to this metric, especially when comparing vendors.
Amazon also factors feedback rating into its Buy Box algorithm, which is one reason why so many sellers use FeedbackFive (get your free 14-day trial) to strategically increase their ratings. Instead of hoping for positive feedback, Amazon merchants can use our cloud-based tool to automate their solicitation and follow-up processes. As feedback starts to roll in, FeedbackFive also tracks the impact on your feedback rating. Visualize trends, monitor open rates and optimize your campaigns for maximum ROI.
In addition to increasing positive feedback, FeedbackFive can also help you minimize your negative feedback rate. Because Amazon allows buyers to remove negative feedback (within a 60-day window of leaving feedback), FeedbackFive can prove to be an invaluable tool. Within moments of receiving negative feedback, FeedbackFive can alert you (via email or SMS text) of the problem. This gives you plenty of time to evaluate the situation, contact the buyer (or Amazon if appropriate), resolve the situation and request feedback removal. Use our intuitive dashboard as your virtual workspace to capture notes and plan your next move.
Achieve Better Ratings
In summary, Amazon sellers like you are under a lot of pressure to perform. With metrics that track everything from on-time shipping to feedback scores, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Before getting too stressed out, take a deep breath and maintain a positive perspective. After all, you're in the business of wowing your customers.
Keep up the great work, continuously implement best-in-class systems (like FeedbackFive) and all of the numbers should naturally fall into place.