sellers-guide-amazon-review

Get Amazon Reviews: A Seller's Guide 

Reviews are vital for any business that sells on Amazon. This guide aims to tell you everything you need to know about Amazon reviews, starting with:

What are Amazon Reviews?

An Amazon review is a public rating of the buyer's satisfaction with a particular product. Based on a five-star scale, reviews can be provided in the form of a written explanation or video. Since the company's founding, Amazon has amassed millions of high-quality reviews from shoppers across the globe, making it the most prolific source of consumer-generated product information in the world.

As pointed out in our Amazon feedback guide, reviews are different than seller feedback. Many people use the terms "feedback" and "review" interchangeably, but, in the strictest sense, an Amazon review should only reflect the buyer's experience with the product itself - not the seller.

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Why Are Reviews So Important?

Here's how Amazon reviews can impact your business.

Convert More Clicks to Orders

Quality reviews help increase product search rankings, which allows more buyers to discover your product, increasing your sales potential. Buyers are more likely to purchase a product that has good reviews, so getting your first few reviews soon after a product launch is crucial.

Improve Your Existing Products

Customer reviews can provide useful data for improving your products. Learn what's working and what needs to be improved straight from your customers. Look for the types of comments and suggestions that appear most frequently in your reviews, then consider how you might be able to implement them.

Identify New Product Opportunities

Want to differentiate your products by creating kits or bundles? Looking to add a new product line? Your reviews provide a wealth of information about what buyers want, directly from buyers. Keeping tabs on this data can help you identify the types of opportunities that could take your business to the next level.

Enhance Your Inventory Planning

Customer reviews can help you predict how well a product will sell. If you're seeing a steady stream of great reviews, it's a sign that your product is a hit. Plan accordingly when restocking to avoid stockouts. If you notice a drop in reviews, it's time to take a closer look at your product.

Measure Customer Satisfaction

As an Amazon seller, one of your main goals is to ensure that buyers are happy with your products. Reviews give you the opportunity to find out exactly what customers think of your items. These reactions provide invaluable information and may even help you identify new use cases.

Help Buyers Make Decisions

Amazon customers trust reviews to make purchasing decisions. In fact, over 90% of shoppers read online ratings before making a purchase. In a digital marketplace, buyers can't physically evaluate items. Product reviews provide vital information for Amazon shoppers.

Increase Organic A9 Search Rankings

The Amazon A9 algorithm determines where products are shown in Amazon search results. Getting reviews on a regular basis and having a history of good Amazon reviews both factor into that algorithm. Ranking on the first page of Amazon's search results increases your chance of making a sale.

Build Your Brand

If you are a Brand Registered seller, Amazon reviews provide social proof that help you establish and boost your brand. Whether you sell private label items or white label products, an increase in product reviews can significantly impact your bottom line.

Product vs. Customer Reviews

Some experts say "product reviews" while others say "customer reviews." Still others simply say "Amazon reviews." What's the difference? Actually, there's no difference. Each variation is referring to the exact same product rating system on Amazon.

Even Amazon utilizes different terminology. For example, this Seller Central page Amazon uses the term "customer product reviews" but this page mentions "product reviews." Several customer-facing pages use the term "customer reviews." Clearly, any of these terms are acceptable when discussing Amazon reviews.

Another term worth noting here is "Verified Purchase Review." These reviews are provided by Amazon customers who purchased your product directly from the marketplace. Unverified reviews can be left by anyone, but they do not rank as well in Amazon's algorithm.

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Tips for Getting More Amazon Reviews

Here's how to get more reviews for your Amazon products.

Start With a Great Product

It's deceptively simple, but having a product that provides a good experience for the buyer is the first step to getting more reviews. Buyers are most motivated to share their thoughts when they have a very positive or negative experience. Aim high when developing or selecting your products.

Send a Polite Review Request

The best way to get more product reviews is to ask for them. You can do this by clicking on the Request a Review button in Seller Central, by sending a polite review request through Buyer-Seller Messaging or by using software such as FeedbackFive. 

Make it Easy to Leave a Review

Everyone is busy. Even a customer who had an exceptional experience with your product might not remember to leave a review without a request from you. Don't make the buyer do all the work! Providing a review for your product should be simple. Consider including a link directly to the product review page in your message to the buyer.

Do Your Due Diligence

Test your products extensively before launching them on the Amazon marketplace. Consider third-party testing as well, especially if your product could cause harm if it is not performing properly. Ensure that your product instructions and warranty are clear and easy to understand.

Enroll in Amazon Reviewer Programs

You can increase the odds of getting your first five reviews quickly by enrolling in the Amazon Early Reviewer program.  Amazon vendors can pay to participate in the Amazon Vine program to get reviews from Vine Voices.

Consider Including a Product Image

Including an image of your product in a product review request message can help buyers quickly identify your item. This type of visual cue increases the likelihood that a customer will take the time to leave a review. Keep your message short and simple. As always, be sure to follow all Amazon communication guidelines when requesting a product review.

International Marketplaces

Amazon has 14 marketplaces across North and South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. Examples include Amazon.com, Amazon.de, Amazon.in and Amazon.com.au among others. A product's reputation on one marketplace is not transferrable to a different marketplace. In other words, if you're selling internationally, it's important to get Amazon reviews from buyers in each country where your product is available. Be sure to use professionally translated messages when requesting reviews in other marketplaces.

For example, let's say that enroll your top-selling product in the Amazon Global Selling program to reach customers in Canada and Mexico. You've already received hundreds of Amazon.com product reviews from satisfied buyers in the United States. To maximize the item's international visibility, however, you will now need to develop a process to get reviews from buyers on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.mx.

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What the Experts Say

Top sellers, Amazon consultants and industry experts understand the importance of product reviews. Consistently monitoring reviews and requesting reviews while staying compliant are industry best practices. Here's what a few of the experts had to say about reviews.

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“It is important that you regularly check the reviews that customers are writing about your products. As a seller you should be responding to negative reviews as well as listening to what the customer is saying, as it could help you improve your products and service.”
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Carina McLeod
Founder, eCommerceNurse

“The more reviews you have, and the better those reviews are, the higher your products are going to rank in Amazon’s algorithm system. The higher the number of stars and the higher the rating, the greater your conversion rate is going to be.”
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Shannon Roddy
Founder, Marketplace Seller Courses

“Trust in product reviews is essential to Amazon’s success. Our tool is designed to help you save time when you ask buyers for product reviews, but it’s important to make sure that you are acting in accordance with Amazon’s guidelines at all times.”
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Louis Mizzell
Product Manager, FeedbackFive 

“You need to be sure you continue to receive reviews over the life of your product. Keeping reviews current is important to Amazon and its customers.”
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Liz Adamson
Founder, egility

“Customer reviews heavily impact other customers' purchase decisions, and incorporating these into the listing is a key factor in converting sales.”
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Becky Kin
Managing Director, ListingBaby

Policies, Guidelines & Compliance

Amazon allows sellers to request product reviews, but it's important to understand and follow the rules when doing so.

Never Offer Incentives for Reviews

In October 2016, Amazon banned incentivized reviews. As an Amazon seller, you cannot offer any type of financial compensation, free products, deep discounts, coupons or other rewards in exchange for a product review. Do not participate in social media review groups either.

Don't Review Your Own Product

Amazon prohibits you, your family and your employees from reviewing your products as well as competitor's products. Reviewing your product or a competitor's is a form of review manipulation, which makes sense. After all, the goal of reviews is to provide unbiased information that will help other buyers.

Ask Only Once

Don't overwhelm Amazon buyers with product review requests. Instead, send one well-written, courteous request and keep it simple. This increases the odds that the buyer will share their product experience, which helps Amazon maintain a healthy product review ecosystem for all customers.

Never Ask for a Positive Review

Do not ask buyers to leave a positive review for your product. You should always ask for product reviews in a neutral manner. Avoid using if/then statements such as "If you love your widget, leave us a review on Amazon." 

Avoid Marketing Messages or Promotions

You can send a product review request message to buyers, but you cannot include any type of marketing messages or promotions. You are prohibited from linking to any website, including your Amazon storefront. Do not include an opt-out link or any links in logos. If you want use your logo, it cannot include your URL.

Don't Manipulate Reviews

Never create variation relationships between products with the intention of manipulating reviews. Attempting to boost an item's star rating via review aggregation is also review manipulation. Do not attempt to divert negative customer experiences away from Amazon while asking buyers with positive experiences to leave a review for your product.

Monitoring, Tracking & Alerting

Amazon encourages sellers to "monitor reviews regularly and reach out to customers to resolve product or service issues." This, of course, begs the question: What is the best way to monitor and track Amazon reviews?

Currently, Amazon does not notify sellers or brands when new customer reviews are published. As a result, some go to the effort of manually checking product detail pages for new reviews on a daily basis. This might be feasible for sellers or brands with a handful of ASINs, but, in the long run, it is not a scalable approach for growth-minded companies that sell on Amazon.

Leveraging Amazon review software, such as FeedbackFive, can be a more efficient way to stay on top of product reviews. FeedbackFive continuously monitors all of your ASINs and notifies you (via text message and/or email) within moments of an issue that requires your attention.

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Responding to Product Reviews

Responding to customer reviews quickly can help you provide the great service needed to turn a negative experience around. (Note: Sellers should never ask buyers to change a product review on Amazon.) Getting text or email alerts when you receive a negative review can enable you and your team to take action.

Commenting on reviews is a great way to show future buyers that you are paying attention to your products. Comment on each of your reviews (positive and negative alike) to publicly thank the buyer for sharing their experience. You cannot contact buyers about their reviews apart from commenting on the review itself. Be sure that you always follow Amazon's Community Guidelines in all buyer communication.

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Is Review Removal Possible?

Yes, Amazon allows customers to change or remove their reviews at any time. However, sellers cannot ask buyers to edit or remove their reviews. If a review violates Amazon's community guidelines, Amazon may remove the review. So, what can you do if you receive an unwarranted negative review?

Make an attempt to resolve the buyer's issue with your product, but be aware that it may not lead to an updated review. Buyers do not have to remove or change their review, even when the problem is resolved. Never attempt to ask or influence a buyer to change their review.

Amazon recommends posting a comment on any review that you want to respond to, making sure that your comment complies with the Community Guidelines. Commenting on reviews is a best practice that shows future shoppers that you are listening to what buyers have to say.

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What to Do About Negative Reviews

Hey, negative reviews happen sometimes. Here's how to handle them.

Respond Professionally

Negative reviews can really hurt. It's hard not to take them personally, but try to view them as a learning experience. When you receive the inevitable negative rating, be sure to respond in a professional manner and attempt to resolve the problem if you can. Train your employees to respond in the same way.

Report Abusive Reviews

Amazon does not allow buyers to post "abusive or inappropriate" language. Buyers are also not allowed to share "personal information about a transaction partner." If you receive an abusive review that violates Amazon's Community Guidelines, you can report it to Amazon for potential removal.

Learn What's Not Working

Negative reviews can actually be very useful for your Amazon business. Look for common concerns and work with your supplier to resolve them. Advice from unsatisfied customers can show you what you need to fix. Negative reviews can also signal the end of a product life cycle or highlight opportunities to innovate.

Know It Will Be Okay

You want positive reviews, but that doesn't mean you must only have 5-star ratings. In fact, while positive reviews are obviously a boon to your business, a product review rating that is too close to perfect might scare some buyers away. The occasional negative review can actually help your business.

Improve Your Amazon Listing

Sometimes negative reviews can mean that it's time to revisit your product description. Are you experiencing negative ratings for failure to meet buyer expectations? Revise your listing to ensure that all variations and dimensions are described effectively. Consider including FAQs to answer common questions.

Retire Problematic Products

The occasional negative review is bound to pop up. However, if you regularly receive negative reviews for the same product, it might be time to remove it from your lineup. That's especially true if you've already tried to make improvements to the product and listing. Not every product is a winner, and sometimes it's better to refocus your effort on a new product.

Data & Analytics

Unlike Amazon feedback, which can be downloaded from Seller Central, review data is not easily accessible to merchants. Some sellers maintain review data in documents or spreadsheets (such as our free template for Microsoft Excel). Although this approach is certainly better than nothing, spreadsheets can be prone to error, costly to maintain and divert your attention away from growth-oriented activities like product sourcing, private labeling, bundling and advertising.

A more scalable approach leverages Amazon product review software, such as our FeedbackFive tool. Review software eliminates the time-consuming tasks involved with ASIN monitoring, delivering in-depth data analytics that are kept current in near real-time. Colorful charts and graphs bring your review data to life, making it easier to make informed decisions about buyer preferences and satisfaction trends on Amazon.

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Additional Resources

Check out our other resources for getting (and managing) product reviews on Amazon.

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Amazon Guide
eBook

Expert Liz Adamson shares review tips for private label.

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Review Tracker
Spreadsheet

Use this spreadsheet to track your Amazon reviews.

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Product Reviews
Study

Find out how 625 Amazon merchants use reviews.

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amazon-product-review-request-template
Review Request
Template

Use this free template to help craft your own review request.

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amazon-product-review-compliance-checklist
Review Compliance
Checklist

Is your communication to buyers TOS compliant?

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