Originally published on September 24, 2019, updated June 19, 2020
Find out how Amazon seller feedback and product reviews impact seller success, and how different factors can influence how buyers ultimately rate you and your products in this webinar. You'll learn:
You can watch the webinar above or check out the show notes below for the recap and a full transcript.
Are you making the right impression with Amazon shoppers? Are you maximizing your opportunities to dazzle and delight potential buyers? It can be hard to know if you’re putting your best foot forward, which is why this webinar is a must-see.
Liz Fickenscher hosted a special round table discussion featuring incredible tips and insight from:
In this conversation, you’ll get expert tips for selling on Amazon, from product photos to reviews. You'll also get ideas to make your product listings more visible and improve organic sales.
Amazon is a customer-obsessed company. A few negative feedbacks are not going to kill your seller account, but consistent low ratings can be a really big issue. An important way to prevent this from happening is to give your customers realistic expectations about your product — but how can you do that when they are shopping through a screen?
“In a perfect world we have a year to launch a product, but that never really happens in real life,” Morgans said. “Instead, we tend to get the product up and get it selling and then go back to do what we can to fine-tune it. Perfection can kill any project.” One of the best tips for selling on Amazon is to know where to focus your efforts.
“Photography, image assets, and infographics have become more important,” Morgans continued. “If you sell a product that people don’t intuitively understand, you have to spend more time and effort educating them through photography and images. You want them to see those assets and know immediately what they are buying.” This can go a long way towards preventing complaints and returns.
Another benefit to putting time into having high quality images? “If your product is optimized well - and a big part of that is pictures and reviews - you have a very strong chance of coming up in searches,” said Wolh.
There will be times when customers get confused and leave comments about products in an area designated for seller feedback. It can be frustrating to know a buyer has had a good experience, but that they’ve left their praise in the wrong spot. As a seller, can you reach out to them and ask them to leave a review instead?
“Most of the time, Amazon is going to strike a true product review from your seller feedback. At least, in the past that’s what they’ve done,” said Fickenscher. “You’re not allowed to ask for a product review from a buyer who you know has had a positive experience, so it’s a tricky situation.”
Another no-no? You cannot ever ask anyone to change or modify a negative review. Instead, make an effort to respond to concerns in-line so that other customers and potential buyers can see how the problem was addressed. Not only will this improve confidence in your products, but it can go a long way towards boosting your brand’s image.
If, however, you are receiving a lot of unverified negative reviews, you need to report it to Amazon. If you suspect that a competitor is deliberately trying to hurt your reputation, gather as much evidence as possible (compare your competitor’s address to where the order was delivered, for example) and send it to Amazon.
What if there was a way to find out what your customers like before you even list a product? You’d want to know all about it, right? Pickfu can give you all kinds of insight on buyers’ preferences, without having to conduct hours of market research.
“What Pickfu enables you to do is run a poll,” explained Kohatsu. “And in just a matter of minutes you can poll 50-500 people about just about anything — Is this listing confusing to you? What packaging do you prefer?” You could even share a link to your listing and ask, 'What would you change about this?’ You can really get a sense of how people react in an unbiased way.”
Imagine how much time and money you could save by having this data before your listing goes live. As Kohatsu explained, “We’re not the buyers of the products that we sell, so it’s super important to ask the people who are most likely to buy your product and that’s not your spouse, it’s not your coworkers. It’s people you don’t know.”
Many Amazon sellers invest heavily in an advertising budget without fully understanding the goal. “Advertising on Amazon is actually product placement,” explained Wolh. “If your product is on page 20, Amazon gives you some ability to show up on page one. You can even show up on your competitor’s product listings. It’s a matter of making your listing more visible.”
In order to continue growing, you need to respond to the traffic. “If your product is getting, on a daily basis, hundreds of thousands of impressions and hundreds of clicks, you’ve got to review that data and look at what customers are looking for,” he added. “Which words are converting? Which aren’t? Use those terms, and re-purpose them into really optimal campaigns.”
This recap is just a preview of the information that is packed into this awesome webinar. We know you’re busy, but do yourself a favor and carve an hour out of your day to watch this or read the transcript below. You might have a true light bulb moment — or two!
Liz: Welcome everybody to today's webinar. Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy Q4 to join us today. We're going to get started in about 30 seconds. If you guys have any audio issues, if you have any questions, pop them in the chat. We will be recording today's session. In fact, we are recording right now. It will be emailed to you after the webinar. That's a question that everybody asks at the beginning and the answer is yes. This will be recorded. In addition, if you've got questions throughout the webinar, there's a Q and A section here in Zoom at the bottom of your screen. Go ahead and pop a question there. We're going to try to kind of take questions as we go and we're going to do Q and A as time allows at the end. We have three wonderful presenters to join me today.
Liz: It's going to be a fun panel. We're going to talk about how feedback and reviews impact your seller success. Without further ado, we're going to get started. I'm going to share my screen just so we can do our intros. We're going to talk about, like I said, how feedback and reviews impact seller success. This is our panel. We're going to introduce each other individually because I think it's important that you know who we are and what we do so that you know what you can follow up with us and ask about later. I think that's important. We're going to do an intro, like I said, then we're going to talk about feedback and reviews in this ever changing landscape that is the Amazon marketplace.
Liz: We're going to talk about product images, listing optimization, advertising on Amazon and everything else that's sort of on the front end of things can help you avoid the negative feedbacks and negative product reviews that you might end up getting, but before that, let's meet everybody. I'm Liz Fickenscher. I am the industry liaison for eComEngine. We make smart tools for Amazon sellers. Our flagship tool is FeedbackFive. It helps sellers manage and monitor their seller reputation. RestockPro is an inventory management supply chain tool. MarketScout allows you to research products you might want to sell on Amazon, and coming soon SmartPrice will be a smart algorithmic repricer that I'll tell you more about as soon as possible. Let's meet Kim. Kim, tell everybody about yourself.
Kim: Hi guys. I'm the director of marketing at PickFu. If you don't know what pick through is, it's kind of like an online focus group and what eCom and Amazon sellers use us for basically is to do really quick and dirty market research. You might test your images, you might ask about your product. You might do anything that you could potentially want some feedback on outside of the Amazon marketplace, PickFu is great for that.
Liz: Awesome. It's such a cool, cool, cool thing. Andrew, you're up.
Andrew: Yeah. Hi guys. Thanks for coming and tuning in. I'm Andrew Morgans, founder of Marknology. Marknology has been around for, I've been helping brands on Amazon for eight years, but Marknology has been a company for five and we've been helping brands, A to Z on Amazon since then. We're an agency. We partner with lots of different tools like eComEngine, different advertising tools as well. We use all the tools that are available to us, but essentially we're a team that help brands get through the challenges of selling and growing on Amazon.
Liz: Awesome, and Joel as if you needed an introduction. Tell everybody about yourself.
Andrew: I like the bow tie there.
Joel: We help sellers advertised on Amazon. Advertising on Amazon is a very straightforward but yet complex process. It easily takes up a quarter of your time running your Amazon business, and so many brands and sellers need to outsource to an agency in the same way that a retailer and eCommerce retailer would outsource Google advertising, so we manage your Amazon ads for you.
Liz: That's awesome. Okay. I would like to get started. We are going to just dive into the content. Instead of just showing some slides to you guys the whole time, I want you to see people's faces as they're giving you information. I want you to be able to feel free to ask questions throughout. I want this to be a conversation more than just a whole bunch of information that we just throw at you. First, I want to talk a little bit though about the importance of feedback and reviews because that is sort of the framework of our conversation today. Seller feedback, which has been a metric for a really long time for Amazon sellers is important because Amazon says a seller who maintains a low percentage of negative feedback reflects our customer centric philosophy, so Amazon is a customer obsessed company.
Liz: In addition to those product reviews that are vitally important, you also have the seller feedback metric that you have only but so much control over as an FBA seller. You do have to keep up with your feedback and you have to sort of try to avoid the negative feedback that you can control. Receiving a negative feedback every now and then is not going to kill your seller account, but consistent low ratings can be a really big issue, because feedback rolls up into your ODR, your order defect rate. That's the metric that measures your customer service standards, so it's calculated on the number of times you incur a negative feedback, an A to Z Guarantee Claim or charge back divided by the total number of orders you receive during a particular time period. Your ODR needs to be under 1%, otherwise you could lose your selling privileges, and it says that in Amazon TOS.
Liz: Amazon can also impact the Buy Box. If you're selling a common ease-in as another seller for the same price and you have better feedback, you have a better chance of winning the buy box. Everyone knows that's good, and Amazon doesn't really spell it out anywhere, but we've heard that there's a correlation between how you show up in organic search and your feedback ratings. The threshold is around 96 to 97%, and below that your ranking starts to take a hit as feedback drops. What can lead to negative feedback that you can control? One of the big things is product is not as described. That's different than a product review, buyer not satisfied with product quality. That's different than a product review. Customer service issues, which is something that I talk about a lot and you should really be keeping up with. We're going to focus today mainly on those things that set buyer expectation, and that's your product photos, that's how you create your listing, that's your titles, the secures that you show up for.
Liz: It's the way you structure your advertising. If any of that misleads a buyer, you risk getting bad feedback. As for product reviews, everybody knows how vitally, vitally important they are and by our expectation has a lot to do with how your products are perceived. I wanted to bring these important people to you today because they all have products and services that help you set buyer expectation and exceed buyer expectation before you even get to the sale. Then after the sale, ideally then you're going to definitely not get bad feedback or bad reviews, but you're also going to hopefully get those good feedback and good reviews. I want to start with Kim. You did a great job explaining PickFu, but let's talk a little bit about how helpful it is specifically to Amazon sellers and what are some of the different elements of a listing that a seller can maybe test with PickFu. Do you have any anecdotal info you can share from sellers who have leveraged the PickFu universe?
Kim: Yeah, definitely. Once again, basically what PickFu enables you to do is to run a poll. In just a matter of minutes, you can pull 50 to 500 people, about pretty much anything. You can say, which photo do you prefer, or is this listing confusing to you, or any kind of question like that. Which packaging do you prefer? Is this logo... What do you think of this logo, et cetera. What's nice about PickFu is you can also determine who that audience is. Let's say your product is a wrinkle cream. Maybe you want to target people by age, right? Why would I want to ask a 20 year old about a wrinkle cream? I wouldn't.
Kim: That's one of the nice things about PickFu is that you can really ask for feedback before your listing goes live and before feedback just comes in whether you want it or not, right? What's really nice is, like Liz was saying, before the sale, you can really figure out what your market is thinking, what they think about your various creative assets, whether that be photos or copy packaging, any of those things, you can really get a good sense of how people react to it. You asked about examples, so sellers use all kinds of reasons. Photos is definitely the most common used, but like I said, anything from packaging, to logos, to marketing copy, to the name of the product, which I think is very important, listing information.
Kim: Sometimes people just put up a link to their listing and say, "Hey, what could be improved about this?" It can really be a wide range. You can ask any question that you want. eCom sellers, it's been interesting to see how they use it. You can ask questions like, does this seem worth $20 to you, or things like that. You can really get a sense, I think of how people react in an unbiased way. It's without really just even needing to... It's just reacting to whatever you put in front of them, so it could be your listing or your photos or what have you, which I think is really valuable. One of the things that I think happens with any business is it's really easy to get tunnel vision, and I think asking for that feedback kind of gets you out of that bubble and it really opens you up to new perspectives. It kind of opens your mind, broadens your perspective, so that you can make better decisions.
Liz: That's awesome. How does it work in the people who are actually giving their opinions? How are they chosen? How much do they know about our industry? What does that like? I mean, how did the sellers know, the sellers that are using our service know that they're getting real honest potential, I mean, we don't want to say potential buyer because these aren't prompting people to buy your products, but this is your demographic. How do you choose your thumbs up and thumbs downers?
Kim: Yeah, definitely. What's great about PickFu is you don't just get a vote. If you put two photos in front of somebody and you say, "Which one do you prefer?" They don't just vote, they actually give you a written comment telling you the reasoning behind their vote. That I think opens you up to a lot of really interesting insights. As far as how we choose these people, basically what we do is we take a lot of services across the web to recruit, right? Then we add a proprietary layer on top of that, so we take a lot of quality control on our end to make sure, number one, these people are who they say they are. They take your question seriously. We have a lot of controls kind of on our end to just make sure that you're getting the quality that you expect, but then on the front end, you as a customer have the option to mark the responses that you get in your poll, helpful or not helpful.
Kim: You can flag responses if you really get, if one falls through the cracks and you get something that's inappropriate. You can say, "Hey man, This isn't right." We can either refund you or find a different person, and so it's really great. One thing I forgot to mention as far as who you can poll that Amazon sellers really take advantage of is we can actually bring Amazon prime members to you, and what's great is in a matter of 15, 20 minutes, you could poll 50 Amazon prime members and then you'll see a breakdown of their age, their gender, so you can kind of do all kinds of cool sort of demographic segmentation and see what people think of it. We take quality really seriously.
Kim: It's not just like a bunch of bots. It's definitely not just a bunch of spammers across the web. Everybody is based in the US. Everybody is a native English speaker, and we've got a wide range of everything, so different regions of the country, different income levels, different demographics like that. The cool thing too is we've also taken the time to really get to know these people. We have market segments that maybe you wouldn't think of, right? If you've got a pet product, you can just pull dog owners or cat owners or things like that and you can combine them too, right? If you wanted to do dog owners who are also Amazon prime members, you could do that. There's a lot of ways to mix and match with our audience.
Liz: That's really, really cool.
Andrew: I think I... can I... I'm going to jump in here.
Liz: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: I think it's super important what PickFu does because specifically I know that so many brands and so many creators, especially if you're working with a brand and you're still talking to some of the people that originally created the brand and you're not three levels removed talking to a marketing director or something and they still have a lot of emotional attachment to their products and their photos. It's really hard to give them strategic advice that they need to hear when it's something that they created because of that emotional connection. PickFu allows you to kind of like, hey, it's not me just telling you. Let's go ask an audience. It kind of creates some separation between me as the consultant and them that created the product, and there's something just so important about getting pure feedback, especially non-biased, pure feedback versus someone else as an expert in the industry being like, "Yeah, I understand that. I get what you're trying to sell."
Andrew: Is this picture confusing? Is this picture relatable? You can ask specific questions. I personally believe the more specific you get with the ask, the better feedback that you'll get about those two photos or whatnot. I mean, I think the hardest thing is expectations, setting expectations and the photos is a great place to do that. I can't say that it's the best way. I can't say it enough that it's one of the best ways to get just really quick a lot of feedback outside of the two or three people's opinions, because once you really get into Amazon consulting opinions mean nothing, and it really comes down to data. We want to know data, day, to day, to day, to day data, and what better way to get it.
Kim: Yeah. I would also add that we're... So many times, we're not the buyers of the products that we sell. I think it's really important to ask the people that are, that could potentially experience your product or have experienced products like it. I think that that's super important is to ask the people who are the most likely to buy your product, and that's not your spouse, that's not your coworkers. That's people that you don't know.
Liz: That actually brings me to a question for Joel. Joel, so what PickFu allows you to do is sort of do some demographic research prior to getting your listing up and setting your ad campaigns. When you get to the point where, and Andrew, I'm coming back to you because I have a big question for you, but when you're getting to the point where you're setting up your ad campaign, what demographic factors do you consider, if any, and how does that play into not only the idea of getting products in front of people, but getting products in front of the right people?
Joel: Well, yeah. I mean, that is definitely a... Well, it's a great question by the way. It's a very big challenge on Amazon advertising because it does not let you at this point market demographically. That whole point is moot. There's nothing you can do actually to target that demographically. While you're doing an Amazon advertising, It's not so bad actually because it's responsive, right? If your product is optimized well and a big part of that is pictures and a very big part of that is reviews, you have a strong chance of coming up for those searches.
Joel: It kind of like reverses the process where you want to know who to target to. You're not really targeting to, you're responding to them, which is maybe even better because they're already asking you, right? If you're targeting to 50 year olds in Minnesota who are buying a specialized snow shovels, right? They're looking for those snow shovels, and now your job is to make sure that you know, you really know what you're selling and it's defined really well in your listing with the pictures, with the title and everything as you will show up, hopefully as an ad for that search.
Liz: Okay. Thank you. That's helpful. Going back to creating that listing, Andrew, you work with a lot of brands. What do you and your team advise as a brand is getting set up on Amazon and they're getting their listings absolutely perfect the way they need to be in order for the advertising to workout, in order for the people to find their stuff, in order for them to be successful, what's the first thing... Do you think about feedback and reviews at the front end or do you think more about, let's get the keywords right and let's get the product photo right? Is that the ultimate post buyer part of the journey? Is that something that you think about at the very beginning?
Joel: Well, I think there's phases to everything. In a perfect world, we have a year to launch a product and we're talking about packaging and the inserts and the followups and getting running polls on images and instruction manuals and everything, but that never really happens in real life. There is a part of it that's like, hey, let's get the product up and let's get it selling and then let's go back and what can we do to fine tune it a lot of times, versus just hitting roadblock after roadblock because we're trying to make everything perfect. Perfection can kill any project, but I would say that I've always had a struggle just taking on brands to do advertising because if they're not allowing me to help with the copy, or the photography, or the reviews, I'm like, "All those things affect my advertising." The way the Amazon works is it's a flywheel and the advertising plays into the organic reach and the photography helps with click throughs and conversion and reviews matter because people are reading that.
Joel: Everyone has their own thing that matters, but I would say that as I've been helping brands on Amazon longer and longer and longer, I would say that the photography has become more important in my mind, the photography and the image assets, the infographics. I think it depends, the last I'll say is, I think it depends on what you're selling. If you're selling a product that people don't intuitively know what it is, you have to spend more time and effort educating them in the photos, what it is, how it works. You want them to see those and immediately know exactly what they're buying. If it's a straightforward product that doesn't need it explained like bread or something, right? You can just kind of show it and show maybe where you got the weed or the grain. Tell a little lifestyle stuff in there.
Joel: If it's a product that needs like, this is how you do it, this is how you install it, if a lot of your reviews coming back that are negative for example are about like, I couldn't get this thing to work or those types of feedback, I might come back later and say, "Hey, we need a couple more images in our enhanced brand content, or our product photos that are explaining exactly how to use this product." Maybe they're getting it in a FeedbackFive email with some instructions, maybe they're getting it in the package itself, maybe they're getting it on the photos before they buy, anywhere and everywhere. If our reviews are coming back talking about the difficulty of use of the product, I'm going to try to hit them everywhere with how to use it. Then it just depends I guess on the product and how much time we want to spend either on the story of the brand or on the how to use of the product. We've got to pick it up and choose based on each individual situation.
Liz: Great. That's a great answer. We actually have a question for Kim and it sort of goes hand in hand in the question that I had. My question for you was, what do you see people, Amazon's always in particular, do you see them testing product photos the most or are they testing titles? I would imagine it's photos because that's visual and people are into that, but-
Kim: Yeah. I would say photos are definitely the most common, but you can definitely also test things like product names. You can also do titles, a description copy. I would also, though outside of the listing itself, one of the cool things I've seen eCom sellers do is pull about the product itself. Before you go into production, what color or design is going to be the most popular, right? Getting that kind of feedback before you even have the product in your hands, I think that, that's also very important. It really can be anything. It can be a video, it can be your product packaging, it can be your inserts, it can be your product bonuses. Really, any question that you can come up with, you can ask on PickFu.
Kim: I would say for the most part, it's photos that people are mostly looking to test, but I think once you run your first poll and you sort of see the power behind getting all of this feedback, it becomes a little bit addictive. I think you start to think... You start to, I think look at all of your decisions like, "Oh, well I wonder if we should poll this. I wonder if we should test this." You find more and more uses for it as you go along in that journey as you develop the product, and even after your product launches, what could we be doing better? Maybe you want to test your email copy, right? If you're asking people for a review or maybe it's the way that your online store outside of Amazon is set up, so it really can be anything and you can use it really at any point in your product launch.
Liz: That's awesome. Actually, what the attendee has asked is that they would love the ability to have their target audience read their whole Amazon page and comment on things that might be confusing or things that sound bad or good, so that's possible too?
Kim: If you put a link in your options basically, that link will be clickable, and so you can send people to your listing and ask them to comment on it. Another thing you can do that I've seen is just you screenshot it and you upload it as an image. Let's say that you're considering making a change. Maybe you want to just say, okay, if we were to do this, what impact would it have? It kind of gives you confidence before you go live with those changes because once you do go live, I mean that can have a real impact on your sales, on your ranking. I think having the confidence that, that change is going to be a good change is important.
Andrew: Can I jump in here real quick?
Liz: Of course.
Andrew: I think one thing to think about and just to throw it out there and I really harp on this when I'm talking to brands on their off Amazon efforts, sending traffic to Amazon, like let's say a Facebook ad, and they're sending traffic directly to the listing versus to a landing page and then to the listing. I think one piece of advice I'd give if you're having someone look at your whole listing, and this depends on probably how many pollers you're doing, whether it matters or not, but if you were to have, let's just throw an easy number out there, 1000 pollers, they're going to click through on your listing, look at it and then bounce off and not buy it because they're pollers. It is going to affect your conversion rate and your click through rate and things like that, so that could negatively impact your listing versus putting up screenshots and having them just poll it that way I think is a little bit better as far as your data metrics go.
Kim: Yeah, that's a good point.
Liz: That is a good point. Joel, I've been talking to people about the importance of product reviews and I've found a little part in the seller central advertising section. It's 2.4.2 or something like that that says that you have to have at least 15 customer reviews and a minimum average star rating of 3.5 to show Amazon star ratings in your advertising. Do you see an increased success with those types of ads that show that star rating, or is that just sort of a meh thing?
Joel: Well, I think it's like everything else on Amazon, it's very hard to box in and isolate that one detail that's making it work better because at any given time, there are all these different variables that are working to turn that flywheel. June of 2019 is not going to be the same like June of 2020, so no thing has ever stay the same on Amazon. It's not static, which is why services like PickFu and others that help you figure out the best things to do for your listings, so my advice to my clients is always like, listen, I mean, you can't advise someone to get five star reviews. That's hard to do, but I say take part in everything that Amazon offers. Try absolutely everything, but yeah. Product reviews is extremely important. I would say it's on the same level like pictures. Pictures and reviews are just on the same level, both in terms of front facing to the customer.
Joel: What are they looking for, and of course, internally with Amazon's scary algorithm. It's extremely important. Having your reviews up there is certainly going to make a difference. Every little bit makes a difference in this crazy competitive today on Amazon. It's just crazy competitive. You mentioned before about pictures sometimes not on, like if you're selling bread. I have a client that sells a very basic product. They do a quarter million dollars a month on one item and they have one picture because it's just a very basic product, but when it comes down to, and folks out there, if you're listening, I can't stress this enough. Advertising works together with your organic. You can't expect for advertising to do its own thing. It's not different than having, let's say, display at a supermarket, or having special shelf space where if the product is good, if the product is optimized, you'll do well on that corner, what do they call those things? Those display, those shelf displays, those corner units-
Joel: Endcap, right? Or at the cash register, but if the product is bad, I mean the retailer is going to pull it right off no matter how much you paid to have that there. You've got optimize, you've got to have great pictures, then you've got to have great listeners. You got to get those reviews and then you'll be seeing a lot more ad sales, which we'll see more organic sales, which we'll see more ad sales and so on and so on.
Liz: That makes a lot of sense. We did get a question for, I guess it's for me. They say my company has a ton of positive feedback but most of it is product related. I think most Amazon customers think they are leaving true product reviews but they are not. Is there a way to ask those customers leaving feedback to also leave a product review? I open this up to Andrew, anybody else who's listening. Most of the time, Amazon is going to strike a true product review from your seller feedback, at least in the past that's what they've done. There are ways that you can say, hey, this is feedback, not a product review.
Liz: I'd be real happy if you'd leave it on as part of the review. The sticky wicked there is that it does say on Amazon terms of service that you're not allowed to ask for a review from a buyer you know has had a positive experience. That's the problem there, so you get a great review but it's actually coming across as feedback and it could be perceived by Amazon that you're asking someone you know has had a positive experience, even though seller feedback and brought it to views are different, they've left that positive product review in your feedback. So you know they like your product so you're asking them for...
Liz: It's like a stupid trip up technical detail and I'm really hoping that Amazon's going to clarify that kind of stuff soon, but I would be very, very careful about how you do that. I would be aware that most of the time Amazon's going to strike those anyway because they only want seller feedback in the seller feedback bucket and they only want your views in a product review bucket. I know that's not the news that you want to hear, and there are ways that you can do it but I would be so, so cautious. TOS has changed. I don't know if you guys have noticed, but there's a new code of conduct.
Liz: I'm getting ready to write a whole big series about it. I'm getting ready to speak about it. Things are changing. I think they're going to change for the better. There's machine learning in place, there's the people learning things, but just pay attention to those pages in Seller Central. Do a wish Wachete alert, do a some sort of alert that when those TOS pages change, you're completely aware of any TOS change because if you're in violation of TOS, whether or not you knew it changed overnight, it's still your responsibility as a seller to know TOS.
Andrew: I'll jump in there. I'll jump in there real quick.
Liz: Please do.
Andrew: I'm never advising on black hat, anything like that. I only learn these types of things in order to keep my brands out of trouble really, and to know what some of our competitors are doing. I need to know all of the strategies, I guess that our competitors are taking as well. I would say that there's some softwares out there that will help you match up customer's orders and different things like that, and one thing about store feedback, which is you said you had a lot of positive, if there's a lot of positive feedback they're leaving, because that's only helping your store if they're saying something good about your product as well, if it's positive.
Andrew: If it's negative, you can't open a case with Amazon and get it removed, so the positive ones leave and the negative ones that are about your products, you can get them to remove pretty easily. The thing about store feedback is that it's easy, if you have brand registry, you can go into the brand house tab and they will show you the customer orders that those are attached to. You can officially message buyers. You need to stay within TOS while you're messaging them, but you can. That's why the brand health is there to be able to make you be able to pair those up if you need to fix a customer issue. This is a way that you can repair that feedback. If you see someone leave a feedback that's negative or that's poor and you can trace it to their order, you can reach out to them and try to rectify the problem.
Andrew: You can respond right to the review. You should be responding to all of your reviews or feedbacks, whether positive or negative, and doing your best to resolve those or thank them for their positive feedback, but those are ways you can reach out to the buyers through a conversation. I'll just say stay within terms of service, but that's within you and the buyer to talk, and whether it's thinking them, whether it's rectifying the situation, whether it's trying to go above and beyond as a brand to fix whatever issue they had, I think you should. I think the Amazon encourages you to make customers happy, if you can, right?
Liz: Customer success.
Andrew: Right. Customer success. It's just you have to be within TOS. A lot of times people are responding those reviews, thank you for leaving a review about our store, thank you for leaving a review about our store. We hoped you liked the product as well or something like that. That's kind of like insinuating that they haven't left a review about the product that they've left a review about your store only. You just have to stay within TOS. I'm walking, I'm treading carefully here, but even engaging with the customers, talking to them, you should be responding to them. Leave the positive ones there, you don't need to remove them.
Liz: When you can, through buyer-seller messaging if allowed by Amazon, if it's an issue that you need to resolve, then yes. Through buyer-seller messaging, reach out and resolve the problem, and with feedback you can ask them to remove negative feedback. You cannot ever, ever... There's a question here. I'm asking, can I ask the customer directly and passively to resend their negative review after we fixed the customer issue? Unfortunately, the answer to that is absolutely no. You can never ever ask anyone to change or modify a review. That's been in TOS from I think the beginning. If not, it's been in for a really long time. What Andrew said about responding to reviews in line, on the reviews page, I have thousands of customers who find that really, really effective. They think that, that has really boosted their brand image. It's really increased confidence in their store.
Liz: Absolutely. With positives and negatives, Hey, thanks for... If somebody says, "Oh my gosh, this is my favorite thing ever. I never thought that I could... I never thought that this would be so great and I can't live without it." Say, "Thanks so much. I'm so glad you like it." If somebody leaves a negative, then explain to the people who are going to be reading that review why that happened, how you resolved it. Be courteous, be polite, follow all of Amazon's community guidelines to the latter, but you can respond in line and I suggest that you do that. There's another question about Amazon recently stopped my ability to send emails to customers for not complying with their TOS. Were there any changes recently? There have been changes to wording on the TOS pages. People who are getting those restriction emails, mainly what I've seen is that they are actually inadvertently breaking a rule and it's one of those rules that's been there for a while, but it's been perceived like the whole asking a person who left positive feedback for a product review.
Liz: That's not on its face a violation, but because there's that rule about asking someone who's had a positive experience fell right there and TOS. It's against the rules to ask somebody who's had a positive experience for product review, so you know it's a positive experience. That kind of thing or if then comments that I've talked about ad nauseam and I know you guys don't want to hear about that anymore, but those types of things where there are people that are looking at every view that comes in now. That's why I just left a product review the other day on a pair of shoes that I bought that I'm madly in love with. When I left the review, I got a notification that says, your reviews been submitted and we're going to review it. It wasn't live until two days later because they're looking at every review that comes in and they're looking at how you got that review because they're trying to get rid of this black hat stuff that's going on that is really, really disturbing.
Liz: Someone has asked that, in the chat it was in the chat. She receives a lot of unverified negative reviews and most likely it's a competitor bringing down the star rating. How can you control this or have them removed? You got to report it and the more evidence you can find that proves that it's a competitor. I had somebody that said the order ship to my competitors corporate address, so I know that that was my competitor. If you can dig up that supporting information when you file a case with Amazon, that's going to be really helpful for them to track down that bad actor, remove those negative reviews and slap the hand of the person that did that. I've been talking for too long and there's a question for Joel, so I hate to jump around. We can get back to the reviews and stuff like that. I know it's a hot topic, but where did that-
Joel:Yeah, the question was, how does advertising affect organic sales? Again, advertising on Amazon, it's a very important principle. It's not advertising whatsoever. It's product placement. Right now, your product is on aisle 20. You want to bring it to aisle one, and if your product is on page 20, advertising gives you the ability to show up somewhere on page one to show up on different placement where Amazon can re-target your customers. You can show up on your competitors product listings. It's not a matter of advertising, it's just a matter of making your listing more visible. Well, the way it affects your sales is the same way that your organic sales when they're running at an optimal level, which means if you're ranked at 20,000 and you're on page 10 and then you get up to 2000 and you're on page two, you're going to be doing a lot more sales, which in turn will keep on turning that and improving your sales trajectory.
Joel: Getting good advertising results is kind of more about the incoming than the outgoing, which means that there is not that much that you can do on the ads level in order to ask for those sales. You have to respond to the traffic, which means that if your product is getting on a daily basis hundreds of thousands of impressions and hundreds of clicks, you got to review that data and look at what are customers looking for, which words are converting, which ones aren't. You've got to filter through all that and find those words that are converting for you. Find those words that are generating orders for you and then use them, re-purpose them into really optimal campaigns. How to do that?
Joel: I mean, that's just a constant... It's just an evolution and you have to keep on going through that day, after day, after day, but the process is very simple. People are searching, hopefully your ad responds and the more your ad responds, the more it will, so the more you show up, the higher the chance that you will to show up. It's extremely hard to answer the question in what way does it affect your sales? Typically, when you start a product your ads might do 90% of the sales, might come right from your ads. As time moves on, you're probably at an optimal balance where your ad to sales ratio is about 25% coming from ads and 75% coming from just organic listings. Bear in mind, your ads have a lot to do with your organic, so if you're going to shut those 25% off, chances are you're going to lose a lot more than 25%.
Andrew: I'm going to say one thing here. I think that ads are fantastic for anyone listening out there about SEO and jump back, Liz is the ads are fantastic. Let's say you think 10 different keyword searches might be great for your listing, okay? They're like all 10 are similar but they're a little bit different, kind of like PickFu would say which one do you like. 10 different ways people could describe your product and come to it and you're going to probably put one or two in your listings title, for example. You can't fit all 10, but the advertising is a great way to run all 10, run them for several months, optimize them. You're looking for ROI, but you can also see which keywords bring in the most conversions and then come back and change your copy to reflect what your ads were telling you.
Andrew: That's another way that the ads affect organic SEO, because the way that I believe the algorithm works is someone types in, red watch. Then they find your watch, they click on it, they buy it. Amazon's giving you a rank boost for red watch because someone typed it in, they loved it. They had a good positive experience with your watch. The ads just accelerate that, so you have red watch in your listing, you're advertising on red watch, someone clicks on it, they buy it. They wouldn't have seen it if you hadn't been advertising for that product placement. Now, your red watch is getting a boost, getting a boost, getting a boost, especially if you're doing exact type of advertising, which we're getting into the details, but 100%, the ads affect organic SEO and it can affect it for the positive or the negative if you're running it really poorly.
Joel: Yeah. A very good point there. I mean, the data, that's a whole lot... I mean, we can talk about that for an hour. What you can do with the data. Yeah, so the obvious, that I tell my clients and all of you should be doing that on a monthly basis, run through your reports. Grab a whole month's worth of data, find those top keywords, make sure they're in your back and make sure they're in your title and your bullet points. These are the words that are most important to the shoppers. Something else, product research. Now, you're out there and you're doing all these products, you're developing these different products, what are customers looking for? One quick way to find out is to go through your keywords. I'll give you an example. I was selling little toddler backpacks, right?
Joel: One word that kept on being as a negative because it was costing us so many clicks. It was costing us 100 clicks a day was leash, those little wild kids that need a leash. We realized that we need to manufacture a product with a leash on it. A cooled lunch back, with the cooler fabric or whatever you call it, insulated fabric. We found that in our search terms. There's so much that you can find there. The same way that a lot of experts will advise you to go through your reviews and do product research that way, see what people like, see what people don't like. I think you can really narrow in on what people are looking for straight up in your search term reports. It's an important point as well.
Liz: That's a great point. We have a couple of more questions. We're getting actually toward the end. We like to kind of leave the last 15 minutes to do the Q and. A. If you guys have more questions, just shoot them in here. We have some special offers and there are also opportunities to connect with our presenters. I sort of made one up for Joel and didn't ask him about it, so he might kill me about this, but we'll just see what happens. First, let's tackle your questions. I'm going to go in order. Someone's had a hard time getting product reviews from FeedbackFive automatic campaigns. I'm sure I could design my emails better. Look, if you're having trouble with anything FeedbackFive in your FeedbackFive user, just come back to us. We can set up an optimization call.
Liz: That's easy. We will help you increase your conversions, absolutely. It's firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to talk to me first, I'm wide open email@example.com. I'll send you my little schedule link and we can chat about strategy, so no big deal about that. Someone has asked, how do I get a negative product review removed that is solely describing the fulfillment process when Amazon fulfills our products? I've reported it, opened a case, and emailed customer help with no response. I'm going to give my answer to that, but then Andrew, I want you to chime in, okay? What I advise is just keep opening cases. Do not give up. Just keep on keeping on. Don't annoy people. Don't call three times a day, but keep on. It's wrong. You know it's wrong. You know that it's not your fault, and these are the types of things that need to be pointed out to Amazon so that those errors can be corrected longterm. That's my advice. Andrew, what do you say?
Andrew: I would say the same. I would say try different days of the week and different times. Amazon's 24/7, so they have different reps in different parts of the world and some people have more success on different days, say Sunday at 12:00 versus trying a Wednesday at 7:00 PM. Try different times, try to do calls versus just sending in a message. This is all automation and ran by bots. It's very bot response answers. That's why sometimes it makes no sense and every once in a while you'll get a person. Keep trying different things.
Andrew: Don't give up. I would say call, do the messaging, try to set up a call, try to do the chat. Those are three different ways. You get different people try different times of day and then you can escalate up, which is, I'm drawing a blank right now. I've been thinking about it for 30 seconds, but there's a escalation team. Joel, do you know what that is, or Kim? Shoot. I can follow up with this, but I'm just drawing a blank. There's an escalation team that you can kind of try and take a case up. There's no guarantee that, that will work as well.
Liz: You can ask a specialist too. Chris McCabe who you guys have seen him on webinars with me a lot. He can help you tactically figure out that kind of stuff too.
Andrew: Exactly. Use your brand registry portal. Your brand registered that's you. Use all of the assets available to you. All you need is one person on that end to kind of actually read what you're saying, especially if you're right. I talked to so many brands or customers of mine that are like, they're so one sided and when I read them, my guys to be realistic with this review or whatever, think about how the customer experienced this. Was it FBA? Was it us? Assuming that it is all on FBA, use your Brand HQ, if you have a trademark and brand registry, it's a little bit different team. You might get some results there.
Joel: I just want to say one thing about advertising, which kind of simplifies, clarifies a little bit for people. When it comes to spending, number one principle, if you learn one thing from me today, it's this, figure out what your spend percentages. How much are you willing to spend on each product sold, total? If you're selling $10,000 a month, of that $10,000, how much do you want to spend? This way, you know what you comfortable with and you don't need to look at a cost. As important as it is, as you're running optimal campaigns, ideally you want to know your numbers, but the first number and the most important number for you to focus on is your spend.
Joel: You got to know your spend. For most products these days, 8% is a pretty balanced number. If you're doing $10,000 a month in sales, you want to spend $800 on advertising period. The rest comes later, but you got to be comfortable and know your spend. So many, I mean we're talking about a lot of issues here and I attend a lot of panels and we hear all of these different issues. The number one issue that I find is people spending too much money. They will be spending 20%. You cannot spend 20% of your sales on ads.
Andrew: Hey guys, I did think of that escalation team, so if anyone wants to Google it or look it up, it's called the Captive Team. Okay. Anyone can get access to it-
Joel: Yeah. It's not working very well. It's not working very well anymore.
Andrew: Right. It used to be an escalation team, it's an option. Just think of all the options you have at hand and keep pushing.
Liz: We have some followup questions about ads that I want to get to, but Andrew, thank you for that. That's very, very helpful. Joel, how do you feel about creating three separate ad groups, one targeting your brand, the second the category, and third more broad category for competitors. Does that sound like a good strategy to you?
Joel: Typically, a broad strategy works well typically, which means that the way we set up ads, the basic ads, you'll have three separate campaigns to target three different, all the three match types, the broad phrase and exact. Now, when that does... Then you put all the keywords in there. It'll be brand, it'll be category, it'll be product specific and it'll be gleaned initially from a little product research and a search term research, but once you go through it, it's just gleaned from your searches. When that doesn't work very well, then you want to break out and go more detailed. You're going to have a separate... You might... Depending on your product, it's very vast and it's very broad what we're speaking about, depending on your product sometimes you have to focus on a season, right? The words might be Thanksgiving instead of gift. You got to really know what you're selling, and if you know what you're selling, then you could, and if you've got the time, you should break them out appropriately.
Liz: Awesome. Tips for running ads in a highly competitive field.
Joel: Number one, know your spend and it's fine during launch to have a higher spend and it's fine to define how long you want to launch, depends how rich your uncle is, so how much you're invested in it. If you're in a really competitive field, I would strongly advise you to set up campaigns in a way that you leveraging the spend better. One of the ways to do that is to set up multiple campaigns and then manage the clicks. Very, very specifically, very targeted. On exact, you might be spending $1.50 and not because it's exact, that's a misconception that people have. They think that exact does better than broad or phrase, but in one ad group you might have it at $1.50.
Joel: Then you want to run a low bid where you're running all these crazy competitive keywords at $0.20, you might play with that. You might go up to $0.30, $0.40, so you really have to have a very comprehensive strategy. You have lots of campaigns broken up with all these different keywords and then it's just the luck of the draw so it can work or not. You got to put the work in though and have everything there and you could be very successful in a competitive category.
Andrew: I'll jump in here just a little bit. As we know, Marknology recently became an Amazon advertising partner a month ago. I'm leveraging a lot of that relationship to learn about some of the foreign markets. Joel, like the UK and Germany, how do I get stuff translated and Amazon Australia advertising and trying to get more assistance there as those channels are behind us. One thing I would say for that highly competitive question is some of the best results I've seen. If something is super competitive, let's say supplements, going through the rigorous paperwork of going to the UK or Canada in regards to tax and getting your products approved to sell there. We've seen great results in taking our product to Canada, for example, that we have $3 or $4 or $5 cost per click in the US and getting a much lower one in Canada. That's not necessarily a solution to what you're dealing with on dot-com, but it is a way for you to grow your Amazon channel at a cheaper competitive rate.
Joel: Well, one very important thing when you talk about competitive products, people ask this question all the time in online forums. They say, my product is selling for $10. How can I possibly afford a $2 click? One thing you need to look at, and it's just one answer, but it's an important answer. Lots of products have the subscribe option, which means that if you're selling vitamins, I know that when I buy my supplements, I'm reordering all the time. Even if you're paying $5 per click for $20 product, you have a $20 acquisition costs. You might buy yourself a two year customer. Obviously, you've got to do all the good work to make sure you maintain that you retain that customer. Click price, click costs are not always as scary as they seem.
Andrew: I just answered that question just in the chat and I was saying, Hey, what do you include on a product insert? I was like, it kind of depends if you have a product that's the prescribing save, applicable, push subscribe and save, that's huge. If you have a product that you need reviews or maybe you can grow your social media channel with product inserts, kind of trying to hit a few questions at once, but for me with the same brand and I was talking about expanding to Canada get cheaper CPC, we also do product inserts that are about subscribe and save that push and encourage people to subscribe and save. Whenever we do build our subscribe and save numbers, we might have 300 or 400 customers a month that are ordering from us on subscribe and save. We're not having to advertise to them anymore. We think about the advertising just a little bit differently. We think of it as part of the ecosystem and not just a direct ROI return.
Liz: That's a great point. Also with product inserts, if you're going to give a deal, if you're going to do any kind of marketing, don't ask for a review on that same product insert, just my little two us brain working over here. You're not allowed to break to us on a product insert either, so if you have questions about that, email me. There are a couple of questions about email campaigns and FeedbackFive and how to make it really awesome. If you have questions about that, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. I made my email address less complicated, so you guys can get ahold of me better. There's still a couple of questions but we're running out of time. I'm hoping that you guys will take advantage of PickFu. Kim and I are going to jump on a webinar at the beginning of the year and kind of do a deep dive into PickFu and take a look at some actual examples of how it works.
Liz: Go over some anecdotal data and that kind of stuff. I'm super, super excited about that because I kind of want to be a reviewer. I don't know if that's a total conflict of interest or anything, but I want to give opinion. I like to give my opinion. It's one of my favorite things. I work with Andrew and his team all the time. They're absolutely great. Joel, has taught me more about advertising than anybody has so far. I still have a lot to learn, but this is just a great group of people. We've got some special offers that I want to show you guys. We're right at the end, but thank you so much for attending today. Again, this webinar is going to be emailed out to anybody who registered. We could all come back if you've got more questions, just let's keep those lines of communication open. I am going to share my screen to show you these special offers. These are available to you. If you want to use any of eComEngine's tools, email me.
Liz: I want to talk to you about it first. It's a 30 day free trial to FeedbackFive, 30 day free trial to RestockPro and 150 free credits to MarketScout. If you want to give that a try and you're selling, that's your selling model. Marknology, Andrew's willing to do a free audit for you, which is so cool. Just mention eComEngine and this webinar. Kim has a URL in there, that's pretty easy to remember and I think, Kim if you'll chat that out to the whole group right now, that way they'll have it. It's 10% off, so a 10% off one comparison. I think that's pretty awesome. That's a good way to test that out and see how that works, just for yourself if you haven't used it because I'm just trying to think of reasons that I might want to ask for opinions with PickFu. Do you like this shirt better or this hairdo better?
Kim: Honestly, who would have asked about their dating profile picture?
Liz: So cool. I love that. I wonder if they got more dates because of that.
Kim: It'd be an interesting followup for sure.
Liz: I think your testimonials would probably be like the most interesting testimonials of all of us.
Liz: Then Joel, I didn't ask him. He's been traveling. He has taken time out of a very, very busy day to sit down with us and give us this knowledge. That's his email address. I'm giving it to you.
Joel: What we normally do is, we do a free audit where we review your advertising campaigns and give you positive feedback, negative feedback. We'll tell you as is, and we don't push our service, just giving the information. If you do decide to sign up with us off of this webinar, we'll give you our first campaign free. That's one full portfolio management for free. Feel free to reach out at that email address. Thank you.
Liz: Thank you Joel and I'll reiterate that in the email that goes out to you guys. If you're a brand and you aren't killing it on Amazon, I think that you should talk to Andrew and have him do his audit because he can audit your listings, he can audit just your whole basic Amazon sitch and I work with his team a whole lot and I recommend everybody on this panel. It's easy to say that and it's fun and we appreciate your time today. We're going to see you next time. Again, this is coming out to you. If you didn't get your questions answered, reach out to these panelists. They were here for you. We're all here for you. We're committed to your success. We'll see you next time, okay? Bye everybody.
Andrew: Bye now.
Joel:That was fun. All right, guys.
Liz Fickenscher is the Industry Liaison for eComEngine and works with sellers and industry partners to identify pain points, understand the changes within Amazon's TOS, and provide helpful information to the seller community. She is happy to moderate this webinar and its fabulous speakers.
Andrew Morgans is the founder of Marknology, a full service agency that serves as an Amazon brand accelerator. Andrew and his team have over 177 Amazon seller clients and are responsible for over $50 million sales on Amazon. Marknology provides photography, advertising, optimization and other services.
Kim Kohatsu is the Director of Marketing at PickFu, an instant polling service Amazons sellers use to optimize product listings. eCommerce professionals can quickly test product photos, description copy and product designs with shoppers who reflect their target demographic, including Amazon Prime members.
Joel Wolh is the CEO of Boutique Seller, one of the largest Amazon advertising agencies in the world. Using proprietary software, Boutique Seller digs in and creates customized campaigns for every seller. You can find Joel, known as the Amazon King, on LinkedIn with the hashtag #AskJoel.
Originally published on September 24, 2019, updated June 19, 2020
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.