Something every Amazon seller needs to understand is that reviews are part of the life-blood of Amazon. Reviews can affect a product’s Click Through Rate (CTR) at the discovery stage, as well as playing an important role in converting customers.
Getting reviews should be a key part of your private label Amazon strategy. To put it simply, if you want to dominate a product niche on Amazon where there is at least some competition…you will need to start getting reviews.
The new seller’s review dilemma
With this said, new sellers can face a dilemma. They will usually need a certain number of reviews to get sales, but they need to generate sales to get review.
So what’s the solution?
Until October 2016 there were a couple of popular options
#1 Get reviews naturally
#2 Do giveaways and use review groups.
However in October 2016 Amazon updated their Terms of Service to put an end to the practice of ‘incentivized reviews’.
More specifically to stop sellers offering discounted or free products in return for a review, that was more often than not positive.
Such activity is now a breach of the Amazon Terms of Service.
#1 Getting reviews naturally
A common strategy to get natural reviews is to set up an automated email follow-up system to ask each buyer to provide a product review. In simple terms, for each sale there is a reminder sent to the customer about providing a review.
The good news, is that companies like Feedback Genius, Feedback Five and others can provide you with an automated software solution that can integrate with Amazon’s Seller central system for a relatively low monthly fee.
Implementing an automated review follow system will help towards generating product reviews organically. For some products it could result in a review left for every 10-20 sales made.
As a seller if you’re generating at least a few sales a day this can work quite well.
Reviews and conversion
Reviews can help with conversion and its not just a numbers game. Well written, detailed reviews, possibly with images can be powerful.
Review that generate comments and inspire interaction or are recently updated can also work well in helping customers make a purchasing decision.
#2 Giveaways and review groups
Amazon no longer allows the use of incentivized reviews as of October 2016.
Sellers can use discounted offers (or giveaways) but this should not be as an incentive to get a reviews.
Its important that you do this without breaching Amazon’s guidelines.
We know that Amazon takes the integrity of their review system VERY seriously.
#1 You must not pay someone to write a good review (or pay them in kind with multiple free products).
#2 You must not incentivize a review with free or discounted product.
At the time of writing many review groups are re-branding into more ‘Promotional’ or ‘Blast’ orientated groups.
They will facilitate you giving away product at a discount, but will not ask customers to write reviews.
However you are free to follow-up with an email sequence as in #1, its just the days of giving away 100 units and getting 80 reviews are probably done.
Amazon have hinted that they will value and weight new reviews, so there is a strong incentive to convert happy customers into helpful reviews.
Verified V unverified reviews
There have been a few changes here in the last year.
Again at the time of writing, if a product is given away with a discount of around 50% (or more) off its full listed price, Amazon may classify the review as ‘unverified’.
Products that are reviewed and sold at full price, should show as verified – however this may be liable to change in Q4 of 2016.
The influence of a verified versus unverified review is open to debate, but it’s a safe to assume that verified reviews will usually have more weight in the Amazon Algorithm, but that’s not to say unverified reviews have no effect – its just that they must not be incentivized.
Reviews are a hot potato on Amazon and its partly to do with the dilemma new sellers face when they launch a product. They need to get reviews coming in fast, but in the early stages organic reviews can be slow so they look for other ways to boost this number.
Amazon want to preserve the integrity of their reviews system so are continually taking steps to try and stop the reviews system being abused by sellers.
The solution now is to think smart about ways to leverage a high conversion of reviews from genuine sales and whether blast services might be helpful or not. Either way its key to stay within Amazon’s guidelines!
Amz Pro helps private label sellers win on Amazon. If you’d like to speak to us about working with your Amazon business then get in touch here.