Reviews are integral to the success of your ecommerce business, particularly if you sell on Amazon. Online shoppers rely on reviews, which provide a clear measure of buyer satisfaction. Ultimately, reviews provide the social proof that you cannot offer yourself.
Amazon also rewards products that are meeting customer expectations with improved organic search rankings in their respective categories. Verified purchase reviews, which are provided by buyers who purchased the product directly from Amazon, have even more weight in Amazon’s top-secret ranking algorithm. The recency and relevancy of reviews also matter. To remain competitive, you need to have a product review strategy in place, especially if you plan to promote your products with advertising.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to get those elusive Amazon reviews, what you need to know about Amazon’s policies for communicating with buyers, and how to keep your account safe.
Get to Know Amazon’s Guidelines
Amazon is protective of customer reviews because they are incredibly valuable to buyers, sellers, and Amazon itself. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the Communication Guidelines as well as the product review policies. Failure to follow Amazon’s guidelines could result in serious repercussions for your selling account, from Buyer-Seller Messaging restriction to permanent account suspension.
Following the guidelines and protecting your account while generating reviews is simple. In general, it’s important to remember that the main goal of these policies is to protect the integrity of Amazon reviews as well as the customer experience. With that in mind, it’s easy to see that actions like buying Amazon reviews or offering free products in exchange for a review will not be tolerated.
Three Ways to Request Reviews
The best way to get reviews is to ask for them. Amazon allows this; in fact, it clearly states that sellers can send proactive permitted messages to request reviews and/or seller feedback. Communication with buyers, including review requests, must be sent within 30 days of order completion. The message also needs to include the order ID and be translated into the buyer’s preferred language. Here are three ways to request reviews:
You can send requests manually through Buyer-Seller Messaging in your Seller Central account. Be aware that Amazon has strict guidelines for communicating with buyers. Never provide incentives to encourage buyers to leave reviews. Your message cannot include coupon codes or any kind of marketing message.
Do not include a link to your website or attempt to divert unhappy customers from leaving a review. For example, your message should not include language offering to provide customer service if a buyer is unhappy while asking satisfied customers to leave a review. Keep your language neutral; in other words, don’t ask buyers to leave a review if they love your product. Instead, phrase your message more objectively.
The obvious downside of using Buyer-Seller Messaging to send review requests is that it is time-consuming. You also have little control over how your message appears to buyers and there is no way to schedule the request, so you have to dedicate time to send each one in real-time. In addition to the time required to get results, there is the risk that your message content will violate Amazon’s guidelines.
Request a Review
There is another way to send review requests in Seller Central. You’ll find the Request a Review button on the Order Details page. Clicking the button triggers a request to Amazon to send a message on your behalf. The message includes an image of your product with a request for a review as well as a request for seller feedback. It is automatically translated into the buyer’s preferred language. There is no risk of violating Amazon guidelines because you have no control over the message content, which is provided by Amazon.
Request a Review offers an easier way to send messages that are always compliant with Amazon’s policies. However, it is still time-consuming and, again, requires you to send the request in real-time rather than scheduling in advance.
Amazon also allows you to send requests via its API or third-party software which uses its API that is available in the Amazon Appstore, like FeedbackFive. Automating review requests is a smart way to maximize the time you spend on other tasks while continuing to build your Amazon reputation.
FeedbackFive offers you the ability to schedule automation and segment by ASIN for the Request a Review message or customizable Buyer-Seller Messaging requests, which can include your logo and messaging that is specific to your brand or product. The software also provides additional benefits, such as detailed analytics that allow you to see how your requests impact your average ratings over time, alerts for reviews received, and more.
Amazon Review Programs
You can also enroll your products in Amazon’s own review programs, which can help give your ASINs a boost in reviews.
If you recently launched a product or plan to launch a new item soon, check out the Amazon Early Reviewer Program. You pay a one-time fee and Amazon requests reviews from buyers on your behalf. If the buyers leave reviews, they are rewarded with a small Amazon credit. The reviews are displayed with an orange badge showing that they were received from the program. You can receive up to five reviews through participation in the program.
Amazon Vine is another program that offers an opportunity to get reviews. Experienced reviewers, known as “Vine Voices”, share their experience of your product with detailed reviews that are displayed with an Amazon Vine badge. If you enroll in this program, note that you will need to provide products for Vine reviewers free of charge and certain criteria must be met for both your products and your selling account.
Build on a Solid Foundation
Review recency and relevance matter to buyers and to Amazon. Start requesting reviews at product launch and continue to ask for reviews throughout the product lifecycle. Having a foundation of good reviews increases your product’s organic search visibility and helps your Amazon advertising succeed.
Requesting reviews for a sloppy or inaccurate listing can lead to negative ratings from frustrated buyers. To ensure a better customer experience and better reviews, make sure your product listing includes excellent photos and all the details a shopper needs when making a buying decision. Communicate the value of your product clearly and include detailed information that will help buyers know what to expect when your product arrives.
Protecting Your Amazon Business
Be sure to understand and follow Amazon’s policies for communicating with customers and requesting reviews. Failure to do so could put your account at risk. If you want to request reviews without any risk of messaging restrictions or suspension, use the Request a Review button in Seller Central or use third-party software like FeedbackFive to schedule automation for the Request a Review message.
About the Author
Becky Trowbridge is the Content Strategist at eComEngine. Her mission is to empower Amazon sellers with the information they need to be successful in a competitive market. When she’s not creating content, she enjoys spending time outdoors, trying new recipes, and reading.