How to get amazon reviews to gain traction and grow your business

How to get amazon reviews to gain traction and grow your business

Selling on Amazon has some amazing benefits. Chief among these benefits is its enormous reach. Amazon has around 300 million active users, equal to the entire population of the United States. Not only that, but according to Forbes, 64% of American households have Amazon Prime. Conversion rates on Amazon.com are also much higher than other online retailers. 13% for non-Prime Members & 74% for Prime Members, compared to 3.32% for the next top 500 online retailers. So Amazon sellers have access to an enormous base of potential customers who are very likely to convert.

But selling on Amazon is not easy. Competition among Amazon sellers is fierce, which explains why product reviews are so important.

Why It’s Important To Get Amazon Reviews

Product reviews help customers manage expectations.  Customers want assurance that they will receive exactly what was advertised.  This is what product reviews are for. They allow past customers can to inform prospective customers. As such, they provide a powerful measure of social proof.

Collecting positive reviews is vital for a new product to gain traction on Amazon.

The Old Days of Getting Amazon Reviews

Savvy sellers used to get ‘incentivized reviews.’ That is, they offered discounted or free products in exchange for reviews. But in October 2016, Amazon banned incentivized reviews. Violators of this policy risk losing their selling privileges.

This came as a big shock for many Amazon sellers, but ultimately it is a good thing. For buyers and sellers. Incentivized reviews brought down the trustworthiness of the average review. Which is bad for all parties who value integrity in the marketplace.

Fear not. Plenty of options remain for soliciting honest reviews, without breaking Amazon’s policies.

The New Days of Getting Amazon Reviews

First off, let’s be clear that Amazon wants customers to review your products. As such, they send automated messages after every purchase, prompting customers to leave reviews.

For many customers that is enough to persuade them to leave a review. Many people will happily leave reviews if they love (or hate) a product. So you can let Amazon do the work for you.

But there are 2 things you MUST do to make it more likely they will leave a good review for your product.

  • Make sure your product is awesome. Easier said than done. But there’s not much you can do to get lots of positive product reviews if you aren’t selling awesome products in the first place…
  • Be a good seller. Technically, customer service is not supposed to have any effect on a product review. Things like prompt delivery and courteous communications fall under Seller Feedback. But it is inevitable that customer service will affect reviews. Buyers will be more likely to leave a positive review if you provide good customer service. Because they will associate that positive experience with your product. They will also associate a negative experience with your product. And will be more likely to leave a negative product review.

Ok so let’s suppose that you’ve sold an awesome product with great customer service, but you think that Amazon’s autoresponder is not enough. How else can you gather more product reviews?

Ways to Get More Amazon Reviews

Use a Feedback / Review Tool

You can use a software tool made to gather more Amazon product reviews and seller feedback. Something like Feedback Genius or FeedbackFive. These tools are specifically built to get more product reviews and seller feedback. So they provide templates to guide you. And they integrate with Amazon Seller Central.

You can take advantage of the strong association between the product and you as a seller in the following way. If a customer leaves you positive Seller Feedback, ask them to also leave you a review. [The Benjamin Franklin effect: someone who has already helped you (or bought from you) is more likely to help (or buy from) you again].

Use an Email Marketing Tool

You can use a regular email marketing tool (like MailChimp or Drip) to send out review requests. The benefit to using a popular email marketing tool would be familiarity. This only applies if you already use a tool for email marketing. The downside is that these tools do not easily integrate with Amazon and Amazon does not give you customer email addresses.

To take advantage of this strategy, you have to already have a list of customer emails. Or you have to get creative to get customer email addresses retroactively. But keep in mind, Amazon does not like you contacting customers off of Amazon. After all, they are Amazon’s customers, not yours.

The way to get around this, is to collect customer emails before they buy your product on Amazon.

Promotional landing pages.

One easy way to collect customer emails before they buy your product, which enables you to utilize email marketing to get reviews, is by using promotional landing pages.

These tools convert your Amazon listing into a landing page where you exchange a single-use coupon code for an email.

The main benefit of using these tools is to drive off-Amazon traffic (ie Facebook Ads) to your Amazon listings, to boost sales velocity for new products and collect emails. But having gotten a customer’s email before they go to Amazon, you can then setup your email autoresponder to ask them for reviews, without breaking Amazon’s Terms.

Customers who buy your product at a discount are totally allowed to leave a review. But they must disclose the fact that they received a discount and you cannot ask them specifically for a positive review. The review must be honest.

Our product, LandingCube, is one such tool that generates Amazon landing pages to run promotions and collect emails, and thus utilize an email marketing tool to solicit reviews.

Using Retargeting Ads to Get Amazon Reviews

Those promotional landing page tools also enable you to use retargeting ads to get more Amazon reviews.  But you must utilize their integrations with Google Analytics or the Facebook Pixel.

Here’s how that would work:

  • Integrate Amazon landing page tool with the Facebook Pixel (only takes 1-click) & setup conversion tracking
  • Create a Facebook Ad for your product
  • Someone clicks through to your landing page & Amazon listing and buys your product. (The Pixel registers this conversion).
  • Create a Facebook Ad asking customers to leave an honest review. Target the people who bought from you.

You CANNOT promise them anything in return for their reviews, but you can explain that reviews help you reach a wider audience and help you improve your products.

The Devil’s in the Details

Whether you use a tool specifically made for soliciting reviews or a regular email marketing tool, how and when you ask for a review is super important. It can make or break whether or not customers actually take action and leave a review.

How you ask?

First off, it’s super important that you ask for honest feedback. Some sellers ask that customers only leave them positive reviews. Some go as far as to say “Please leave us a 5-Star review.” Amazon considers this manipulation. [See the exact wording of the policy above].

Not only should you ask for honest reviews because it is against Amazon’s policy. But also because honest feedback will give you valuable insights. You’ll get valuable insights about your products, what you do well, and how you can improve.

Another thing to consider is the tone of your request and the frequency of emails. Some sellers have seen success writing very simple asks.

“Hi,

Can you please leave us a review. It goes a long way.

Thanks,

Acme Widgets”

Others have seen more success including some value-add information in the ask. Some examples:

  • Tips on how to maximize the product’s effectiveness. Include a list of recipes if you sell a food ingredient or kitchen appliance. Or sample workouts for a piece of exercise equipment.
  • Common mistakes or misconceptions about your product or something related to your product. A brain health supplement won’t be effective if you eat like crap, barely sleep, don’t exercise and stare at screens for 12 hours a day.
  • Additional uses for your product.
  • Links to existing resources. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
  • Include anything that will help your customers extract more value out of your product.

The more valuable they find the product, the more likely they will be to leave a positive review.

Just be considerate of your customers’ time and attention. Don’t spam them. This is why I recommend including the review request in the same email as the value-add info. You give them something and then ask for something in return (but with no expectation). If they do decide to leave a review. Great. If not, on to the next one.

When you ask?

The timing of your review request is also very important. You want to time it according to your product’s life cycle. Has the customer had enough time to use the product? They need time to get a sense of whether the product meets their needs and expectations.

  • Right-away: Phone chargers are probably used immediately upon delivery. So you can ask the day after the product is delivered.
  • Wait a few days: A drone or a video game controller is not an essential thing. It may sit around a few days before the customer plays around with it. So it makes sense to wait a few days.
  • Wait a week or more: Books might take weeks to be read. It’s hard to tell if supplements work until the whole bottle is finished. Time accordingly.

There’s one more way to get reviews that is very powerful and definitely worth mentioning.

Let’s Get Physical

You can include physical inserts in your package asking for reviews.

In today’s digital world, a little thank you card goes a long way. As it is more concrete than an email.

Keep it simple. Thank your customer for doing business with you. And ask them to leave an honest review. Then give them instructions on how to do that.

  1. Go to Amazon.com and log into your account
  2. Go to “My Orders” and select your recent order with us
  3. Choose “Write a product review”
  4. Be honest 🙂

But don’t expect each customer to leave a review. Even if 5% more customers leave a review, you’re doing a great job.

Verified Purchase Reviews

Keep in mind, that if a customer buys your product at a large discount, their review will likely not receive the “Verified Purchase” tag. Verified Purchase reviews carry more weight than reviews without the VP tag.

How does a review get the VP tag? Amazon itself only states that a VP is when they can verify that the product was purchased from Amazon.com. So for instance, if I want to review a book that I was given by a friend, but did not purchase from Amazon, I can’t get the VP tag.

It is also clear that discounts of 50% or more disqualify a review from getting the VP tag. That we know.

Some sellers claim that smaller discounts still prevent a review from getting the VP tag. Further, some even claim that Free Shipping alone can disqualify a review from getting the VP tag. Where Amazon draws the line is not so clear.

Here are some other tips on how to get the Verified Purchase reviews:

  • Give smaller discounts: If more reviews is your goal, rather than spiking sales velocity, it makes sense to give smaller discounts, ie 49% and below.
  • Instruct your customers to leave reviews from ‘My Orders’ section rather than the product detail page itself.
  • Customers can retroactively apply for the Verified Purchase tag if Amazon can verify that they bought the product from Amazon.com. It may not work. Try at your own risk. You probably only want to ask your most die-hard customers to do this. Business is all about relationships. You never want to overburden your customers with tons of messages. But if a customer has bought lots of products from you, left reviews and they’re not verified, it is possible to become verified.

Get Amazon Reviews: Summary

Reviews are super important for products to be seen as valuable and legitimate. There’s a lot of ways to go about getting reviews legally. You can use a review-specific tool, a regular email marketing tool, Amazon landing pages, retargeting ads, and/or physical inserts. Just remember to not be pushy and always give more than you take.

Thomas Pruchinski has been involved in two e-commerce businesses in the health space, with his focus primarily on driving growth of the Amazon channels. Thomas recently joined forces with LandingCube, which gives Amazon sellers the tools to drive external traffic and build email lists to differentiate their brands.

Get started with Amazon FBA by buying a ready made store

Get started with Amazon FBA by buying a ready made store

In the world of e-commerce, one company reigns supreme: Amazon. The world’s largest online retailer is the most popular online marketplace for consumers to find just about everything. However, Amazon’s success isn’t down to only itself, but the many 3rd party sellers who use the marketplace to sell their own products.

Many of these 3rd party sellers use the Amazon FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) service in order to capitalize on the Amazon customer base and distribution network. Amazon FBA makes it easy to manage an online store on the platform. While setting up an FBA store is a simple way to get into e-commerce, the beginning stages are always the hardest. For that reason, many entrepreneurs are interested in buying an Amazon FBA store.

Setting Up FBA

To set up an FBA store the first step is to create a seller account. Once you have a seller account you can start sourcing products to sell on your store. You can connect with suppliers to buy your product from and get it private labeled with your own brand. Once you have your product manufactured and branded to your liking then you can send it to the Amazon FBA warehouse and Amazon will ship your product to anyone that purchases it from your product page on the Amazon website.

Why You Should Consider Buying an Amazon FBA Store

FBA makes owning and running an e-commerce store easy. However, there are some upfront costs which can be high if you don’t have a good product. This is why many entrepreneurs choose to buy an FBA store instead.

Easier Start

The hardest part of running an FBA business is finding and sourcing a profitable product. Buying an FBA store removes this problem as the seller has already done the groundwork of sourcing an initial product and selling it on Amazon. For someone just starting out with FBA, this is a great way to learn the platform without wasting money on products that turn out to be busts.

Focus on Expanding

With the initial groundwork of sourcing a product, supplier and getting everything into the FBA store already done then you only need to focus on maintaining those established channels. With some steady profits already available then you can focus on expanding the store by enhancing marketing, launching a website, and adding additional products among other things.

Once you’ve decided that you wish to buy an established store then the best place to go would be Flippa.com. Flippa makes buying an FBA store a simple process. You can browse through their collection of FBA stores where you can analyze store niche, profit margins and sale price. Once you’ve identified a store that you wish the purchase, the customer service team at Flippa is available to help with the process and answer any questions.

If you’ve always wanted to get into e-commerce or FBA but were unsure about what you needed then now is the perfect time to buy an FBA store through Flippa.

Transferring an Amazon FBA account

Transferring an Amazon FBA account

It’s no secret that Amazon doesn’t like talking about transferring Amazon FBA accounts. In fact, their terms of service technically do not allow FBA accounts to be transferred, but this hasn’t stopped people from being able to buy and sell their FBA businesses. Our goal at Flippa is to remove the barriers between buying and selling of all online businesses, including Amazon FBA businesses. In one of our more recent sales, we worked alongside Amazon Seller Central representatives and were able to capture the exact steps necessary to transfer an FBA business. Here are the steps to transfer an Amazon FBA business:

Step 1 – Update the Primary Email

The first step is to update the primary email of the account over to the new owner. This can be accomplished by going into your account settings and under the related links section, selecting “Login Settings”. Once you’re on the Login Settings page, you can edit the primary user email ID and password. It is recommended to discuss with the new owner which email they prefer using, and then setting the password (and making sure to write it down!). Now that a new email and password has been set, the new owner should be prompted with an email saying the account has been transferred to them. Now provide the login information to them, as they’ll need to finish out the rest before the transfer is complete. (Note: If you’re also transferring the email account, it is recommended to change the password and then give them the login information.)

Step 2 – Have New Owner Complete Tax Interview

Now that the new owner has control of the account, it is up to them to complete the tax interview. This is standard process when updating the business information of an FBA account. The tax interview can be found by going to account settings page and clicking “Legal Entity” within the Business Information section.

Step 3 – Update Bank & Credit Card Information

Once the tax interview is completed, the new owner will need to update both the “Deposit Methods” and the “Charge Methods” which can be found on the Account Settings page underneath the Payment Information section. Once these three items have been completed, the new owner will now have full control of the seller account! If you’re curious about the original contents of the email from Amazon Seller Central, here it is:

I would like to inform you that the seller of a particular account can provide all the authority over the account to someone else by simply updating the primary email address and re-taking the tax interview and updating the bank and credit card information of the other person to whom you would like to sell.   Kindly know that, to update the primary user email ID, all you have to do is go to account settings> Login settings (under ‘related links’) section. Once the page is opened, you can edit the primary email ID and the password. You can update the primary email ID section with that of the email ID of the person that you wish to sell to.   Secondly, ask the other person to go through the tax interview once again (tax interview is nothing but the initial process that you had to undergo to update the business name.. etc..) in the Legal entity link under the ‘Business information section in the account settings page.   Once the other person completes the tax information, he can go ahead and update the bank details and the credit card details in the ‘Deposit methods’ and the ‘Charge methods’ respectively under ‘Payment information’ section in the account settings page.   Once the other person completes all of this process, the account will be under the other person’s control with the bank, credit and email information all will be under the other person’s name.

It’s important to note that the transfer process may differ depending on the circumstances of each Amazon FBA business. It is always recommended to contact Amazon Seller Central before transferring ownership of an FBA business.

Case Study: EZTool

Case Study: EZTool

Platform: Amazon FBA
Business Model: eCommerce
Business Age: 3 Years
Sell Price: $160,000

EZTool sells watch repair kits via Amazon FBA. They’ve tapped into a niche and the growing direct-to-consumer FBA space. The search power and logistics capability of Amazon has helped them to find a sweet spot. The product is simple and suits the home watch enthusiast! This month EZ Tool Founder Angus Hess successfully found a buyer and has recently completed the sale on Flippa.


What is the product?

EZTool sells two different watch repair kits. Kit one is more conclusive with a wrench and illustrated manual and kit two – the QuickFixxer – is a 16 piece tool kit.


What makes EZTool such a good business?

There’s really two things. Firstly, it’s found a path to popularity in a niche. The product is well supported by a 41 page illustrated guidebook and comes with a 100-day replacement guarantee (nothing like a guarantee to woo customers). Secondly, they’ve successfully leverage Amazon FBA and benefit from cost-effective shipping, storage and world class customer service.


Who is the EZTool customer?

There best selling kit is perfect for watch enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. Aimed at those who enjoy DIY as well as those looking to save money on pricey jewellers fees the EZTool products sell steadily all year round. And, they’ve found their kits have become very popular gifts.


Why was it so appealing?

Easy to understand this product had significant interest among the Flippa buyer community. Couple that widespread appeal with the FBA model, the strong consumer feedback scores and strong financial results – EZTool was generating between $5-14k profit monthly, which is in part due to low time commitment – and you have a winner.


How did Flippa assist?

The Flippa model has evolved and it’s beginning to suit higher value buyers. That alone is a big win. Flippa now has over 150,000 registered buyers representing a combined purse of over $9bn wanting to be placed. There are not enough sellers. Once they pop up, sellers like EZTool are benefited from the self-service platform, lower success fees than other channels and dedicated account management.

Is it time your business jumped onto Amazon FBA?

Is it time your business jumped onto Amazon FBA?

If you already have, or you’re contemplating, a start-up with an actual physical product to sell, then you have probably heard of Amazon FBA – but what is it exactly and what are its advantages and any potential drawbacks you need to know about?

Well, as a budding mature-age entrepreneur myself I’ve been very interested to follow the progress of one of my friends, Georgina, who has been steadily building a very successful business in high quality skin care products, emulating the well-known and pricey Aesop’s range, but with some extremely creative additions as well.

Like so many other successful start-up businesses, Georgina’s was initiated in her garage, where she worked hard to experiment with bases and herbal ingredients (some of them very expensive) and the mixing, matching and blending processes to create not just practical but alluring fragranced skin products – from hand-wash, to body wash, to nourishing body oils, and later on perfumed candles and aroma diffusers.

The design of packaging (again very expensive) was a major challenge. Logos and branding took time and creativity. The initial sales (obviously on a loss basis for quite a while given the development costs) were to family and a network of friends. But there was a vision. The vision held firm and the viability grew. Finally there was proof of concept as the sales took hold online and some great exposure was achieved when a major Melbourne homewares brand with several suburban stores agreed to stock some of the range.

By now the garage was completely outgrown. It was time to lease a bigger space just for the production itself, and the rental was a significant expense. Georgina took on a couple of university student casuals to help her – but by now the real problem was storage, managing inventory and delivery. Packaging and posting individual orders and hand delivering the store orders had become unmanageable and Georgina was completely out of storage and handling room.

Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) entered the Australian market space just 12 months ago – at exactly the right time for Georgina. As a great example if IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), Amazon FBA manages every aspect of the pick-up, storage, inventory management, order shipping and even customer returns.

It’s useful to clarify that your product does not need to be sold on Amazon itself (although of course it can be). The winning point of differentiation for Amazon FBA is that it’s an end-of-the-line system which saves your business time and money because Amazon stores your products and manages their delivery in your direction. The fulfilment fees are extremely competitive, given Amazon’s vast network of storage, delivery and inventory management systems. Their advanced data management systems allow you to monitor and track all inventory, orders and deliveries as they are happening.

The fulfilment fees include all packing of orders, inner packaging and delivery, even including the management and accounting for any returns. Separately there is a monthly storage fee, based essentially on your cubic metres of stored product. It would be impossible for a small start-up company to access its own rented storage facility in an equally cost-effective way.

All of Georgina’s products are classified by Amazon FBA as ‘standard-size’, but companies with large physical products such as craftsman-made tables and furniture are also accommodated on a different storage fee schedule. One potential financial hiccup to be aware of, is that Amazon FBA storage fees have a price hike (literally tripled) in October-December because of the premium on space in the lead-up to Christmas, but this applies to the storage fee only, not to processing and delivery fees.

Obviously, costs will depend on the kinds of products being handled, but as an indication in Georgina’s case, her typical $30-$40 product has a per-item cost of under $3 for picking up, packing and shipping, plus around $30 each month per cubic metre of stored products. In the case of her business, that’s a lot of product she doesn’t need to store, package and handle for shipping, allowing her and her couple of part-time assistants to concentrate on what they find more interesting and enjoyable – developing and actually making their product range.

For a small business, there are really very few drawbacks in using Amazon FBA. Initial account set-up, including business and individual identity verification, and learning the system for preparing product for FBA collection is a bit complex initially, but once managed it’s plain sailing. It’s also sensible to check out the very large number of order fulfilment alternatives to FBA offered by many companies now for Australian-based businesses. Few can rival the economies of scale of Amazon, but the best deal for your business may depend on exactly what it is you’re selling and your own production or sourcing processes.

In this article, I’ve concentrated on Amazon FBA for Australian-based businesses creating physical products for sale. However, it’s important to remember that there is a massive growing global enterprise in third-party selling. This is where the trader sources products from an original supplier literally anywhere in the world, and then markets it with a price markup, often at a huge margin. Using Amazon FBA the third-party seller can create a highly profitable business without ever actually handling the physical merchandise at any point at all.

A variation on this, and one that is often highly successful is the ‘Private Label’ approach. This is where an already existing product is sourced, usually from a low-cost producer overseas, and branded with the third-party seller’s own logo and brand name.

Now that’s a completely different scenario from Georgina’s business, but a very interesting one to explore in a separate discussion another time along our journey.

 

Amazon FBA Traffic Guide for the Holidays

Amazon FBA Traffic Guide for the Holidays

Data by Jim Cockrum & Brett Bartlett, Owners of ProvenAmazonCourse.com

Wondering when you can expect the most traffic to your Amazon store over the holidays? Our Amazon FBA training partners, Brett Bartlett and Jim Cockrum of ProvenAmazonCourse.com have sold hundreds of millions of dollars online, and they agreed to share their shopper behavior timeline with us for the remainder of 2017.

Amazon Traffic Intensity Guide

NOVEMBER INTENSITY OF TRAFFIC 1-10 TYPE OF SHOPPER
23 6 Wants a deal
BLACK FRIDAY 10 Wants a deal
25 5 Wants a deal
26 6 Wants a deal
CYBER MONDAY 10 Wants a deal
28 4 Wants a deal
29 5 Wants a deal
30 6 Wants a deal
DECEMBER INTENSITY OF TRAFFIC 1-10 TYPE OF SHOPPER
1 7 Willing to pay regular price
2 10 Willing to pay regular price
3 5 Willing to pay regular price
4 6 Willing to pay ABOVE regular price
5 10 Willing to pay ABOVE regular price
6 4 Willing to pay ABOVE regular price
7 5 Willing to pay ABOVE regular price
8 9 Will to pay premium / Needs 2 day shipping
9 9 Will to pay premium / Needs 2 day shipping
10 9 Will to pay premium / Needs 2 day shipping
11 9 Will to pay premium / Needs 2 day shipping
12 9 Will to pay premium / Needs 2 day shipping
13 9 Will to pay premium / Needs 2 day shipping
14 9 Will to pay premium / Needs 2 day shipping
15 9 Will to pay premium / Needs 2 day shipping
16 10 Cyber Monday / Black Friday Traffic / Willing to pay for expedited shipping
17 10 Cyber Monday / Black Friday Traffic / Willing to pay for expedited shipping
18 10 Cyber Monday / Black Friday Traffic / Willing to pay for expedited shipping
19 10 Cyber Monday / Black Friday Traffic / Willing to pay for expedited shipping
20 10 Cyber Monday / Black Friday Traffic / Willing to pay for expedited shipping
21 10 Cyber Monday / Black Friday Traffic / Willing to pay for expedited shipping
22 5 Slow down and only expedited orders are placed
23 5 Slow down and only expedited orders are placed
24 2 People begin celebrating Christmas
25 2 People begin celebrating Christmas
26 6 People start ordering with Amazon gift cards
27 6 People start ordering with Amazon gift cards
28 6 People start ordering with Amazon gift cards
29 6 People start ordering with Amazon gift cards
30 4 New Year slow down