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.
Can you please leave us a review. It goes a long way.
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.
- Go to Amazon.com and log into your account
- Go to “My Orders” and select your recent order with us
- Choose “Write a product review”
- 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.