By Becky Trowbridge

Author bio:

As the Managing Content Editor for eComEngine, Becky Trowbridge works to bring you the latest eCommerce industry news as well as tips for running a successful Amazon business. When she's not writing or managing content, she enjoys spending time outdoors, trying new recipes and reading.

Product reviews are always a hot topic for Amazon sellers. After all, these ratings directly impact everything from buyer opinion to search rankings. Reviews can increase sales or warn shoppers to seek a different product.

Let’s explore how reviews affect your bottom line and what you can do about it.

Product Reviews or Seller Feedback?

Before we get started, though, it’s important to clarify the difference between reviews and feedback, as they are frequently confused. Both are rated on a five-star system, with five stars as the highest rating. Reviews are all about your product, typically including some detail about the buyer’s perception of the item’s qualities or uses. Seller feedback is all about you and your reliability as a seller: Was the order fulfilled on time? Were you responsive if an issue arose?

In either case, positive ratings are desirable. Both feedback and reviews affect the health of your Amazon seller account. You can request these ratings from buyers, but it’s important to understand that Amazon has strict communication guidelines that you must follow.

Now that you have some context, we’ll focus on reviews for the remainder of this article. If you’d like additional information about feedback, check out this guide.

Building Buyer Trust

Product reviews are the eCommerce version of word of mouth. Buyers frequently read reviews when evaluating products in order to make a purchase decision. Building buyer trust starts with offering a great product. Your Amazon product description and images should provide an accurate and helpful overview to help shoppers understand what you sell. Ensuring that you are setting reasonable expectations increases the odds that you will receive mostly positive ratings from satisfied buyers.

That said, negative reviews do happen from time to time. You should be monitoring your reviews on Amazon regularly (or using a third-party tool like FeedbackFive to get alerts when you receive a negative review) and responding professionally. This may not make a difference for your current review, but it shows future shoppers that you are paying attention and providing customer service after delivery if necessary. After all, they notice. Many shoppers look at the most helpful positive and negative reviews for a product based on other buyer’s votes. Having a short and helpful note from your business on a negative review that shows that you are aware of any issues and attempting to resolve them can make all the difference when it comes to getting the buyer to click “Add to cart.”

Reviews and Rankings

It’s no secret that Amazon advertising is growing by leaps and bounds. While it can be difficult to compete with paid ads, you have a better chance if your product is listed in the first page of Amazon’s search results for your key terms. The number of reviews for your product is a factor that directly influences the Amazon search algorithm.

If you are paying to advertise your products on Amazon, reviews are still very important. As previously mentioned, buyers rely on these ratings when making a purchase decision. Amazon also allows you to include your product’s average star rating in ads if your product has at least a 3.5-star averageand a minimum of 15 customer reviews. This can entice shoppers to click on your listing.

Getting Reviews

You know reviews are important, but getting them can prove to be a challenge. Let’s take a look at a few ways to get reviews for your product.

Amazon offers two different programs to help merchants get reviews. Sellers can pay to enroll products in the Amazon Early Reviewer program. Amazon will request reviews from buyers and provide a small reward for those who share their opinion. You can generate up to five reviews with this program. The Amazon Vine program is for vendors, who can enroll their products to be reviewed by Vine Voices, who are trusted reviewers.

You can send a product review request message to buyers using a template in Buyer-Seller Messaging, but this process can quickly become tedious. We developed FeedbackFive to automate this process in an intelligent way, with rules that allow you to decide when to send a message. You can even customize your message by product to include an image of your product or additional information about the product that may be useful to the customer, such as warranty details.

As mentioned above, Amazon has strict guidelines that you must follow. As an Amazon seller, it is your responsibility to understand and follow Terms of Service. There are changes from time to time, so be sure to make time to reread them regularly. When it comes to sending a product review request, you cannot incentive a buyer to leave a review in any way. This includes discounts, coupons and other financial incentives.

You are not allowed to include marketing messaging in your message, and you cannot link to your storefront or third-party websites. Your review request must use neutral language (don’t ask for a positive review) and cannot include if/then messaging intended to divert an unhappy customer to a different action.

We encourage sellers to pay particular attention to the following: Buyer-Seller Messaging Service Guidelines, Customer Product Reviews, Customer Product Reviews Policies, Answers to Questions about Product Reviews and the Amazon Seller Agreement.

Reviews are essential for increasing sales and keeping your Amazon business running smoothly. Best of luck!

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