Getting customer reviews on Amazon can be quite challenging as a new seller.
You need to make sales to get reviews, and to make more sales, you need more customer reviews.. so the cycle goes on.
Trust us, we’ve all been there.
Luckily, however, Amazon knows about this too, which is why they have put forward a solution: Amazon Early Reviewer Program.
But how does it work? If it actually works, should you be signing up too? What will it cost?
We’ve put together this post to answer these and many other of your queries related to Amazon's Early Reviewer Program.
Let’s get started!
Amazon's Early Reviewer Program encourages buyers to give honest reviews - regardless of whether they are 1-star or 5-star - about their experience with a product.
Amazon says that it’s a win-win situation for both the seller and the buyer as it “helps (sellers) to acquire early reviews on products that have few or no reviews, helping shoppers make smarter buying decisions.”
In return for submitting their honest opinion within the offer period, Amazon rewards the reviewer with a $1-$3 Amazon gift card.
Now that we understand what the program’s for, let’s get into how it actually works.
Suppose you just signed your product up for Amazon's Early Reviewer Program.
Say, for instance, 10 people bought this product from you.
Amazon will now randomly reach out to a list of these buyers, ask them to give an honestly authentic review on your product and offer a small reward in return.
You’ll be able to identify an early review by an orange badge titled “Early Reviewer Rewards” that looks like this:
Note: You get to choose which products you want to enroll in the program, but you won’t get to choose the reviewer. Amazon will do so themselves. The enrollment expires after a year or when your product reaches 5 reviews - whichever happens first.
Is it really necessary though? See for yourself:
Check out how the number of reviews acts as an important factor in boosting sales in the initial stages of a product:
Source: Spiegel Research Center
According to Spiegel Research Center, a new product with 5 reviews has a 270% greater chance of purchase than the same product with zero reviews. Luckily, this tool helps you with exactly that.
Now comes the real talk - is it worth it?
Let’s get one thing straight first:
Amazon's Early Reviewer Program does not directly motivate people to buy your product.
But what it does is to reach out to people who have already purchased your product and incentivizes them to give an honest opinion about their experience.
This actually means a great deal.
Let’s look at some facts:
According to Weby Corp, 94% of buyers fail to leave a review for the product they purchase.
Well, a customer has literally nothing to gain from writing reviews, right? But that’s the thing - what if he did have something to gain?
Amazon has made use of this very tactic to develop their early reviewer program. Although they are not directly incentivizing people to buy your product, they are still offering them a reward in return for an authentic review.
Once you have reviews, you’ll notice a significant increase in your sales, which in turn will earn you even more reviews and hence your business would finally take off.
Fun fact: According to IGNITEAMZ, you need to make 150 sales before you reach 5 reviews on Amazon, but only 30 sales if you use the Early Reviewer Program!
Now that we know all about the “how” of Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program, let’s look at the “why” of it:
Amazon changed its Terms of Services back in 2016 and completely banned incentivized reviews. They even went as far as suing some sellers for asking buyers to give incentivized reviews.
Sellers used to ask for incentivized reviews in a way like this:
This practice was quite common before the ban, especially among new sellers who struggled to get customer reviews. It did, however, raise the issue of fake reviews and put Amazon under a lot of scrutinies.
According to research by ReviewMeta, incentivized reviewers are 12 times less likely to give a 1-star rating than non-incentivized reviewers. Check this out:
So, in order to remedy the situation, Amazon put a complete ban over incentivized reviews. Consequently, sellers began having a hard time getting reviews which is why Amazon had to come up with a legal solution: Amazon Early Reviewer Program.
We’ve put together an FAQ section to answer some basic queries related to Amazon's Early Reviewer Program.
Let’s look at these, one by one:
Here are the eligibility criteria for Amazon early reviewer program enrollment:
Amazon's Early Reviewer Program charges $60 per item to be enrolled. You will be charged once you get your first early review for the enrolled product.
You will be charged when your product gets its first early review. If it fails to do so within 1 year, then your enrollment will expire and you won’t be charged anything.
Amazon promises that reviewers are selected absolutely at random from your enrolled product’s buyers, provided that the buyers:
Since reviewers have to comply with Amazon’s guidelines and have no history of submitting cruel reviews, we would say that they are quite trustworthy.
Early reviewer program was introduced in the first place to clean the mess created by incentivized reviews so no, they’re not the same.
Although they are similar in some ways, the Early Review Program still holds more promise of upholding the integrity of product reviews on Amazon due to the following differences:
Signing up for Amazon Early Reviewer Program only takes 3 simple steps:
Remember, your product is not eligible for enrollment unless it is in Amazon’s Brand Registry. If you have already registered then move on to the next step but if not, better do it now: https://brandservices.amazon.com/
Now that you’ve registered your brand, it’s time to enroll your products.
Go to your Amazon seller central dashboard and locate the “Advertising” drop down menu, then select Early Review Program.
Your page will now look something like this:
Go to the indicated area in your Enrollment Dashboard to enroll your product. You can simply copy the desired product’s SKU from your inventory and paste it here.
Your Enrollment Dashboard lists all of your enrolled products along with their respective statuses and other relevant details.
To the right of the enrollment date column is the ERP reviews column, then comes the status column and at the extreme right is your billing status column.
You can notice that the first two products still have zero reviews so their status is “Enrolled” whereas the third product has reached 3 reviews so its status is shown as “Successful”.
Note that only the “successful” product has been charged for, not all of the enrolled ones.
Amazon early reviewer program is a great way to launch a new product and earn those first, valuable reviews. In the longer run, we recommend to further enhance your efforts by using Amazon PPC to boost sales velocity.
Most importantly, don’t forget that this program welcomes all sorts of reviews - good and bad ones. Once a review has been received, it cannot be removed later (unless, of course, it violates Amazon’s community guidelines).
What this means is that your product must be of reliable quality along with perfect customer service and product listing. If not, you may actually be paying to get a negative review on your product.
Got any questions? Let us know in the comments so we can answer!
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