Amazon changed the world of e-commerce in many ways. One of the most notable was its use of customer reviews. Throughout the years, Amazon has made lots of changes to its review system — what’s allowed, what isn’t, and how sellers can communicate with buyers.
But one thing has remained the same: the platform’s goal of making it easy for shoppers to make better buying decisions.
As a seller on Amazon, you have to not only keep up with Amazon’s changing guidelines but also incorporate them into a product review strategy that serves your growth goals.
Here’s the latest on why Amazon reviews matter, plus top tactics for getting more of them.
Maximizing Amazon Product Reviews
- Why Amazon Product Reviews Matter
- 10 Tactics to Get More Amazon Reviews
- Review Tactics That Are Against Amazon’s Guidelines
- Amazon Product Reviews Can Make or Break Your Bottom Line
Why Amazon Product Reviews Matter
As an e-commerce seller, you know product reviews matter. But let’s talk about what, exactly, is at stake here. There are two main reasons reviews should be on your radar as an Amazon seller.
Reason #1: Amazon Product Reviews Impact Product Rankings
There are millions of sellers on Amazon. How does the mega marketplace determine which ones have already proven themselves? Reviews.
Reason #2: Social Proof Builds Trust
Nearly half of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. It’s common for people standing in a physical store to check a product’s Amazon reviews before buying it in person. People deeply trust Amazon reviews — probably because the platform takes a great deal of care in weeding out fakes.
The moral of the story? Getting more reviews can help you move up in the product rankings and increase your sales. If you’re not focusing on reviews, you’re not achieving your best ROI on Amazon.
What Types of Reviews Are Best? Amazon’s Big Three
All reviews are important, but they’re not all created equal. So what types of reviews will make the biggest impact on your product rankings?
Amazon’s algorithm prioritizes three key traits in every product review:
- Verified Purchase reviews. These are considered the gold standard since Amazon is sure they’re genuine.
- Longer, more detailed reviews. Short reviews just aren’t as helpful to users considering your product.
- Photo and video reviews. These media attachments give a deeper level of insight to potential customers.
Text Reviews vs. Star Ratings
Your customers have the opportunity to leave a star rating with or without a text review. While a detailed text review will help you more when it comes to your product’s ranking, star ratings are also important.
Amazon’s star rating uses machine learning — not just a simple average of all the ratings — to reflect the most helpful rating. The model considers each product rating’s recency, the trustworthiness of the account, and verified purchase status.
For instance, Amazon does not take non-verified purchase ratings into account unless the user also provides a review with text, photo, or video.
Since 94% of all purchases are made for products with an average rating of at least four stars, it’s important to keep a close eye on your Amazon star rating.
10 Tactics to Get More Amazon Product Reviews
There’s one thing you should know about collecting Amazon reviews: You can ask for reviews until you’re blue in the face, but you can’t incentivize reviews.
Amazon did away with incentivized reviews in 2016, so if you’re still using this approach, it’s time to retire it. The one exception is the Amazon Vine program — more on that below.
So how can you get more Amazon product reviews above the board? It’s simple: Ask for them. On multiple channels. In creative ways. Consistently.
Here are 10 different tactics you can try.
1. Use Amazon’s ‘Request a Review’ Button
We all have things to do — sometimes your customer just needs a gentle nudge to review their recent purchase. That’s exactly what the Request a Review button does.
However, you will have to stay on top of this tip as you can only use the button on orders delivered within the past 30 days. There are tools and browser extensions that can help automate this process.
2. Follow Up With Customers
Amazon sends a boilerplate message to all buyers suggesting they leave a review. But you can certainly do better than an automated note. Sending a personalized email asking a customer for a review can be pretty effective.
The trick is to personalize your emails as much as possible and avoid spammy language. Otherwise, they’ll just annoy your customers and detract from their experience with their brand.
3. Use Amazon Vine
The Amazon Vine program is the only avenue for incentivized reviews. Through Vine, invitation-only members receive free products in exchange for leaving reviews. If your product is selected for Vine, you’ll see an uptick in reviews.
Beware, though: Vine reviewers are chosen because they provide insightful, helpful reviews that reflect their honest opinions — “positive, neutral, or negative,” according to Amazon. So you can expect Vine reviews to also point out any aspect of your product that doesn’t meet expectations.
4. Encourage Customers to Create Unboxing Videos
We already know that Amazon’s algorithm loves video reviews. Ask your customers to create unboxing videos of your product and share them in their reviews.
Your packaging is the perfect opportunity to remind customers to create a video. A sticker on the outside of the box inviting them to record their unboxing experience will appeal to the aspiring content creators within your buyer base.
5. Use Inserts
Speaking of packaging, inserts are another excellent way to get more reviews. Use your insert to show customers who you are and put a face behind your brand beyond the standard Amazon brown box. When buyers feel more connected to your brand, they’re more likely to make an effort to leave a review.
Note that Amazon prohibits asking specifically for positive reviews. Even using a graphic with five stars can be interpreted as an attempt to influence the review. Be sure to ask clearly for honest reviews — nothing more.
6. Ask for Amazon Product Reviews on Social Media
Your social media followers are a great source of quality reviews. At some point, they’ve gone out of their way to follow your brand. They’re either customers or just huge fans (go you! 🥳).
Post regular reminders for those who have bought your products to review them. Since these are the fans we’re talking about, you can ask for a little more here. Remind your followers that reviews with lots of detail, photos, and videos will help you the most.
7. Leverage Your Email List
If you have a customer email list or newsletter, include a call to action asking customers to leave reviews for your products. Since these folks have opted in — or haven’t opted out, anyway — there’s likely some affinity there for you to work with.
Remove any barriers you can from the review process. Be sure to include a direct link to the product, or, if you’re asking for reviews on multiple products, give concise directions for how to leave the review.
8. Reach Out to Critical Reviewers
This tactic won’t get you more reviews, but it will help you provide support or a courtesy refund to customers who’re particularly unsatisfied with their purchase. Will the customer update their negative review afterward? You can’t ask them to, but you can hope.
9. Sell Exceptional Products
When it comes to getting great reviews, nothing beats the good old-fashioned strategy of selling great products. By keeping close tabs on product quality, you can make sure every single order exceeds your customers’ expectations.
Go the extra mile to “surprise and delight” by using exciting packaging and including an instruction manual for a polished experience.
10. Provide Responsive Customer Service
Promptly addressing any issues or questions will make your customers’ buying experience that much smoother. Satisfied customers are more likely to leave positive reviews — especially if you go above and beyond to make things right when there’s a problem.
If you are working directly with a customer to answer questions or solve a problem, don’t be afraid to ask them to leave a review once the issue is resolved.
Review Tactics That Are Against Amazon’s Guidelines
There are lots of “black hat” review tactics that might work in the short term but are against Amazon’s guidelines. These can result in serious consequences, including permanent withdrawal of selling privileges and even legal action.
And the list isn’t short. Here are some of the highlights:
- Asking specifically for a positive review (any communications should ask for honest reviews)
- Offering any compensation for a review, including gift cards, discounts, refunds, or free products
- Having friends and family write reviews for your products (or writing them yourself)
- Asking a reviewer to change or remove their review (incentivized or not)
- Using a third-party service that offers free products tied to a review
- Diverting negative feedback to a different channel while sending positive reviews to Amazon
Amazon Product Reviews Can Make or Break Your Bottom Line
A thoughtful Amazon review strategy can send your revenue soaring. But if you fail to stay compliant with Amazon’s guidelines when asking for reviews, it could put your business at risk.
The best way to approach reviews is to stay up-to-date on Amazon’s guidelines, use approved channels, and be consistent. With a steady focus and respect for the rules, you’ll be racking up five-star reviews in no time.
Ready to take your Amazon game to the next level? Supporting Amazon sellers is what we do best. Check out our SellersFi Amazon Resources Hub for the latest on all things Amazon.
Or, if you’re ready to get funded to grow your Amazon business, register for an account. It’s free, easy, and there’s no commitment.