Amazon remains the biggest eCommerce platform in the world in 2023: the site has around 2.72 billion unique visitors this year alone. This means plenty of profit for potential entrepreneurs but also a fierce competition to get significant returns. Amazon businesses will need every advantage they get to distinguish themselves from competitors, and one way they can do this is by improving customer satisfaction.
And of the best barometers for customer satisfaction is customer reviews. If you want customers to have a favorable impression of your storefront and products, curating positive reviews is crucial. But getting reviews on Amazon isn’t as simple as asking your customers to leave you one… or is it?
Here’s a guide on everything you need to know about getting reviews that matter as an Amazon seller.
Before anything else, it’s important to clarify one key difference with this topic: reviews vs. ratings.
Amazon used to have a different system that accounted for reviews. Before 2020, Amazon’s reviews needed a title and a description (typically a paragraph or more) to appear on a product’s page. However, this review system ran into a few issues:
To address this, Amazon switched to a rating system in 2020, allowing customers to leave one-click star ratings instead of the previously more detailed reviews. Reviews didn’t go away, but most of the customer feedback (primarily because of the ease of the process) got funneled into Amazon’s rating system.
An easy way to tell the difference between the two is that ratings focus on the number of stars, while reviews emphasize words and detailed descriptions. But what does this mean for sellers? A few things:
Because it’s designed to be viewable immediately, any customer looking at your product or storefront is far more likely to notice—and therefore, judge—you based on your ratings alone. So even if you have very good reviews, having plenty of 1-star ratings can negatively affect your Amazon standing.
Reviews appear on your Seller Central, and if needed, you can respond to them individually in case there’s a problem that needs addressing. However, ratings are far more difficult to track down because there’s no way to respond to them. That’s why sellers should always pay attention to their ratings: they’re going to be difficult to manage if you get several low ratings from customers.
It’s also possible to publish fake ratings for a particular product. This normally isn’t a reliable system. Since Amazon has safeguards in place for a more accurate rating, short-term spoofing of ratings can cause significant damage to your brand’s reputation. As much as possible, you should always rely on organically raising your product ratings to avoid any conflict with Amazon’s regulations.
Does this mean that brands should put more importance on ratings rather than reviews? Not at all. Around 9 out of 10, customers still put a lot of trust in reviews before making a purchase. While ratings are still important in the overall standing of your Amazon business, reviews should still be your priority.
So what can a business do to increase their reviews on Amazon? There are plenty of ways to do it, but some methods are far more likely to get you better reviews while still staying within Amazon’s regulations:
Amazon already has an easy way to keep track of all the products sellers have sold. Therefore, it’s also simple to track the customers it can ask for a review. Amazon sellers can go to their Manage Orders page from their Seller Central account and click the “Request Review” button beside each confirmed purchase.
Some considerations when doing this include:
Amazon’s “Request A Review” feature is fairly new—only having been introduced in 2019—but it’s already proven itself to be an essential part of the customer relations management process, helping businesses better understand the reasons why their products are being bought, and which customer segments are buying them.
Keep in mind that using Amazon’s “Request A Review” feature does not mean you cannot ask for reviews in other ways. While there are specific regulations about how and when exactly Amazon sellers can ask for reviews, using the “Request A Review” feature by itself does not disqualify sellers from using other methods to ask for reviews or ratings.
Our recommendation: Amazon’s “Request A Review” feature is straightforward and requires little to no investment at all on the part of the seller—apart from the time and effort needed to manually go through all reviews. However, certain tools can automate this process, making it significantly easier to acquire reviews from more product sales.
One thing that usually confuses Amazon customers is the difference between seller feedback and reviews/ratings. While both are meant to be their impressions of an Amazon seller, seller feedback is about Amazon sellers’ general handling of their customer experience, while reviews/ratings are specifically about the products that they sell.
This is important for a few reasons:
While getting good seller feedback is crucial to improving the overall positive impression of your storefront, the average Amazon customer will likely not peruse that much when looking for products to buy. As a result, their attention is funneled specifically toward your ratings/reviews, which seller feedback usually doesn’t affect at all.
Amazon sellers can leverage the seller feedback that they get by following up with customers to leave reviews on their product pages. Since these customers have already put in the effort of leaving seller feedback, they’re more likely to also go through the effort of leaving a review on your product pages—if you ask them in the right way.
Our recommendation: Leveraging seller feedback is a great way to get positive reviews, but keep in mind Amazon’s regulations about asking for feedback if you’re ever going to use this approach. It’s also important to ask your customers politely about leaving a review right after they’ve left seller feedback. Being too demanding may backfire, while not clarifying the importance of leaving reviews may mean your message is ignored.
Product inserts are brief calls-to-action (CTAs) usually left in the packaging of products, which ask customers to leave a review. Product inserts are an immediate way for sellers to ask any customers to review their product immediately after a purchase: however, sellers should keep in mind Amazon’s guidelines on asking for reviews.
Product inserts can be beneficial since they:
Using product inserts can be extremely effective for getting reviews, but it’s also one of those gray areas that many sellers can mess up. Amazon allows product inserts on the condition that they never incentivize positive reviews or divert any negative reviews—which can be a bit of a murky guideline that isn’t always explained.
As a result, many businesses have shied away from using product inserts, if only to mitigate the risk of running against Amazon regulations. But for businesses wanting to personalize their method of asking for reviews, this is a great way of setting your brand apart from its peers on Amazon.
Our recommendation: If you follow Amazon’s guidelines on what language you can use in a product insert, there’s nothing wrong with using them to ask for reviews. With proper placement and the right branding, you can help your audience connect with your brand in a more personal way.
Amazon heavily regulates the kind of actions sellers can take about incentivizing feedback (more on this later), but it does allow for specific influential reviews to step in and review products as per a seller’s request. With Amazon Vine, you can enroll specific products for review by Amazon’s most trusted reviewers.
However, this approach does have some considerations:
This approach works well if you’re an established storefront on the Amazon platform and you have the capital to front the costs needed to get these reviews. These costs aren’t always the same either: first-party (1PL) sellers need to pay a fee for the service, but third-party (3PL) U.S. sellers typically pay lower rates for each product.
One thing that can make this backfire on sellers is its unpredictability. Since these reviews are paid, you’re guaranteed that they’re more likely to be thorough and high-quality in content. But whether these reviews will be in your favor or not is entirely out of your control. The Amazon Vine program encourages unbiased feedback from its Vine Voices, so their reviews will consider all the good and bad parts of your product.
Our recommendation: Amazon Vine is an excellent way to get in-depth reviews, but sellers should never enroll their products in the program if they aren’t more than 100% sure of their quality. Additionally, since enrolling in this program does have costs, sellers need to consider if they can front the losses from losing both the product for review and all the assorted fees that come with fulfillment.
Amazon has very strict guidelines on how businesses on the platform can get reviews from their customers. Violating any of these guidelines can lead to strict penalties on your Amazon store. Particularly severe offenses may result in the suspension of your storefront and seller account.
Fortunately, the overall idea behind Amazon’s policy on getting reviews is easy to understand: never influence a customer’s review in any way aside from the service/product you’ve already provided.
That means you should avoid the following:
All of these guidelines are to stop issues that have followed the platform since its founding, like fake review bombing or pay-for-praise policies. However, this doesn’t mean that you still shouldn’t try to get positive or influential reviews from your customers—Amazon specifically allows this type of feedback through its Amazon Vine program. It’s important to note that this still doesn’t allow sellers specifically to ask for good feedback: it’s Amazon itself that does it.
By avoiding the actions (and providing quality products and good customer experience/service), your Amazon business can organically get positive reviews and raise your standing on the Amazon platform.
Customer feedback may be easy to manage if you only have a few products, but forward-thinking businesses should always look towards scaling up. There are plenty of tools out there that can give you an easier time managing your customer’s feedback and get further insight into what exactly makes your store/products so appealing.
For businesses that want to keep their review management systems in a single place, Amazon Seller Central already offers an overview of the reviews you’ve received on your products. And as discussed earlier, it’s the easiest way to request a review from customers that have already bought products from you.
Alternatively, you can also check the individual pages of your products to see the reviews that have been posted there. While this can be a more tedious process than simply viewing them from your Dashboard, it can allow you to get an eye on reviews that may no longer show up on your recent reviews. This can be especially helpful if you’ve only just begun curating your Amazon reviews or don’t have review management tools.
Our most recent release, Onsite Support, is the first to address this issue head-on. By partnering with Amazon, Onsite provides access to your customer as they are processing a return or leaving a negative review. This gives you an opportunity to support your customer, avoid a return, and gain a positive review from a now happy customer.
Visit onsitesupport.io to learn more about this exclusive new program for FBA sellers!
As a comprehensive marketplace management platform, Threecolts offers two other solutions that make dealing with customer feedback far more efficient for Amazon Sellers.
The first is ChannelReply, a tool that makes responding to customer queries and support tickets in a single place. While this doesn’t deal with reviews primarily, it’s an excellent supporting tool for customers that have contacted your businesses after leaving a review. ChannelReply displays live customer data, supports other platforms aside from Amazon, and helps you answer customer tickets efficiently.
The second tool is FeedbackWhiz. This streamlines how you interact with your customer feedback on Amazon, helping you optimize the way you respond to customers and curating positive impressions on your store and products. It can automate Amazon’s Request A Review feature, create personalized templates to request reviews, and give you a sharp overview of the customer reviews that help boost your products.
By using these tools and the rest of the features on the Threecolts platform, Amazon sellers gain a better understanding of what draws their audience to their products—and, more importantly, how to optimize those strengths and cover any weaknesses.
JungleScout has been a trusted name in eCommerce management for years, and its tool integrations make it easier for Amazon businesses to respond to customer queries and automate review requests. While most of these features are inside the application itself rather than extensions (such as the one you may use on Google Chrome), businesses can still benefit from using JungleScout’s automation tools for their customer feedback.
Sellers will find Jungle Scout’s “request and forget” features to be useful when trying to get plenty of reviews after a product launch, alongside its other features for curating positive reviews of their products. However, potential users should also keep in mind the learning curve required to use these features to their fullest potential, alongside them being locked behind higher-tier (and higher-cost) JungleScout plans.
Helium 10’s Amazon Feedback Software (otherwise known as Seller Assistant) approaches getting customer feedback in an Amazon-compliant way. This drastically lowers the risk that businesses can violate Amazon’s regulations about incentivizing customer feedback while also increasing the likelihood of gaining positive reviews.
Users can choose to customize the requests they send to customers, with the option of sending requests in bulk for recent purchases of products. This feature is also supported by intelligent automation, so customers don’t get bombarded with review requests. Finally, the extension itself integrates seamlessly into your Google Chrome browser, allowing you to do all this straight from your Amazon Seller Central account.
Customer reviews are some of the most crucial elements that make a successful storefront. By leveraging positive impressions of your brand and turning them into reviews, you’re able to stand out from your competitors for better profits. If you’re looking for something that can help you manage reviews better on your storefront, try Threecolts today.