It’s no secret that the quality and quantity of reviews and ratings are critical to a product’s success on Amazon. Shoppers use ratings and reviews as a litmus test to gauge whether a product will meet their needs and expectations, while Amazon’s algorithm indexes verbiage in reviews to better match shoppers’ searches.
So, with each product category experiencing increased competition and shoppers being spoiled for choice, it’s more important than ever to manage your current product reviews and have a review strategy in place to keep growing. the quality and quantity of your reviews.
First, let’s be sure to mention that Amazon split reviews and star ratings a few years ago. This allows buyers to rate the product out of five stars without having to write a review.
With this change, we’ve seen buyers who didn’t intend to leave a review post a rating instead. It provides a lower effort threshold on buyer request, opening up a wide variety of people who are willing to provide feedback, whether it’s a rating or a review. If you want to understand this breakdown in more detail, there is an article detailing the difference between ratings and reviews.
When we review a customer’s product listings on Amazon, one of the first things we determine is which products we can advertise with current ratings and reviews. Best practice is to only advertise products with a minimum star average of 3.5 or more. Anything below does not convert well when compared to similar products with better star ratings.
There must also be a minimum of 15 reviews. Typically, shoppers won’t risk buying a new product with less reviews than this unless there is minimal competition in the category or the particular product meets a specific need. and has excellent descriptive content.
So what are the ways to get more reviews and ratings on Amazon? All of the suggestions listed here are white hat strategies in Amazon’s Terms of Service and have proven useful in increasing product rankings on Amazon in the long run. It takes work and diligence, but so does running a reputable Amazon business.
1. In-product demand cards: When packaging your products, add a physical card asking the customer to rate and review the product. It’s part of Amazon’s Terms of Service as long as there is no link directing buyers to order directly from you, which disrupts the Amazon shopping experience, and you don’t give no different instructions based on buyer feedback. For example, you can absolutely use the following formulation:
Thank you for your order! We are a growing brand on Amazon and we are delighted to hear about your experience with our products. Other Amazon shoppers would love to hear from you too! Please consider helping fellow buyers learn about our product by leaving a rating or writing a review.
There is no influence on the review (for example, if you had a problem, contact us, or if you are satisfied, leave a review). This verbiage is against Amazon ToS and may jeopardize your account status.
2. Buyer Messages through Seller Central: Amazon businesses using Seller Central can use the Buyer Messages tool to set up a template to request reviews directly from the Amazon buyer. This may have the same message as the in-product request card. Do not include links or try to influence the outcome of the review or rating.
Keeping it as a touchpoint to remind a buyer that they can rate or review a recent order helps increase reviews and ratings for your products. If you want to automate some of this communication, one tool I’ve enjoyed using is SellerLabs’ Feedback Genius. With this tool, you can automate your message requests, define multiple touchpoints, and track the effectiveness of message campaigns.
If you’re an Amazon vendor, Amazon automatically sends out email reminders to buyers on your behalf, so this strategy is built in for you.
3. Use Amazon’s Vine Program: Amazon has made the Vine program available to all registered brand owners in Seller and Vendor Central. With this program, you can send up to 30 product units to Amazon and then distribute them to the most active reviewers for that particular product category.
Brands using this tool can expect an average response rate of 75% and get high-quality, in-depth reviews that typically include user-generated images and videos. They also earn a special tag, letting other shoppers know this is a Vine review and that the person reviewing the product is one of the top shoppers in that category, giving the review credibility. .
4. Use promotions or coupons: If your product listing is new to Amazon, we need to bring the product to buyers’ attention before they can purchase it and review or review it. Set up a promotion or coupon. This, along with advertising support, helps gain visibility on new listings and can reduce the barrier for shoppers to purchase an underrated or low-review product.
Offering the coupon/promotion to all Amazon buyers and only requesting a review after purchase does not violate the Terms of Service. However, if you offered the discount in exchange for the review or rating, it would violate Amazon’s Terms of Service. That’s a huge no-no on Amazon. Your account will be flagged for review manipulation and have the potential to get you suspended on Amazon.
5. Use your publisher clientele: If you also sell Amazon or have a non-Amazon following, you can create email campaigns to ask them to review your product on Amazon. A buyer doesn’t need to have purchased your product on Amazon to leave a review. Note that if you go this route, the review will not earn the Verified Purchase badge on the review, but it is still indexed by the algorithm and counts towards the overall rating and review count for that product.
This strategy must be managed diligently. While not against Amazon ToS, Amazon’s review section is monitored by bots that track the number of reviews against your selling speed. If you are sending a mass email campaign and your customers are flocking to Amazon to leave reviews at the same time, this will trigger the bot to flag the product for investigation. Start small. Ask your most loyal customers and keep an eye on the number of reviews received in relation to your Amazon sales.
Hopefully, one or all of these strategies can be incorporated into your current Amazon review management process. Remember that Amazon takes review manipulation seriously, so it’s always best to go the white hat route.
Remember these things to avoid:
- Do not influence the outcome of your reviews and ratings. You should offer the same journey to all buyers, regardless of their experience. You cannot ask people who have had a good experience to give your opinion and not offer the same thing to those who have had a neutral or bad experience.
- Do not encourage reviews or ratings. Amazon tracks this meticulously. If you offer a coupon, promotion, discount, free product, or cash in exchange for a review, Amazon will suspend your account for review manipulation.
- Don’t buy mailing lists. It shouldn’t be said at this point, but buying mailing lists and then sending out coupon mailings or new product launch emails with review requests doesn’t work. This is gray hat at best and it violates the trust of the person receiving this email. If they haven’t interacted with your brand or consented to be contacted, they are usually immediately turned away from your brand even if they are your ideal customer. At worst, the email list you just bought is full of dead, unused, and abandoned emails, and you’re sending your email campaigns into a void.
- Do not use social media groups and review pages. Typically, these groups demand discounted or free products in exchange for a review. It violates that first bullet. Amazon has also cracked down on this. Review bots track the rate at which your products get reviews relative to your speed of sale for that ASIN. If review volume increases with no change in sales velocity, the product will be flagged for investigation.
- Don’t ask your friends, family or colleagues to review the products. Amazon tracks accounts and IP addresses that leave reviews. Not only do you risk having your seller account suspended for this, but you also risk the Amazon accounts of people who leave the reviews. If too many reviews are coming from the same IP address, state or city, it’s a dead giveaway for bots that there is review manipulation present for that product.
If you have any questions about permitted practices for collecting more product reviews, see Amazon’s policies here:
Reviews and ratings make or break a product on Amazon. A detailed strategy on how to obtain reviews in an Amazon ToS-compliant manner is essential for businesses on Amazon. Remember to keep it above board and authentic. A good review strategy won’t net you more than 100 reviews overnight. This is a long-term strategy that, if managed correctly, can increase product rankings, increase buyer confidence, and ultimately grow your business on Amazon.