When you are new to the Marketplace, your biggest obstacle is usually convincing shoppers to take a chance on your product. Even if your pricing is competitive and your features are highly innovative, most consumers will head to Amazon’s review section to see what other purchasers have to say before they commit.
You can hardly blame them. Stories of online shopping fails abound. Even though it’s typically easier to return disappointing merchandise through Amazon than less-established online retailers, customers still look for assurance that the product they’re considering will live up to its claims.
Just how important are reviews? 93% of shoppers check reviews before making an online purchase, and 68% report that they make their decision based only on the first 1-6 reviews they read. Here are six of our best tips for getting your first Amazon reviews and winning consumers’ confidence.
1. Utilize Amazon Vine.
First, utilize Amazon Vine. If you are trying to find your footing in the Marketplace, participating in Amazon Vine is a great way to put your merchandise in the hands of end users and establish a history of reviews.
Vine is an invitation-only program that asks real Amazon customers to share their thoughts on new products. Shoppers who consistently leave detailed, thorough reviews are approached to join Vine Voice and try out featured items for free.
Vine reviews are labeled as such, but because these reviewers aren’t paid for their services and have a proven track record of creating helpful content, their opinions often carry more weight with potential customers.
If you choose to utilize Amazon Vine, it’s important to recognize that you have no control over how the person who claims your product rates it, or if they choose to review it at all. These risks aside, Vine is an excellent starting point for new brands. Your products may even be highlighted in Amazon’s emails to its Vine reviewers – an event that is often the jumping-off point for rapid brand growth.
2. Accept the things you can’t control.
Access to Amazon’s vast ecommerce platforms requires certain concessions. When it comes to reviews, it’s best to recognize going in that they are largely out of your hands.
Though verified reviews are prominently labeled, anyone with an account can sound off about your products. Unless a review violates Amazon’s Community Guidelines, it’s likely to stick. Currently, vendors and sellers aren’t able to respond directly to customer reviews. Further, contacting shoppers off the platform for any reason violates Amazon’s terms of service, so a rebuttal isn’t really possible.
It is possible (but often challenging) to dispute claims that are provably false, but your best bet is to overwhelm any bad reviews with good ones.
3. Communicate through your content.
If there is something unique or confusing about your product it is best to address this upfront in your Product Detail Page content. You can utilize the bullet points or even an infographic style image to explain this unique feature to customers.
Over time, you can also edit your product content to address real customer comments from reviews. If you notice the same complaint or theme in your reviews, take the opportunity to address it before the consumer makes their purchase.
4. Take advantage of the Q&A section of your product page.
The Q&A section is a place for interested shoppers to ask questions and get clarification on features, but it’s also available to sellers. We recommend using it to create a list of FAQs by entering the questions you anticipate consumers would have about your products and preemptively answering them.
All too often, bad reviews are the result of customer confusion or misaligned expectations. Use the Q&As to offer detailed explanations of how to best use your product and address any common sticky spots up front so that shoppers feel confident that it will meet their needs. In the end, it’s better to have a customer go on to purchase a different product than choose yours based on an incorrect assumption and come away disappointed.
5. If you’re on Seller Central, request reviews.
If you opt to use Seller Central rather than Vendor Central, you can use Amazon’s platform to request reviews from customers who buy your products.
Keep in mind that timing is important – you submit your review request once, and if you send it too quickly, the buyer will likely overlook it. We recommend requesting a review 2-3 weeks after the shipping date. This gives the customer enough time to receive your product and spend time using it.
Though it may be tempting to look for other creative ways to solicit reviews during the unboxing process, any attempt to communicate with shoppers outside of Amazon’s platform is a violation of your service agreement.
6. Prioritize the customer experience.
It may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to bank good reviews is to be excellent – both in terms of the quality of your products and the overall customer experience your brand provides.
Though it’s true that people are overall more likely to take time out of their day to complain than they are to praise, it’s equally true that consumers are most likely to review a product when they experience a heightened emotional response (either positive or negative).
Look for ways to make your end users form a deeper connection to your brand through your messaging, package design and unboxing experience. Even small touches can add a sense of luxury, quality or uniqueness to your product, reminding buyers that they are holding something truly special.
Give consumers something to be authentically excited about, and you will establish a winning feedback loop of satisfied customers, five-star reviews and sales.