Reviews are vital for Amazon sellers. They provide your potential customers with an assurance that you’re a reputable seller and are a critical component of winning the Amazon Buy Box.
But for sellers launching a new product, this can pose a problem. You need sales to receive reviews and you need reviews to drive sales. It’s a vicious cycle!
Amazon no longer allows sellers to offer rewards in exchange for reviews. You can take advantage of the Amazon Early Reviewer Program, however. If you’re willing to pay for it!
Let’s take a deep dive into the Amazon Early Reviewer Program and assess whether it’s worth it!
What is the Amazon Early Reviewer Program?
The Amazon Early Reviewer Program is designed to help sellers gain feedback for new products on the marketplace. Amazon will email customers offering a small gift voucher in return for a review of your product.
First, let’s rewind a bit to uncover how and why the program was launched.
In 2016, Amazon got some bad press because of all the fake reviews on its site. So the eCommerce giant responded decisively.
Amazon removed any fake or incentivized reviews it came across. It also introduced a strict new customer review policy banning sellers from offering discounts or any other incentives in exchange for positive feedback.
The new rules also banned reviews from family, friends or third-party services. Ignoring these policies puts a seller at risk of account suspension.
Since then, trust in Amazon reviews has skyrocketed with only 6.2% of US shoppers saying they don’t trust the site’s reviews at all.
However, without incentives, sellers were struggling to build up reviews for newly launched products. So in 2018, the Amazon Early Reviewer Program was set up to help them earn authentic, trustworthy reviews – for a fee.
Although sellers can no longer offer rewards in exchange for reviews, Amazon can do it for you.
How does the program work?
Signing up to the program will cost you $60 per SKU. Amazon then follows up with customers who bought this product asking them for an honest review of their experience.
They offer customers an Amazon gift card worth between $1 and $3 as a reward for their feedback – even if it’s negative.
The program isn’t intended to drive sales, so your customers won’t be aware of the potential reward when making a purchase. Besides, Amazon doesn’t send review requests to everyone. Only a random selection of customers are invited to take part. Any customer is eligible once they don’t have a past record of posting dishonest or abusive reviews.
Feedback gathered through the program is marked with an orange label, as well as a ‘verified purchase’ tag. This tells other shoppers that the review is genuine and trustworthy.
The program is designed as a launching pad for new products. For this reason, it’s only available for items with very few reviews. Amazon will keep requesting feedback for your product over the course of a year or until you’ve received five reviews – whichever comes first.
Any reviews which aren’t collected as part of the program won’t count towards this figure.
Am I eligible for the Amazon Early Reviewer Program?
To register a product in the program, you need to be its brand owner. In other words, you need to own the trademark to the brand name which appears on the product or packaging.
If you are the brand owner, you’ll need to sign up to the Amazon Brand Registry. Then to qualify for the early reviewer program, your products will also need to meet the following criteria:
- The product must be on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
- The product needs to have less than five reviews to date
- It must cost at least $15 – if the price falls below this figure while it’s enrolled in the program, Amazon will stop requesting reviews
- It should have a stand-alone or parent SKU – child SKUs are automatically enrolled with a parent SKU
How to register for the Amazon Early Reviewer Program
If you’re eligible for the Amazon Early Reviewer Program and want to take part, you can sign up from within your Seller Central account.
Under the advertising tab, choose ‘Early Review Program’ to get started. From there, you can directly enter one product SKU at a time. Alternatively, you can bulk upload up to a hundred SKUs using a CSV file.
Amazon will automatically reject any products which don’t meet the eligibility criteria.
Is the Amazon Early Reviewer Program worth it?
The early reviewer program can benefit buyers, sellers and Amazon itself. But is it worth the investment?
For $60 per SKU, you’ll receive up to five reviews. The costs can add up if you have lots of new products going live on Amazon. However, the conversions can add up quickly too.
Research suggests that shoppers are most likely to buy a product ranked between 4.2 and 4.5 stars in online reviews.
So if you have plenty of stock to sell, you’ll see the investment returned in no time. There’s no doubt it can kick off feedback and, in turn, build momentum for your sales.
However, it’s important to be aware of the pitfalls too. Many sellers say that reviews are quite slow to come through. And then there’s always the chance you’ll end up paying for negative feedback.
Sellers choose products for the program, but they can’t influence which customers take part or what they say. Instead, it is up to you to make sure the product is great, its description is accurate and that great customer support is provided to all buyers.
Amazon requests honest feedback so those taking part in the program can give you five stars – or one. Also, some customers might take part just to earn the reward. Sellers often find that reviews coming through the program are brief and not particularly enthusiastic – as you’ll see in the example above.
What’s next after the Amazon Early Reviewer Program?
The early reviewer program aims to help new products gain traction. But, even if they receive the maximum five reviews, most sellers will want to continue gathering feedback.
Remember, there’s a very clear correlation between reviews and sales. So the more you have, the more comfortable people will feel buying from you.
Top-class customer service is key to nurturing great reviews, as is taking the time to create accurate and descriptive Amazon product listings. Generally, this should organically build up the kind of glowing comments you’re looking for too.
Other options are limited since Amazon introduced its customer reviews policy. However, those who don’t use Fulfillment By Amazon can add inserts to their packages requesting feedback. Though, to stay within the rules, these must be worded neutrally and only call for honest reviews.
All sellers can also take advantage of automated emails which follow up with customers. This method is great on two fronts. Firstly, it will help identify unhappy customers before they leave negative feedback. If you address whatever went wrong, it can stop a complaint before it even happens.
Secondly, you can use these follow-up emails to encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews. Just be sure to carefully follow the rules for Amazon feedback requests.
Did you know that over 60% of US online retail purchases were made through Amazon last year? Amazon’s hold over eCommerce is well established, with 9.1 million active Amazon sellers worldwide and an average of 66 thousand orders per day. Newer sellers may be wondering how they can get more sales on Amazon in such a competitive environment.
The truth is, they absolutely can because with Amazon’s booming market share come many opportunities. We’ve assembled this digestible list of 14 quick wins and strategic moves, to help you up your game and sell more on Amazon.
1. Do keyword research
Having the right keywords can be one of the most important tactics in reaching your target audiences. Using the keywords that are common to searches for your products is the objective, but search engine optimisation (SEO) is a constantly evolving game. That means that keywords used successfully in the past may not be as effective with updated search engine algorithms today.
The terms used by customers to find products change daily and are affected by seasonal, cultural, and economic factors. Hence, it’s important to stay on top of the latest SEO trends and make sure you cast a wide net when implementing keywords for each product listing.
Each product should be optimized with as many relevant keywords as possible – into the hundreds! This gives you the best possible chance of getting your products found by customers, helping you sell more on Amazon.
Amazon keyword research tools like Helium 10, SellerApp, Jungle Scout, and AMZ One can help by generating a list of related keywords with search volume, competition level, and other useful metrics, making it easier for you to choose the best keywords for your product listing
2. Use a repricing tool to get more sales on Amazon
When it comes to sealing the deal and making a sale, price is a main deciding factor for many customers. As an Amazon seller, you always want to make sure you’re pricing your products competitively, but equally, you don’t want to lose your margin!
This is something that using repricing software can help with. Repricing software automates the pricing process in real-time, ensuring your prices stay in line with those of competitors, and with market fluctuations, while you get more sales on Amazon.
Repricing software also has many customisable features that allow you to set prices at optimal levels to help drive sales, without compromising profit. It’s worth taking a trial to see how it can help lift your sales.
3. Get more Amazon reviews
Online reviews are important to spread confidence through word of month and for building credibility for your brand. It’s also a fact that 72% of shoppers won’t buy until they’ve read reviews of a product from people like themselves – people they trust.
Even a strong product with great marketing behind it still has to overcome the fear of the unknown if there’s no social proof. Plus, positive reviews are a significant factor in deciding which products win the Amazon Buy Box.
4. Provide great customer service
Customer service is absolutely essential in eCommerce. Offering top-quality customer service not only adds value, but helps retain customers. A big part of making a sale is assuring the customer that they can trust you to deliver, and that trust is hard earned but easily lost. Providing good eCommerce customer service is critical, and committing to providing great customer service is all the more so!
As an Amazon seller, you need to be on top of your customer service. Responsiveness, a friendly manner and quick and easy resolution processes are all ingredients that make for a winning approach to great customer service.
But it can be confusing trying to streamline it all. Thankfully, there are all sorts of tools available to make this job easier, like helpdesk software to keep all your customer interactions in one place. This helps you to respond quickly and accurately to customer inquiries when they come in, so that your customers always know you’ve got their back.
5. Leverage Amazon seller tools
The best part about being an Amazon seller is that you don’t have to go it alone. There are numerous tools available to help you maximize your business and get the most out of selling on Amazon, whether third-party or FBA.
From repricing tools, to help desk software, to review software and even shipping assistance, many tools exist on the market today that specifically help Amazon sellers optimize their listings, prices, feedback, shipping, customer service and even their taxes.
There are many different seller tools available, so it’s worth reading about options and making an informed decision about the right ones to choose for your business. With the right tools, you can grow your business more than you ever thought possible.
6. Get more sales on Amazon with ads
Running ads is almost guaranteed to help you get more sales on Amazon, but it’s easy to just throw money at them and hope for the best. You can do better! Pay attention to your advertising cost of sales (ACOS) metric, the figure for how much ad spend you need in order to make a sale.
By advertising more efficiently, you lower your ACOS and ensure you get more bang for your buck. Over time, you’ll learn what works and you can employ a strategy with regards to how you run your ads. Taking an insight-driven approach to Amazon ads results in a more profitable Amazon business!
7. Optimise your product pages
The old saying goes that 80% of readers never make it past the headline of any piece of content. That means once you’ve written your product title, you’ve effectively spent 80 cents of your dollar.
When writing product titles, stick to the formula of:
- Brand name
- Product name
- Features (size, colour, gender etc).
This lets you include the right keywords in the right order to immediately tell shoppers that this is the product for them.
Moreover, making sure to visually design your product pages so that they’re clean, simple and easy to read will also help win over shoppers. No one wants to read through a cluttered page. The more straightforward (yet informative) and the cleaner you make your design, the more likely you’ll be to win over those elusive eyeballs!
8. Win the Amazon Buy Box
The quickest way to get more sales on Amazon is by ensuring that your products show up consistently in the Amazon Buy Box (the area in the top right of a product page, where shoppers can ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Buy Now’). This is because over 82% of sales happen through this highly sought after space.
Although the exact formula to win the Buy Box is unknown, there are a few things that we know are essential. These are mainly metrics that prove the seller is providing a good customer experience. Customer reviews play a big role here. The more positive reviews a seller can amass, the likelihood of winning the Buy Box increases.
In addition to reviews, something else that’s obviously very important to Amazon shoppers is price! By using repricing software, you can automatically set your prices at the optimal level to win the Buy Box and maximize profit, even if you’ve got an enormous inventory.
9. Amazon account health rating
The Amazon account health rating (AHR) is a new feature that helps you monitor your account health based on its adherence to Amazon seller policies.
It considers both negative factors (such as the number of unresolved policy violations on your account) as well as positive factors (how your account positively impacts the customer experience through its selling activities).
Each account will be given a rating, which is regularly reviewed as Amazon monitors the performance of its sellers. If your account is off-target, you will be notified so that you can improve your performance. Conversely, a good AHR rating will work in your favor, helping assure customers that they’re doing business with a compliant seller.
10. Maintain your Amazon SLA
A big part of being a seller is cultivating trust with your customers. That means showing them that you operate in an above-board manner and that you’ll make good on your promise of fulfillment to them. One way of doing that is by making sure your Amazon store has a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This is a promise to your customers that they’ll receive their orders on time. When it comes to fulfillment, the SLA is based on the capacity to fulfill open orders and on-time shipping and delivery.
SLAs help manage customer expectations by defining standards and outlining circumstances under which you as the seller won’t be liable for unfulfilled promises (e.g., natural disasters preventing shipping, etc).
eDesk’s customer service solution is designed to alert you when your SLA is expiring, so your business is never caught without one. Having a current SLA helps you maintain transparency with customers, thereby building trust which helps ensure customer loyalty.
11. Focus on products that already sell
Most ambitious business owners want to try new streams of revenue, but it’s important not to lose sight of the things that are making you money now.
By doubling down on the products that already provide your Amazon store with a reliable revenue stream, you not only deliver to market demand but ensure that you have the financial runway required to take risks on innovative new products, if need be.
Review your financial statements every quarter and look at the items that are performing best in your store. Think about how you can continue to market these with ads, SEO keywords and upgraded images to maximize their selling potential in your online store.
12. Sync your inventory
Inventory can be a delicate balancing act. Hold too much inventory for too long and you need to pay over the odds to store it. But hold too little inventory and you lose out on vital sales, or even customers, due to an inability to fulfill. Amazon can also penalize you if your inventory performance isn’t up to standard.
Stock control is something every seller needs to understand and have the capability to manage for optimal results. Smart inventory management is an under-appreciated way to increase your Amazon sales and profit margin. Fortunately, there are tools that can help. Investing in the right tools and software can help sellers take the stress out of balancing supply and demand.
13. Expand into new Amazon marketplaces
Amazon currently has 20 marketplaces around the world, which include the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, Australia and more.
You can scale your brand by moving into some of these marketplaces. This can involve doing market research to find out which products are popular in each market and then uplevelling your shipping operations in order to be able to ship globally.
But expanding into new markets also means you’ll need to take language into consideration and localize your listings so that they feature each marketplace’s local language and SEO keywords in the appropriate language. Multilingual customer service is also needed in order to be able to service customers across various marketplaces in their local language.
Sounds complicated? It doesn’t have to be. eDesk’s help desk solution is designed to support customer service and workflow in multiple languages, so you can expand your business without investing in the overhead of hiring a global team.
14. Spy on your competitors
Ok, maybe “spy” is a bit of an exaggeration, but profitable sellers are always on the lookout for what their competitors are doing. You want to make sure you’re offering the right inventory for your market at the right prices. Repricing software will monitor this for you, taking the guesswork out of pricing at the right levels.
Using data gleaned from helpdesk reporting can also help you gather valuable insights and feedback from your customers, which will help you to better understand what customers want and need. Acting on analytics-driven insights from easy-to-read reports means you’re always one step ahead of the competition.
The quest to increase your store’s Amazon sales doesn’t need to be an uphill struggle. There are many resources available to Amazon sellers today to help them optimize their store and develop a healthy sales pipeline.
By staying in touch with how the Amazon platform grows and using the right tech tools to drive your business, you can continue to do what you do best: building a great brand, winning customers, retaining existing customers and improving your bottom line.