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What Do Vendors and Sellers Need to Know About the Amazon Vine Program?

It’s no secret that shopper reviews are the foundation of Amazon’s platform. Through Amazon Vine, sellers in need of a boost can use the benefits of customer reviews to build their brand.

In this post, we’ll go over some of the most important aspects of Amazon Vine and clear up any misconceptions you may have about this program. Let’s dive in!

What Is Amazon Vine?

Amazon Vine Image

Today’s online shoppers are some of the most informed customers in history. Before actually purchasing an item, they take the time to find information about a product’s features and how it compares to similar options. 

Most of that research and the final purchase decision is heavily influenced by other shoppers’ product reviews. Naturally, Amazon has taken note of this.

Through the Amazon Vine program, Amazon invites trusted reviewers to become “Vine Voices” and comment on new items—as well as pre-release items—in order to help potential customers in making an informed decision.

Ensuring that new products have an adequate number of reviews is, of course, beneficial to all shoppers on the platform. But it also gives sellers an opportunity to showcase their newly released products and give their online presence the spotlight it deserves.

In a nutshell, this is how the Amazon Vine program works: vendors and sellers submit their products to the program, and a reviewer from Amazon Vine Voices will receive the product for free so they can review it and write their honest opinions.

Amazon Review Example

Naturally, vendors and sellers are not able to influence or change the reviews in any way. And, as long as the review complies with the respective guidelines, it will not be tampered with.

The Benefits That Come with the Amazon Vine Program

Having your products on Amazon Vine is a great option for vendors with a low number of reviews as well as for those sellers who have a trademark registry with Amazon and are looking to bring their brand into the spotlight.

Some of the perks of the program are:

  • increased sales
  • more awareness for slow-selling items or new items
  • higher number of reviews
  • trustworthy reviews.

Because the Amazon Vine Program’s reviews are of such high quality, they oftentimes become opinions shoppers can trust, which can in turn boost sales.

What’s New on Amazon Vine?

Some improvements were made to Amazon Vine in 2021 to make it easier for brands on Amazon to participate.

For example, more items are eligible. Amazon is now making it possible for sellers to enroll items they might already have in stock at an Amazon warehouse. So if the product is already within the Amazon fulfillment network, it can be submitted to the program.

This creates better conditions for heavy-bulky and hazmat units, though direct fulfillment is not yet supported.

Let’s take a look at some of the new features.

Improved usability

The platform has been improved to be more user-friendly. One of the main objectives is to provide important information through tooltips that explain every field. You will find newly designed pages that create a better user journey and increase ease of use.

Active enrollment capacity

Currently, you can have up to 5 different ASINs actively enrolled in the Amazon Vine program.

Items will remain active until they are canceled with no orders, or until the enrollment is concluded 90 days after the date of enrollment or the scheduled starting date, whichever is applicable.

Parent ASINs

You can now enroll up to 30 units of a parent ASIN. The main goal is to make your product available for review in all its colors and sizes, ensuring the reviewer has access to the item that fits them best.

Enrollment fees

The fee for enrollment in the program will be charged per parent ASIN, regardless of the number of variations submitted (up to 30). 

This means you won’t have to pay for each of the variations. The fee is also standardized across all categories.

Fulfillment has been made easier

As mentioned above, one of the advantages of this 2021 update is that Amazon will use products from the stock at their warehouses.

That means you don’t need to worry about getting your products to the people in the Amazon Vine program, since Amazon will take care of this. 

This translates to: no more Vine labeling, lost items, or delays.

How Can I Know That My Product Will Be Fairly Reviewed?

It’s understandable to be worried about how comments on your product will play out.

Amazon Vine is an invitation-only program, meaning not just anyone can express their thoughts about your new listings. 

Invitations are extended exclusively to those with an impeccable track record of posting reviews. Amazon determines eligibility based on the reviewer’s feedback from other customers. 

When reading reviews on the platform, you can mark them as helpful or even report them as inappropriate or misleading; Amazon uses this feedback to determine who is worth inviting into the program. 

You can rest assured your product will receive an honest and detailed opinion. However, as with any review, this does not guarantee it will be a positive one.

What to Do about Negative Reviews

Poor Review Image

Remember that vendors and sellers cannot choose nor contact Vine Voices to ensure their opinions are unbiased. 

Writing a negative review will not impact the reviewer’s score. After all, we want to read the truth about their experiences. 

So, what can you do in a situation like this? We have a whole article on this topic here. But the table below summarizes our best practices around this issue.

AreaNegative ReviewsPositive Reviews
ProductIdentify weaknesses and defects in the product and correct themRecognize and expand the USP to strengthen competitive advantage
Content and product information– Correct misleading information
– Add missing information
– Clear frequent misunderstandings proactively
– Incorporate information about fixed problems
– Incorporate benefits that are not yet communicated
– Edit product information so that the most important benefits are prioritized
KeywordsIncorporate frequently used keywords to improve the findability of the productIncorporate frequently used keywords to improve the findability of the product
ServiceFix perceived weaknessesExpand perceived strengths
Actions to take in response to reviews

Eligibility

As with most Amazon programs, there is a set of minimum qualifications that sellers and vendors must meet so that Amazon can ensure it’s providing a shopping experience of the highest quality.

The product must: 

  • be new and fulfilled by Amazon (FBA)
  • have fewer than 30 reviews on the product detail page
  • have a listing with image and a description
  • Have launched and be in stock.

Additionally, you need to have a trademarked brand in the Amazon Brand Registry. And an important detail: the product cannot be an adult product.

Are There Any Special Restrictions?

There are a few things you need to keep in mind for your submissions to Amazon Vine:

  • Products have to be the same as the ones listed on FBA.
  • Products that require Amazon to bundle for delivery or review are not eligible.
  • You can’t enroll a product that requires another product in order to be tested. For example, a product like printer ink is ineligible since you would need the actual printer to test it.

Final Thoughts

Amazon Vine rewards users who dedicate their time to reviewing, building up a community, and making the Amazon platform a valuable asset for all shoppers. 

This program gives vendors and sellers alike the opportunity to have their products recommended to shoppers by someone—picked by Amazon itself—who has already held the item in their hands and knows how it works. 

Word of mouth has always been one of the most powerful advertisement tools, and reviews are the new digital version of personal recommendations. 

Oftentimes when reading a regular review, it becomes clear that the reviewer is writing out of a place of frustration, a situation that is very specific to that particular shopper, or is simply just creating another internet rant. The thing that really makes the Amazon Vine Program a valuable tool is the fact that the reviewers who participate in Vine Voices are truly impartial and carefully chosen. 

Giving potential customers the peace of mind that a good review provides is sure to boost your sales and give your store the push it needs to keep growing.

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