With the Early Reviewer Program, Amazon is offering a new way for sellers to generate their first reviews to help improve sales for new products.
How does the Early Reviewer Program work?
Amazon will contact a randomly selected buyer of the participating products and ask them to provide a review. In return the buyer will receive a small compensation in the form of a $ 1-3 Amazon voucher, regardless of whether they’ve given a positive or negative review.
The following prerequisites apply for sellers in the USA:
- The product must have less than 5 reviews
- The price of the product must be min. $15
- Amazon charges a fee of $ 60 per SKU for participation
- The product will remain in the program for 1 year or until 5 reviews are generated.
How effective is the Early Reviewer Program for sellers?
No increased purchase incentive for sellers: Only customers who have already bought the product will receive a request from Amazon for a product review. Before item purchase however, the customer is not aware that the product they are purchasing is a part of the Early Reviewer Program.
Increased incentive to submit a review for buyers: By providing a compensation in the form of an Amazon voucher ($1-3), the customer has a greater incentive to submit a product review after purchase.
In summary, it is possible to boost product reviews by participating in the Early Reviewer Program. This can also be further enhanced by leveraging Amazon PPC to increase sales velocity.
What is Amazon’s intent behind the Early Reviewer Program?
The Early Reviewer Program is designed to bridge an important gap since the ban on incentivized reviews. Towards the end of 2016 Amazon was confronted with an acute decline in the credibility of their product review system. Due to the increased number of fake ratings, customers felt deceived and the competition was distorted. Amazon responded with the following measures:
- Incentivized reviews were consequently forbidden.
- Amazon conducted a large-scale investigation and deleted many incentivized reviews in the aftermath.
- Reviews could only be sold in the US from $ 50 (previously $5)
- Customers could only sell 5 reviews with the label “Not Verified Purchase” per week (not bought or purchased at a discount on Amazon).
Although this was a sensible step by Amazon to restore credibility and confidence in in their product review system, it made it extremely difficult for sellers to accumulate new reviews. This was a huge issue, as sellers rely heavily on product reviews for new products to boost sales.
The Early Reviewer Program is an attempt by Amazon to bridge this gap, and can help sellers accumulate reviews for new products. At the same time, Amazon retains control of the program to avoid abuse of the review system and potential credibility concerns.
What are the advantages of using the Early Reviewer Program?
The struggle to build early reviews for new products is not only a problem for Amazon sellers, but also for Amazon itself. If new products do not have any reviews, customers are much less likely to purchase the item.
This means these products will contribute less to the perceived diversity of products available on Amazon, as well as the number of sales on Amazon. This means that Amazon also receives less revenue, through their cut of the seller’s sales via their seller fees and FBA fees.
Furthermore, since the ban on incentivised reviews, sellers increasingly turned to spamming customers with follow-up emails asking for product reviews. Amazon recently responded with their new optional ‘email opt-out’ for customers.
With the Early Reviewer Program, sellers are offered a new way to build early reviews, reducing the incentive to spam customers with follow up emails. And of course, the Early Reviewer Program is another source of revenue for Amazon, charging sellers $60 per eligible parent SKU to participate in the program.
The Early Reviewer Program can prove to be beneficial for sellers looking to accumulate reviews for new products, but also clearly offers advantages for Amazon itself.