Getting a new product to rank well is one of the eternal challenges of business on Amazon.
Product reviews play a pivotal role here because shoppers often base their purchasing decision on the experiences of total strangers, a.k.a. previous buyers.
It’s a Catch-22 situation: Good reviews lead to more sales and a higher ranking. A product can, however, only receive a review if people buy it, for which it needs to rank high enough.
Reviews — good or bad — can elevate a product or remove it from the shelves. In short, it will always be important for sellers to know how to get reviews on Amazon.
If you’ve ever wondered: “Do you get anything for reviewing products on Amazon?” the answer is yes, and it’s totally legitimate.
With the Early Reviewer Program, Amazon offers a new way for sellers to generate their first reviews to help improve sales for new products.
What is the Amazon Early Reviewer Program?
The Early Reviewer Program turns shoppers into Amazon product testers. It encourages customers to leave a candid review of products new to the marketplace, regardless of whether they give a positive or negative review.
Shoppers aren’t aware that the product they are purchasing could earn them a small reward — Amazon offers a $1-3 gift voucher for a review of a product in the Early Reviewer Program.
How Does the Early Reviewer Program Work?
Amazon contacts a randomly selected buyer of the participating products and asks them to provide a review. In return, the buyer receives compensation in the form of a voucher.
The Early Reviewer Program is a win-win situation for sellers and shoppers. Shoppers earn a little cash; sellers gain exposure, credibility, and ranking. Amazon slaps a big orange badge on reviews for participating products, which increases trust in the product and brand.
How Do I Join Amazon Early Reviewer Program?
Only SKUs sold on the US-marketplace can enter. To participate in the “Early Reviewer Program”, submit your product via Seller Central > Advertising > Early Reviewer Program.
You can also follow these steps in the Early Reviewer Program Overview:
- Find eligible SKUs
– SKUs must have fewer than 5 reviews on the website at the time of enrollment.
– Each offer price must be greater than $9.
– SKUs submitted must be parent level or stand-alone (Child SKUs are automatically enrolled with the parent).
- Submit SKUs
You can submit single SKUs directly via the dashboard. Use the bulk upload via CSV-template to enroll a larger number of SKUs. Review the submission to check for errors.
- Monitor Reviews & Enrollment Status
The Early Reviewer Program Dashboard gives you all the information you need, including links to customer reviews and the status of your enrollment (it ends after 1 year or 5 reviews via the program, whichever comes first).
5 Things Sellers Need to Know About the Early Reviewer Program:
- The product must have less than 5 reviews
- The price of the product must be greater than $9
- Amazon charges a fee of $ 60 per SKU for participation
- The fee is charged with the first review — if nobody reviews your product within a year, you will not be charged.
- The product will remain in the program for 1 year or until 5 reviews are generated via the program.
How Well Does the Early Reviewer Program Work for Sellers?
Will the Early Reviewer Program work for you? Is it worth the $60 investment? The answer isn’t the number of reviews you might receive — it’s how fast you get a review.
Remember, the purchase incentive for buyers stays the same: Amazon will only invite customers for a product review if they have already bought the product. Shoppers are unaware that the product they are purchasing is a part of the Early Reviewer Program.
Amazon only rewards the submission of a review. The compensation in the form of an Amazon voucher increases the likelihood that a customer submits a product review after the purchase.
Since Amazon selects the shopper at random, and the shopper doesn’t know about a future reward, the system can’t be manipulated. The resulting reviews are, therefore, very trustworthy.
In short, you can boost product reviews and trust in your brand by participating in the Early Reviewer Program. The effectiveness of these reviews on your sales depends on the quality of your product and the accuracy of your listing.
Our recommendation: Enhance your offer by increasing your sales velocity with Amazon PPC.
Why Did Amazon Start the Early Reviewer Program?
Towards the end of 2016, Amazon was confronted with an increased number of fake reviews and ratings. Customers felt deceived, and competition became increasingly distorted. To address this acute decline in the credibility of its product review system, Amazon responded with the following measures:
- Incentivized reviews were now prohibited.
- Amazon conducted a large-scale investigation and deleted many incentivized reviews in the process.
- Shoppers can only review a product if their Amazon purchase history succeeds $50 (previously $5)
- Customers could only leave 5 reviews with the label “Not Verified Purchase” per week (not bought or purchased at a discount on Amazon).
Although this amendment was a sensible step by Amazon to restore credibility and confidence in their product review system, it made it extremely difficult for sellers to accumulate new reviews.
The shift was a huge issue because sellers rely heavily on product reviews to boost the sale of new products.
With the Early Reviewer Program, Amazon attempts to bridge this gap and 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 just a problem for sellers, but also Amazon.
Customers are much less likely to purchase a new product without reviews.
These products will, therefore, contribute less to the perceived diversity of products available on Amazon, as well as the number of sales via Amazon. The drop in sales means that Amazon receives less revenue from seller fees and FBA fees.
Since the ban on incentivized reviews, sellers increasingly turned to spamming customers with follow-up emails asking for product reviews. Amazon also cracked down on this practice and responded with its new optional ‘email opt-out’ for customers.
With the Early Reviewer Program, sellers have a new way to build early reviews and less incentive to spam customers with follow-up emails.
In short, the Early Reviewer Program can be beneficial for sellers looking to accumulate reviews for new products. It will also boost them to a stage where PPC and other promotional can affect sales. The program also offers advantages for Amazon, so consider it a win-win.
To receive instant notification about every new product reviews, have a look at our Amazon Review Manager.
How Much Does the Amazon Early Reviewer Program Cost?
Each eligible product (all SKUs covered in a parent SKU or stand-alone SKU) costs $60 plus taxes. Amazon charges this fee, beginning with the first review a shopper generated via the program.
Shoppers receive invitations to leave reviews for one year after submission of the product or until it collects five reviews via the early review program, whichever comes first.
If nobody reviews your product within the year, you won’t be charged. Reviews made outside of the program don’t count.
How Do I Become a Verified Reviewer?
You become a verified reviewer once you buy the product you want to review. If you leave a review on a product you bought, Amazon highlights it with an orange “Verified Review” badge.
How Is the Early Reviewer Program Different from Amazon Vine?
Amazon Vine is an invite-only group of the most trusted reviewers. Amazon provides the so-called “Vine Voices” with free products from participating vendors in turn for honest and unbiased feedback.
Neither Amazon nor the vendors can influence this review. Vine Voice reviews are marked with a green label.
If you want to increase your chances of being invited to become a Vine Voice, leave as many helpful reviews as you can, and show your expertise in a particular category.