Reviews are a sore point for Amazon. They are incredibly important for the buyer-centric platform, as they give social verification for the quality of products and their sellers. At the same time, the countless possibilities for fraudulent sellers to tamper with reviews have caused Amazon many sleepless nights.
Throughout the last couple of years, Amazon updated their TOS many times to counteract fake reviews. While this makes tampering harder, it has also increased the barrier for the products to enter the market:
- Competition level in organic Amazon search results is extremely high for listings without any reviews
- The industry average for getting a review on Amazon is 5%. Sounds tough even for an established product
- PPC campaigns can be expensive and are not recommended for products that don’t have any reviews
Overcoming these obstacles is an expensive uphill battle.
So what can you do?
We’ve added a breakdown of the most effective strategy we know. It won’t be easy and it won’t be for free. But it has worked.
How to Get Amazon Reviews: 9 Tactics
- Sell an awesome product
- Provide stellar customer service
- Optimize your Amazon listing content
- Use Amazon Early Reviewer Program (For Sellers)
- … or Amazon Vine (For Vendors)
- Provide customers with discount codes
- Ask for a review in Packaging Inserts
- Use email lists to reach out to your target audience
- Pro Tip: The Facebook Bot
Before we start: please, have a look at Do’s and Don’ts to make sure you are compliant with Amazon’s TOS
Do: Ask for a review in a neutral way
- Pay anyone to write reviews for you
- Ask for a positive or 5-star review
- Offer an incentive in return for a review
- Get your friends and family to write reviews for you
- Other things not mentioned in this post but violating Amazon’s TOS
Sell an Awesome Product to Get Amazon Reviews
Yes, it sounds obvious but this is how our brain works. If a product is particularly:
- Awesome: we share excitement with other people
- Awful: we take the time to leave a negative review to save other people the disappointment
The challenge: You still need the first sales – and they require reviews.
Provide Stellar Customer Service
All-star customer service is essential. Especially when you get your first few sales. Even if a customer wishes to return an item or report an issue – providing great customer service can still earn you that positive review. It is also easier to directly encourage customers you’ve already communicated with to leave a review on Amazon.
The challenge: same vicious circle:
- You can only provide customer service to people who have already bought your product
- Your product hardly ranks without reviews – and without ranking, there might not be any sales
Get Amazon Reviews by Optimizing Your Listing Content
Search results on Amazon are displayed according to the A9 algorithm which ranks products according to relevancy and probability to sell. Including the most important keywords for your product in your title, bullet points and description not only helps shoppers in their purchase decision but also boosts your ranking.
The sequence is as follows: more visibility -> (potentially) more sales -> (hopefully) more reviews
The challenge: Whilst this is an effective long-term strategy, many sellers find that the products without any reviews hardly rank in the first few pages even if the listing is highly optimized.
A Helping Hand: Amazon Early Reviewer Program and Amazon Vine
Amazon understands that the first few reviews are hard to get. So they developed:
Amazon Early Review Program (For Sellers):
- For a fee of $60 (per SKU), Amazon sends follow up emails to people that have purchased your products and offers them a reward of $1-$3 for leaving a review
- Only products that have less than 5 reviews and cost more than $15 are eligible for the Program
- Once a customer leaves a review, your product is marked with the orange “Early Reviewer Rewards” badge
- The program will stop either after 1 year, or when your product has received 5 reviews
- The program is only available for Brand Registered sellers in the US
Feel free to get more details about Amazon Early Review Program.
Amazon Vine (For Vendors):
- Amazon invites customers with a track record of leaving lots of reviews (that are perceived as useful and trustworthy) to be part of ‘Vine Voices’. Participants receive free products to test and provide reviews
- To participate, vendors must submit their products to Amazon and pay a fee $2,500 – $7,500 per ASIN
- Depending on the category, only a limited number of free products can be submitted for review
- The Vine program is currently only available through Vendor Central
The challenge: Limited opportunities in Early Review Program. The price of Amazon Vine.
Offer Discount Codes to Generate Early Amazon Reviews
Provide customers with a discount code to incentivize more sales and thereby the possibility for more reviews.
The challenge: Amazon now marks product reviews that resulted from a purchase with a discount code as “unverified”. And there is also a limit of how many unverified reviews a product can get before it gets blocked from this kind of feedback.
Ask for a Review in Packaging Inserts
The challenge: You still need customers to find your products. And the conversion rate (CVR) of packaging inserts is painfully low.
Reach Out to Your Target Audience Using Email Lists
Build an email list off-Amazon and then send out information about your product with a link to the Amazon listing to your curated audience.
The challenge: Let’s assume that the CVR of your email list is ~1%. And we already established that only 5% of sales generate a review. That means you would have to have 10,000 people in your email list, only to get 5 reviews.
The Best Strategy We Know: The Facebook Bot
The bot is an interactive Facebook advertisement that opens up communication between you and potential customers. This is how it works:
- The ad pops up in people’s newsfeed and encourages interaction
- Once people click on the ad, the interaction starts. Just keep asking questions and make it and engaging
- The goal is to provide additional value to your customers thus increasing the chances that they convert
- Asking questions, or hiding answers to questions to create interest from potential customers works well
- A nice product video is also quite effective
Here is an example how a Facebook Bot might look like for your product:
How to Setup the Facebook Bot for Your Product
The secret is to reduce the price of your product significantly to generate your first sales and let people know that it is for a short time only (create urgency). Remember: you cannot ask for positive reviews directly. But you can tell them that honest feedback matters.
- Visibly reduce the price of your product on Amazon (e.g. cross out usual $60 selling price and sell it for $20)
- Set up your Facebook Bot (requires a third-party service). It works similar to the Facebook Sponsored Ads
- Define your target audience (e.g. choose the specific country) and set up the messaging
- Direct the external traffic straight to the Amazon listing of your product
In our experience, the opening rate is up to 90%. The interactive messages build a connection and open line of communication before the purchase and encourage the first sales. And after the purchase, you can offer additional value to inspire reviews.
The Facebook Bot is a great way to actively engage with your customer base. And it solves the chicken-and-egg dilemma of generating sales without reviews that most other strategies suffer from.