Voice of CustomerDecember 27, 2022
Debunking 8 Myths about Amazon Product Reviews — Beginner’s Edition
Is selling on Amazon all about the reviews? And how exactly should you approach getting more positive reviews from your customers? There has been a strong debate in the Amazon sellers community about how exactly Amazon reviews impact the sale levels. In this text we debunk 8 most popular myths about reviews on Amazon. We hope it will help you understand the Amazon review system better and make good use of it to build a successful online business.
#1 You need a lot of reviews to sell more on Amazon
When you look at some of the “big guys” on Amazon, you might presume that sales level and review count are connected. Luckily for all small businesses starting on Amazon — there’s no clear correlation. Your sales don’t depend on the number of reviews you have.
What’s more important in this case is focusing more on other factors, like:
- the quality of the service
- your competitive landscape
- the sales process you’ve implemented
To build a sustainable business on Amazon, you cannot treat reviews as a stand-alone goal. Instead, focus on all the processes that lead to the moment a customer decides to leave you a review.
Let’s see an example to understand it better:
Lately, your product has been getting lower customer rates. At the same time, your sales levels dropped. The goal for you shouldn’t be to push all your customers to give you a good review. Look for the root of the problem.
Maybe, there’s a problem with product development or customer service. Or users lack instructions from you.
Finding the root cause and fixing it will help you regain positive feedback from customers. And that will drop the problems with bad reviews your product is getting.
Comprehensive analytics — this is what will help you in identifying the best opportunities for your business growth. Shulex Amazon Review Analytics will make sure you don’t miss a single thing about the market you’re targeting. Our advanced, AI-powered system gathers all your customers’ voices in 1 place, allowing you to stay up-to-date. With Shulex, you can:
- Identify business opportunities: multi-level categories’ performance analysis with latest data will help you identify which product category is most likely to bring success to your business.
- Analyse Competitors: get to know your competitors inside and out. Learn from their strengths, avoid their mistakes and gain a competitive advantage without spending thousands of dollars on market research.
- Review customer sentiment: keep track of positive and negative reviews, understand what's behind the star ratings, and see important trends in customer reviews: pricing, comparison to competitors, and more.
And that’s only the beginning of what Shulex can do! Simplify your business’ success with #1 Amazon Review Analytics.
#2 Gathering reviews is hard
We know — Amazon review guidelines are complex.
However, if you stick to a few basic rules — you can get your 1st positive reviews quickly. Let’s go over them to help you understand the process better:
NEVER publish fake reviews. Amazon’s algorithms are smart. You don’t want to risk your account getting banned, because you lacked the patience to gather real reviews about your product. Stick to it. If you’re sure about your product’s quality — good reviews WILL come.
Don’t push your customer to change their reviews. No matter what, don’t try to contact the customer about their bad review, asking them to change it. This rule applies to all your communication channels — not only Amazon. Make sure to avoid making the customer change their reviews in your follow-up emails, or contacting them about it through social media. Amazon will know about it and will enforce consequences.
Don’t offer customers rewards for Amazon reviews. No discounts, vouchers or other forms of compensation in exchange for a review. Since 2016 (and the investigation done by Fortune), Amazon banned rewarding customers for reviews. The same rules apply to using a third-party service to offer customers rewards for product reviews.
Use feedback features wisely. Every user on Amazon can provide their feedback about every review, based on 3 ratings: “Helpful”, “Not helpful”, or “Report Abuse”. Don’t try to manipulate your ratings by using this feature. It’s strictly prohibited and may result in the banning of your account.
#3 All reviews on Amazon are equal
Short answer: nope.
Long answer: Several factors contribute to the importance of every review.
Let’s review them — we’ll start with 2 most important factors:
How recent is the review?
Supposing you had some problems with your production process that led to a flaw in the final product. You might have received a couple of negative reviews. But after a few days, you resolved the problem, and the quality returned to normal. The most recent good reviews you get will have a greater influence on your overall review rating.
Is the review verified?
Of course, if a review is tied to an Amazon purchase, it’s getting a better rating from the algorithms. It also will have a better influence on your product visibility in general. The “verified buy” badge also influences your conversion rates, due to the increased trust in your product’s quality.
Another few factors Amazon takes into account:
- How long is the review?
- What quality is the reviewer’s profile?
- How many “Helpful” votes has the review received?
- Is it just a rating or a full review?
- How different is the rating from the mean rating?
In a nutshell, a long, in-depth review with a good number of helpful votes, written by a high-quality reviewer will impact your rating more.
#4 You can’t get rid of a negative review
We’ve already mentioned that you can’t ask the customer to remove or change their review. Even if you found ways to solve their problems with the product — asking them to make changes is not allowed.
Removing a bad review is hard — but it’s not impossible.
Sometimes, a bad review is removed by Amazon without any effort from your side. If the review contains “obscene language” or includes “personally identifiable information”, Amazon will remove the review from your product listing.
Another case is when the review concerns “fulfillment or customer service for an order fulfilled by Amazon”. Sometimes, an order might get lost or be delivered late to the customer due to some hurdles from Amazon’s side. If a bad review talks about it, it will be crossed out, and a note from Amazon will be added:
“This item was fulfilled by Amazon, and we take responsibility for this fulfillment experience.”
However, sometimes a customer review you’ve received on Amazon might feel suspicious or not fair. You have one way of resolving that issue:
Contact Amazon to remove a review.
To do that, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the “Report Abuse” button you can find next to every review.
In the message to Customer Support, explain why you think the review should be removed from your product’s listing. Provide the details, but keep it short — here’s an example for you:
I’ve received a review from [buyer’s name] on [order number] and feel it is [provide the reason you think the review should not be there]. Can you remove this from the review section under the product’s listing?
Here is the review in question
For a bad review to be removed by Amazon, it must violate at least 1 of many community guideline policies.
If you’re successful, the review will get deleted and will no longer impact your ratings.
#5 People never leave a review if the transaction was good.
It’s easy to assume that reviews are only added by angry or frustrated customers. But in fact — angry reviews are a minority!
If your product gives a customer a great experience — they will tell other people about it. Many customers are proud to share their minds with others online.
You can make good use of this. Encourage your customers to share their feedback. Mention how it helps others make better decisions. Also, ask customers to tell the story of how your product improved their life.
To do that successfully, account for the time needed for a customer to fully get the value your product gives them. For example, if you sell a face cream — you might want to wait a couple of days before asking the customer to leave their review. This will allow them to experience all the positive qualities of your product.
The other aspect to keep in mind while aiming to increase the amount of Amazon reviews is:
Make sure the buying experience in your Amazon store is not only good — make it awesome!
As mentioned by Jonah Berger (the author of ”Contagious” — one of the best books about virality in marketing): people are more likely to tell others about a product or a service, if it impresses them. Aim for that quality, and you will see the positive review numbers increase in no time.
#6 Competition writes fake negative reviews with no consequences
We want to make 1 thing completely clear: all the rules that apply to you, apply to all other Amazon accounts. So, if you notice some suspicious activity coming to your Amazon reviews — you can (and should) intervene.
Your competitors can’t bombard you with fake reviews trying to lower the ratings of your Amazon offers. And if they try to do that — they take a great risk of their account getting suspended. So, in the long run, they’re not a real threat to your business.
Amazon has been struggling a lot with fake reviews and is always looking for new ways to remove them. There’s no surprise in this — Amazon wants their users to have a good experience using their marketplace. And according to studies, 84% of shoppers trust reviews as much as friends. They cannot let their customers doubt Amazon’s credibility.
#7 You have to pay for Amazon Vine to get your reviews
Amazon Vine is a great way to get some early reviews. But — it’s not the only way for you to get more reviews on your product’s listing.
If you’re considering using Vine to enroll your product, keep in mind that, according to experts: Vine reviews tend to be more critical than average.
Until March 2021, Amazon ran the Early Reviewer program. It was specifically designed to help smaller Amazon sellers gain some traction with their products. Although it’s not available anymore — you can still actively look for other opportunities like this to increase your review count. Reviews gained through these methods are usually more positive: 4 or 5 stars are not uncommon.
#8 You have to aim only for 5 stars reviews
Striving for perfection is a good virtue that many Amazon sellers share as well. But when it comes to Amazon reviews, having some imperfections is not a bad thing. As we mentioned before, Amazon keeps on fighting fake reviewers on its platform. Having a high quantity of only positive reviews — might raise some suspicions from Amazon. Besides, customers are also aware of the shady tactics some Amazon sellers use. The paradox here is having only good reviews might lower the customers’ trust in your product’s quality in the long run. From the business perspective, it’s hard to learn anything about your business, when all you get is praise. At the end of the day, learning is the most important factor in building a business — be it on Amazon or wherever else. So, don’t strive for perfection when it comes to Amazon reviews. Think of them as a guide for your customers to make conscious buying decisions.
Product reviews on Amazon are a vital, but often overlooked part of your marketing strategy. You can't force people to take the time to review a product — and you don't have to. Just give them tools to help them evaluate your products and make an informed decision. And if you believe your product can give a great experience to your customers — you’re going to see the review numbers growing sooner than you expect.