Launching a new product and getting product reviews on Amazon has been a little difficult since it banned incentivized reviews a year ago. To compound difficulties, after doing away with incentivized reviews, Amazon then restricted the language that sellers were allowed to use in emails soliciting feedback.
No longer could buyer-seller messages in any way ask for reviews outright or rely on the old conditional standby of “If you loved it, leave a five-star review; if you didn’t, contact me directly.” Whom did this restriction benefit? Not buyers or sellers, but black-hat tacticians scurrying to fill the reviews-void with glowing reviews for their customers and damaging reviews for their customers’ competitors.
So what can you do to get legitimate reviews, reviews that are honest, helpful to shoppers, good for your sales, and in compliance with Amazon’s policies? The trick is . . . the trick is that there is no trick. You have to work to provide great customer service and to create the desire to leave a review.
How to Get Quality Amazon Seller Feedback and Product Reviews
1. Don’t sell garbage (or even not-so-great products)
If you’re a private label seller, don’t just not sell these products, don’t even put your brand on them. Here I cite the GIGO rule: garbage in, garbage out. In a nutshell, if you sell substandard products or list products falsely, you’ll get substandard sales and reviews, not to mention lots of returns.
2. Price your products competitively and fulfill orders expeditiously (or let Amazon do so via FBA)
This is the heavy lifting and when you do it, what you have is a good deal on a quality product that is delivered fast. Trust me when I tell you that working within these practices is the bulk of the battle in terms of sales and reviews. Don’t believe me? Well, flip it and consider that all of the incentives in the world will not get a disappointed buyer to leave a good review for a bad product.
3. Add post-sale branding and customer service that will keep your product top of mind
Packaging: When you ship your product, make sure that it is packaged with branded elements. This isn’t just about promotion, it’s about you taking pride in your product. If your product is unassembled or requires set-up, make sure that you include instructions in the packaging along with a contact for support if the buyer runs into problems.
Responsiveness: A sale is not complete when the product is delivered. When a buyer contacts you about delayed shipping or a problem with a product, don’t view this as a burden so much as a time to shine. Respond quickly and in a manner that is friendly and professional. Never blame the customer even if the issue is his/her fault. Assist the buyer and you will be repaid not only in reviews but in repeat sales and word-of-mouth referrals.
4. Follow up with every buyer
You probably thought that this is where I was going to begin my tips, maybe even that I had some super-template that somehow solicited positive reviews while adhering to Amazon’s rules. That’s not how it works, but just as “please” and “thank you” are considered magic words when getting along with others, there are some magic words in the world of Amazon follow-up customer service.
Mindset: Shift from the belief that the point of emailing buyers is to get positive reviews. The shift toward the mindset that post-purchase communication is about customer service and how you can further enhance the buyer’s experience.
Value: Don’t even ask for a review in a first post-purchase email. Consider this first message to be one of giving. You’re giving information and assistance, all without the buyer having to ask. You’re providing added value by including something extra. For example, if you have a buyer of kitchen gadgets, show him/her that more is happening than just a transaction by including bonus tips such as recipes or clean-up tips. Give what feels like a thoughtful little follow-up gift and be sure to include your brand name.
Timing and Patience: Allow time for the product to actually be delivered. Then allow more time for the product to be tried and used. No one wants to buy a toolkit and be asked to write a review of it the day after it shipped. That’s a fast unsubscribe.
Word Choice: Don’t push the buyer to do anything. Check in with a second email saying that you hope the buyer is enjoying the product. Also offer a bonus tip and ask if you can assist in any way. Thank the buyer for choosing your product and tell him/her that sharing thoughts on the product helps other shoppers.
Mobile: Today, most people read email on a phone or tablet. With a smaller screen, you need to be mindful how your message renders. Keep the subject line short. You don’t have to use the full product name there, just keep it identifiable. This will help your open rate.
Reciprocity: If you and another person are entering a building that has two sets of doors and you hold the first open for the other person, he/she is likely to hold the second open for you. You didn’t pay the person to do this, you didn’t even ask; you proactively set up a situation where the other person wanted to return the good deed. Great customer service opens a lot of doors (and garners a lot of positive reviews).