What Is Amazon’s “Request A Review” Feature?

What Is Amazon’s “Request A Review” Feature?

What is Amazon’s “Request A Review” Feature?

There’s a good chance you may have noticed that Amazon’s Seller Central platform has seen some changes over the past few weeks. New features. New policies. And even a complete revision of their communications protocol. And while many of these changes seemed to be designed to ensure transparency in seller marketing and buyer interactions, there’s also an even better chance that you’re left wondering just how these new features affect you. 

One of the biggest questions we’ve received has been about Amazon’s new “Request a Review” button. At first, it seems pretty straight forward. Almost deceptively so. But if you’re assuming that this is an easy way to bypass Seller Central guidelines, you may want to think again.

What is Amazon’s “Request a Review” Button?

You may have noticed the ‘Request a Review’ button at the top right of each specific “Order Details” page in your Seller Central account. What it allows you to do is, quite literally, request a customer to leave you feedback or a review with a single-click, as the following  message indicates:

“We don’t require you to request reviews because our systems already do that at no cost to you. However, if you prefer to request a review for this order, please use this feature instead of asking the customer via email or buyer-seller messaging.

When you use this feature, we will send the customer an email requesting product and seller reviews for this order. We automatically translate review requests to the customer’s preferred language.”

It can actually be a pretty useful tool for sellers. It replaces your outside messaging and email contact options by sending an order specific email in lieu of a general request for feedback. What that means for you is that you no longer have to manually send an email reminding customers to leave you a review (something that even seasoned Amazon sellers will forget about from time to time), even if you’re already using an Amazon review template. And what it means for both Amazon and your customers is the elimination of spamming feedback requests (which we in no way recommend—even if it wasn’t already against Amazon Seller policies.)

Restrictions to Amazon’s “Request a Review” Feature

  • Amazon prohibits you from sending any follow up request for a customer after each order-specific request has been initialized.
  • All sellers must follow Amazon’s new Communication Guidelines.
  • All review and feedback requests must be made no later than 30 days after the order has been delivered. 
  • Each review request must be made manually and can not be automated or followed by a personalized request.
  • Right now, the “Request a Review” button appears only in limited markets—primarily U.S. based sellers and a select number of retailers based in China and the U.K..

Isn’t Amazon Already Sending Out Request Reviews?

Yes, but not through Amazon’s Buyer-Seller Messaging Services. And the likelihood of an automated review or feedback request winding up in a customer’s spam filter is much higher without it. What the “Request a Review” button allows you is a more order-specific service experience with your customer base, as evidenced by the following email: 

“Did your recent Amazon order meet your expectations? Review it on Amazon

Your opinion matters!

___________ requests you to share your experience for your recent order with other Amazon shoppers. Please take a moment to review your recent Amazon purchase.”

On the other hand, what this also means is reducing any personalized service request. In order to meet Amazon’s new buyer-seller guidelines, requests only contain general information: your name, the title of the product and a link to the customer’s purchase. 

What Does “Request a Review” Mean for Me?

It enables you to automatically adhere to the new communication guidelines in Amazon’s Buyer-Seller Messaging Services, for one. You don’t have to worry about the potential for using what could be flagged as persuasive or manipulative language—historically, a perpetually grey area in Seller Central

It could also wind up increasing your Amazon sales. Customers rely on Amazon for objective, unbiased reviews. They’ve come to expect neutrality. And once they receive a request directly from Amazon as opposed to a seller, they might feel a bit more comfortable leaving a completely honest and unsolicited review.

I Prefer to Make my Requests Manually!

So will thousands of other sellers! “Request a Review” isn’t mandatory. And in all honesty, it’s too early to tell when—or more importantly, if—it will catch on.

But even if you’re using a standard template,  just how neutrally are you phrasing your review requests? Are you unknowingly including any restricted items in your request, such as outside links or images? Do you actually have the time to manually submit and personalize each review request?

“Request a Review” isn’t going to be for everyone. But it just may be a feature that can add both value to your order fulfillment while freeing up your time. 

But what you do with the additional time, however, may be an even bigger question.

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Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at www.colormorelines.com.

What You Should Know About Changes To Amazon’s Seller Central Communication Guidelines

What You Should Know About Changes To Amazon’s Seller Central Communication Guidelines

If you’re already selling through Amazon’s Seller Central platform, you’re probably aware that guidelines can be… well, sometimes a little less than convenient for many retailers. After all, you’re already selling directly to customers, in addition to registration and seller fees. Ideally, that should mean service and communication are your responsibilities.

And they are. If you’re using FBA services by Amazon, there’s a good chance it’s because you have neither the time nor the resources to fulfill each individual order. We don’t blame you. Managing your Amazon accounts can be one of the more tedious and time-consuming processes in ecommerce. That’s it’s no surprise that more and more sellers turn to auto-response when fielding product questions and order updates.

But Seller Central’s buyer-seller messaging service isn’t just wieldy to adopt. Its rules and guidelines seem to change constantly. And the recently revised guidelines for autoresponders don’t just affect how you communicate. Failing to adopt them can result in your suspension. Here’s key points that you need to be aware of when it comes to your auto-response.

Clarification of Marketing on Amazon’s Seller Central

Amazon prohibits any form of their Seller Central services for the purposes of unsolicited marketing and promotions, including email, messaging, telephone and even personal mail. This also includes solicitation for positive reviews and testimonials, even if prompted by the buyer.

Seller Central services are also becoming increasingly more aggressive in policing buyers who offer compensation for a review, including money or gift cards, free or discounted products, refunds and reimbursements. If in doubt, only field direct inquiries about a product or order through the Seller Central platform.

Changes in Messaging Guidelines

Sellers are no longer permitted to do the following when contacting a buyer:

  • Using tags such as “[Important]” in subject lines unless related to a specific order
  • Use messaging for marketing and promotional purposes
  • Use messaging containing language that incentivizes or solicits biased seller feedback and reviews, including requesting the removal or update of previously published reviews
  • Send messages containing images, flash animation or any hyperlinks that do not specifically contain relevant information to an order
  • Send a reminder to leave seller feedback more than once per customer
  • Include links and attachments unless they relate specifically to the order
  • Include a link allowing buyers to opt-out of messaging
  • Include any logos displaying or linking to your website
  • Any content different from the contact reason listed on your Contact Buyer page

Confused? Discouraged? Don’t be. You’re not losing customers. You’re strengthening your brand’s integrity. One of Amazon’s greatest strengths has always been the ability to provide a relatively neutral and objective platform for honest customer testimonials. Trying to manipulate that objectivity for your own end isn’t just unethical. It’s insecure. Your product and your customers demand more.

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Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at www.colormorelines.com.

The 3 Top Priorities On Your Amazon Pre Launch Checklist

The 3 Top Priorities On Your Amazon Pre Launch Checklist

Is 2020 going to be the year you finally make the leap to selling on Amazon? If so… welcome to the jungle.

We’re not saying that to frighten you off. In fact, far from it. Amazon shouldn’t just be an ecommerce platform for your business. It should be your primary one. With sales reported in excess of $59 billion for the first quarter of 2019 alone, we’re not the only ones who are Amazon advocates. So are over two-thirds of the U.S. population.

But while you may have prioritized Amazon sales as a primary goal, you may not have considered your own pre-launch procedure. You may have a marketing strategy in place. You may have conducted a detailed comparative sales analysis. And you may even have a revolutionary product line. But have you thought about your inventory? Have you considered logistic processes? How aligned are all your ecommerce distribution channels? In short—is your business ready to launch?

ASINs, EANs, ISBNs and UPC Codes

We’re not going to lie. Bar codes can be one of the more confusing parts of establishing an Amazon ecommerce storefront, particularly if you’re predicting a high amount of global sales along with your domestic volume. Here’s how they break down:

  • ASIN:  Amazon Standard Identification Numbers. These are unique blocks of 10 digits which Amazon uses to identify and track sales. With the exception of books (which carry the same sequence as an ISBN,) each code ASIN is automatically assigned for each product.
  • EAN: The European Article Number can be either 12 or 13 digits which  identify both the product and manufacturer.
  • ISBN: An International Standard Book Number consisting of either 10 or 13 digits used solely to identify and track commercial book sales.
  • UPC: In the US, a Universal Product Code is 12 digit commercial barcode which identifies non-book retail products.

But why are these codes important? For retail purposes, products need to be identified quickly in order to expedite purchasing. But these codes don’t just identify your product. They track its sales. And they’re necessary if you want to conduct retail sales anywhere, not just digitally.

Unfortunately, UPC codes (the most commonly used identifier in the Amazon chain system) aren’t automatically assigned—and they aren’t free. In fact, they can cost you up to $3,500 in service fees depending on the amount needed. This has led to a black market of resellers offering to recycle codes at a much lower cost. It’s a scam, and one that can lead you into being barred from selling on Amazon altogether. Save yourself the potential trouble. There’s only one authorized source Amazon allows for UPC codes: GS1.

Branded Trademarks

Brand identity should ideally be one of the key components of any business. But how much are you actually investing in it?

We don’t just mean developing a branded experience. Any retailer will automatically need to distinguish themselves if they hope to survive in the marketplaceand selling on Amazon is no different. In fact, with features such as A+ Marketing, Amazon’s Seller Central services has never made it easier for a business to highlight their product strength. And it’s also never been more competitive.

Failing to trademark your name might seem like an oversight in a marketing strategy. But it’s a common one. And without it, you don’t just open yourself up to intellectual property theft. You fail to distinguish your business. No matter how straight forward your name or business may be, take the time to review the trademark process with the US Patent and Trademark Office prior to your launch.

Your Distribution Networks: Your Lifeline

Ecommerce can present retailers with an even more critical dilemma than traditional brick and mortar storefronts: inventory. More specifically, balancing both the supply from your manufacturers and the demand from your distribution networks.

You need a consistent production schedule. You need realistic sales projections. You need reliable distribution. And you need to understand the return on your own marketing efforts as well as your own sales and fulfillment channels.

For better or worse, Amazon has made its name on being a customer-centric platform. But not necessarily a seller-centric one. Let both your manufacturing and your distribution partners know you plan to sell on Amazon and that they’re likely going to see a dramatic increase in demand—in some cases, greater than 70 percent for Amazon FBA sellers.

Your customers are the backbone of your business and your distribution networks keep your business in the air. With a complete understanding of both, your e-commerce business will continue to soar to new heights.

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Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at www.colormorelines.com.

3 Key Facts about Amazon Donating Your Excess Inventory

3 Key Facts about Amazon Donating Your Excess Inventory

 

In the spirit of Color More Lines’© (CML) passion for “helping companies with a cause,” so too has Amazon embraced this vision…and they do truly think of everything! In case you missed it, Amazon announced this week that starting September 1, 2019, those using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) will have the option to donate excess or unwanted inventory in the US and UK to select charities.

In the US, Amazon has selected to work with Good360, a global leader in philanthropy and purposeful giving. In the UK, they will be leveraging charities like Newlife, Salvation Army and Barnardo’s.

This is a brilliant step and a great action by Amazon. Here are 3 facts you will want to make sure you’re aware of:

FACT #1 Automatic Enrollment

You are enrolled in FBA Donations program by default and Amazon will automatically make eligible inventory available to charitable organizations when you choose to dispose of overstock, returns, and other unwanted product. You can verify your enrollment status by going to Settings > Fulfillment by Amazon > FBA Donations program.

>>> You can choose to opt-out of the FBA Donations program at any time by disabling it in your FBA Settings.

FACT #2 Donation Delivery is Arranged by Amazon

Although disposal and donation fees apply, $.50 and $.15, respectively, when you request disposal of FBA inventory in the U.S. and UK fulfillment centers, Amazon will make it available for donation and will make the delivery arrangements on your behalf, for no additional cost.

FACT #3 Tracking and Taxes

Tracking these items is easy if you look in your Removal Shipment Detail report and look for items marked Donation in the Carrier Name field. And it’s always a good idea to contact your tax adviser to discuss the FBA Donations program and what implications it will have on your reporting obligations.

Hats off to Amazon for finding a positive solution to unwanted and unused inventory! The program creators expect to see hundreds of thousands of products that were once doomed for disposal, going to good use transforming lives and strengthening communities!

 

Keep Doing Great Things,

CML

The Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Sell on Amazon

The Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Sell on Amazon

Whether you’re currently selling on Amazon or you’re looking to get started, it’s important to understand the power of Amazon and why it lives up to the hype.

At Color More Lines, we believe that selling on Amazon is a necessity for any e-commerce business.

The Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Sell on Amazon

  1. It’s GINORMOUS. 

With more than 180 million unique visits a month, Amazon is the top website in the world. That means the world shops at Amazon, and if you’re not selling on there, then you are missing out. Just the exposure alone is enough incentive to join.

  1. It provides awesome data-tracking tools.

Nowadays e-commerce is all about the data. If you’re not tracking your business and your customers’ habits, then you’re not going to grow. Amazon’s tools can provide you with super-specific info, such as where your customers are located, what keywords they used to find your products, how long they reviewed your listings, and so on.

On top of that, Amazon provides you with the opportunity to hear feedback from your customers. By reading the Amazon reviews left by your customers, you’ll be able to understand what they liked about your products…and what they didn’t.

Reading customer reviews might seem intimidating, but it’s actually a valuable resource for you and your business. You can use that customer feedback to enhance your products and make necessary improvements.

  1. It’s trusted by consumers.

In a recent study, 50% of shoppers said they start their search on Amazon. Consumers search Amazon first to research products, compare prices, and read reviews. Amazon empowers consumers and educates them so they can make informed purchase decisions.

By selling your products on Amazon, you not only increase your exposure but also your opportunity to build your brand and your customers’ trust. Good Amazon reviews are good for your business because they build consumer trust and confidence when they purchase your products.

  1. It provides a huge opportunity for growth.

First of all, you can reach more customers through the Amazon searches, which is great. You can find yourself being listed right next to the major players in your space. This provides great exposure and lets you compete directly with the big dogs.

Amazon also provides product recommendations and referrals. For examples, consumers can use the “Customers who bought this also bought” feature to see what other consumers have purchased while ads and keyword optimization boost your visibility in search results and sponsored listings.

  1. It provides the ultimate e-commerce customer experience.

 Amazon knows what it’s customers want and knows how to treat them. That’s one of the biggest reasons behind their massive success.

A key component of their customer experience is their speedy delivery. They’ve developed a shipping strategy and invested in the infrastructure to get consumers their purchases as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

They are a powerful resource when it comes to shipping because they have shipping centers all over. You can use their warehouses for storage and for shipping, which takes a lot of hassle and responsibility off your plate. They also offer insurance on your items when they ship them, and they’ll take responsibility for any shipping issues that may occur.

  1. We know everything about Amazon so you don’t have to.

Not to brag, but we know our stuff. And we’re really good at what we do. We know selling on Amazon might seem overwhelming, but it’s definitely worth the investment.

We’ve built a complete process for managing your Amazon FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) and FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) operations. This includes customer service, listing optimization, logistics, replenishment, analyst, repricing, and ad management.

We also offer turnkey account management, retainer work, and listing optimization packages.

In fact, we have taken several brands off the Amazon vendor program and optimized them both on the front end (what customers can see) and the back end (what the AI registers). 

So basically, working with us is a no brainer!

If you’re interested, contact us to set up your FREE discovery call.

We look forward to speaking with you!

Color More Lines – Helping Companies with a Cause

Color More Lines – Helping Companies with a Cause

Welcome to Color More Lines!

We help companies with a cause grow and expand their business on Amazon and beyond. 


Our wicked-smart team of experts know all the ins and outs of how to effectively sell on Amazon.

If you’ve got questions, we’ve got the answers.  

Some of us have been selling on Amazon for 13 years, right after Jeff Bezos literally moved out of his garage.

We know Amazon. Period. So you don’t have to. We’ve got everything covered.

We’ve built a complete process for managing your Amazon FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) and FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) operations. This includes customer service, listing optimization, logistics, replenishment, analyst, repricing, and ad management.

We also offer turnkey account management, retainer work, and listing optimization packages.

In fact, we have taken several brands off the Amazon vendor program and optimized them both on the front end (what customers can see) and the back end (what the AI registers). 

But our knowledge and capabilities go well beyond Amazon, too.

We offer multi-channel integration and support, including exposure to eBay, Jet, Walmart, Google Shopping, and Shopify — including EU integration and native language localization.

We can also help you tap into multiple wholesalers and big box stores like Target, Costco, Sam’s Club, and more!

We “color more lines” on your income statement by adding powerful new sales channels and growth to both your top and bottom lines.

Typically we work with companies doing $2M – $50M in revenue or the occasional well-funded startup, if there’s a track record and a compelling product offering. 

We also happily pay ongoing referral bonuses for ideal client introductions.

We Make Clients Happy

When it comes right down to it, we’re in the business of making our clients happy.

Yep, it’s true. It’s why we do what we do.

And this is how we do it (spoiler alert):

Client Experience + Awesome Results = Happy Clients

Basically, if our clients aren’t happy, we aren’t happy. And if our clients aren’t successful, then nobody is happy. That’s why we do everything in our power to help our clients achieve their goals and get results.

Do we help make brands bigger? Yes!

Do we help you launch successful e-commerce products? Of course!

Do we partner with you to drive multi-channel revenue with best-in-class e-commerce marketing, keyword optimization, SEO indexing, and robust risk reduction? For sure!

Do we help you get sales results online? Absolutely!

We provide you with a suite of solutions to meet your individual needs, and our success is defined by your satisfaction.

We know that e-commerce can be overwhelming, especially with the constantly changing landscape and the big players. We make the process simple and easy-to-understand for you, and we treat you like family in our collaborative environment.

When it comes to e-commerce, we do the work, so you don’t have to. We do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on what you do best.

Other companies sit behind the scenes and don’t reveal what they’re doing. But we take you step by step through our processes and strategies so that you know exactly what we’re doing and how we’re helping your business grow.

Giving Back

Not only do we help companies that give back and make a difference in their communities and the world at large, but we also give back.

Helping our clients build their brands is awesome, but that’s not all we do here at Color More Lines. We might be fun-loving tech and business wizards, but we also LOVE to give back! Helping people is what we like to call our bigger purpose.

As a company, we believe we have a special responsibility to set the standard as an employer, business leader, and local resident in our communities and the communities of our clients. It is an integral part of how we think and do business.

Whether we’re volunteering for work projects in our communities or making food and monetary donations to charitable organizations, we’re always looking for ways to give back and help make this world a better place for everyone.

If you like what you’ve read and want to work with us, let us know. Let’s build something great together!

Contact us today to set up your FREE discovery call.