Amazon's advertising solutions may help drive your sales effectively. But there's no stronger evidence of your success than maintaining honest online reviews.
More reviews = more customers. Specifically, more potential customers. Because there's nothing that indicates to a potential customer that your product line isn't retail ready than an Amazon listing with zero reviews.
The Value of Reviews
With an estimated 79 percent of US customers relying on Amazon reviews prior to making a purchase, it may seem like maintaining positive reviews is an ideal goal for most brands. But it's a goal that's far from realistic.
There's no such thing as a brand with 100 percent absolutely happy customers. And a positive customer experience can be hard to come by. Yet you may find that even a 2 star review can help pinpoint your own weaknesses as an Amazon seller.
That's the ultimate value of Amazon reviews. And that's ultimately the difference between Amazon reviews and Facebook or Google reviews.
Amazon reviews allow you the opportunity to gain insight from customers directly into every aspect of your brand, from customer service to fulfillment to product quality and assurance. Unlike many social media reviews, Amazon reviews allow you the chance to know what's really on your customer's minds and the role your product line plays in their lives.
That doesn't mean social media reviews aren't valuable. But they can't always be the result of a verified purchase. More importantly, they can be downright misleading and abusive.
Amazon's more proactive in removing defamatory reviews than social media. And as a result, more potential customers are going to trust Amazon over social commerce.
Unfortunately? Amazon doesn't always make it easy to request reviews.
Amazon and Buyer Seller Communications
There's a good chance you may have noticed that Amazon Seller Central has seen some changes over the past few weeks. New features. New policies. And even a complete revision of their communications protocol.
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.
If you're a seasoned seller, then you probably already know that Amazon services can seem like they're more for the benefit of the customer than the seller. That's because they are.
Amazon's virtue has always been a strictly customer-centric one. And while there's no small number of solutions available for sellers to highlight their Amazon listings, communication guidelines are designed to be as objective, straightforward forward and beneficial as possible.
In short? Marketing is for your Amazon page, not your customer services.
What is Amazon's “Request a Review” Button?
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. And almost deceptively so.
You may have noticed it at the top right of each specific “Order Details” page in your Seller Central account. What the ‘Request a Review' button allows you to do is 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.”
The review request button can actually be a pretty useful tool for sellers. It replaces your outside messaging and email contact options by using an order specific review request email template 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 request template. Instead, Amazon will send it out for you automatically with just the click of a button.
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.)
But if you're assuming that the review request feature is an easy way to bypass Seller Central guidelines, you may want to think again.
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 feedback and review 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 sent out in mass or followed up by a personalized request
Right now, the “Request a Review” button appears only in limited markets—primarily US based sellers and a select number of retailers based in China and the UK
Isn't Amazon Already Sending Out Review Requests?
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 than it would be without it.
Amazon frowns on review requests outside of buyer-seller messaging for various reasons, ranging from the potential for incentivized review requests to overall quality control. Amazon has specific guidelines against persuasive language in seller communications.
What the “Request a Review” button allows you to do instead is to develop a more order-specific service experience with your customer base, establishing your reputation as being service-focused, not marketing-focused.
A reputation which can go a long, long way in the eyes of your customers.
What Does Amazon's Review Request Email Template Contain?
Amazon's review request email template is fairly bare bones and straight forward, containing:
Your seller and/or business name
Your product name
A product image
The number of stars available for product rating
The number of stars available for seller and/or business rating
Yet the review request template also contains a personalized message specific to a customer's order:
“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.”
What this also means is reducing any personalized service request on your end as a seller, saving you time and effort—to mention nothing about uncertainty over using neutral language in your review requests.
In order to meet Amazon's new buyer-seller guidelines, requests can only contain general information: your name, the title of the product and a link to the customer's purchase. Any requests to visit external sites or to offer promotional deals could very well get you automatically flagged by Amazon's bots, resulting in seller privilege suspension.
What Does “Request a Review” Mean for Me?
The "request a review" feature 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, which has historically been 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, especially from small businesses. 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 already using review request templates which you may have previously drafted yourself, 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?
Is Amazon's "Request a Review" Button a Valuable Feature?
Amazon's "Request a Review" button may seem like a minimal change to their overall seller-buyer communications. But sometimes even minimal changes can go a long way in improving customer service.
Amazon customers never like a hard pitch. And they don't want to feel pressured into either making a purchase or leaving a review. And if they have any honest complaints, they will unquestionably make them.
Selling on Amazon is a learning experience. And sometimes you can learn the most about both your products and services through honest but critical feedback.
The “request a review” feature isn't going to be for everyone. But it just may be a feature that can add both values to your order fulfillment while freeing up your time.
But what you do with the additional time, however, may be an even bigger question.
Keep up to date with all the latest changes for Amazon sellers. Find out more at Color More Lines.