The Importance of Amazon Reviews
Every seller on Amazon knows how important it is to have reviews on your product. According to Matt Moog, the CEO of Power Reviews, having at least one comment on your listing increases the chance of users clicking the “buy” button by 65%. He also estimates that reviews are responsible for about 20% of sales. Most of the same sellers also realise how much of a struggle it is to get your first Amazon review, especially after the e-commerce giant had banned incentivised reviews and enabled an option for users to opt-out of all seller communication.
Amazon Early Reviewer Program Comes In To Fill The Gap.
Thankfully, to answer that problem, Amazon has come up with an amazing solution called ‘Early Reviewer Program’, which is a win-win for the customers and sellers alike. In simple terms, Amazon contacts a random person who had bought your product to request a review. The potential reviewer receives an Amazon voucher (ranging from $1 to $3), regardless of whether the comment was positive or negative. It also adds an orange ‘Early Reviewer Rewards’ badge next to the review for extra transparency.
Just so you don’t think it’s all roses, there are a few of hurdles you need to consider in order to be eligible. First of all, the Early Reviewer Program is currently only available to the U.S. sellers featuring in the Brand Registry (which requires you to own the trademark to your brand name). Naturally, we’ll announce it on our blog and inform our current client when the programme rolls out in the UK. Secondly, as this programme is meant to boost Amazon reviews early on, it’s only available for ASINs that have fewer than 5 reviews. Finally, your items are eligible if priced below $15.
How exactly does the Early Reviewer Program work?
The programme is quite simple. Once you apply, Amazon starts its work without charging the seller yet. Once the programme delivers its first review for the ASIN, the seller gets charged $60 (per SKU/ASIN). Amazon will carry on gathering reviews for a full year afterwards, or until the ASIN reaches the 5 review quota.
The reviewers are chosen to the programme from a list of customers who have purchased the participating products. Some users may be excluded from the offers – mostly people who have previously posted abusive or dishonest reviews, including the incentivised ones. The review itself also needs to meet the community guidelines to apply.
It’s important to note that Amazon encourages reviews, but they don’t suggest what kind of a review the user should write. It ensures that the comments remain impartial and objective, as each review gets the same $1-$3 gift card reward, whether it’s a 1-star review, or a 5-star review. This takes a bit of control away from the seller, as opposed to the incentivised reviews, as the Early Reviewer Program comments can’t be deleted (unless they break the community guidelines). Also, to remain extra impartial, the users won’t see that they’re eligible for the programme anywhere on the product page – it will only show up in their inbox after a successful purchase.
is it any different to Amazon Vine?
As keen Amazon experts may already know, the Early Reviewer Program is not the first incentive dedicated to boosting the number comments. There’s also Amazon Vine – an invitation-only service launched in 2007, available to a small number of the best reviewers, according to Amazon’s algorithms. Amazon isn’t fully transparent with the requirements, but one of the main conditions is the helpfulness of the reviewer’s previous feedback on the site, as judged by the other users. The reviewers, known internally as ‘Vine Voices’, are sent the products for free and asked for honest feedback. Like in the Early Reviewer Program, those reviews cannot be influenced in order to remain impartial, and are also highlighted with an Amazon Vine badge next to them.
However, there are a few disadvantages in comparison to the Early Reviewer Program. First of all, there’s no guaranteed amount of reviews that you’ll get by participating. Secondly, there’s no product purchase needed – in fact, you need to ship samples of your products to Amazon in order to participate. It’s also a much shorter process – takes about 60 days from start to finish. What if there’s no interest in your product among the Vine Voices? Well, tough luck – you end up with no rewards…
The major downside to Vine is its price. The price per ASIN can range from $2,500 to $7,500 per ASIN, which is feasible for some larger vendors, but for most smaller ones it can be a massive barrier of entry. The prices make it practically non-viable for companies that don’t have significant marketing budgets.
So, now that you know which programme you need, how to apply?
Provided you meet the guidelines described above, the process of applying is not very complicated if you’re already well-versed in the ways of Amazon. First of all, you need to enroll your brand in Amazon Brand Registry. Secondly, you need to prepare a CSV template with up to 100 products. The ASINs can either be parent-level or stand-alone, but the child ASINs get enrolled automatically with the parent either way. Upon uploading your template and accepting Amazon’s terms (make sure you realise that it costs $60 per SKU, as you agree to Amazon charging you after the 1st review), your request will be processed and the programme will start.
Of course, there’s an even easier way – write to us, using the form below! We will advise you whether your ASINs actually need the programme, or identify which ones do if your catalogue is big. We will also gladly assist you with any other Amazon product listing optimisation efforts, like reducing ACoS through content optimisation and proper Advertising Console (AMS) setup.