The mere mention of Amazon reviews evokes a lot of emotion from sellers. Those new to the marketplace are often overwhelmed by their magnitude and unsure of how to get them. Meanwhile, experienced sellers feel stuck in place and struggle with the constant need to get more.
Both parties are also frustrated with —and fearful of—Amazon’s review policies. What’s the right way to request reviews? What can get you into trouble?
In this article, we’ll dig deeper into Amazon review guidelines and discover the top ways to get more ratings, including one that will help you unlock more of their incredible power on the world’s biggest online selling platform.
Getting Reviews on Amazon
There’s no denying that today’s sellers are finding it much more difficult to get reviews. While some of this is due to Amazon trying to ward off fake reviewers, buyers are also increasingly apathetic about leaving them. So, leaving it up to chance likely won’t get you very far.
The best way to get reviews continues to be to ask for them, assuming, of course, that you are playing by the rules. Amazon considers product review and seller feedback requests to be proactive permitted messages, meaning they are fully allowed by the marketplace. You have 30 days from order completion to send these messages, and only one request can be sent per order. They must include the 17-digit order ID and be in the buyer’s preferred language. There are several guidelines about what you can and cannot say and even specific styling considerations; you’ll want to read these requirements very carefully before sending anything.
There are two ways to contact buyers with product review requests in Seller Central:
1) Request a Review Button: The easiest and most effective way is with the Request a Review button, which can be found on a customer’s Order Details page. In this case, Amazon will send out a combined seller feedback and product review request. It cannot be edited. This option was introduced in 2019 and since then, has become increasingly popular because of its guaranteed policy compliance.
2) Buyer-Seller Messaging System: Similar to the method above, Amazon’s Buyer-Seller Messaging system requires you to find the relevant order and manually send out a request. Some customization is permissible, but you’re responsible for staying within policy and making sure it’s in the buyer’s preferred language. Keep your language neutral and never explicitly ask for a positive review or encourage a buyer who has had a bad experience to contact you instead of leaving a review. No marketing or promotional messaging is allowed.
Additional Amazon-approved methods for asking for reviews include insert cards sent with your products and the Amazon Vine program, which recently resumed its enrollment fees after a two-year hiatus. (Amazon’s Early Reviewer program was also fairly popular, but it was retired in 2021.) Unfortunately, many of the product inserts out there are still outright incentivizing buyers to leave reviews or directing them to other websites — both of which are big no-nos. Suspensions involving inserts are on the rise, so be very careful with what you say in these inserts.
A few other things that will raise red flags on your account are attempting to review your own product (or a competitor’s) and asking friends or family members to do the same. Don’t try to manipulate your ratings. This includes aggregating reviews to build up a specific product’s star rating or creating variation relationships to pad your review numbers. Finally, never, under any circumstances, ask buyers to change or remove their reviews (you can ask Amazon to remove reviews that are abusive or violate its Community Guidelines). Customers can choose to edit or remove a review on their own, but you cannot influence this decision. Avoiding all of these common mistakes will help keep you compliant and in the clear.
Automating Amazon Review Requests
Manually sending review requests requires a lot of work and typically sees very little reward for your efforts. To get more results, you need to reach buyers on a much bigger scale. Feedback and review software makes all this —and more— simple and easy.
These tools connect to the Amazon API to automate the process of individually requesting reviews. You can find third-party Amazon-approved software, including FeedbackFive by eComEngine, in the Seller Central Partner Network, formerly the Amazon Marketplace Appstore. This tool supports feedback and review request automation through Buyer-Seller Messaging and the Request a Review button.
Here’s helpful advice that can make your messages even more effective:
1) Adjust the timing of your requests to when the buyer is experiencing peak excitement about your product. For example, if you sell a small consumable, it’s likely to be used right away. In that instance, it makes sense to send the request immediately within your 30-day window. However, some products are meant to produce long-term benefits, so if a request is sent too early, the buyer may not have experienced all of its benefits just yet. This often translates into a negative review.
2) Monitor your reviews to uncover common trends that may be negatively impacting your ratings. Note that Amazon does not send notifications when your products receive new reviews. However, you should make it a point to regularly monitor your reviews, especially your written comments. Do your best to learn from your negative ratings and try to prevent the same type of response in the future. This is how you truly unlock the power of your reviews and see more value. You can also use what you’ve learned in your reviews to find new product opportunities and strengthen other areas of your business (like your inventory practices) that may be lacking.
Many sellers also use tools to help with product review monitoring. Once you tell the tool which ASINs to track (it could even be a competitor’s), it automatically compiles a complete 90-day review history for each item. You can sort and filter by rating and other buyer criteria to dig deeper into your review analytics and get the full picture of how your products are performing.
Amazon Review Compliance is More Important than Ever
When Amazon limits your correspondence with customers so much, we understand that there may be some hesitance with allowing review software to “speak” with your buyers in this way. This is something we hear a lot. But to date, the simple act of asking for reviews continues to be the most effective method.
Just remember, Amazon wants you to get as many ratings as possible. Reviews are what drive sales on this platform, so as long as you ask for them in the right ways, Amazon isn’t going to have an issue. Non-compliant requests are what risk your sales and your entire business.
Ellen Sipp-Paris is the Content Manager at eComEngine. Her goal is to help educate Amazon sellers so they feel more confident in what can be a complicated marketplace. When she’s not writing, she enjoys taking nature walks, reading, and going to concerts.
If you need more Amazon review advice, eComEngine offers free product review consultations. Get in touch and we’d be happy to help!