Have you heard about Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program? The initiative encourages customers who have already purchased a product to share their authentic experience about that product, regardless of whether it is a 1-star or 5-star review. Curious how to make it work for you?
What the Amazon Early Reviewer Program Does — and How
It’s another way Amazon wants to build trust in the online community and help reassure buyers (and also sellers, to an extent). Amazon will randomly select a bunch of customers to be reviewers, ask them to leave a review within a certain time-frame, and then ‘reward’ them with a small Amazon gift card.
Amazon is differentiating this from incentivised reviews in a couple of important ways:
- Product Identification: Every product available for sale will be marked with an orange badge that identifies it as being reviewed in the Early Reviewer Program.
- Reviewer Criteria: Although the selection process is random, Amazon automatically disqualifies buyers who have a history of abuse or dishonest reviews. The remaining buyers, as long as they meet Amazon’s eligibility criteria (i.e. no Amazon employees, sellers, or their friends and family can take part), can be selected for the program.
- Type of Product: Buyers who purchase an item that has fewer than 10 reviews might be asked to leave an early review for that product.
One of the biggest problems with incentivised reviews before was the lack of trust. How were buyers supposed to know which reviews were left honestly, and which ones were bought? Those so-called fake reviews made it hard to ascertain the true chances of quality purchase, and the Early Reviewer Program hopes to ameliorate that.
Another problem with the removal of incentivised reviews was the shortage of reviews. Getting rid of fake reviews was good, sure, but then that meant fewer reviews, period, for buyers to go through. Shoppers are notoriously lazy about leaving reviews (except when they’ve had a horrendous experience), especially if they weren’t asked to.
The Amazon Vine program helped cushion that a little bit, but not all sellers could participate in it, which meant the bulk of possible reviews weren’t being written. Plus, Vine dealt with product reviews and they aren’t read nearly as much as seller reviews.
Along with the sellers, Amazon also took a hit because they take a cut from each sale to bolster their own bottom line. And if there are fewer reviews and that leads to fewer sales, then Amazon is making less money — hence the initiative with the Early Reviewer Program.
How to Make it Work for You
One of the hardest hurdles to overcome is that first 5 or 10 or so reviews. It can be incredibly difficult to get a buyer to purchase a product when there are little or no reviews to back it up. But once the seller can get past 10 reviews, he or she can see a dramatic increase in conversions.
You can select items to be part of the program, but that’s about where your involvement ends. You’re not allowed to communicate with the buyer regarding their review, nor can you choose which buyers early-review your products. And as long as the reviews comply with their guidelines, Amazon won’t modify or remove them.
You might also be wondering if it’s worth participating in, or if Vine is better for you. Probably the biggest difference between Vine and Early Reviewer is that with the former, reviewers get the products for free, while with the latter, the consumer actually has to purchase an item. Plus, Vine is only available to vendors and not third-party sellers, and vendors have to pay to put their products in the program and ship it to Amazon, where it’ll be placed in the Vine newsletter.
Buy Reviews Directly from Amazon
It appears that Amazon will now allow you to buy up to five reviews directly from Amazon for a product.
This option can be found within Seller Central under the Advertising tab.
Here are the details:
- Product must have less than 5 reviews
- $60 up front per ASIN for 5 reviews max
- Item price must be priced at $15 or more if you lower the price later they may disqualify that asin
This is a big move and will offer sellers launching a product an easy way of getting up to five reviews.
More reviews = more conversions