Your Amazon seller reputation can make or break your business. Considering the fact that 97% of shoppers admit that reviews influence their buying decisions, a positive seller reputation can be your key to more orders and building life-long trust on and off the platform. According to CNBC, 55% of consumers start their online shopping searches on Amazon—so even if they end up on your online store later, they’re likely to see your Amazon score.
But what exactly is a seller’s reputation score? When it comes to feedback, buyers have two options: They can both leave specific product reviews and provide feedback about the seller. This can involve letting people know that the seller was on-time, and that their products were accurate or as advertised.
You can track your seller performance from Seller’s Central. Amazon’s current benchmarks are:
- Order defect rate: < 1%
- Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%
- Late shipment rate: < 4%
These metrics are influenced by your negative feedback or your one and two-star reviews. If you fail to regularly match these benchmarks, you can lose your seller privileges.
A high Amazon seller reputation score is a combined average of all buyer feedback and it is extremely valuable. It can offer sellers a chance to get into the buy box, and even if it doesn’t, it gives buyers more confidence. In addition, Amazon penalizes bad sellers, so keeping a high score can keep you in the platform’s good books. Buyers can view this feedback on your storefront page, so it really is crucial to get a good score—especially during uncertain times.
It makes sense to find a system that helps you keep your seller rating high. But before we get into everything you should do, it’s important to note everything you shouldn’t do. Using tactics that are against Amazon’s policies can not only get you short-term penalties, but possibly banned.
Understand the Ground Rules
Over the years, Amazon’s rules have become more strict in terms of how sellers can ask for reviews. While we’ll list the major rules here, it’s important that you keep up with their policies, company announcements, and recommendations from the platform to avoid negative consequences.
To date, these are the major offenses that can get your account into serious trouble:
- Don’t offer free products/money/discounts/promotion (unless you’re enrolled with Amazon Vine)
- Don’t write reviews yourself and don’t ask family and friends to write reviews
- Don’t vote on the helpfulness of reviews
- Don’t comment negatively on comp products
- Don’t swap reviews with other sellers
- Don’t accept unverified reviews
- Don’t use email appending services to get buyer email/phone
- Don’t use zombie accounts to create fake reviews
- Don’t bribe Amazon employees to delete negative reviews
These rules are meant to keep sellers honest. While it may appear that Amazon has too many restrictions in place, if needed, you can:
- Request that Amazon remove negative reviews—particularly if they use hateful language, or if the complaint is geared towards Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
- Try to resolve buyer complaints directly in case of a negative review. Buyers have up to 60 days to modify or remove feedback. This approach is a great way to build buyer trust and showcase your customer service.
Now that we’ve been over what to avoid in order to stay compliant, we can discuss what you can do to drive more reviews.
Step 1: Craft accurate product pages
The first step to getting positive seller feedback is to ensure your product and storefront pages are detailed and accurate. Using HD images, informative infographics, lists, and precise product descriptions, you should ensure that each page includes information like:
- Target audience
- Washing or maintenance instructions
- Shipping and availability
- Recent images
- Tutorials, videos of the product being used
Be as specific as possible, and as you rack up product reviews, try to incorporate their feedback into your pages. This will ensure that potential buyers get as much information as they need and are less likely to be unintentionally misled. Maple Holistics is one example of a top seller on the platform with extensive product descriptions and a 99% seller reputation rate.
Feedbackz founder James Fend optimized his product listings and focused on getting more reviews to boost his sales from $500 to $5,000 a month.
Step 2: Respond to customers
You should always respond to both positive and negative feedback. Not only does this show buyers that you care, but you can also use review responses to showcase your customer service. And it’s been shown to work: 7 out of 10 customers have said they’ve changed their opinion of a company after receiving a response to their review. In addition, 89% of buyers read review responses—so this is a good method to attract more customers.
Another thing to consider is the fact that negative reviews may actually be good for business. A study by Reevoo found that 95% of buyers get suspicious if there are no negative reviews. While it’s not ideal for your score, it will make your business appear more realistic.
Step 3: Look for opportunities
Why not turn customer service into an opportunity for a review? If you’ve helped customers to resolve a problem with their order via email or phone, go ahead and ask them for a review on Amazon. When a customer is now satisfied with your service, they may be more likely to leave a review about their experience —including how you resolved their issue.
Step 4: Don’t forget the product inserts
Product inserts have been used for years to encourage buyers to leave seller feedback and product reviews. And while they aren’t banned, they are restricted. You can ask users to leave feedback, but you cannot ask them to leave positive feedback or use images that show a five-star rating.
However, you can ask them to sign up for a warranty, follow you on social media, or sign up for your mailing list. If you can get this information directly, you can ask them for a positive review through your other channels.
Step 5: Keep your email list engaged
Whenever you release a new product, you can announce this item to your email list to get immediate feedback and reviews. Not only does this give you a steady stream of cash flow, but because your email list will be composed of fans, they are more likely to leave positive reviews and seller feedback.
Even though you can’t incentivize reviews, you can offer discounts or rebates to your email list without asking for a review in the same email. Just Love Fashion, a company with a 96% seller reputation, is one example of a brand with a mailing list that they promote on Amazon.
Step 6: Try Amazon programs
The best thing you can do for your seller score after improving your backend is to get more reviews. There are currently two Amazon programs that you can take advantage of, especially if you have no feedback:
- Amazon Early Reviewer Program
This program is a review program for products with few to no reviews. While it costs $60 to enroll, reviewers pay for your product and receive a small gift card as a reward for leaving a review. In this program, you can receive up to five reviews.
- Amazon Vine
In December 2019, Amazon rolled out its new Vine program as a way to help sellers gain more customer feedback. Sellers in the program are required to give their product away for free, but there is no enrollment fee and you can receive up to 30 reviews.
After receiving your first positive product reviews from these buyers, you can ask them for seller feedback as well.
Step 7: Scale your Amazon reviews with automation
You can take advantage of automated email funnels to accumulate more reviews. We already know that 320% more revenue comes from automated emails over their manual counterparts. The same logic should apply to ask for feedback. Automated funnels can save you time and energy while boosting your chances for more reviews—and the chance to improve your seller reputation.
Despite the effectiveness of automation, there are some caveats:
- Don’t use if/then statements in your email (“If you liked X product, please review!”)
- Buyers may opt-out of unsolicited emails—so your review request may not get delivered
In 2019, Amazon launched its Request Review feature, which can be accessed from the orders page. From the delivery date, you have 30 days to request the buyer for a review and the message cannot be customized. This email will also ask for both a product review and seller feedback.
Amazon Seller Reputation Recap
When it comes to improving your seller reputation, you only need to remember a few key concepts when strategizing:
- Don’t incentivize and don’t ask close friends and family to write reviews
- Do tap into your fan base through social media and your email list
- Take advantage of Amazon programs
- Always ask for a review in a neutral tone
As long as you ensure that your product descriptions are always accurate and you respond promptly to buyer engagement, your seller reputation should soar.