How to get more reviews — without breaking Amazon rules

How to get more reviews — without breaking Amazon rules

When was the last time you bought something on the web without first checking out what a previous buyer or two had to say about it?

If you can’t remember that far back, you’re like a lot of buyers (maybe even most buyers). And that includes your buyers as well. Now more than ever, product reviews are the lifeblood of sales — online sales especially, but people do a lot of research before their brick-and-mortar purchases, too.

Just because people read reviews doesn’t mean they leave reviews, though. And Amazon’s strict rules about contacting customers can leave FBA sellers in a bit of a bind. So how can you get more reviews for your items while remaining in Amazon’s good graces? Let’s take a look.

Amazon is very protective of buyers

This isn’t a bad thing, but it does make it very difficult to ask customers for reviews — in fact, you can only contact them through the Buyer-Seller Messaging Service if your message is “critical to complete a buyer’s order.” You can’t solicit reviews or feedback through the system, nor can you do a work-around by offering tips for using the product or other tactics that sellers used to utilize in search of reviews.

Amazon  is also protective about review authenticity: You can’t offer anything in exchange for a review, such as a free product to evaluate or a discount on the next order. You can’t even offer entry into a drawing for a prize.

When someone buys from you and Amazon fulfills the order, the company requests seller feedback and a product review automatically — so it might not make sense for you to ask that buyer again anyway. Some people will be annoyed with any additional contact, and could even leave a negative review because of that.

Look outside of the Amazon ecosystem

Amazon’s rules don’t apply to sales you make through your own website or other platforms, though. And those buyers can still leave reviews on Amazon. That means you can target your non-Amazon customers with emails asking for reviews — either as part of the purchasing process or immediately afterward. Two quick tips:

  • Don’t go overboard. Sending multiple email requests for reviews is likely to alienate people. If you’re going to send a purchase confirmation email and follow up later with a review request, perhaps just include a line at the bottom of the confirmation: “Love this product? We’d love to have your review on Amazon! Just search for XXXXXXXX.”

  • Don’t just beg for a review. Even if the goal of your email is to get a review, provide some additional value, such as unexpected tips for using the product, or an offer for a discount on their next order. Then say how much you’d appreciate a review on Amazon.

Other sellers have found success with campaigns on social media and even by providing free products to high-profile bloggers and influencers. Including an insert in your packaging can be effective as well — but follow the same approach as above, providing some additional value whenever possible. (If you don’t offer anything in exchange for the review, or violate other Amazon rules, an insert could even be effective for FBA sales.)

Automation options

There are providers out there who offer templates and automate the process of soliciting reviews, too — while following Amazon’s rules and keeping your account in good standing.

Whatever you do, don’t forget the rules

Even if you find non-Amazon customers willing to provide feedback on your product, remember that reviews by family members or other people close to you are prohibited — it’s another way Amazon tries to ensure reviews are genuine. And it should go without saying that you can’t write a review for your own product. Doing these things will put your seller account at risk.

How do you handle getting product reviews? Email smallbizstories@avalara.com with your thoughts and ideas. (Oh yeah, if you loved this blog post, we’d love to hear your feedback, too!)

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