Online reviews have the power to influence purchasing decisions drastically and can, quite literally, make or break a product. According to one study, 79% of consumers considered online reviews as reliable as personal recommendations from family or friends.
Formulating new ways of bringing in positive reviews must be at the forefront of any marketing strategy, especially when dealing with a platform as consumer-centric as Amazon. Failing to do so results in an accumulation of negative feedback, which—coupled with poor product quality and customer support—forces Amazon to suspend seller operations.
Unfortunately, instead of identifying and improving upon weaknesses, many sellers take the easier route by purchasing fake reviews. Not only is such a practice considered unethical, but also results in account suspensions and in some cases, legal ramifications.
As part of our commitment to ensure our readers remain compliant with Amazon’s TOS, in this blog, we’re going to discuss a few ways on how to get Amazon reviews legally in 2021.
In the case of Amazon reviews – the more, the merrier. Unless, of course, the reviews are mostly negative and range from 1-3 stars. Positive product reviews benefit businesses in several ways, some of which include:
Soliciting reviews from customers on Amazon is a tricky business. One wrong move and the powers that be might just bring your entrepreneurial dreams to an abrupt halt. Amazon adopts a zero-tolerance policy regarding customer review violations. The following are all possible outcomes for those caught manipulating customer reviews in one form or another:
Guard yourself against such scenarios by not:
These are just some of the actions that classify as customer review manipulations. To gain more clarity on the subject, here’s a helpful FAQ page regarding Amazon product reviews.
In the world of SEO, Black and White Hat are two ubiquitous terms used to determine whether certain ranking methods are permissible or punishable/frowned upon. The same rule applies for garnering reviews on Amazon.
Techniques that fall within Amazon’s TOS are denominated as White Hat, and those against the guidelines are known as Black Hat. The point of discussing Black Hat methods and giving practical examples is to enable our readers to steer clear from popular yet impermissible methods of increasing Amazon reviews.
First, let’s take a look at what is not allowed.
Elon Musk recently put forward the concept of a business-shower; friends and family of fresh entrepreneurs coming together to help get a new venture off the ground. While the practice is certainly commendable, it’s best not to introduce it on Amazon.
Soliciting reviews from friends or acquaintances is a policy violation that, if discovered, can cause Amazon to hand out swift penalties. Although the suspension threat is low, we would still recommend not resorting to any method considered unethical or one that provides an unfair advantage over the competition.
Purchasing fake reviews on Amazon is considered the unholy grail of policy violations and is the fastest way to receive an account suspension.
Despite the dangers, the fake review industry is in full swing, with numerous ‘service providers’ offering a multitude of packages to choose from. In this marketplace, buyers can purchase a single review for as low as $1 or opt for a bulk package consisting of 1000s of fake reviews costing upwards of US $10,000.
The image below is just one example of the many ‘service providers’ out there.
Amazon’s fraud detection system is improving with time; however, we still have ways to go before the fake review epidemic is completely finished.
Social media platforms such as Facebook are ripe with Amazon groups offering free products along with a commission in exchange for reviews.
Some sellers are tempted to use such groups to increase the number of reviews their product has received. A reviewer buys the item, then sends a screenshot of the review and a photo of the receipt to the seller. Afterward, the seller issues a refund through PayPal. This ensures that the rating has a “verified purchase” tag on Amazon, ensuring authenticity. This practice is still illegal, and is a clear violation of Facebook rules against fraud and deception.
With the don’ts of review generation out of the way, let’s start discussing how to get Amazon reviews legally. The following methods that we’re going to list and talk about one by one are all compliant with Amazon’s TOS.
Note: As of March 2021, Amazon officially pulled the plug on the Early Reviewer Program, which is why you won’t find it mentioned in our list.
The first and perhaps most impactful method of getting positive reviews is by offering a superior product that lives up to the marketing hype and more. All the effort spent executing outreach strategies will be of little to no avail if your product fails to deliver on its promise.
That’s why it’s absolutely necessary to leverage powerful seller tools that come equipped with product/keyword research features capable of uncovering low-competition and high-demand product niches.
Another critical component of selling a great product is discovering both the desirable and not-so-desirable traits present within your competitors’ products. This can be done either via the manual method of individually opening product listings and scrolling through an endless list of comments, or you can save time by using ZonGuru’s Love-Hate relationship tool.
This tool allows sellers to extract crucial insights from thousands of customer reviews for a specific product category. By doing so, sellers can identify the features customers value and would love to see in a product, as well as those that they do not like. You can then relay this information to your supplier to ensure that the product is well-received by your target audience.
The end result? An influx of organic reviews!
From the example above for the phrase “garlic press,” we can spot recurring complaints about poor product quality and poor design, causing a lot of food wastage, definitely something worth talking about to your supplier.
The Amazon Vine program was introduced back in December 2019 and is a feature only available to brand registered vendors and products with less than 30 reviews.
Once a seller decides to enroll in the program, they must submit up to 30 units to Amazon, which are then tested and reviewed by Vine members – reviewers whose feedback is deemed valuable both by Amazon and its community.
The reason for introducing the program was to let sellers gauge the viability of pre-released items while simultaneously providing future customers with unbiased and independent opinions regarding product quality.
As far as we know, Amazon Vine is the only way to solicit feedback by giving away free products; however, Vine reviewers are generally known to be more critical than your average customer, with reviews below 4-stars not being uncommon.
If you’ve followed the advice we’ve mentioned in the previous method, then there’s nothing to worry about.
Product inserts are a cheeky little way of nudging customers to leave a positive review. Notice how we said ‘nudging’ rather than asking them directly to submit a 5-star review since that goes against Amazon’s TOS and would land you in some serious trouble.
The same rule applies when directly or indirectly requesting customers not to leave a negative review if they don’t like the product.
The following are two of the most common examples of product insert practices employed by most Amazon sellers. Despite their popularity, these methods still fall under Grey Hat techniques and should be used fully understanding the risk it entails.
Note: We recommend visiting Amazon’s official Communication Guidelines page to remain up to date with the do’s and don’ts of Buyer-Seller communications.
Amazon sellers that have subscribed to third-party seller tools with automated email responding capabilities are at an advantage. It’s worth mentioning that any email sent to a customer is done strictly via Amazon’s seller messaging system. This is done to protect customer privacy but also limits customizability at the sellers’ end.
Creating a more personalized method of communication relies on contacting customers outside of Amazon. Some sellers dedicated extra resources to build a social media presence, create informative articles and blogs, and use product inserts with the intent of creating an email list.
Once enough members are added to the list you can then begin sending review requests. For now, we would recommend sticking to an automated email responder tool which is far more convenient and cost-effective. Despite the restrictions imposed by Amazon on buyer-seller communications, few email automators manage to offer the breadth of options like ZonGuru’s Email Automator.
Here’s how to best utilize the Email Automator tool:
To ensure the highest customer engagement and review rate we recommend using the Email Automator in tandem with the Review Automator tool like the one offered by ZonGuru (more on that later).
Creating and executing an effective marketing strategy that drives customer reviews requires thinking outside the box. A lesser-known way of boosting engagement is through the use of powerful marketing channels such as Facebook messenger. This is where ManyChat comes into play.
ManyChat is one of the many all-in-one Chatbots that can be integrated into Facebook Messenger but does require a fair bit of technical know-how. However, if you’re willing to put in the effort to learn then the results will definitely be worth your time.
Chatbots like ManyChat have traditionally been used by Amazon sellers to primarily boost product sales velocity and not necessarily to generate reviews, hence the method not being as popular or well-known as others on this list.
When using Chatbots specifically for reviews, sellers will need to first create an email list either by asking buyers to sign-up directly via product inserts or by running Google and Facebook Ads. Clicking these Ads prompts the Chatbot to start a conversation with the users and offer discounted products on Amazon.
If the sale is successful, another ManyChat flow is created aimed at re-targeting the same customers and inquiring whether they left a review or not. The flow is designed to mention two options along the lines of “Yes, I did” and “No, I did not”. If the response is negative, the bot asks them if they would be kind enough to leave a review. The same strategy is used for buyers that have signed up for your email list via product inserts.
Of course, you could run Facebook and Google Ads and manually engage with customers. The only problem here—apart from it being tedious work—is that Facebook places a 24-hour message response time limit after which you won’t be able to get in touch with your buyers. In light of such limitations, it makes all the more sense to automate the entire process.
Note: Amazon places restrictions on higher discounted products i.e. >50% by not letting buyers post verified reviews and in some cases prevent them from posting a review altogether. It’s recommended to keep the discount percentage at around 30% or below.
Seller Central has this nifty ‘Request a Review’ button that sellers can click to send an email to buyers via Amazon’s messaging system. Since the request is sent through an official channel, there is no way to alter the aesthetics or personalize the email. Each detail remains the same except for the seller name and product details.
Amazon kept things simple to increase response rates as customers don’t appreciate having to write down a review and would rather submit a 1-5 star rating for both the product and the seller. This is by far the easiest way of increasing the review count. The only issue with this approach is the increasing difficulty in manually requesting reviews for high sales volume products.
The solution? ZonGuru’s Review Automator tool that lets sellers send bulk review requests!
We’ve saved the best for last. ZonGuru’s Review Automator Tool sends bulk review requests through Amazon’s own review request system and is 100% compliant with Amazon’s TOS. As of yet, it is the safest method of soliciting reviews from buyers—and that’s not all.
Users just need to click on the Review Automation button and that’s it. It operates more on the lines of ‘fire and forget’ where you just click a button and it starts sending review requests to all eligible orders from then onwards.
Review requests cannot be customized as they are sent through Amazon’s own system. Each review follows a generic template and is sent anywhere from 5-30 days after the order delivery date. Once the tool is activated, it will start sending out review requests for all eligible orders placed from the past 30-40 days.
The Review Automator tool is functional across all major marketplaces like the US, Europe, and Australia and sends requests for all listed and active products. Users can also view important tracking metrics like the Order ID, Order Status, Purchase Date, and Request Status. The design interface follows a minimalistic approach that showcases the most important metrics without overloading the user with unnecessary information.
The biggest upside to using the Review Automator tool is its effectiveness in bringing in reviews. With this tool, you won’t need to rely on the other methods mentioned in this list and can just sit back, relax, and let the Automator do all the heavy lifting.
Note: For users to keep track of the number of reviews received they must first add their products to the Product Pulse tool for monitoring.
Keeping up to date with customer review guidelines is necessary to distinguish between White Hat and Black Hat review generation methods. The following are answers to some of the most common questions we hear sellers asking related to Amazon reviews.
By following any one of the methods mentioned in this blog and in particular, through the use of ZonGuru’s Review Automator tool that is 100% compliant with Amazon’s TOS. Also, make it a point to check up on Amazon’s Customer Review guidelines as they are prone to change from time to time.
Yes! Paying or getting paid for reviews is a breach of Amazon’s customer review policies that lead to severe financial—and at times legal—consequences. There are plenty of legal ways to get Amazon reviews the easiest of which is through ZonGuru’s Review Automator tool.
Anyone that has spent $50 on Amazon US during the past year can submit a product review. However, becoming a Vine reviewer is only possible through an invitation from Amazon. To increase your chances of enrolling in the Vine Program, keep posting helpful and unbiased reviews.
Out of all of the methods mentioned in this list, the safest way of asking for customer reviews on Amazon is by using the Review Automator tool provided by ZonGuru. It solicits reviews from customers through Amazon’s own review request system and is completely risk-free.
Any Amazon business that has achieved a measurable amount of success has done so on the back of an effective review generation strategy. Positive reviews are equally important for enhancing brand image and boosting sales velocity.
You too can reap these benefits and more by adding your products to the Review Automator that passively increases review count and lets you focus on other aspects of your business. Interested to test this tool by yourself? Try it for free here.
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