Last updated on June 14th, 2021 at 02:37 am
You don’t need me to tell you that getting reviews for your Amazon product listings is an uphill grind.
In fact, most Amazon sellers I’ve talked to say that review building is one of the hardest aspects of the business.
Plus, ever since they got rid of the Early Reviewer Program in early 2021, this uphill grind has gotten even steeper.
As we all know, reviews are extremely important for your Amazon business.
Thankfully, there are still a lot of sure-fire methods out there to get reviews for your Amazon listings.
In this article we’ll go over everything you need to know about Amazon reviews, such as:
- The best white-hat methods to get tons of reviews FAST
- All of the most well-known black-hat techniques that you need to avoid like the plague (or else say goodbye to your account)
- How to maintain your reviews properly to ensure consistently high revenue month after month
Let’s get started.
Why Do Reviews Matter?
I’m sure you know how important reviews are to any online ecommerce business.
But just how important are they?
Here are some interesting online review stats:
- 95% of people read reviews before buying anything online
- 91% of people aged 18-34 trust online social proof as much as a personal recommendation
- 9 out of 10 buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a positive review
- People are 270% more likely to buy a product with 5 reviews compared to one with none
- If 2 products have identical ratings, people are more likely to buy the one with more reviews
This means once you’ve launched, getting as many reviews as you can is top priority.
Amazon Reviews vs. Amazon Ratings
A lot of people don’t know this, but in 2020, Amazon changed Reviews to Ratings. The difference is that customers can simply choose to leave a star rating without needing to leave any comments.
This means customers have less work to do, which ultimately means it is far easier to get ratings on Amazon. Ratings also tend to skew higher than reviews.
Overall, this has been a huge positive for Amazon sellers.
Amazon’s Messaging Policy
According to Amazon’s terms of service, you are only able to ask for a review once. This, along with the fact that many customers have chosen to opt out of unsolicited messages from sellers, has made acquiring reviews much more difficult.
If you choose to ask for a review, you need to be very careful with how you word your message. You cannot word it in a way that only solicits a good review. Amazon is known to crack down on these and worst case scenario, your account could get suspended permanently.
For example, “If you love our product, please leave us a review.”
Amazon really does not like it when sellers use if/then statements in customer correspondence messages. You could lose your messaging ability.
As per Amazon’s policy:
“If you decide to ask a buyer to provide a Customer Review, you cannot ask only for a positive review, nor can you request reviews solely from buyers who have had a positive experience.”
How to Get Reviews on Amazon: 8 White-Hat Methods
Now let’s delve into the meat of this article: white-hat methods you can use to get reviews fast (that still work).
At the top of this list would have been the Amazon Early Reviewer Program, but as of 2021, this program has been discontinued.
Thankfully, there are still tons of great ways to get reviews.
Sell a Great Product
Ok, so this isn’t so much a way to get reviews as it is a prerequisite.
But the fact of the matter is that any review outreach strategy will fail if your product stinks.
You want to put in the work to develop a product that people will naturally want to review. This will make it easier to get reviews without even asking for them! Plus when you do ask, they’ll be more inclined to say yes.
Before you launch your product, spend some time researching your competitors. Identify common complaints their customers are leaving in the reviews. If you fix these issues with your product, you will naturally see a lot of positive reviews from customers who were looking for a solution that has now been provided by you.
Combine this with stunning product photos to create a positive feeling with your customers well before it’s time to ask for a review, and you have a recipe for success.
The bottom line is that the single most important factor for getting good reviews is your product. Have a quality product that makes customers want to leave a review.
Include Amazon Product Inserts
Product inserts are one of the easiest ways to encourage reviews.
A product insert is a little card that you include in the packaging of your product. On the card, you can write a small “thank you” message and kindly invite the customer to leave their feedback.
You can also include a QR code that customers can easily scan to be taken to your product listing, or to a landing page (that goes on to ask for a review).
Make sure to have it designed nicely, and if you can, printed on high-quality paper. Something that looks good and feels nice will help make the customer feel good.
Just be careful to not include any if/then statements in your message.
- “If you leave us a review we will send you a $10 gift card.”
- “If you like our product, please leave us a review. If there are any issues, please contact us directly.”
As you can see, this type of product insert is against Amazon’s terms of service and counts as “incentivized reviews”. You cannot only solicit positive reviews, and you definitely can’t ask for a 5-star review. You also can’t promise anything in exchange for a review.
Asking for a review is fine. It just has to be 100% no strings attached.
Now, it’s unlikely that Amazon will open up your product to check. But, a competitor could order your product and report you to Amazon, which could jeopardize your account.
Here’s an example of how you can ask for a review without violating ToS:
“Thank you for your purchase. We’d love it if you could take a couple of minutes to leave us a review on Amazon. [insert instructions]”
Use the “Request a Review” Button
In late 2019, Amazon unveiled the Request a Review button. This button allows you to send an automated request for a review to your customer from Amazon.
Here are some rules to follow when using this button:
- Request must be sent within 4-30 days of receiving the product
- Product rating and seller feedback request will be sent in the same email
- Message cannot be customized
When you go into your order history, you can click on the Request a Review button, which will prompt Amazon to send an automated message to that customer’s email requesting a review and feedback.
You can do this manually, but many different Amazon softwares allow you to automate this process.
Send a Personalized Request to Customers
As mentioned earlier, Amazon allows you to go into your order history and manually click on the “Request a Review” button.
But, there are times when you’d want to send a personalized request for a review. That means you want to take the time to actually type out an email and send it via buyer-seller messaging, rather than getting a computer to send an automated message.
There are two kinds of customers you should really target with this method:
- Customers who have left positive seller feedback
- Customers you’ve provided customer service to
Customers who have left positive feedback are much more likely to leave a positive review as well, and if you can connect with them one-on-one, it’s almost a given they’ll leave a review if you ask. This is perhaps the best low-hanging fruit you can target in terms of getting reviews.
If you engage in great customer service with people, most people are happy to leave a review. Whether you help them with their purchase, or you help them solve an issue after they receive the product, you can always leave a quick message at the end of your conversation requesting them to leave their honest review.
Follow Up in Messenger or with Manychat
Because Facebook Messenger is a more direct, intimate way of communicating with your customers, the response rate is much higher than email.
If a customer ends up purchasing your product through Messenger, you can get back to them to manually ask for a review, or set up an automated series of messages through Manychat.
The only issue is that Facebook only allows you to send a message to your customers within 24 hours of their last message to you, which makes it difficult to follow up with them.
What you can do however is ask a follow up question regarding the status of their order (this is fine with Facebook). When they respond, it resets the 24 hour window so you can then follow up with the review request.
So, what you can do is program a Manychat flow like this:
Another option is to experiment with other messaging channels, like Whatsapp or SMS. Just give the customer an incentive to give you this info and go from there.
For more information about how you can use Manychat to help you generate tons of reviews, check out our interview with Troy Johnston (CEO of Seller.Tools) in our Kenji ROI Facebook group here. I’ve even included a template you can use as well as a coupon code for 20% off any plan with Seller.Tools!
Product Giveaways & Discounted Products
By offering huge discounts, you will naturally increase your sales. A certain percentage of these will leave a review, so if you sell more you can expect more reviews.
There are also rebate websites you can use too, such as RebateKey. These websites offer free products or at the very least heavily discounted (90% or more), and the idea is that by selling more of their products, sellers will hope to get more reviews.
Launch New Products to an Email List
Building an email list off Amazon can pay huge dividends.
First off, when you launch a new product, you can blast your list with the link to your Amazon page. Since they’ve bought your product before, it’s likely they will be interested in any products you release later on. This will really help with getting that initial sales velocity.
Secondly, what you can do is you can include an insert in your product that tells the customer to email you for a discount via Paypal. You’re not asking for anything in return, so technically this doesn’t go against Amazon ToS.
Not only do you get their email, but you’ve also gotten that critical customer engagement so it’s easier to solicit reviews from them.
Alternative ways to obtain emails are through a social media page/group, or you can create a blog and ask people to subscribe.
The Amazon Vine Program
The Amazon Vine Program is available for sellers who have brand-registered products and less than 30 reviews.
How it works:
- Amazon sellers submit 30 units of inventory
- Amazon gives your product to Vine Voices members, who test it out then write a review
Vine is a great way to receive your first 30 reviews, but there’s one caveat—these reviews can be super honest. 1-3 star reviews are not uncommon as Vine reviewers can sometimes be over-picky. Be careful with this—make sure you have a rock-solid product offer.
Grey & Black Hat Amazon Product Review Methods
This article wouldn’t be complete without going over the grey and black hat methods of getting product reviews.
I by no means endorse any of these methods. You will likely eventually get caught and have to deal with the consequences, which could include a permanent account suspension.
The reason I’m including them is for educational purposes only. I think it’s good for any savvy Amazon seller to know all the methods that are being used out there, good and bad.
Friend and Acquaintance Reviews
Let’s face it… I’m sure all of us have been guilty of trying to solicit reviews from friends and family.
However, this is strictly against Amazon’s rules.
Amazon’s algorithm is ridiculously good at detecting connections between reviewers and sellers (via shared shipping addresses, IP addresses, etc.), so sellers need to be careful when using strategies like these to avoid detection.
That said, if used sparingly, detection levels can be low and even if Amazon suspects a small number of reviews to be against ToS, they will simply prevent them from being published.
Risk of Account Suspension: Low
Facebook Review Groups
There are a lot of these so-called “Amazon Product Tester Groups” where sellers post images of their products and refund their customers after they’ve left a five-star review.
This is an explicit violation of Amazon’s rule about incentivized reviews.
Given that the entire transaction occurs off Amazon, it can be difficult to track, but word on the street is Facebook has allowed Amazon to track this type of activity. This is why you’ll see many sellers avoid using words like “review”, and instead use terms like “r*view” so that they can’t be tracked.
It’s still risky, because all it takes is for one customer to message you asking where their refund is to immediately cause suspicion.
Risk of Account Suspension: Moderate
Using Email Append Services to Target/Contact Customers
Amazon is notorious for doing everything they can to hide customer information.
What email appending services do is they take what information they can get from Amazon and run it by Big Data databases to obtain a customer’s email address and phone number. Some services claim they have a 40% success rate, but most fall way short of this number.
It’s a bad idea to use this service, because customers will likely report you when they receive an unsolicited email from you. However, these services can be used to remarket to customers on Facebook/Google/etc., with minimal risk of being caught by Amazon.
Risk of Account Suspension: Moderate
Using Zombie Accounts to Get Fake Reviews (Brushing)
Despite Amazon cracking down on this big time, they still have a huge problem with fake reviews, especially from Chinese sellers.
Basically, what these services do is they create an army of fake Amazon accounts and use them to purchase your product and leave a fake review. The sophistication of some of these schemes is insane.
Prices typically range from $1-3 per review.
Risk of Account Suspension: High
Bribing Amazon China Employees to Delete Negative Reviews
Amazon has a serious problem with employees accepting bribes to perform various nefarious activities, including deleting bad reviews. It’s surprising how large scale this is, especially amongst Chinese sellers.
Typical prices for this service cost about $300 per bad review, so it’s not cheap.
Check out my video about a HUGE lawsuit related to this scheme:
Risk of Account Suspension: Very High
What’s a Good Sales to Review Rate?
The average review rate on Amazon is 1-2%.
That means out of every 100 sales, you should expect 1-2 reviews.
You should be able to aim for a 5% review rate, or one review every 20 sales. This is actually easier than you think, since most Amazon sellers do not have a strategy for getting reviews.
Be careful, though. If anything looks unnatural to Amazon, you may get in trouble. This means any sudden spike in reviews could trigger Amazon to block reviews for your product listing, or worse—cause Amazon to delete past reviews.
Review Maintenance: Review Upvoting & Removal
There are a few things you can do to further improve your review situation. Some are white-hat, while others are grey or black-hat.
Do you have a pesky 1-star review that’s displayed at the top of all your other reviews? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just bury it?
While you can’t remove it, you can upvote your top reviews to increase their visibility, which in turn pushes your negative reviews further down out of sight.
To upvote, all you do is click the “Helpful” button on all your positive reviews. You can ask friends and family to do this for you, or you can hire services that will upvote reviews for around $.50-1.00 per upvote. This is not ToS-compliant but does not appear to be something Amazon is monitoring closely.
One very black-hat method is to spam the “Report Abuse” button. Word on the street is that Amazon will remove a review if there are a large number of Abuse Reports for any given review.
Believe it or not, Amazon will actually remove reviews under certain circumstances.
The easiest ones to get removed are those that contain offensive language or URLs.
They are also open to removing reviews that are related to Amazon FBA fulfillment issues. If, for example, a product is delayed and a customer writes an angry review about it, all you need to do is to log in to Seller Central, open up a case, give a link to the review, and state the reason why you’d like it removed.
How to Get Amazon Reviews – In Conclusion
In Amazon’s ever-changing landscape, it’s crucial that you stay up-to-date with the latest methods.
Getting reviews has steadily gotten harder and harder, but rather than looking at this negatively, it actually is a boon for many sellers because it does help cut down the competition.
Remember that if you’re serious, it’s best to stick to the white-hat methods we outlined above and avoid the black-hat methods with a 10-ft. pole.
Last but not least, remember to set yourself up for success by investing in fantastic product photography and SEO optimization so that you leave customers with a good feeling about your product well before you ask them for a review. Every detail goes a long way.
If you need help, Kenji ROI’s got you covered. Check out our wide range of Amazon listing services here.