Getting early reviews on Amazon is not as easy as it used to be. However, Amazon decided to change all that in 2018 when they introduced the Amazon Early Reviewer Program.
When it comes to generating more online sales, reviews can be a powerful conversion tool.
However, whether or not you need to join a program to generate enough reviews is another question.
In this review, I will tell you more about Amazon’s review program, so that you can decide whether it’s worth your while.
Amazon Early Reviewer Program – What It’s All About
As the name suggests, this program was designed to help sellers get reviews for new products.
Amazon decided to launch the program after they banned incentivized reviews.
As an online seller, you can choose which of your products you want to enroll in the program. Amazon then randomly contacts customers who have purchased those products and asks them to leave a review.
Why would these customers bother leaving a review? Well, they’re rewarded for doing so… Isn’t it ironic that Amazon are still allowed to incentivize reviews.
Every customer that takes the time to leave a review will receive a few dollars in the form of a gift card as a reward. It doesn’t matter if the review is negative or positive, as long as it’s a review about a participating product.
Overall, the Amazon Early Reviewer Program works for both buyers and sellers. Any reviews that stem from the program can be identified by an orange badge.
Why Amazon Created a Review Program
Without reviews, it becomes increasingly difficult to generate enough sales.
Prior to the introduction of the program, getting reviews on Amazon was fairly easy. In fact, many sellers used to exchange products for reviews, which meant that authentic reviews were few and far between.
This is when Amazon decided to shut down incentivized reviews, it was putting the trust of their entire platform at risk.
While sellers were still able to send out emails to ask customers for reviews, Amazon made it possible for buyers to opt-out of communication. This made it even more difficult to gather those all-important reviews.
With the competition being so high, new sellers were struggling to find ways to generate reviews and compete with more established Amazon sellers.
To make things worse, it wasn’t even possible to ask friends and family for reviews because this goes against Amazon’s terms of service too.
The only real way that sellers can still generate reviews was to spend money on promotions that would drive more traffic to their listings. And as all new sellers will know, budget is a major consideration in the beginning.
You might be thinking, how does driving external traffic result in more reviews?
Well there are a number of reasons for this but there is a particular reason i want you to be aware of…
By driving external traffic you have the chance to form a touch point with that customer outside of the Amazon ecosystem…
Let’s imagine that you have a Facebook group… Let’s also imagine that the members of that Facebook group are interested in the products you sell…
This Facebook group could act as a customer touch point, you can follow up with these people as much as possible in order to gather more authentic reviews.
For me this is the best option out there, focus on building a community and you won’t have to worry about obtaining Amazon reviews.
Anyway, back to the Amazon early reviewer program.
Amazon decided to introduce their early review program to speed up the review process and ensure that the reviews were authentic.
Since Amazon is picking the customers and asking for reviews themselves, the responses are genuine.
What You Need to Know about the Amazon Early Reviewer Program
Before you decide to sign up, here are some things you should know about this program:
- Brand Registry Requirement. The Early Reviewer program is only available to brand registered sellers. If you own the trademark to your brand and it appears on your products, you can apply for Brand Registry.
- Current number of reviews matters. If you want to enroll a product in the program, it needs to cost more than $15 and have less than 5 reviews. While you can choose which products to enroll, you won’t be able to influence the ratings and reviews in any way.
- There is a cost. As a seller, you will need to pay $60 for each SKU that you enroll. This is only after the first program reviews start to appear. Amazon will continue the review process for up to a year or until 5 reviews have been generated.
Joining the Amazon Early Reviewer Program
If you want to join the review program, you will need to login to the Seller Central portal and navigate to the Advertising tab.
If your brand is not yet registered, you will need to do a Trademark Search and register your brand accordingly.
Once you’re eligible for the program, you can follow these steps:
- Add your brand to the Amazon Brand Registry
- To start submitting products, you will need to upload SKUs using the relevant CSV template. You can load up to 100 products at a time. All SKUs must be parent-level or stand-alone.
- Once you upload the CSV template, you will agree to Amazon’s terms and the charge of $60 for every SKU.
- You can then use the portal to track the status of your submissions and how many products were accepted into the program. You will find these details under Submission History and Product Enrollment Details.
To Join or Not to Join?
The Amazon Early Reviewer Program is a good way to get more reviews early on in order to generate more sales.
However, even with the assistance of Amazon, it can take several months to get reviews. What’s more, if all those reviews are poor, it can negatively impact your product listing, plus you will be paying for these negative reviews.
So, what are the alternatives?
I won’t lie and say that getting reviews is easy – it can be but it can also be a challenge. If you decide to not join the program, there are other ways to still generate reviews for your listings.
Without the help of the right tools and software, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the successful seller that I am today…
Your product offering is incredibly important, you need to be offering better value that the competition (I talk more about this in the video below).
In this video i talk about the power of Helium 10 there is a reason we use it almost every day. Paid tools aren’t essential, but they certainly make like A LOT more straight forward.
Your product offering is important, so is the need to add as much value as possible…
With every purchase we make sure we add a bonus that the customer might not have been expecting, we talk more about this in the course.
You also need to focus on building up customer touch points outside of the Amazon eco-system… Can you imagine how powerful it is to have access to the emails or DM’s of your customers?
This is not to say that this will automatically lead to reviews, but it certainly increases your chances. When you are getting your products in front of the right audience and selling products they need, your chances of making a customer happy is much higher.
Another tactic that I use regularly is automated email responders. This way, I don’t need to send out review requests myself, they’re sent automatically once someone makes a purchase. This is something that can go on in the background to increase my chances of generating positive reviews.
There is also the option of using product inserts, which ask shoppers to leave an unbiased and honest review. If you offer an incentive for doing so, you will be going against Amazon’s terms of service, avoid doing this at all costs.
Ultimately, if you have a good product offering and you know how to add value the reviews will gradually flow in, you don’t need to be breaking the rules.
If you want to learn more about becoming a better Amazon seller, I would recommend looking at our Amazon training, we cover all of the above in A LOT of detail.
I’ve also put together a detailed guide on a few other ways you can make money on Amazon – you can have a read through it here.