How To Get Reviews on Amazon – Ultimate Cheat Sheet [UPDATED 2018]

How To Get Amazon Reviews - Customer reviews are your lifeblood on Amazon but getting Amazon reviews without violating Amazons' TOS is difficult. You think you've tried everything to get reviews but think again. This is everything you need to know.

How To Get Reviews on Amazon – The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

SECTIONS:

You already know that you need Amazon product reviews but since Amazon updated their Terms of Service it has been INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT on Vendor Central and Seller Central sellers to get Amazon reviews.

But not impossible and it’s honestly easier than you think.

Why Amazon Reviews Are More Important Than You Think

Did you know that the consistency, quantity & quality of your products’ Amazon reviews DIRECTLY impacts how visible your product is on Amazon?  In a lot of ways too.

It’s true, it’s a major Amazon SEO factor. (Not sure what Amazon Search Engine Optimization is?  I published an article that lays out every single detail:  Amazon SEO:  Everything You Need To Know)

Amazon Product Reviews play these parts in your success selling on Amazon:

  1. Visibility: Your product visibility, in other words, how likely your product is to rank on page 1 of Amazon product search results. – Amazon SEO
  2. Click Through Rate: Your product click-through rate (Amazon CTR), in other words, when people see your product in search results, how likely they are to click on your product.  – Amazon Conversion Rate Optimization
  3. Conversions: Your product listing page conversions, in other words, when someone clicks on an ad you ran or clicks on your listing from a product search result, go to your page and either they buy or bounce. – Amazon Conversion Rate Optimization

1) Amazon Product Visibility:

The consistency, quantity and quality of your products Amazon reviews directly impact:

  • How high your product ranks in Amazon related product search results.

This is for many reasons, but what matters most to you is it boils down to RPC (revenue per customer) for Amazon.

Amazon reviews directly impact if a customer buys your product or not in other words, generates revenue for Amazon or not.

The consistency, quantity and quality of your products Amazon reviews directly impact: How high your product ranks in Amazon related product search results.

This is a search for the term “coffee maker” and the top of page 1 search results that come with it.

Notice anything here?

All of the top spots have A LOT of reviews but there is something you don’t see that is the tip of the iceberg.

Amazon Review Acquisition Pro Tip:  

It’s not just about quantity and quality it’s about CONSISTENCY.  You need a system in place to ensure you are getting reviews on the regular.

2) Amazon Click Through Rate:

I just mentioned the impact that Amazon reviews have on buying your product or not right?  Well, in order to buy your product, they need to click on it.

I just mentioned the impact that Amazon reviews have on buying your product or not right?  Well, in order to buy your product, they need to click on it.

This is a search results page for “survival tent”.

Which listing do you think you’re going to click on?

The answer is easy, it’s the one with more reviews.

Why?

  1. Because you use the number of reviews to measure value.
  2. Because if other people have bought the product and like it, you feel safer about it and it removes your buyer risk.
  3. The consumer psychology of purchasing decisions heavily relies on the Tribe Mentality or Social Proof.  In other words, if other people have done it, then you are more inclined to do it.  In this case, purchase.

3) Amazon Conversions

Okay, we've now clicked on that survival tent listing of 700+ reviews because, of course we did!  You see where this is going? Now it's time to buy but what makes us do that?  What makes us convert? Well in this instance, Amazon product reviews significantly increase the conversion rate on a listing.

Okay, we’ve now clicked on that survival tent listing of 700+ reviews because, of course we did!  You see where this is going?

Now it’s time to buy but what makes us do that?  What makes us convert?

Well in this instance, Amazon product reviews significantly increase the conversion rate on a listing.

In terms of the architecture of the listing page do you see what Amazon leads with?  Not bullet points, not even price.  In terms of order of appearance, reviews come first.

Amazon Conversion Rate = How many visitors land on your listing vs. how many buy.

By now you’re saying:

“That’s great, I get it, I need reviews!”

“How do I get them?”

How To Get Amazon Reviews

You get Amazon reviews at different stages of the game.  There are things you can do to influence getting Amazon product reviews before you start selling and also while your listings are live and while you are actively selling.

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In the not too distant past, Amazon was kind of like the wild west and you could do lots of things you may consider unethical to get Amazon reviews.

  • Buying them on Fiverr
  • Contests
  • Giveaways
  • Telling people you will give them a discount in exchange for a review
  • & more

Well, not anymore.  Amazon has cracked down on this HARD and doing this is a great way to get kicked off of Amazon.

So what can you do?

As it turns out, a lot.

How To Get Reviews Before You Send In Your Inventory or Start Selling

It's no secret that an email list is your most powerful tool in eCommerce.  It's owned traffic in that it doesn't cost you an extra penny to continually market to them. But did you know that when it comes to getting Amazon reviews that it's your secret weapon?

EMAIL LAUNCH LISTS

It’s no secret that an email list is your most powerful tool in eCommerce.  It’s owned traffic in that it doesn’t cost you an extra penny to continually market to them.

But did you know that when it comes to getting Amazon reviews that it’s your secret weapon?

The concept is this:

  1. Prior to you even launching your product, you start by building a buzz online.
  2. You send people to a landing page where in exchange for their email address, they receive something of value to them.  A free report, a guide, a book, etc.
  3. Leading up to your launch, you continually give them value and hype them up about your product launch.
  4. When it launches, you let them know and link to your Amazon product listing to buy.
  5. These customers are your early adopters and have the strongest relationship with you.  Therefore they’re the MOST LIKELY to leave a review.

You see how powerful that is?

This isn’t rocket science but it’s rock solid fundamentals.

But wait, there’s more!

This is the best time to influence a customer and get your marketing messages across to them.  They are riding high on receiving the product, anticipating using your product and whatever problem it solves for them and engage with your brand.

PRODUCT INSERTS

Have you ever heard: “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.”?

Well, the same idea for getting Amazon reviews.

Ask for the review!

How?

You know that feeling you get when you receive something in the mail, it’s like a present!

You have a little smile going, you have that excited feeling in the pit of your stomach as you admire the packaging and open it up.

But that’s just part of the story.

Then you open the packaging and check out what’s inside.

This is the best time to influence a customer and get your marketing messages across to them.  They are riding high on receiving the product, anticipating using your product and whatever problem it solves for them and engage with your brand.

This is where you include a product insert.  

You have a few goals with a product insert.

  1. Ask for an honest review
  2. Direct the customer to an email or customer service page if they do have concerns and to NOT leave a negative review
  3. Offer a coupon or an incentive for return purchases
  4. Get the customer on your email list / in your sales funnel / social media

So, how do you ask?

The best verbiage has an emotional component where the customer feels tied to your brand and inspired to help you out.

Think:

“Thank you so much for picking up PRODUCT NAME HERE.  If you loved it, it would mean the world to me if you left a review.  Reviews are our lifeblood on Amazon and help others like you find PRODUCT NAME HERE to SOLVE THE PAIN POINT YOU SOLVE.  Any concerns or questions?  Don’t hesitate to drop us a line through Amazon Customer Service.”

But it really goes beyond product inserts.  In truth, it all starts with…

Product Packaging mitigates buyer remorse, helps prevent product returns and even helps you get reviews!

PRODUCT PACKAGING:

Did you know, that premium product packaging does a lot more than get you more Amazon reviews.

Investing in quality packaging for your products:

  • Increases Brand Credibility
  • Decreases Buyer Remorse
  • Limits Returns
  • Increases Product Reviews
  • & More

I mention in How To Increase Sales on Amazon that product packaging helps you get reviews because it helps the customers understand the value of your product through visual and tactile interaction.

If the product packaging feels and looks cheap it does not enhance the experience and limits the connection with your brand.

PLUS, think about it.  This is prime real estate you can do whatever you want with your product packaging.

  • Invite the customer in
  • Tell them what to expect
  • Tell them how to use the product
  • Ask for a review
  • Give a coupon
  • Upsell & Cross-Sell other products
  • & more

NOTE;  If you’re an Amazon Private Label brand, this goes double!

But let’s say you’re already selling on Amazon and your inventory is already in Amazon FBA fulfillment centers.

What does this mean for you?  How do you get Amazon reviews when your products are already out there selling?

How To Get Reviews On Products Already On Amazon Selling Right Now

Amazon Seller Central customers can ask for the review via follow up sequence emails

EMAIL FOLLOW UP SEQUENCES:

Did you know that Amazon Seller Central sellers have access to something awesome?

Amazon allows software developers to access their application program interface (API) to make software to do all kinds of really cool things.

Namely, helping you follow up with your customers to ask for a review.

But really, it’s WAY more than that.

This is a really good tip for Amazon sellers…

If you want to get more Amazon reviews, enhance & improve your customers experience with your product.

How?

Don’t stop at asking for the review.  Give tips and tricks on how to use your product.

Not everyone will read your instructions or make sense that “hey, I can also use it for this!”.

Ever hear of the book Don’t Make Me Think? Well it’s chiefly a design related book that breaks down how simplicity sells and to not assume people know everything or anything really.

But the message rings true here.  Don’t assume people know how to use your product or that they will know to leave a review.

So how do you actually do this?

I recommend:

I think they put it best:

The powerful Amazon seller tool helps sellers monitor product reviews, automatically matches reviews with orders and enables sellers to contact buyers directly to remove negative reviews from all marketplaces.

They have a no credit card required 30-day free trial where you can send 500 follow up emails and access their review management system.  It’s a no-brainer.

That’s nice, but what if I am a Vendor Central Seller?  How can I get Amazon reviews?

You’re not left out, but the added benefit of the partnership with Amazon does make it a bit more complicated and / or expensive for you to get reviews.

Review solicitation services died off after Amazon cracked down on incentivizing reviews but actually, Amazon has their own review acquisition service.  Amazon Vine.

OPTION #1:  Amazon Vine Program

Review solicitation services died off after Amazon cracked down on incentivizing reviews but actually, Amazon has their own review acquisition service.  Amazon Vine.

Amazon describes Amazon Vine as follows:

“Amazon Vine invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions. Amazon invites customers to become Vine Voices based on their reviewer rank, which is a reflection of the quality and helpfulness of their reviews as judged by other Amazon customers. Amazon provides Vine members with free products that have been submitted to the program by participating vendors. Vine reviews are the independent opinions of the Vine Voices. The vendor cannot influence, modify or edit the reviews. Amazon does not modify or edit Vine reviews, as long as they comply with our posting guidelines. A Vine review is identified with the green stripe Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program.”

So how do you join or submit to Amazon Vine?

Amazon says:

“Amazon Vine is an invitation-only program. Vine Voices are selected based on several criteria, but primarily on the helpfulness of their reviews as judged by all other customers and by their demonstrated interest in the types of products that are featured in the program. Customers who consistently write helpful reviews and develop a reputation for expertise in specific product categories are most likely to be invited into the program.”

Great!  So I’d like to join, how much does it cost?

As an Amazon Vendor you pay a fee which can range from $2,500 to $7,500 per ASIN .

Okay, how much inventory do I need to commit and how many reviews do I get?

Depending on your category, you can submit 15 to 100 units.

Vine reviewers are not obligated to leave you a review.

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Another option you have is to get creative and give up the buy box.  Let me explain…

Another option you have is to get creative and give up the buy box.  Let me explain...

2) LEVERAGE RETAIL PARTNERSHIPS 

So odds are if you are a Vendor Central seller, you are a manufacturer / brand and you either have a multitude of retail partnerships or you are building them.

You may or may not have a MAP policy and you may or may not allow your retail partners to sell on Amazon.

BUT if you do…

They can be the review acquisition champions of the listing.

You see, you’ve probably been in the situation of not having the buy box.  It’s frustrating and you do everything you can to get back in.  Why wouldn’t you?

But in this instance, it’s a good thing.

Here is how this works:

  • Your retail partner sells on Amazon on the same listing.  (Naturally as it’s the same product!)
  • They need to use FBA or it’s nigh impossible to get a buy box.
  • They get the buy box through one of the various methods you can win the buy box.
  • Being the great Brand & Manufacturer that you are, you would have previously worked with your partner to ensure their success with your product on Amazon.
  • That includes encouraging them to use email follow up sequences to request reviews, etc.
  • The reviews then come in on the units they sell!

But guess what?

You read the section earlier discussing the importance of product inserts right?

Well, the units you give them to send to FBA would have said product inserts in them on the next round of inventory after you’ve read this post.

So you see that how that benefits you right?  You’re doubling your exposure and opportunity for a review.

Every bit counts, but don’t stretch it.  It’s a BIG problem if you violate Amazon’s terms of service.

I can’t tell you how many inquiries I get per day from Amazon sellers who through one way or another have gotten their seller accounts suspended and they want help getting them reinstated.

I’ll bury the lead and tell you it’s VERY CHALLENGING to get back in Amazons’ good graces and sometimes you can’t.

So, that’s why even though this article is called How To Get Amazon Reviews The Ultimate Cheat Sheet, I want to focus on what NOT to do.

What Not To Do To Get Product Reviews

Avoid these review acquisition tactics to get Amazon reviews.

Look, I’ll be brief and to the point.

Anything that incentivizes a person to leave a review, avoid at all costs.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Contests
  • Freebies
  • Discounts
  • Asking people who haven’t bought or tried the product to review your product
  • Asking people to leave a good / positive review in any way (don’t try to get creative with your verbiage)

Heres why, if you in any way instruct a customer to leave a positive review or not a negative review or incentivize them, you’re done.  Excuse my bluntness but Amazon is not pulling punches.

Plus, it’s not a bad thing.

Think about it, that means your competitors can’t do these things either.

A level playing field without shenanigans and trickery is a good thing.

But I did mention not to ask people who didn’t actually use your product to leave a review.  Why?  What’s the harm in that?  What if they got it from my website and want to leave a review on Amazon?

Or what if they are friends and family?

Well, they better not be on an IP Address or WIFI Network known to Amazon to be affiliated with your Amazon Seller Account or have ever been.

Why?

That’s gaming the system too!  Amazon is on top of this stuff, it’s not 1996 anymore.  You are not smarter than them and you’re not in the business of trying to be.  You’re in the business of selling whatever it is you sell and tirelessly pursuing customer satisfaction.  Period.

But wait, do you mean people can’t review the product if they didn’t purchase it on Amazon?

No, I’m just saying be careful about gaming the system.

Let me elaborate, as it turns out, all reviews are not created equal and some will help you more than others.

Why All Amazon Reviews Are Not Created Equal

Amazon verified reviews help with Amazon SEO, conversions and more.

AMAZON VERIFIED REVIEWS

You’ve seen the Amazon verified review badge.  It’s the way Amazon separates people who have actually purchased on Amazon from those who haven’t.

Nowadays it’s hard to find a review that doesn’t say Verified Purchase on it.

Again, that’s a good thing.

It’s a lot more than proving who actually bought or not though.  Have a look:

Amazon verified reviews help with Amazon SEO, Conversion Rates and much more.

These are the verified Amazon reviews for that Survival Tent we looked at earlier.

Amazon Verified Reviews have these impacts on your Amazon Sales:

What’s more, Amazon also limits the number of non-verified reviews a customer can leave in a week to 5.

What’s the bigger picture here?  Amazon is going to great lengths to limit fake reviews and clean up their marketplace.

I mentioned Amazon SEO a lot in this article because let’s face if you want this to happen:

  1. Customer goes to Amazon and searches for keywords that make sense for your product
  2. Customer looks at the search results page and sees your result on page 1 near the top
  3. Customer clicks through to your listing
  4. Customer likes what they see and buys

… then you need to make sure you have a system in place to get a lot of verified reviews and regularly. the process I just described is achieved through Amazon SEO.

Like I said earlier, Amazon rewards quality, quantity and consistency of Amazon reviews with visibility because they believe reviews are a MAJOR factor in purchasing decisions because… they are.  Again, Amazon is focused on RPC (Revenue Per Customer).

Wrapping Up How To Get Amazon Reviews:

So, what are my main takeaways?  Let’s review:

  • Amazon reviews are your lifeblood
  • Amazon reviews greatly affect Amazon SEO (your visibility on Amazon)
  • You want to focus on:  quantity, quality & consistency
  • Not all Amazon reviews are created equal

DO:

  • Ask for the review
  • Use follow up sequences
  • Use a launch list
  • Use product inserts
  • Use great packaging
  • Use the Vine program if you are a Vendor Central Seller

DON’T:

  • Incentivize reviews
  • Ask for positive reviews only
  • Leave reviews on your own products or have family or friends do it

If getting help with this sounds like something that would be helpful to you, I’m an Amazon Consultant and I’d be happy to chat to see if we’re a good fit for each other.