How To Optimize Amazon Reviews for New or Slow-Moving Inventory

The review sections of Amazon products can be a wild ride, and a lot of sellers find this intimidating. Nonetheless, understanding how to use Amazon Reviews in your favor is a crucial component if you want to maximize sales. And when we say “crucial”, we mean CRUCIAL:

95% of shoppers read online reviews before buying a product.


There are the haters who give one star and exclaim, with an air of superiority, “I would give zero stars if I could”. - Unhelpful Ugene


Then there are the lovers, who are absolutely high on life, and say something to the effect of “This is the best thing EVER! I would make out with it if my state wasn’t one of the 49 states in which it was illegal to do so (THANK you Florida, coming to visit soon!!!)” Have purchased 5 more for my friends.”  - Enthusiastic Erica

But our favorites are the extreme nitpickers, who take away stars for the most absurd reasons: “This soccer ball was great for playing soccer, me and my family enjoyed it greatly. However, when I tried playing ping-pong with it, it was just a bit too big for optimal play. 3 stars” - Ridiculous Randy

Then there are also absolute gems like this one:


Despite all this craziness, the bottomline is that if you are selling products on Amazon, you absolutely NEED to learn how to use the Amazon Review system to maximize your sales.

And that is precisely what part 3 of our Amazon series is going to cover (you can find our first part HERE, and our second part HERE).


The Paradox and Importance of Amazon Reviews

Organic reviews on Amazon drive sales, menaing the more you have, the more you sell. But in here lies a paradox: You need to sell your products to get reviews from your customers on Amazon, BUT you may have trouble selling your products if you don’t have any reviews.


Whats a pal to do?


Josh from eSpark suggests: If you have a dummy proof product with low COGS utilize Amazon's Vine program to garner your first 15 reviews.

What is the Amazon Vine Program?

Amazon invites trusted reviewers to become “Vine Voices” and comment on new items. Vendors and sellers like you submit their products to the program, and a reviewer from Amazon Vine Voices will receive products for free. Through this program, sellers can benefit from increased sales and more awareness for new or slow-selling items through trustworthy and helpful reviews.


Josh, our Amazon BFF from eSpark, shares some keen insights:


Biggest mistake I see people make on Amazon when they launch is that they don’t want to spend money on reviews. Their reasoning goes like this: ‘I don’t want to give away 30 of my products and pay 200 dollars’. Well, then you’re going to have to sit and wait to get your 15 reviews organically, and in the meantime you’re going to miss out on months of sales. It’s a no brainer to do this. Pay the entry fee, get your reviews. It’s huge.”


Still not sure that paying to get your Vine reviews is worth it? Maybe you think that you can get your organic reviews quite fast? Well, besides being an Amazon wizard, turns out that Josh is also a math wiz, and he's crunched the numbers for you.


Organic review rates on Amazon are in the range of 2%. That means that if you sell 10 items a month, you are going to have to wait around 6 years to get your 15 organic reviews.”

6 years sounds steep.


Additional Benefits of Vine

If you have ever been shopping on Amazon and looked at reviews, then you probably already know that all reviews are NOT equal. A lot of reviewers limit themselves to only giving a star rating. Others might actually provide a few words, such as “Amazing product, got it for my husband and he loved it”. The thing is, even if it is a 5 star review with a solid endorsement, like in the previous example, it is still not very useful or insightful if you are trying to figure out the details of how the product looks or works.

On the other hand, reviews from Vine are in another, vastly superior, league. Here is Josh again:


“Vine reviewers provide pictures, which are super helpful, as people can actually see the product in use.”


Additionally, reviews from Vine have a number of badges and tags, which give them credibility, and let potential customers know that these are legit and can be trusted more than the average Amazon review:

Other Ways to Optimize Amazon Ratings and Reviews

If your product isn’t a dummy proof, or if it has a high COGS, utilizing Vine might not be the most successful move for you. But never fear! There are other ways to optimize ratings and reviews on Amazon:


  • Utilize the “Request a Review” button after purchases have been made. This will about double your review rate with one click.
  • Request reviews from loyal customers through social media and email newsletters. This will also help drive traffic to your listing.
  • While Amazon’s terms of service prohibit you from using discounts to incentivize a review, you can give away a discount and then later on, after a purchase was made, ask for a review. 
  • Provide positive, direct, concise, and prompt responses to customer queries and reviews
  • Respond to negative reviews promptly, positively, and calmly. If potential customers actively see your brands paying attention to and rectifying issues promptly, trust will be established.


Instead of getting stuck in a vicious circle of not selling because you are not getting reviews, and not getting reviews because you are not selling, by using Amazon Reviews and Vine you can get you stuck in a much nicer, glorious circle of selling because you have a few good reviews, and those sales will generate more good reviews, which will lead to more sales, and…well, you get the point.


We will give the final word to Josh, who summed it all up quite eloquently and succinctly:

“To optimize your product listing, it is crucial to put time and effort into securing good ratings and reviews”.


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