Amazon is sending a clear message to marketplace sellers – you can’t buy trust.
Amazon has now extended the ban on incentivized reviews to EU marketplaces, following on from the same change to the Community Guidelines that occurred in the US on October 3rd 2016.
Amazon is outlawing sellers who offer people free gifts or financial rewards in exchange for positive reviews. Amazon wants feedback to honestly represent the service that customers receive from sellers. This puts pressure on sellers to provide operational excellence and warns off those who try to fake it.
What the ban on incentivized reviews means for Amazon sellers
Although the word ‘ban’ might incite some fear into many of us, this is actually a really positive outcome for online sellers – the majority of whom are running a tight ship and striving for operational excellence. Amazon is weeding out unfair competition, so that only the strongest and legitimate sellers survive. The strict guidelines serve to make it a fair and equal marketplace, where buyers can trust that sellers are going to provide them with the best shopping experience. Amazon is determined to keep all its loyal customers by guaranteeing that they will receive a perfect order from any one of its sellers.
On hearing the announcement, Victor Corcoran, CEO at xSellco said, ‘The message from Amazon couldn’t be clearer – shortcuts will not be tolerated. If you want to succeed, you need to offer quality products at competitive prices and invest in a clearly defined, intelligently targeted feedback strategy in order to boost your seller metrics.’
Feedback is central to the success of Amazon sellers. It’s not as difficult as some may think to reduce negative feedback and to encourage positive reviews within the Amazon guidelines. Be smart with your feedback requests and ask the right customer, on the right product at the right time. Whatever you do, don’t directly ask for positive feedback, but encourage a positive outcome by using the language of persuasion – it’s a matter of developing a relationship with your customer, which is actively encouraged by Amazon and reflected in the value they place on performance metrics.
Below you will find xSellco’s recommendations for sending smarter feedback requests.
xSellco intel: 5 tips for requesting feedback
1. Be smart with your timing
Send the request when the buyer is most likely to respond. Consider times that they may not be available, such as national holidays or different time zones in your customers’ location. Ensure that you schedule your request when the buyer has had a chance to use the product. For example, health products may take a few weeks to show signs of success.
2. Be selective of who you ask for feedback
Only request feedback from buyers where you can be confident that they have received the best customer experience. Factors to consider are product, on-time delivery and a seamless support experience.
3. Don’t request feedback on fragile products
When you are aiming for high results on your seller rating, it is important to consider what product your customer has purchased before you send the request. Avoid asking for feedback on any orders that had a chance of breaking upon delivery. Choose customers who ordered items that travel well and who have a good review history.
4. Give your customer more
When requesting feedback, go one step further and provide your customer with more than they expected. After you have impressed your customer with on-time delivery, a great quality product and well presented packaging, follow-up with some helpful resources. In your thank you message, you can include user guides, or instructional videos – going the extra mile might entice them to throw in an extra star on your rating. Also, remember to include links to your seller feedback page for ease of reviewing.
5. Anticipate customer needs
Address any common queries related to the product and ask your customer if they need any help getting started.
Pro-Tip: Check out your competitors’ feedback so that you can identify any issues that your own customers might be experiencing. Get a step ahead of your competitors by anticipating the potential problems and resolve them before they have the chance to influence your own feedback rating.
Automate feedback requests
Many sellers believe it’s tough to get feedback from their customers. While it’s estimated that only one in ten buyers leave feedback on Amazon, when you are targeting a larger number of customers with automated feedback requests, you will see a significant return on the ratio of one in ten. With well crafted, well thought out feedback templates, using a feedback management tool like xSellco, ten times the number of emails won’t cost you any more time and energy than one.