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Customer reviews are a critical part of your Amazon business and your long-term success. They serve as a yardstick by which you can gauge customer satisfaction (or dissatisfaction), identify areas of improvement, and establish yourself as a reliable seller. 

While you can’t predict or dictate what your customers will say, you don’t need to be an entirely passive recipient in the process. You absolutely can and should ask for reviews. In this post, we take a look at the significance of Amazon reviews and offer four tips for encouraging your customers to write them.

The power of customer reviews

Customer reviews have a huge impact on your seller’s reputation and your sales. They’re a bridge to building customer trust and giving people the assurance they need to hit the Buy button.

The majority of online shoppers — as many as 92% according to one survey — say they look at reviews before making a purchase. They’re not just skimming, either. Customers often read 10 or more reviews before deciding to buy. 

Reviews provide answers to questions customers may have about your product or service. But it’s not just the content of a review that matters to them. The number of reviews a product has can drastically affect a customer’s perception and expectations of the seller. One study found that a product with five reviews has a 270% greater likelihood of being purchased than a product with zero reviews.

There’s also no ignoring the fact that customer reviews affect your search ranking. Amazon’s A10 algorithm takes into account the frequency and quality of reviews when determining who gets top billing on the search results page. The more good reviews you earn, the better in the eyes of Amazon’s search engine.

On the flip side, reviews help you understand your customers’ needs. For better or worse, a customer’s honest feedback can reveal shortcomings in your products and prompt you to make changes.

Of course, no matter how popular your product is, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a good review. That’s up to your customer to decide. 

Tips for getting customer reviews on Amazon

It should come as no surprise that the world’s largest e-commerce marketplace has strict policies for sellers regarding customer reviews. Under Amazon’s guidelines, you can’t pay anyone to submit a review or ask them to leave a favorable review. Amazon doesn’t allow reviews from anyone connected to your product, nor can you submit a review of your own product or a competitor’s. 

But you absolutely can request reviews. Here are four tips on how to do it and keep them coming.

1. Automate your ask

Automation may sound impersonal, but in this case, it makes your life easier. Take advantage of Amazon’s own system for following up with customers. The Request a Review messaging feature sends an Amazon-branded message to buyers on your behalf, while Amazon’s Buyer-Seller Messaging option lets you customize your feedback requests with your own branding and language.

Third-party feedback tools that integrate with Amazon can also do the work for you of managing your customer email campaigns, tracking their performance, and contacting customers while staying on top of Amazon’s ever-changing terms of service. Popular tools include FeedbackWhiz, FeedbackFive, BQool, and AMZFinder. 

Another more proactive approach is to use an instant polling platform such as PickFu before you even go live with your product. By getting customer feedback on your product ideas and messaging in advance, you could save time, money, and possibly negative reviews in the long run.

2. Include a product insert

A product insert is as simple as that: a card inserted into your packaging that your customer can hold in their hands. This can be an effective way not only to ask for a review but to highlight your brand and deepen the connection with your customer.

Of course, you have to play by Amazon’s rules as far as the wording on your insert or risk being flagged for review manipulation, which can hurt your ranking and sales. Under Amazon’s terms of service, your insert can’t specifically ask for a good review or offer an incentive in exchange for a review, nor can it ask customers to email you directly instead of leaving a negative review. 

Instead, think of a product insert as a brand-building opportunity. Be creative with its design and messaging, include information and useful tips about your product, and offer other incentives for customers to follow you on social media or join your email list.

Taken together, you’re paving a path for customers so they’ll want to give you a review.

3. Be social, stay genuine

Whatever form of communication you use, find the right tone in a voice that’s genuine to your brand. Be neutral and polite, but leave some room for your personality to come through. It may be as simple as using certain emoji as your “signature.”

Be sure to watch social media for customers who might be posting about your product. They may very well love your product but haven’t taken the opportunity to write an actual review. Now’s a good time to thank them and ask them for one, with a link that takes them there.

If you’re using an Amazon feedback tool to automate your emails, think strategically in terms of timing. The best time to ask for a review is after your customer has had a chance to use your product, so schedule your email campaigns accordingly. 

But remember: you don’t want to over-ask. Once you’ve asked for a review, don’t pester. You’ll risk turning a new or repeat customer into a lost one.

4. Deliver an excellent customer experience

This tip goes without saying. The best way to get more Amazon reviews is to give customers a top-notch experience, from the product itself to the fulfillment process. 

Follow up with customers to make sure they received your product in time, as promised. 

Respond to all reviews, including — especially — negative ones, which are an inevitable part of doing business. Take an honest look at critical feedback and use it to improve or make changes to your product, packaging, or processes. And be sure to nurture the relationships with your repeat customers by keeping them in the loop on product updates, promotions, and the like.

Seeking customer reviews should be an integral part of your e-commerce marketing strategy. The tips outlined above can help ease the process while strengthening your overall business. Think of it as a reflection of your commitment to customer service. The more you can show that your product is worth your customers’ time and praise, the easier it is to ask them for reviews — and the more likely they are to write good ones.

Author bio: Janet Rausa Fuller is the content marketing manager at PickFu, an instant polling service that e-commerce sellers use to gather consumer insights and optimize their product listings.