News & Insights
7 Mistakes that Lead to Negative Reviews on Amazon
It’s impossible to know the exact circumstances that will trigger a customer to go online and leave a negative review. Typically, it’s due to a bad product, difficulty dealing with the seller, or dissatisfaction with a policy. The one consistent thing is that it only occurs when a brand fails to meet the buyer’s expectations.
On Amazon, shoppers have high expectations. The marketplace has taught its users to expect low prices, fast shipping and easy returns. It’s great for customers but can present challenges for the sellers trying to keep up. An honest oversight in a listing or an unexpected delay of fulfillment can be all the reason a buyer needs to return to the platform to leave a scathing review that impacts future sales. That’s why it’s essential for companies relying on Amazon to do all they can to minimize the chance of disappointing a consumer. To that end, here are seven problems every Amazon seller should try to avoid.
#1 Inconsistent delivery
As Amazon grew its dominance as a shopping platform, its vast network of distribution warehouses made fast shipping a mainstay of customer expectations. One of the impacts of this is that long-term success as a seller on the platform now relies on a brand’s ability to live up to those customer expectations. Few things can make an item lose its stellar product rank than being out of stock.
Sellers that can’t provide fast shipping will have trouble breaking through the competition vying for a spot near the top of the search results, and are also more likely to receive negative reviews. That’s why a robust inventory management program is essential for sellers looking to improve their success on Amazon.
Fortunately, Brands pursuing Amazon marketplace success have several options to ensure a steady supply of their products and that they reach customers quickly and in good condition. Many Amazon businesses take advantage of the platform’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program, while some expand Amazon’s role in their shipping strategy with Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF). The latter can simplify logistics by providing the same features and services of Amazon FBA to fulfill orders that originate from most online merchants, including a brand’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) website.
Likewise, delivering the wrong product can devastate a company’s star rating. If you’re not taking advantage of the convenience and cost-savings of Amazon’s FBA program, be sure the processes you have in place get the right product, size or color to your customers. Otherwise, expect a steady stream of negative reviews heading your way.
#2 Not enough reviews
While it’s true that encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews can help minimize the impact of a few negative reviews, it’s not the only benefit that comes from having plenty of buyer feedback.
Obviously, negative reviews are never the goal, but they don’t have to be a reason to panic, either. Instead, accept their value as something that can help you improve and grow your business. Disregarding them is a recipe for disaster, while having a plan to incorporate them into your evolving Amazon strategy can make them one of your best assets.
Remember, you shouldn’t be afraid of reviews. The goal is to keep them coming and take advantage of them, even the bad ones. If you react and respond efficiently and appropriately to all your reviews, you’ll have a funnel to help fill your listing with concise and relevant information that your customers want. That way, you can set the proper expectations to increase positive reviews and minimize disappointment. Reviews can also help you conceptualize and create high-impact visuals that sell, thanks to the insights you find within them.
However, you may need to develop a plan to encourage your customers to leave reviews. Buyers who were pleased with their purchase may not be as motivated to share the experience. Still, more than three-fourths of them are willing to do so if asked. As long as you’re not offering an incentive in exchange for the submission or requesting only positive feedback, Amazon won’t mind your brand implementing a plan to increase reviews. So you may want to consider adding a request for a review to the various places you interact with your customers, such as Including a note inside your packaging, using email follow-up or mining your social media channels.
#3 Bad copywriting
There are several ways to improve your Amazon copywriting. Mainly, they result from taking a deliberate approach that accounts for the customer’s perspective. You should focus on what shoppers want to know instead of what you want to tell them. Of course, as brand owners, you know what makes your product different from everything else out there. However, if you emphasize the what instead of the why, you may set your customers up for disappointment. Optimized Amazon copywriting will always lead with benefits and explain the deliberate ways your product outperforms the competition to set appropriate expectations.
Remember, copywriting presents an incredible opportunity to strengthen your brand’s customer service. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can make sure the people who buy your product know what they’re getting. And doing so will minimize the possibility of a poor review. Be honest with yourself and your customers. Be sure your listings actively address previous customer concerns and complaints and reassure prospective buyers about the quality of the product.
#4 Poor customer service
Clearly, customer service is among the most apparent factors leading to a negative customer experience. When a business commits to pleasing its patrons and follows through on that promise, it can substantially diminish the number of unhappy customers.
While the product quality, fulfillment and marketing efforts we’ve covered here matter, a deficient approach to customer service leaves little room for inevitable errors or simple misunderstandings. Since even the best-run businesses will eventually encounter dissatisfied customers, it’s necessary to be prepared to solve problems. Sometimes, allowing an upset buyer to voice their concern is all it takes to avoid having them share their frustrations online.
Fortunately, a first-party (1P) relationship with Amazon can allow a company to minimize customer service duties since the role of fulfillment, contact and returns processing becomes the domain of Amazon. Of course, third-party (3P) selling is more involved. Often, it means facing the daunting task of meeting customer expectations alone. While third-party retailers can share customer service via an Amazon FBA agreement, they will otherwise have to manage inquiries, refunds and returns independently. Regardless, creating the best possible customer experience should be a priority for brands seeking growth.
For sellers that retain the responsibility for customer interactions in-house, offering more than one avenue for communication can be helpful. It’s not unusual for agitated customers to prefer to speak directly with someone capable of rectifying their issues. In addition, the more confidence buyers have in reaching a business, the less likely it is that a problem will drive them to vent in an online review. Regardless of how they reach out, be sure your response time is quick enough. One study found that half of callers would only wait 45 seconds before giving up trying to speak to someone.
#5 Inaccurate information
One of the most fundamental aspects of attracting positive reviews is ensuring that the information in an Amazon listing is accurate. Customers rely on product descriptions to make informed purchasing decisions. If the information provided is inaccurate, they may receive a product that does not meet their expectations and leave a negative review in response. This is particularly true of the detailed product specifications that buyers may use to determine whether a product will meet their needs. A relatively minor error within these specifications can mean a product won’t fit or perform as expected.
Brands should also be diligent in making sure that information across platforms is consistent and up-to-date. While Amazon is the primary marketplace for many buyers, it’s not unusual for shoppers to expand their search for information about a potential purchase beyond the site. If they find conflicting information about an item in different places, it may derail the conversion or lead to frustration and confusion that ends in a poor review. If your brand does not use FBA, it’s also essential that a listing accurately reflects availability. For example, a customer who orders a product that is listed as available on Amazon only to find out that it is out of stock may react by leaving a negative review.
#6 Misleading photos
One thing that every e-commerce retailer should want to avoid is confusing or misleading prospective buyers. Unfortunately, with photography, it’s not that hard to create an image that misrepresents a product’s size. Without clear communication about the item’s dimensions and visual components that reinforce that aspect, a customer’s preconceived beliefs can fill in the gap.
Obviously, this will result in a poor shopping experience as well as avoidable returns and negative reviews that can harm a seller’s ability to continue selling on the marketplace. Lifestyle images that show the product in a recognizable environment and infographics that include measurements are one way to ensure that the actual size of the item is apparent. But it’s also critical to follow the guidelines for Amazon images to ensure consistency with other listings and less chance of misunderstanding.
Since the inability to see a product in person and experience it physically can be a challenge, the gallery should also feature multiple angles or relevant positions. Providing shoppers with the various angles, infographics or lifestyle photos mentioned above often means using all of the available photo slots a listing offers. Doing so also increases the appeal of the product and engagement metrics that can influence Amazon’s crucial organic search results.
Of course, the number of images allowed in an Amazon listing is limited, so it’s not as simple as taking studio shots from every side. You’ll need to have a strategy to be sure your secondary photos pull double or triple-duty with regard to their purpose.
#7 Inferior packaging
It won’t matter how quickly an item is delivered to a buyer if it doesn’t survive the shipping process unscathed. Inadequate packaging can lead to a negative customer experience and, ultimately, a bad review when a product is damaged in transit.
Customers expect their purchases to arrive in good condition. If the packaging is flawed, it can lead to broken or unusable products that must be returned. Even lesser damage, such as scratches or dents, is likely to leave customers unhappy with the purchase and cautious about pursuing an exchange or buying from a company again in the future.
This is one of the reasons that Fulfillment by Amazon requires precise packaging requirements for the goods that arrive at their warehouses. FBA sellers must follow these rules or risk Amazon refusing, returning, or repackaging any product that does not meet its standards. Packaging mistakes can also lead to a fee for failing to satisfy Amazon’s criteria.
But protection shouldn’t be the only concern when it comes to packaging. Products that are difficult to open can lead to unnecessary frustration for customers, especially if they have to use tools to get the product out. Even if they are satisfied with the purchase, this minor inconvenience could be noted in a review or impact its star level. Similarly, avoiding packaging that is difficult to dispose of or not environmentally friendly should also be a consideration for sellers seeking to maximize the quality of their reviews. Investing in high-quality packaging for fulfillment is one of the best ways to protect a brand’s reputation.
Amify can get your business headed in the right direction
If managing your reviews seems overwhelming, Amify is here to help. Contact us today to begin a conversation that explores how a results-oriented partner may be the key to unlocking your company’s full potential.