News & Insights
The Importance of Amazon Reviews
Online shopping is more popular than ever, and as e-commerce continues its rapid growth, buyers are becoming even savvier about their options. As a result, many view reading product reviews as one of the best ways to inform their purchasing decision. Surveys have shown that nine out of 10 customers read reviews before clicking the buy button, while eight out of 10 give them as much weight as a personal recommendation.
There’s no question that reviews, positive and negative, can impact product sales and conversion metrics. However, brands may not appreciate just how big a role they play in finding success in the Amazon marketplace. The relationship between Amazon reviews and sales begins before a prospective customer even finds your listing since reviews can impact a product’s organic rank among the search results.
Furthermore, reviews often persuade prospective buyers directly and in multiple ways. From elevating a brand’s reputation to providing valuable influence over indecisive shoppers, reviews are a crucial element of reliable sales growth. Keep reading to learn more about how Amazon reviews can support your business goals and what steps your brand should take to leverage them to their full potential.
Reviews boost buyer confidence
We’ve already mentioned the weighty function that reviews can play in buyers’ decision-making. But why do shoppers seek them out almost universally? Well, one study found that product reviews are trusted 12 times more than the product descriptions written by brands. Even more notably, the same survey found that customer reviews can grow sales by 18 percent.
The theory of social proof goes a long way toward explaining this relationship between independent reviews and buyer behavior. It posits that uncertainty drives individuals to rely on guidance or opinions from people similar to them or in a similar situation. When it comes to e-commerce, social proof is exemplified by consumers who understand the purchase of a product by others as an indication of the item’s desirability and value. Similarly, it’s also demonstrated by the influence someone with knowledge or expertise about a product can exert by recommending a particular purchase. And, of course, the more people that prospective buyers see buying or praising a product, the bigger impact it will have.
For Amazon sellers, social proof can lead new buyers to the brand. Positive reviews provide more confidence in a product and increase conversion rates. One way to capitalize on this psychological tendency is by creating content that emphasizes the satisfaction of previous customers. By encouraging positive ratings and reviews, you can leverage the trust that shoppers place in each other to grow a brand and increase sales.
More reviews can lead to more shoppers
Amazon’s A9 algorithm is the process by which the online marketplace determines which and in what order products display in response to a customer search. Recent tweaks to the algorithm have led some to begin referring to it as A10; however, regardless of the moniker, the priority for sellers is to optimize their listings for the rankings.
Obviously, relevancy and availability are at the top of the list when it comes to influencing the algorithm. The more closely your in-stock product matches a search term, the better the chances it will appear among the top results. Not surprisingly, the other factors are less transparent and harder to target for optimization. Your product’s sales metrics, description quality, off-site traffic and, of course, its reviews will all be a part of the equation.
However, one thing we know about Amazon reviews and the algorithm is quantity and quality both matter. Having a lot of positive reviews can improve your chances of landing on the coveted first page of search results. Since substantial and credible reviews also benefit your ability to convert potential customers, and your sales volume and velocity are key factors for the algorithm, a steady stream of positive reviews is a great way to double-dip your optimization efforts.
So, how many reviews do you need? While a magic number would simplify things, reality, as usual, is more complicated. Instead, your best strategy is a well-planned and well-executed process to attract, monitor and react to reviews. However, data does suggest that younger customers expect more reviews than older ones. For example, a 2019 survey found that digital shoppers aged 18-24 anticipated more than 200 reviews for a product they were considering, while those over 55 were comfortable with less than 50.
Reviews can elevate the brand experience
Reading the reviews you receive is essential – remember, your next customers are reading them, so you should be too. You or someone from your business needs a thorough process to monitor reviews soon after they are posted. Taking a proactive approach to reviews will allow you to identify problems sooner and resolve them more efficiently.
Scour your reviews, particularly the negative and neutral ones, to find the most pressing FAQs and address them through compelling copy and imagery. You may want to invest in experienced designers and copywriters who can set the right tone and learn how tactics like A/B testing can refine your sales strategies. It’s not an easy task, but it is necessary to grow your Amazon-reliant business. Doing anything less leads to leaving sales on the table.
In addition, you can cash in on the value of a negative review by making broader adjustments that will help you avoid additional ones and even lead to more positive reviews in the future. Shoppers will give older, negative reviews less weight if they are substantially outnumbered by four and five-star ones. Improved descriptions can also blunt their impact on decision-making if the product’s updated details specifically address the substance of past complaints.
It can be incredibly reassuring for customers if you can alleviate potential concerns with the content provided in your listing. The comments in a review, whether positive or negative, can be a guide to improving your listing descriptions, product photos, packaging, shipping methods or even the product itself. They’re worth too much to ignore.
A few do’s and don’ts of Amazon reviews
Now that you understand what reviews can mean for your Amazon listing and why shoppers are drawn to them, you can make managing them a part of your optimization plans. We’ve put together a few of the steps you should and shouldn’t take on the way to reaching your Amazon goals.
Do encourage customers to leave reviews
The first step most sellers want to undertake is increasing the number of customers who submit a review. Human nature means an unhappy customer is more likely to complain than a satisfied one is to leave praise. By increasing the volume of reviews overall, you help to ensure your reviews accurately reflect your product and their customer service experience.
Consider adding a request for a review to the various places you interact with your customers. For example, include a note inside your packaging, implement an email follow-up, and try to funnel your social media followers to your Amazon review link. Remember, Amazon’s policies forbid offering an incentive for reviews or requesting a positive review, so it’s important to word your requests carefully. But encouraging genuine and helpful reviews is definitely acceptable and worth your time.
Don’t just ignore bad reviews
A negative Amazon review won’t be removed if it’s accurate and from a real customer. So rather than just moving on, try to look at it as an opportunity to improve your listing, product or responsiveness. While you may not always be able to regain the trust of a particular buyer, you can learn from their disappointment.
The ability to transform a critical review from detrimental to valuable hinges primarily on the systems you have in place to identify and respond. Doing so can be time-consuming and easy to neglect, but thankfully there are tools and resources that can help. Sellers who own a brand can take advantage of integrated options from Amazon available through Brand Registry. Engaging with third-party services or partnering with the experts at a company like Amify can be great options for those seeking a higher level of support or automation.
Do respond when necessary
While the convenience of online shopping is hard to overstate, it can also make the relationship between buyers and sellers more difficult to maintain. Alternatives are often easy to find after a bad experience, and the lack of face-to-face interaction limits your problem-solving capabilities. And for brands, it can be nearly impossible to remove negative feedback on Amazon. Instead, you’ll need to focus on responding to it.
However, Amazon’s restrictions regarding communication between the two parties can result in additional inconvenience. Since the end of 2020, sellers can no longer publicly respond directly to negative reviews. Instead, the Buyer-Seller Messaging Service allows you to provide a full refund or request additional information using only pre-written templates.
While your attempt to rectify the situation this way may be dismissed and definitely won’t be publicized to other shoppers, your engagement may still lead to an updated review – though you can’t ask for that – or, even better, a repeat customer.
Don’t underestimate a buyer’s expectations
One of the most common reasons a buyer will leave a negative review is because you did not meet their expectations. Occasionally, it’s because those expectations were unreasonable, but frequently there is a problem with how your product performed vs. what was presented.
It’s imperative that your listing provides an accurate overview of your product features and benefits. Otherwise, you will be destined to disappoint your customers. Whenever possible, you want buyers to feel like they received everything you promised and more. The key to creating this type of successful buying experience is being honest about what your product offers and selling those benefits without overselling their value.
Take the next step with Amify
Need help using reviews to optimize your Amazon listings, solidify your shipping practices or proactively anticipate shifts in the market? Let Amify’s team of more than 60 Amazon experts position your company to thrive, even in a volatile economy.
Contact us today to find out how we’ve generated more than $400 million in sales and developed strategies that outperform the competition and create an incredible customer experience.
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