Amazon Banning Incentivized Reviews – What Should I Do Now?
On October 3rd 2016, Amazon banned the practice of exchanging free or discounted products for reviews. Vendor Central sellers can still continue the practice through Amazon’s own Vine Program. The restriction is limited to physical products, while it’s still allowed in the book category.
For many sellers this might seems daunting at first “How should I launch a new product now?”. Well, let us relieve you – the world is not coming to an end right yet. In fact for sellers that offer real value to their customers, this is a great opportunity to compete on fair terms. With Amazon providing access to over 80 million customers, and more than 24%(and growing) of all American households, it will undoubtedly still be an important sales channel.
Here are 5 things we believe Amazon sellers will focus on in the time moving forward:
(1) STOP PROMOTIONS.
Obviously, if you have any promotional “sale for review” activity going on, you may want to stop it. Permanently. Forever. Remember, effective immediately, don’t tie the discount to the review. Buying at a discount and reviewing a product are two distinct, discrete events where no trade is implied, implicitly or explicitly.
(2) DRIVE TRAFFIC.
To get sales, you need a group of people who would be interested in buying your product. To do this, you can either build an audience of your own or get in front of someone else’s audience. Watch this piece with 26 different ways to get traffic to your listing.
(3) DROP YOUR PRICE.
Some people have started to buy and your Amazon visibility is improving. Make your price lower than usual (but still per-unit profitable) so that you can get some organic Amazon sales.
(4) ASK FOR REVIEWS.
Use the Amazon Buyer-Seller messaging service to send a message to your buyers, providing customer service and asking for a review. Make it clear that the review isn’t expected nor is it mandatory. Don’t ask for a positive review. Make it clear that you welcome both positive and negative feedback. And don’t overdo the messaging, either. I’d recommend that you only send the buyer one message asking for a review, and your messages should all be in the context of providing customer service. With so many sellers messaging buyers for reviews, this is another area that’s due for a crackdown.
(5) RUN ADS.
Once you have 10-15 reviews on your listing thanks to traffic and customer service messaging, turn on PPC advertising. Run an auto campaign, and also a manual one with suggested keywords. See what you get, and refine from there.
So that’s how to keep selling through to 2017.
When Amazon bans incentivized reviews, it’s time to get down to: (a) getting your product in front of an audience and (b) providing excellent customer service.