There are few worse feelings in the world than seeing a 1 or 2-star review for a product you’ve spent weeks and months developing and thousands of dollars to get live on Amazon.
What’s worse is that over time Amazon has taken away the ability for sellers to engage with customers who leave bad reviews.
They’ve taken away comments on reviews so you can’t offer rebuttals, they’ve made it more difficult to find contact information for buyers who leave negative reviews, and more over time.
But recently, Amazon has thrown sellers a few bones and allowed for the ability to combat negative reviews left by customers.
In this post, we’ll go over the different review types on Amazon and ways to fight negative reviews that work.
The Two Main Review Types on Amazon
You can receive two kinds of feedback on Amazon: Seller feedback and Product reviews.
The one most sellers care about, product reviews, are vital to search rankings and conversion rates on Amazon, and seller feedback (while important) isn’t something sellers actively try to build– but it is good for both to get 5-star ratings consistently.
Let’s look at each one in depth.
Product Reviews on Amazon (What You Want Most)
Product Reviews are what you want for your products; they are the star rating people see whenever they view your products or various products on a search results page.
It can’t be overstated how important product reviews are.
They are a huge factor in organic ranking and serve as a measuring stick for prospective customers to see if your product is worth buying compared to other offerings or even worth purchasing at all.
Consistent bad reviews can kill a product and drop sales to 0, forcing a seller to discontinue that specific product.
The goal here is obvious: Get as many 5-star reviews as possible for your product line while avoiding lower-star reviews and not breaking Amazon’s terms of service when requesting customer reviews.
With that in mind, sellers will want as many 5-star reviews as possible, so let’s explore a few ways to achieve that.
How to get 5-star reviews (and prevent 1 & 2-star reviews)
1- Make an Excellent Product
This is the ultimate way to get consistent 5-star reviews for your product… simply make a great product at an appropriate price.
Contrary to what you might have read online, products DO get reviews by virtue of simply being great products, with no hacks or special campaigns required.
Hallmarks of an excellent product:
- Build quality. The product in hand feels well-constructed and not “cheap.” This goes a long way to fostering 5-star reviews since Amazon has a reputation for “low-quality” products that look attractive in the listing.
- Packaged well. Products in attractive and robust packaging will deter customers from leaving 1-star reviews because of damaged units, which comprise many 1 and 2-star reviews on Amazon.
- Your listing matches what the customer receives. Many products get 1-star reviews due to the customer expecting something that the listing appeared to promise but doesn’t actually come with. Don’t over-promise what you’re delivering, and don’t go crazy with the freebies, as those introduce too many variables that can lead to bad reviews.
- It solves a pain point competing products don’t. The secret sauce on Amazon is to offer something different and valuable that customers will appreciate that your competitors currently don’t offer. This leads to many “Finally, I got what I was looking for!” 5-star reviews.
- Isn’t TOO expensive. While you don’t have to be the lowest-priced option to sell on Amazon, you can’t price things too high because then people will complain via reviews about how expensive your product is and didn’t solve all their problems in life.
Simply put, make good stuff with great attention to detail, and you’ll get consistent 5-star reviews for your products.
2- Request a review (without angering Amazon)
Asking for a review is a popular way to boost the rate at which you get reviews for your products… but it’s a risky tactic.
Why is it risky?
One main reason is that if you ask for a review in a way Amazon disapproves, you can put your entire account at risk. Another is that if you go a bit too overboard with the review requests, you can anger someone and get the opposite of the desired effect, which is a negative review.
Some examples of bad ways to ask for reviews:
- Using “emotional” language when requesting a review… messages like “Your review helps our small family business against large faceless corporations” or “This is a business run by a single mom supporting three kids, so I appreciate a good review” or even simply asking for five stars instead of a non-biased review. This is against Amazon guidelines and can shut you down.
- Offering incentives for reviews. That means offering cash, gift cards, or more products for favorable reviews. Obvious, but a lot of big-name brands on Amazon were shut down because of this.
Approved ways to ask for reviews:
- Amazon’s Vine Review System. While you can get sales and even reviews on new products with no reviews at all, Amazon does offer a program called Vine for registered Brands to offer your new product for free to approved reviewers on Amazon. When they leave a review, it will have a unique “Vine Voice” label.
- Push the “Request Review” button in Seller Central. When viewing your Orders (login required to Seller Central to view the page), you can view any recent order that has been delivered and hit “Request a Review”. Note that the review request is done through email and cannot be edited by you in any way.
Click an order to see the Request a Review button
- Ask for a review on the packaging. If you decide to ask for a review on your packaging, don’t use anything that could be considered emotional language or incentivize customers in any way. A simple request to review on Amazon somewhere in your packaging will suffice.
- Automate review requests. Apps like Helium 10 and Jungle Scout will offer customizable ways for sellers to send review requests at a specific time to customers, but remember the risk of requests. Going too far can have the opposite effect of what you want.
So that’s how to get good reviews flowing to your products, but what happens when you get a negative product review?
How to fix negative product reviews
First things first:
If you haven’t yet, get your brand registered on Amazon because if you’re not registered, you can’t do what I will talk about next.
While Amazon doesn’t tell you when you receive a negative product review, you can use software like Helium 10 to notify you whenever one pops up. Even if you don’t pay for any account plan levels, you can use their free tier to at least have those alerts active.
If you ever receive a bad review, Amazon gives Brand owners a great option to fix it:
Go to your Seller Central main menu, and when you’re there, hover over the “Brands” menu:
You can see in the sub-menu of Brands there’s an option called “Customer Reviews.” Click it.
Once you’re in, you’ll see all the recent reviews your products have been receiving.
Simply viewing all of your reviews isn’t exactly helpful, but you can filter it down to 1 and 2-star reviews only with the “Star Rating” button:
When you see all of your recent reviews that are one or two stars, from here, Amazon allows you the option of sending a premade message allowing the customer to get a full refund of their purchase, or you can reach out to them and ask if there’s anything else you can do to help remedy the cause of the negative review.
This is extremely helpful as many customers on Amazon “opt-out” of email messaging from sellers, so there was no way to communicate with them.
However, the new Brand Customer Reviews menu allows you to bypass that and send emails to those that have opted out, which is extremely helpful.
While you can request that Amazon remove a negative review if it doesn’t follow guidelines, you will likely get your case denied multiple times and even potentially get in trouble with Amazon, so it’s best you take matters into your own hands and reach out to customers yourself now that you have the ability to.
Seller Feedback on Amazon
As we mentioned earlier, seller feedback differs from product reviews and is all about you and your Amazon account.
While customers can leave reviews for your products, they can also review you as a seller.
This means that if a customer is happy or unhappy with anything about your Amazon seller account that has nothing to do with your products (customer service, shipping speed, communication, etc.), they can leave a review.
But most of the reasons for leaving seller reviews are based on fulfillment. Now that FBA (products fulfilled by Amazon) has almost completely overtaken FBM (products fulfilled by the merchants), seller feedback has become deprecated and obsolete (but not completely!).
Still, it’s important to maintain high reviews here, as consistent negative seller feedback can result in action from Amazon against you.
How to get positive Seller Feedback on Amazon and remove negative feedback
Even though Seller Feedback is for your business practices rather than your products, most people leave reviews on seller feedback thinking they’re writing a product review.
It’s 2023, and people are still doing this.
However, this is a great advantage because if a customer leaves you a positive review and they thought it was for a product, you can leave it there and add to your bank of glowing reviews, but if it’s negative seller feedback focused on your product or its fulfillment, you can have Amazon automatically and instantly strike it down.
How do we do this?
At the very bottom of your Seller Central dashboard is a big list of menus; you want to find the menu that says “Feedback” under the Performance section:
Once in the feedback section, you can find a 1 or 2-star review and request it is stricken from your overall rating because it doesn’t follow Amazon Guidelines:
If the feedback is a product review or relates to fulfillment, then your removal request will likely go through. If it wasn’t and Amazon doesn’t deem your request removal legitimate, they will deny it, and if you repeatedly request removal for valid feedback, they might even take action against you, so just be careful here.
With this guide, you have simple and easy-to-follow directions to take action against negative reviews left for you as a seller and on your products, and you will be able to get a consistent flow of 5-star reviews, giving you a strong product catalog that generates great sales and rankings on search results pages.