Getting product reviews is the big-ticket issue for Amazon sellers right now. Yet, there is another metric that sellers should not ignore – their Seller Feedback Rating.
We’re going to have a look at why your Amazon seller rating plays a part in making it or breaking it as an Amazon seller. We’ll also give you a few tips on how to get (and maintain) a near-perfect rating.
What Does My Amazon Seller Rating Mean?
Your seller rating is a snapshot of how happy customers are with their experience buying from you. Boiled down into a star rating out of five, it shows not just the quality of your products, but the quality of you as a seller.
Customers can give you a rating after a sale, as they do with a product review. This is what Amazon says should go into a seller rating:
- How satisfied were you with how your order was packaged and shipped? (for products)
- How was the work quality and professionalism of the provider? (for services)
- Did you get good customer service and prompt resolution? (if applicable)
- Would you buy from this third-party seller again?
- What could have been improved about your experience?
When we’re talking about seller rating now, be sure you don’t confuse it with a previous version of seller rating, which Amazon discontinued in 2015.
The earlier seller rating was applied internally by Amazon, as a 100-point scale (0 meaning worst, and 100 meaning best). The rating measured how well a seller managed their orders. Sellers would earn points for orders completed with no problems while losing points for;
- Minor problems (e.g., late shipment, longer than 24 hours delaying message response)
- Moderate problems (seller cancellations, out of stocks)
- Severe problems (A-to-z guarantee claims, negative feedback, chargebacks)
In the end, the seller would receive a rating that would be displayed on their seller profile. However, Amazon removed this rating in late 2015. Now seller feedback rating is the only metric available to measure third-party sellers.
Why Is My Rating Important?
You don’t see seller rating on the product listing. So you might ask yourself, why worry about it?
While you might not see the instant benefits as a lot of five-star product reviews, it’s still beneficial if you want to build a robust and sustainable business.
A good rating keeps you in Amazon’s good books
Anything you do that keeps you in good standing with Amazon is a good thing. A massive amount of sales happen organically through Amazon. That is, by consumers searching for a product and making a purchase directly on the site. You don’t want to;
- Receive less exposure on Amazon, including positioning in search rankings and showing up in “related products” areas.
- Risk getting suspended or kicked off Amazon.
A positive rating, showing that you’re giving Amazon customers a positive experience, is sure to keep you in a better position with Amazon. Your rating mitigates risk and opens you up for potential benefits.
It will help you win the buy box
Seller rating is widely believed to directly influence this.
If you and another seller (or sellers) are selling the same product, only one will have their product chosen when the customer hits the “Add to Cart” button on the right side of the page. Whoever “wins” the buy box, by having their product selected as the customer’s primary choice, is going to end up with a huge share of that listing’s sales.
Many believe the decision of who gets the buy box is down to price. While it plays a big part, it’s not entirely true. Amazon wants their customers happy. Thus, seller rating plays a big part in this decision too. That means if you have a perfect seller rating and your competitors don’t, you could charge more and still win the buy box.
You build trust with your customers
Trust is so important in e-commerce. Since you can’t interact with people in person, they can’t hold your product in their hand, a lot of people will have some trepidation about making a purchase. Any reason you can give for potential customers to trust you as a seller will make it that much more likely for them to buy.
Trust will become even more important if the customer is not purchasing via the buy box. They might have the choice of a lot of sellers, and if the price point is the same, little to differentiate between them. If you have a great rating and your competitor doesn’t, you’ll almost always get the sale.
It will help you if you sell off-Amazon
Likewise, consider the possibility of selling independently from Amazon (through Shopify, WooCommerce, etc). One of the significant advantages Amazon gives is the trust in their name. Even if you’re a newer seller, you still have Amazon’s name behind you.
Now if you’re starting a Shopify store, whether to replace or supplement your Amazon sales, you don’t have that anymore. You’ll need to give your customers a new way to trust you are a reputable seller. Many use testimonials from past customers for this. But a great way to aggregate a lot of customer testimonials would be having a large number of positive ratings on your Amazon profile.
How Do I Improve My Seller Rating?
Whether you’re a new seller, wanting to get your rating perfect from the beginning, or you’re a seasoned seller with a rating below where it could be, you want to know how to maximize your rating.
Luckily, whichever option applies to you, there are tried and tested ways of maintaining a near-perfect seller rating.
Do the basics – the right way
Keeping a good seller rating doesn’t have to be rocket science. Just do everything the right way.
Put out good quality products. Don’t use grey-hat tactics in your listings to trick customers into buying, or to rank for keywords. Ship your orders safely and on time (if you’re an FBM seller).
It’s easy to feel like you can game the system into getting more sales. But this is very rarely sustainable, puts your account at risk, and often doesn’t take into account customer satisfaction.
Respond to customer feedback and questions
Being an open and helpful seller throughout the process will have your customers leaving with a more positive experience.
Your first contact with the customer may be when they’re asking a question on the listing. You know what they say about first impressions. Make it count.
Once the customer has left feedback already, don’t think that’s the end of your interaction with them. It’s best practice to respond to your customer feedback. For positive feedback, thank them for taking the time to leave feedback.
For negative feedback, respond politely, again thanking them for their feedback, and see if there’s anything you can do to make it right. Many times you’ll be able to turn negative feedback positive just by addressing the issue.
Be friendly but professional
When corresponding with customers, it’s important to set the right tone. If not, customers are going to get a bad impression, and any little problems may result in leaving bad feedback.
People don’t want to talk to faceless corporates or responses that sound like an autoresponder. At the same time, being too casual will give the customer a bad image of you and your business. Find the right balance between personable and professional.
Communicate proactively with your customers
It’s in most people’s nature to only speak up if something is wrong. So you need a way to encourage your satisfied customers to leave feedback, or your rating might end up poorly skewed.
You could have 99% of your customers totally satisfied with you as a seller. Yet if all your dissatisfied customers left feedback, but only half of those who are happy did, your rating will be lower than it should.
There are two options. You can reach out to customers with a feedback autoresponder. But this can backfire, as people won’t like it if you bombard them too much with requests for feedback.
The other option is to build a relationship with your customers, so they want to leave feedback without being prompted.
Whichever option you take, making contact with your customers and staying within the TOS is a tricky tightrope. That’s why it’s always a great idea to capture potential customers (and their emails) from external traffic channels, with the help of LandingCube.
The best way for a customer to leave positive feedback for you is by making them happy. The best way to make them happy is by giving them something for nothing. A discount, for example (which you can distribute with LandingCube, while building an email list in the process).
At the end of the day, the more value you can provide your customers, the more satisfied they’ll be with the experience. Just be careful not to say or indicate anywhere that your value-add is in return for seller feedback (or a review). That will leave you in violation of Amazon’s terms.
Ask Amazon to remove negative feedback (in certain cases)
Finally, you should be aware that Amazon will remove many negative ratings if you reach out.
Per their terms, they will remove feedback in these cases:
- The feedback includes words commonly understood to be obscene or profane.
- The feedback includes seller-specific, personally identifiable information, including email addresses, full names, or telephone numbers.
- The entire feedback comment is a product review.
They will also strike-through feedback and provide an explanation if there is a shipping or delivery issue and;
- The order was Fulfilled By Amazon, or;
- You took the proper steps in shipping and have proof the issue was not your fault.
A lot of sellers won’t realize that some negative ratings can be removed. In actuality, Amazon often acts very quickly to take down feedback that breaks the rules.
Just don’t think that all negative feedback can be contested and taken down. It should be only for specific cases. Your first instinct should always be to use negative feedback constructively. Use it to improve your business and customer service practices.
Putting out a great product and getting reviews is key to getting started on Amazon. But for sellers trying to build for the long-term, maintaining a great seller rating is just as, if not more important.
Follow the steps to keep your customers happy, and before long you’ll build an empire to be recognized, on and off Amazon.