Verified Purchase reviews are the gold standard for Amazon reviews. They hold more weight, both for rankings and converting customers.
While your overall review count is important (customers are more likely to click a search result with 1000 reviews than 100), if all of your reviews are low-quality, unverified reviews, your trust is going to erode very quickly.
By the end of this post, you will understand how to qualify for Amazon Verified Purchase reviews. You’ll also learn other elements that make up a “good review,” and how to respond positively to negative Amazon reviews.
What Does Verified Purchase Mean?
The Verified Purchase tag is a very important element of Amazon reviews. It increases trust and utility for potential buyers. A Verified Purchase review carries more weight in the mind of customers than a non-verified review.
What is the Verified Purchase tag and how does a review get it? Amazon gives this tag to a review if they can verify that the person leaving the review did indeed buy the product on Amazon.com.
So if I borrowed a book from a friend and then went on Amazon to write a review for the book, my review would not get the VP tag – because I did not buy the book on Amazon.com.
Large discounts also disqualify a review from being verified. While it’s not entirely certain what the cut-off is, most sellers agree that discounts of 50% and higher do not qualify as Verified Purchases.
Basically, if someone buys a product that has been heavily discounted, Amazon does not consider this sale to have as much weight as a full-price sale. Same goes for a review for the same sale.
Running discounted promotions are a great way to get more reviews (as well as more sales and a boost in rankings). But if you want to get verified reviews on Amazon, keep your discounts low.
The Benefits of Verified Purchase Reviews
We touched on it already – the verified purchase tag increases trust with potential buyers. A 5-star verified review is more believable and trustworthy than a 5-star unverified review. So if you have more verified reviews, it will most likely boost your conversion rate.
Verified Purchase reviews also hold more weight in Amazon’s algorithms.
While the specifics of Amazon’s system are a closely guarded secret, it’s widely believed that they use a machine-learning model to give some reviews more weight in their star rating system – as this investigation by Wired looks at.
So your product’s overall star rating is not necessarily an average of all your reviews. If all of your high rated reviews are unverified, your rating is likely to be a lot lower than expected.
This means less verified purchase reviews will result in a lower rating, leading to lower search rankings and less click from search results.
“Good” Reviews – What Makes a Review Trustworthy?
Well, first off, just that it’s on Amazon is a plus. Online shoppers trust Amazon. The first of Amazon’s Leadership Principles is Customer Obsession.
Amazon even includes an empty seat at each board meeting that represents the customers, so its leaders are reminded of the customers’ interests.
Simply by selling your products on Amazon, you are leveraging that trust factor that Amazon has earned from customers.
Indeed, trustworthy reviews are critical to Amazon’s success. They want their customers to trust they’re going to get a quality product every time, and that trust is going to trickle down to you as well.
The Verified Purchase tag is one of several trust elements of Amazon’s review system.
What makes a good review?
5 bright yellow stars aren’t the only thing that matters when it comes to “good” reviews.
The Verified Purchase tag is a big plus for Amazon reviews. Sometimes better than a review with a higher star rating, but less information and unverified.
There are more things that go into a review being more or less value to your business.
A good user-generated review accomplishes three things:
- Clarifies your offer
- Makes your brand seem more authentic
- Provides a measure of trust to your product
According to ConversionXL.com, a good review contains the following:
- Balance of positive and negative comments: An overly praiseworthy review often seems fake. Being able to describe the good and bad things about a product seems much more realistic and thorough.
- Actual descriptions of product usage: A good review will make it clear that the reviewer actually used the product. Some even include pictures or videos. This is a huge plus (assuming the review paints your product in a positive light.
- Comparing product to competing brands: Does the same job for less than Brand-X’s product.
- Shoppers prefer positive over negative reviews: Obviously.
- Conflicting reviews deter buying: Suppose a product has lots of 1-star and lots of 5-star reviews. Rather than critically analyzing the reviews to figure out the truth, a potential buyer will likely just move on. Another product will have much more consistent reviews.
The last two bullet points, however, should not lead you to delete all your negative reviews. First off, it’s pretty unlikely. Moreover, instead of seeing negative reviews as a death signal, see them as opportunities.
Responding to Negative Amazon Reviews
Negative reviews don’t have to be the end of the world.
There are several ways to deal with negative Amazon reviews:
- Respond to them on the Amazon page. Use the negative review as an opportunity to show off your customer service. Reframe the conversation in the minds of potential customers who read the negative review.
- Gather feedback from negative reviews to improve your products going forward.
- Contact Amazon and/or the customer to take the review down.
Showing all positive reviews (5-star) is not as effective at increasing conversion rates as showing a mix of positive and negative.
Think about it. You see a product that has only 5-star reviews. It seems unlikely. Negative reviews are the battle scars that every legitimate business eventually collects over time.
Use negative reviews as an opportunity to display your excellent customer service, and to to improve your product or product description.
On a landing page with curated reviews, you probably don’t want to show 1 or
Amazon includes an option for people to vote on the helpfulness or unhelpfulness of a review.
If a potential customer reads a review and finds it helpful, they can vote for it. If someone else reads the review and finds it unhelpful, they can vote against it. A review with more helpful votes carries more weight in the minds of shoppers.
There’s actually quite a bit of science on predicting helpfulness ratings of reviews. This 2017
Now, this is how helpful reviews will be to customers. So, if you are building a landing page and are able to curate which Amazon reviews you include, you want to accomplish two things:
- Include reviews that customers find helpful.
- Include reviews more likely to sell your product.
Seller Feedback vs Product Reviews
Another thing that boosts the value of Amazon’s review system is that reviews are about the product, not the seller/vendor.
Amazon provides two separate avenues for customer feedback. Seller Feedback is a rating of the seller and the experience the customer had in dealing with them. Seller Feedback is intended to be completely independent of the quality of the product.
Product reviews are for customers to describe and rate their experience with the product. Did they receive exactly what was advertised? Did the product perform as promised?
Separating product reviews from Seller Feedback gives another layer of usefulness to reviews.
Be aware that customers often mistake the two. They might leave a product review in the seller feedback area, or seller feedback on your product listing.
If this happens (and the review or feedback is negative), you can easily reach out to Amazon for them to delete it.
Good Reviews, Bad Reviews, and Amazon Verified Purchase Reviews: In Summary
In this post we discussed:
- Amazon Verified Purchase reviews
- Other components of a good Amazon review
- How to respond to negative reviews
Not all reviews are created equal. And it’s not just a case of 5-star or bust. There can be real value in reviews with a lower star rating. So, too, 5-star unverified reviews can be a detriment to conversions.
It’s a good idea to know what makes an effective