By the end of this chapter, 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 to negative Amazon reviews.
What makes a review trustworthy?
Well, first off, just the fact of being on Amazon. 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.
So by simply 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.
The Verified Purchase tag is one of several trust elements of Amazon’s review system.
How to Get Amazon Verified Purchase Reviews
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 a review the Verified Purchase tag 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 at less than half price, Amazon does not truly consider that a sale. So they don’t give them the Verified Purchase tag.
Running discounted promotions are a great way to get more reviews (as well as sales and boosts in rankings). But if you want to get verified reviews on Amazon, keep your discounts at 49% or below.
[Want to run discounted promotions? You can automate the delivery of single-use promo codes with LandingCube].
Amazon includes an option for people to vote on the helpfulness or unhelpfulness of a review.
So 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 meta analysis looked at dozens of studies on what determines if an online review will be voted as helpful. They found that longer reviews are considered more helpful. So are older reviews. And the more information known about a reviewer, the more helpful. However, 5 star reviews are not considered more helpful than 3 star reviews or 1 star reviews.
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.
What makes a good review?
A good user-generated review accomplishes three things:
1. Clarifies your offer
2. Makes your brand seem more authentic
3. 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.
- 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
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 (5star) 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 sketchy. Negative reviews are the battle scars that every legitimate business eventually collects over time.
On a landing page with curated reviews, you probably don’t want to show 1 or 2 star reviews. But the positive reviews should include some negative comments. As well as actual descriptions of product usage and comparisons with other brands. And, of course, you can use the helpfulness votes on Amazon to select the reviews with the most helpful votes.
Good & Bad Amazon Reviews: In Summary
In this chapter we discussed:
– Amazon Verified Purchase reviews
– Other components of a good Amazon review
– How to respond to negative reviews
In the following chapters, we’ll actually discuss specific ways to get more reviews.