As a retailer, selling your items on Amazon can be one of the best business decisions you make all year. Acting as an extension of your ecommerce store, the Amazon Marketplace offers you immense exposure to a built-in traffic pool of more than 88 million monthly US customers.
However, selling on Amazon is not for the faint-of-heart – it’s a high-maintenance and complex undertaking. If you’re going to have a sophisticated strategy for the Marketplace, feedback management needs to be a key part of it. Knowing how reviews will affect your product Discoverability and Buyability on the Marketplace and when to invest time and resources into managing them is invaluable.
In this 5-part series on Amazon product and seller reviews, we’ll dive into analyses on feedback management for the Amazon Marketplace:
- How Amazon Product Reviews Influence Sales Performance
- How Amazon Seller Reviews Influence Sales Performance
- Feedback Management: Removing Negative Feedback
- Recommended Amazon Feedback Management Solutions
Overview of Product & Seller Reviews on the Amazon Marketplace
Unlike a traditional product advertising channel like Google Shopping, comparison shopping engines, or text and display ads, the Amazon Marketplace acts as an extension of your ecommerce store, requiring its own strategy and resources for fulfillment, inventory management, order management, and customer service.
This last point – customer service – directly affects your sales performance on the Marketplace, a trait not shared by any other sales channel. For this reason, you have to really commit to providing top-notch service every step of the way if you want to position yourself for success. Here’s an introductory overview of product and seller reviews on Amazon and how they each affect your selling performance.
Amazon Product Reviews
Product feedback consists of individual customer reviews along with star ratings on each of your posted products. Star ratings can range from one to five, and the average of all your customer star ratings is displayed prominently on the product detail page as well as in search results.
Whether or not they’ve purchased a product on the Amazon Marketplace or from you as the seller, any shopper can leave a review for a given ASIN. Amazon simply makes the distinction of whether or not that shopper is a “Verified Purchase.” Full customer reviews, along with their associated ratings, will be displayed on the very bottom of your product pages. Robust product reviews for a given ASIN are a hugely influential and unique aspect of selling on the Amazon Marketplace. For this reason, deciding if you should actively accumulate product reviews will be part of your feedback management strategy.
Amazon Seller Reviews
Seller feedback, on the other hand, pertains to your seller account in general, not to any particular listing. Once customers have purchased an item from you, they have the option to fill out a seller feedback form, evaluating your performance throughout the sales process. They’ll be asked about shipping speeds, whether the item arrived on time and as described, how customer service fared, etc. They’ll also be able to leave a one to five star rating, and they can add additional comments as they see fit.
All your seller feedback forms are compiled to create an average, and this average will be displayed as the seller “Feedback Rating” under your organization’s name. For example, The BT Group (pictured above) has a 4.9 rating over 42,282 ratings in the last year.
Seller feedback is primarily found when a customer clicks the “sold by” link on a product detail page. This will include the feedback average and the number of ratings and written reviews received in the last 12 months. Seller feedback directly affects your ability to increase Buy Box share, which in turn directly affects your sales performance on Amazon. Seller feedback is really feedback on your order management, inventory management, customer service, and fulfillment processes as a whole, so of course you’ll need to tighten up each of these areas to put yourself in a better position to increase Buy Box share and be a better seller in general.
Product vs. Seller Feedback
Both product and seller feedback are important, though product feedback will more heavily influence conversions on a product detail page than seller feedback will. This is the result of the Marketplace’s product-centric (not seller) focus. Unless customers are considering a highly priced item, very few will actually delve deep enough to see a seller’s reviews ratings. They’ll stay on the product page and, if they see good customer reviews and high enough ratings, they’ll likely go through with their purchase as planned.
Seller feedback is more important from a channel management standpoint. A consistently poor feedback rating can hurt your and even spur Amazon to suspend your account or bar you from selling any more products. It will also directly influence your hold of the Buy Box. As discussed in our newest white paper, Product Discoverability on Amazon, Marketplace sellers should approach selling strategy in 2 ways: driving product Discoverability and product Buyability.
If it helps you conceptualize feedback in the grand scheme of Marketplace strategy, product reviews support both Discoverability and Buyability while seller reviews support only Buyability (update: Buyability White Paper out now). Stay-tuned for a deep dive into how product and seller feedback uniquely impact Amazon Marketplace strategy.