Amazon notified sellers in mid-March that it would no longer allow new enrollments in the Early Reviewer Program—an incentivized program created by Amazon to improve the review process for sellers—and would completely stop offering the service on April 25, 2021.
However, Amazon has recently incorporated several reviewer tools to continue to help sellers earn more reviews—and we have a few alternatives of our own. In this blog post, we will cover:
Amazon’s Announcement to End the Early Reviewer Program
As of March 10, 2021, we will no longer allow new enrollments in the Early Reviewer Program, and will stop offering the service to sellers currently enrolled in the program on April 25, 2021. You will not be charged for any reviews for enrolled products that are published after this date, and you will not be charged for the service if the program has not generated any reviews for your business.
Amazon will return your program fee within three months after the program closure date for any active enrollments with more than one review and not completed by April 25.
Amazon continuously innovates to improve our shopping and selling experience. Over the past several years, we have made numerous improvements to encourage buyers to review products on Amazon. These initiatives, such as One Tap Reviews and Global Review Sharing, have proven more effective in generating reviews than the Early Reviewer Program. We will continue to build new features to improve our store for customers and sellers.
Your continued success is important to us and we thank you for selling on Amazon.”
New Features on Amazon to Encourage Reviews
Currently, it remains unseen what alternatives Amazon will put in place to combat the difficulty of obtaining reviews for newly launched products or stagnant listings. However, Amazon stated that it has made numerous updates to encourage buyers to review products on Amazon. Including:
One Tap Reviews
This one-step process allows verified purchasers, who don’t have the time or energy to write a thorough product review, to still contribute by providing a star rating.
Shoppers are prompted by Amazon with “What did you think of the item?” on their mobile devices. From here, customers can rate their purchase with one tap by simply selecting the star rating that accurately reflects their feelings about the product. No additional information is needed. No product images, no review title, no written review. Simple.
Global Review Sharing
From our experience, Global Review Sharing is just that—sharing reviews and star ratings from all Amazon marketplaces for the same product or ASIN. Notice how the terminology on product detail pages says “Global ratings,” this allows Amazon to create their own rating calculations rather than counting the number of reviews.
According to Amazon, “To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.”
Amazon clearly states, “These initiatives have proven more effective in generating reviews than the Early Reviewer Program.” Both are nice, easy-to-use additions to include on the Amazon platform, but only time will tell if these review tools are an effective and fair alternative to the Early Reviewer Program.
3 Alternatives to the Early Reviewer Program
Promotional inserts, usually the size of a business card, are an effective way to jumpstart reviews for newly launched products, products with little feedback, or products with negative feedback that need revamping. Please note, Amazon’s Terms of Service (TOS) has a very strict policy on how to ask for reviews. Craft the perfect message by using neutral language that doesn’t incentivize your customers or make any promises. This will help steadily increase reviews—learn more about product inserts on our blog post, “How to Use Amazon Product Inserts.”
Request a Review Button
Amazon introduced the “Request a Review” button a few years ago as a way for sellers to directly interact with customers to boost their reviews and ratings—something Amazon once avoided. This feature gives sellers a competitive edge on a platform driven by customer reviews.
You can find the “Request a Review” button on the detail page for each buyer’s order. When pressed, this will send an email to the buyer requesting seller feedback and prompting customers to leave a product review. It’s an easy way to gain reviews and remain compliant with Amazon’s TOS.
The Vine Program
The Vine Program is an Amazon-run initiative that helps generate trustworthy product reviews from credible sources handpicked by Amazon. Vine Reviewers, AKA Vine Voices, are selected based on their reviewer rank and helpfulness to ensure detailed feedback from Amazon’s most trusted reviewers. It’s important to note that both negative and positive feedback is possible as each review is supposed to be completely unbiased and authentic.
To participate, enroll your product in the program for an opportunity to have a Vine Reviewer request to review your product. If your product is selected, you provide the product for free in exchange for a credible review that often includes pictures and video—giving your products and brand the social proof needed for shoppers to make informed buying decisions.
Fun Fact: The Vine Program used to cost $2,500 per ASIN for enrollment—BUT IS CURRENTLY FREE. Take advantage of this opportunity while it’s available.
Amazon is consistently evolving to improve its online shopping and selling experience. While some sellers will be disappointed to see the Early Reviewer Program end, this could be an excellent opportunity to adapt your seller strategy and find new ways to earn reviews. As Amazon improves, we must too.
Take the alternatives we’ve given you and start working on a new strategy—it won’t be long before Amazon has another new opportunity for you to explore.
Need help with your Amazon Review Strategy?
Contact WishingUWell today—our experts are here to help you with all-things Amazon!