Amazon retired the Comments Feature for product reviews on its platform in December 2020. This change removed the ability for brands or sellers to directly respond to reviews on the Amazon marketplace with public comments.
With already limited communication between buyers and sellers, this was one of the only ways for brands or 1P and 3P sellers to directly engage customers, address their concerns, clarify misunderstandings, re-educate, or even defend their products when receiving negative feedback that is misleading to other shoppers. This latest update has caused everyone to rethink their brand management and control strategies.In this post, we will discuss:
What was the Amazon Comments Feature?
Nowadays, consumers rely heavily on other customers to share their experiences about products so they can make informed buying decisions—especially on Amazon. Considered to be a trustworthy source, reviews are a powerful e-commerce tool that has become an integral part of the Amazon business model.
The quantity and quality of reviews help products rank higher on the A9 Algorithm, organically. The Comment Feature gave brands and sellers the ability to publicly address and respond to reviews that had neutral or negative feedback. Giving them the ability to identify if the product was being used incorrectly, explain circumstances that are out of their control, or show customers how to get the most out of their product.
This created a comment thread full of thorough and detailed product information that could turn an unsatisfied customer into a loyal brand ambassador. It also opened up the door for everyone to participate, including other customers. The public comments showed attention to detail and made Amazon customers feel cared for.
How were Amazon Sellers Notified of the Policy Change?
WishingUWell received an email notification from Amazon on December 15 for the proposed changes on December 16, 2020. It read as follows:
Despite reviews being a critical component to both customers and sellers, Amazon still chose to disable this direct response tool—stating that the feature was “barely used.”
However, many sellers were quick to point out that Amazon made this feature difficult to access in two very important formats such as the Amazon shopping app and on a mobile browser—adding that reviewers were no longer being notified when the brand or seller directly responded to their feedback.
So, was the feature broken or simply underutilized? It’s hard to say.
Several months later we are still left with a lot of unanswered questions. For instance, what innovative developments are coming our way for other opportunities to connect with customers? When will Amazon announce them? And how can we be an early adopter?
What Changes Have There Been?
The most obvious change that has taken place is the removal of the “comment” button under a product review. However, customers and sellers alike can still have their voices heard by pressing the “helpful” button under each review. This can be a way to authenticate which reviews are the most accurate. There is also an option to “report abuse,” but this seems to pertain to violations of Amazon’s Community Guidelines.
Another important change we are seeing is that the comment threads are no longer visible to customers. This means any thoughtful responses that were publicly posted to educate the consumer are gone. It seems Amazon has chosen to remove old comments or threads that could have still provided value to the customer.
Alternatives and Solutions to the Comments Feature on Amazon
Fortunately, WishingUWell understands the importance of the Comments Feature to our brands’ success on Amazon; therefore, we’ve come up with several solutions:
- Take Advantage of the Q&A Section: While you can’t ask questions yourself, you can still address any questions that customers have brought to your attention. Use this as an opportunity to re-educate your customers about what might be causing misconceptions about your product. Provide thorough and in-depth responses.
- Use the Feedback: Listen to your customers! They could provide valuable insights into your products that you weren’t aware of initially. Once you’ve gone through all the neutral and negative reviews, consider updating your product description or feature points to ensure each issue is clearly addressed and to avoid future problems.
- 5P Product Inserts: Product reviews are ultimately about the numbers so you need the positive to outweigh the negative. Start by using product inserts, a cost-effective marketing tactic that allows you to directly communicate with your Amazon customers. This will help you steadily increase reviews over time and potentially your sales. Learn more about these on our blog, “How to Use Amazon Product Inserts.”
- Stay Up-To-Date: Amazon could introduce a new direct communication tool with regard to reviews (as previously stated in their announcement) so you’ll want to be an early adopter in order to stay competitive.
Need help with product reviews?
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