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When you’re selling on FBA there are two types of reviews you might get. The first, seller reviews, relates to how good you are as a seller – in other words, whether you send the item on time and if it arrives in a good condition. The second is product reviews and this relates to the quality of the item you sell.

This is important whether you’re a private label seller offering your own product or if you’re selling someone else’s brand. As a private label seller, you naturally want to generate a buzz and sense of social proof around it. If it’s new to the market, the easiest way for buyers to judge whether it’s any good or not is looking at product reviews.

If you’re selling another brand, you might think that this isn’t something which applies to you. Instead, you’d tend to focus on your own seller feedback as this – alongside price – would be one of the key points of differentiation between you and someone else who is selling the same product. However, product reviews all help to build trust in you and your product. That, in turn, predictably leads to the most important thing you’re looking for: higher sales.

Asking for product reviews

Research from the Spiegel Research centre proves that product reviews are vital. 92% of customer it surveyed said they used trusted reviews to make a buying decision. What’s more, around 73% say they value a written review over the number of stars given. That word ‘trusted’ is something which is worth focusing on because Amazon has long battled against fake reviews. In order to gain traction in the marketplace, some buyers have been paying for fake reviews.

This might be tempting but Amazon is cracking down on the practice and, in any case, most buyers can spot a fake review at a hundred paces.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of customers do not leave product reviews. We’re all busy people and, even if we intend to leave a product review, it’s easy to forget. Perhaps we log out with the intention of leaving a review but never quite get around to it.

Product inserts

A good way could be to provide product inserts. These can be little brochures printed out and supplied with the product. You can add a little text about why a product review is useful to you and other buyers. This might be enough to give them the jolt you’re looking for.

However, you do need to frame this in the right way. The insert should be attractive and professionally designed so it’s worth spending a little money getting someone to design the look and the content.

Emailing customers

Email chains are common approaches for online sellers. With Feedbackwhiz, you can use our automated email (…) feature to see a collection of templates for different types of emails. These allow you to design, create and schedule emails to go to customers at certain points.

How you schedule these may be up to you, but a good sequence could be:

• Payment confirmation: When they make the purchase, just send them an email confirming that the order has been processed and the product is on its way. This reassures the customer that everything is okay and builds a sense of anticipation.
• Purchase follow up: After the product has arrived you could wait a day or two and then send a polite email asking for a product review. Again, you shouldn’t come right out and say it – simply send something asking how you did and providing links where they can get in touch and leave a product review.
• Final throw of the dice: If they still haven’t left a review after a week, it may be worth using one final email. Maybe they forgot and a simple prompt could remind them.

After this third email, you should stop. The effectiveness of emails will start to tail off the more emails you send and after three you’ll probably just be wasting your time and theirs.

Dealing with bad reviews

Of course, you may get bad product reviews (…) from time to time. If so, it’s worth getting in touch to ask what the problem is. This has two benefits. Firstly, it can help you to see where you went wrong and secondly it can rebuild trust with that customer. If you put things right, they may even decide to change the review.

In some cases, you may suspect the product review is not genuine. There have been instances of Amazon sellers leaving fake bad reviews for their competitors’ products. If you think you can show this has happened you can report it to Amazon. If they agree with you, they can remove the review.

The last thing to note is to always think about Amazon’s guidelines for contacting customers. They take a dim view of anyone who uses this for marketing purposes or offers any kind of a bribe to secure a positive review. For example, you can’t promise a voucher in return for a glowing five-star review.

Product reviews, then, are vital but elusive. They provide a crucial element of social proof for customers so if you don’t have many reviews and your competitors have many you could see yourself suffering from low conversions. If that’s happening you need to get proactive about gathering product reviews.

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