Most online shoppers on Amazon heavily depend on reviews to purchase a product. This aspect is why programs like the Amazon Early Reviewer Program used to exist.
Without reviews, buyers on Amazon would not have the necessary information to decide on a product. So let's look at the now closed Amazon Early Reviewer Program and what it meant for every buyer and seller.
What Is The Amazon Early Reviewer Program?
The Amazon Early Reviewer Program was intended to boost product reviews and sales. However, this program also proved to be a reliable and trustworthy way for clients to give their opinions.
Before it was shut down in April 2021, Amazon created a way for users to leave incentivized reviews by providing a small reward. Tokens such as gift cards encourage users to leave authentic reviews. In addition, the Early Reviewer Program benefited buyers and sellers since Amazon could control the solicitation of customer reviews.
How Did Sellers Join The Amazon Early Reviewer Program?
You needed a Seller Central account to join the Amazon Early Reviewer Program. Only through this account could you access the advertising tab. After clicking on the advertising tab and selecting "Early Reviewer Program," it was easy to follow the steps to submit and enroll your eligible SKUs.
Every SKU (stock-keeping unit) costs $60. A requirement of submitting any SKU was to accept the terms and conditions attached to the Amazon Early Reviewer Program. The SKUs could be parent SKUs or stand-alone SKUs.
Amazon's eligibility criteria to join the Early Reviewer Program were as follows:
- The sellers' product must cost $15 or more.
- The products sellers could submit to be a part of the Amazon brand registry.
- Sellers couldn't choose the reviewers, but they could choose the products to enroll for the program.
- The product should have very few or no reviews.
Each SKU Amazon sellers submitted would be monitored for 1 year or until it accumulated five reviews.
Joining the Early Reviewer Program option is no longer available. Therefore, Global review sharing and one-tap reviews proved more efficient than the abandoned program.
Why Amazon Created The Early Reviewer Program
a) To Discourage Fake Amazon Reviews
Amazon's Early Reviewer Program was rolled out after the influx of fake online reviews. This flood prompted the e-commerce giant into action. Additionally, Amazon noticed that sellers on the platform exchanged discounts for reviews. Hence, they pulled the plug on the operation and introduced the Early Reviewer Program.
Before the program's introduction, it became increasingly difficult for sellers to get reviews. They mostly got few or no reviews, especially when they launched new products.
Getting the first few reviews on Amazon is not as easy as it seems. After all, sales must precede any opinions on the product. Additionally, Amazon buyers are not obligated to leave a glowing reviews.
b) Discourage Dishonest Reviewers
The Early Reviewer Program was also accessible to customers with no history of leaving abusive or dishonest reviews on any product.
After a thorough background check, only honest Amazon shoppers were selected to participate in the program.
After a few trusted reviews, your product would gain traction. Additionally, honest reviewers would receive a $1-$3 Amazon gift card. It is undoubtedly a win-win situation for all parties involved.
c) To Create A Trustworthy Platform
Fake reviews started cropping up on Amazon products with no purchase history. Amazon came under fire.
So to prove to customers and Amazon shoppers that Amazon is a trustworthy platform, Amazon introduced its own incentivized reviews program.
To alert other customers that a review is real, Amazon issues an orange badge on the review. But, of course, this only works for Amazon shoppers in the program.
The shoppers are picked at random. Usually, shoppers do not know there is an incentive until they submit a review. This leads customers to leave an honest review. This is because they bought and used the product and gave their opinion, not because they get an incentive.
Why Did The Amazon Early Reviewer Program Die An Early Death?
After talking to several sellers, there were a few things some of them had to say about Amazon's Early Reviewer Program.
1) Pricing Policy
The pricing policy for some sellers didn't make sense. For example, $60 for one ASIN doesn't make sense, especially if your product gathers negative reviews.
While reviews are good, one bad product review is all it takes to convince many customers not to purchase your product.
This isn't worth it if you pay $60 for a bad review. Additionally, any Amazon seller will tell you it is not a sound financial decision.
2) It Takes Too Long
Amazon sellers noticed that it takes a while for reviews to start coming through. Typically, you would have to wait for 1-3 months for the first one, which slows down the sales you can generate.
Of all the sales a product could have made, only 5% of people leave reviews. Additionally, there's an "accept" or "reject" button for customers to opt-out of leaving a review.
3) Customer Incentives
The incentivized reviews garnered $1-$3 a review. Before the program, customers would get 50%-90% discounts on their purchases if they left a review.
The Amazon Early Reviewer Program was not as lucrative as being offered half price for a review.
So this incentive wouldn't result in many glowing reviews. No one will give positive reviews for horrible products in exchange for a $1-$3 gift card.
Alternative Options To The Early Reviewer Program
Here are some other options to try if you want to sell on Amazon.
i) One Tap Reviews
One tap reviews are the star rating system that Amazon prioritized. This type of star rating system is only available to verified Amazon shoppers.
The star review system doesn't let you leave detailed opinions. This is because writing reviews, however short, takes time most buyers don't want to invest.
Additionally, global review sharing has enabled sellers to see reviews from their buyers worldwide.
Initially, they could only view reviews made within their area. Now it has become a global network.
ii) Customer Engagement
By customer engagement, we mean replying to any questions shoppers have. Alternatively, you can find members of the Amazon affiliate program.
Cultivating a stellar customer relationship is important because it sets a good precedent. This will give your sales a boost.
Additionally, you will get more new reviews if you partner with Amazon's affiliate program members.
If they purchase and try out your products, they will give it an honest product review, boosting your sales.
iii) Buyer-Seller Messages
So with this Amazon feature, you can easily request feedback from your customers. It is permissible under Amazon's terms and conditions.
Of course, not all customers will accept to give a review; however, it is always worth a shot. Especially if you plan to have better product reviews than your competitor's products.
Additionally, this feature is the easiest way to get additional reviews for your products.
You can easily do it when you access the order details of a product on your seller account. Just click the box that reads "request a review."
Amazon will send out a review request. However, as previously mentioned, customers can choose not to leave a product review.
iv) Amazon Vine
The vine program worked well with the Amazon Early Reviewer Program. However, Amazon vine only works on an invite basis. Therefore, a reviewer cannot participate if they have not been invited.
This program only uses trusted reviewers to give their opinions on products like new enrollments and any eligible product.
Of course, for this to work, sellers and vendors have to participate. Their products are then sent to the reviewers for early reviews, especially for any new product on the market.
Other Ways To Boost Sales On Amazon
Here are some other ways to get more sales and reviews on Amazon:
1) High-Quality Product Images And Videos
Amazon is an e-commerce giant. This means multiple vendors try to be better than you in every aspect.
Therefore, you might not make a lot of sales if you use poor-quality pictures. Additionally, utilizing the video feature is important—a small demonstration of how your product works is a game changer.
Using these features to give your target market the best visualization is highly recommended.
People buy what they can see in practicality. Making a high-quality clip detailing how your product works will boost your sales.
2) Amazon Promotions
Amazon offers sponsored ads. You can use Amazon-sponsored ads by listing your product for sponsorship.
That way, every time someone opens a product in your category, your advertisement is there to peak their interest.
This has proved to be an effective tool for boosting your Amazon sales and getting more reviews.
3) Off-Amazon Promotions
In the age of social media, promotions can run off of Amazon. In addition, you can use all social media platforms to run ads for your products.
You don't have to be a user on the platforms; you can use the ads offered to make your product go viral.
Platforms such as Tiktok, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook could help boost your sales.
4) Well-Worded Listings
Most Amazon listings are written horribly. Many sellers don't give much thought to writing listings.
However, writing a good listing without grammatical errors and sentences that don't make sense will interest more people.
No buyer wants to struggle to understand the specification on your listing. Therefore, simple and short sentences that are not repetitive will go a long way for your product.
i) How Much Should I Spend On Amazon To Leave A Review?
You can only leave a review if you have spent at least $50. You should also have spent the money using a valid credit or debit card within 12 months.
Once you can give ratings and reviews, you can also answer customer questions.
ii) How Many Reviews Does Amazon Need On A Product?
A general rule is 25 reviews. This is because 25 reviews can convert traffic to your listing. Therefore, before you start considering advertising, you should have some reviews.
Reviews also increase traffic from the search engine results page when a user searches the internet for your product.
All this will lead to knowing how to sell on Amazon and do it well.
iii) Does Amazon Still Have The Early Reviewer Program?
No. The program was closed. However, it helped some vendors get early reviews by offering incentives for a review.
It didn't matter whether the review was a 1-star or 5-star.
iv) How Much Did The Early Reviewer Program Cost?
It costs $60 for every ASIN. However, it was helpful for some vendors because they received good reviews.
However, for other vendors, it wasn't a smart move. It was like paying to get bad reviews when they got bad reviews.
The Bottom Line
The Amazon Early Reviewer Program was helpful for some people. However, it was not the greatest way of generating reviews.
Reviews are a great way of building your business on Amazon. Mastering a good marketing strategy that goes hand in hand with Amazon is important for business success.
There are many ways to get customer feedback apart from the now-closed Early Reviewer Program.