Amazon is leading the pack as one of the most influential brands in today’s economy. When Amazon first launched in 1995, it was as a website that only sold books. But even then, founder Jeff Bezos had a vision for the company's rapid growth and mass expansion. He knew from the very beginning that Amazon would become "an everything store," and foresaw its eventual e-commerce market domination. What had begun as an online bookstore quickly became not only one of the most valuable companies in the world, but one that would change how buyers made decisions forever.
Today, Amazon reviews are monumentally important when it comes to a brand’s success on Amazon, and in the marketplace overall. In fact, nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase (Spiegel Research Center, 2017). That means that reviews your customers leave on Amazon are doing a lot of the heavy lifting of marketing for you. And this is good news! In order to capitalize on this, it’s important to understand just how this process works. This article provides an introduction to Amazon reviews and a breakdown of the different types.
Two Types of Amazon Reviews
- Product Reviews: Product reviews are the star-rating reviews featured on a product page, just underneath the product title. Their prominent display is no accident. By informing shoppers right away just how happy this product is making its users, Amazon is letting online shoppers know that if they buy here, they can trust what they’re told--and this is important. People buy from Amazon in large part because it’s a company that’s won their trust.
Trust is a concept we’ll revisit throughout this article, but back to the nuts-and-bolts of product reviews. Here are a few key facts:
- product reviews are attached to the product itself, not a particular seller;
- anyone with an Amazon account can leave a product review, whether they bought the item on Amazon or not;
- and products with 4-star reviews or higher have been proven to rank higher in Amazon searches.
These reviews are the most important reviews on Amazon because they are the first ones shoppers read when considering purchasing your product. When shopping online, customers are sometimes shooting in the dark. They have no way of knowing exactly what they’re buying until it shows up at their door. Product reviews are how they get a sense of the look, feel, and experience of using a particular product. Reading reviews is similar to asking a friend, “Hey, what did you think of that new bed you bought?” But rather than just asking one friend, you’re asking a whole bunch of people all at one time.
These are the reviews shoppers read to decide if your product is one they’re willing to take a risk buying. The advantages shoppers receive from reading product reviews is astounding. People trust what their peers are saying and can pretty accurately predict if a product is going to be right for them or not.
- Seller Ratings: Amazon’s Seller Ratings are different from product reviews. These star-ratings are connected to the seller’s account, rather than a particular product. The intention behind these ratings is to enhance the credibility of the seller and speak to their performance history overall. Seller Ratings are important because they influence buying decisions when several sellers are selling the same product. They’re all about healthy competition.
Unlike product reviews, Seller Ratings are always connected to an Amazon sale. These ratings work together with good product reviews to drive sales and boost your brand’s reputation overall. Remember: anything less than 4 stars on either product reviews or Seller Ratings negatively impacts your sales. The takeaway here: it’s important to start by selling a quality product that people like and/or can easily use AND provide excellent service to both existing and prospective customers.
The Real Impact of Amazon Reviews
Michael LeBoeuf, the author of How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life, famously said, “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” This is something that Amazon has always understood. Customer satisfaction is a value of utmost importance. And the Amazon customer reviews that have grown out of this emphasis have not only revolutionized the shopping experience for people around the globe, but they have become one of the company’s most valuable tools.
Bottom line: Amazon reviews not only measure customer satisfaction; they measure trust. And people buy from those they trust--and avoid those they don’t like the plague. What people say about your brand and your products online matters. Your customers’ experiences determine whether your company sinks or swims. It’s your job to make sure they have no reason to do anything but sing your praises.
While five-star product reviews and Seller Ratings are always something to strive for, having a solid plan for reputation management and handling reviews is a way to enhance your overall customer experiences.
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With its natural language processing, and the customer sentiment and intent features, eCommerce product companies can improve their brand’s perception by tapping into what customers are saying.