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Amazon vine program

Amazon’s Vine Program for Sellers: What Is It? And Is It Worth It?

If you want your product to succeed on Amazon, you need to explore all possible ways to get product reviews. Customer feedback helps build trust and social proof that your product is worth purchasing, which is especially important early on in a listing’s lifetime. 

Before Amazon changed its review policy in 2016, sellers could give away their products for free or at a steep discount in exchange for a product review. That’s no longer allowed, and as a result it’s become increasingly difficult to score early reviews on Amazon. 

Fortunately, other strategies for generating product reviews have emerged over the years, including the Amazon Vine program. Originally only available to first-party sellers (vendors), the Vine is now available to third-party sellers as of late 2019. 

Let’s explore what the Amazon Vine program is, its pros and cons, how to enroll, and whether the Amazon seller community believes it’s worth joining.

 

What is the Amazon Vine Program?

The Vine is a product review program created by Amazon to provide customers with honest and unbiased reviews. 

Unlike the Early Reviewer Program, which incentivizes customers who have already purchased a product to leave a review, Amazon Vine invites customers to receive a product for free in exchange for a review. 

Now, Amazon doesn’t let just any customer into the Amazon Vine program; the “Vine Voices” are restricted to Amazon’s most trusted reviewers. 

“Amazon invites customers to become Vine Voices based on their reviewer rank, which is a reflection of the quality and helpfulness of their reviews as judged by other Amazon customers.”

How it works

Once you’re enrolled in the program, one of the Vine Voices can request to review your product. You’ll provide the product for free in exchange for their review. 

Amazon Vine reviews are usually very thorough and more often than not include images of the product.

Of course, this does not guarantee that you’ll receive only positive feedback. Vine Voices won’t hold back their criticism if they find something wrong with your product. 

Positive Vine review:

Not-so-good Vine review:

 

How sellers can enroll in the Amazon Vine program

Before Amazon opened the Vine program up to third-party sellers in 2019, only first-party sellers/vendors were able to use the program, and they paid steep enrollment fees — typically $2,500 to $7,500 per ASIN.

Fortunately, it now costs nothing to enroll. You’ll just have to cover the cost of the products provided to Vine reviewers.

Vine Program Requirements:

  • You must be a brand registered seller
  • You must give away each product for free
  • You must have fewer than 30 reviews on your listing
  • Your product must be an FBA offer in ‘New’ condition
  • Your product must not be an “adult” product
  • Your product must already have launched at the time of enrollment
  • You must have available inventory for your product
  • Your listing must have an image and a description

How to enroll in Vine: 

If your brand and product meet the above requirements, you can follow these steps to enroll in Amazon Vine.

  1. In Seller Central, go to the Advertising tab > Vine.

2. If you are brand registered, you will see a ‘Enroll in Amazon Vine’ button on this screen.

3. On the next screen, you will be able to enter your ASIN and then click Begin Enrollment.

It’s as simple as that! 

Once enrolled, you will send samples of your products to Amazon, who will let their Voices know that your product is available to test. Currently, you are only allowed to enroll five ASINs at a time.

Amazon decides what products to offer each reviewer based on their previous purchases/reviews. For example, if a Vine Voice mostly purchases and/or reviews electronics, Amazon is more likely to offer them products in that category. 

For the first 28 days of enrollment, Amazon will only show your product to a targeted group of Vine Voices who typically purchase in your category. If there is still remaining inventory after 28 days, Amazon will offer it to all Vine Voice reviewers. 

Once a Vine Voice receives your product, it can take 4-8 weeks to receive a review; they need time to use the product before evaluating it. 

An important thing to keep in mind: the Vine Voices who receive your products have no obligation to actually leave a review and are not expected to write only positive reviews.

TIP: Make sure that your listing information is 100% correct and accurate. If a Vine Voice reviewer spots any inaccuracies or false claims within your listing compared to the product they receive, they will highlight the inconsistencies in their review. 

Once your listing reaches 30 reviews, they will be automatically unenrolled from the program.

 

Is it worth it?

Compared to the Early Reviewer Program and other review strategies on Amazon, the Vine program has its advantages. But like any other tactic, there are some downsides, too. Let’s go over the benefits and drawbacks of the Amazon Vine program to help you decide if it’s worth enrolling. 

Pros: 

Greater review potential

Amazon Vine allows sellers to receive up to 30 reviews, compared to five from the Early Reviewer Program. There is still no guarantee that you will actually receive the full 30, as some Vine Voices may choose not to leave a review.

Thorough, higher-quality reviews 

Vine Voices are chosen by Amazon because of their reviewer rank, which is a reflection of the quality and helpfulness of their reviews as judged by other Amazon customers. This means that the reviews they leave will be well thought-out and detail-oriented compared to the average customer review. Expect to see a pros and cons list along with customer images/videos. 

More practical feedback 

Since the Vine Voices aim to break down every aspect of the product, potential customers get a fuller picture of how it might work for them. Instead of vague, one-word reviews, Vine Voice reviewers leave actionable feedback that’s relevant to a customer’s purchasing decision.

No enrollment fee

In past years, it cost vendors thousands of dollars to be involved in the program. At this time, the only cost to use the Vine program is that of each unit you give away. In contrast, the Early Reviewer Program will set sellers back $60 to participate.

Drives traffic and conversions

Customer reviews are among the strongest factors that influence sales and conversions on your listing. Having high-quality Vine Voice reviews on your product will help increase conversion rates and ultimately provide momentum to boost your overall best seller ranking. 

Cons: 

Reviews are not guaranteed, positive or otherwise

While any reviews the Vine Voices do leave will be full of important details, Amazon does not guarantee that they’ll leave positive reviews, or any reviews at all. Sellers will have no control over what the reviewer says and won’t be able to contact them. 

Only available to brand registered sellers

This limits the number of sellers who can actually participate in the program. If your competition is not yet brand registered, taking advantage of Vine reviews can give you a leg up. 

Tl;dr…

All things considered, Vine reviews offer compelling benefits. Think about it: would you rather your listing feature a review that looks like this…

…or this?

They’re both 5-star reviews, one is much more likely to help potential customers make a decision. If you’re a brand registered seller, it’s worth trying it out. 

We were curious about what other sellers thought of the program. Here’s what a couple of them told us in our Amazon FBA Competitive Edge Facebook group:

“It’s worth it to get some early reviews in addition to the ERP. Only cost is some free product which is reasonable. The reviews also tend to have photos, which helps build out your listing.” -Jeff L.

“Not great, no guarantee of reviews and Amazon does not enforce it…approx 30% review rate.” -Deb D.

Like any other selling or review strategy for Amazon sellers, the only way to know if it’ll work for your business is to test it out. What doesn’t work well for someone else, might work great for you. 

 

How else can you get reviews on Amazon?

Getting new reviews is a struggle many sellers face. While the Early Reviewer Program and Amazon Vine can help you get the initial reviews you need, there are still other tactics you can test.

One method we recommend is using Jungle Scout’s Launch feature, which allows sellers to promote their products to potential buyers and reviewers, fast. With Launch, you can promote your product at a discount to help accelerate your sales rank and drive product reviews (though they’re not guaranteed). 

Another powerful way to boost reviews is by utilizing Amazon’s Request a Review button, introduced to Seller Central in late 2019. It allows sellers to send a review request for each eligible order. 

Jungle Scout’s Extension streamlines this process. Instead of manually clicking the Request a Review button on each order, sellers can click once to request reviews in bulk. This saves a lot of time, particularly for large-volume sellers.

We are also adding to our bulk request a review function by making the process fully automatic! Jungle Scout’s Review Automation feature is a new in-app tool that automatically requests product reviews for eligible products on an ongoing basis. In other words: set it and forget it!

What other methods have you discovered for getting positive reviews on Amazon? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

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