Since Amazon changed their review policy in 2016, it’s become increasingly difficult to score early reviews with Amazon. But, sometime in early 2018, Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program was rolled out to help with that.
This article explores what the program is, how sellers can become a part of it, and whether or not the seller community believes it’s worth joining.
What is Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program?
The Amazon Early Reviewer Program is Amazon’s internal launch program that incentivizes customers who have already purchased a product to leave a review.
This benefits both the reviewer, who gets something in return for their honest review, and the seller, who gains early reviews for their product.
Here’s what you need to know about the program:
- The Amazon Early Reviewer program allows a seller to submit one of their product SKUs (stock keeping unit) to be promoted by Amazon for review by a specific, pre-vetted reviewer.
- The program costs $60 per SKU. However, you aren’t charged until you get one review or one year has passed, whichever comes first.
- The product should receive between 1-5 reviews from reviewers, who have been handpicked by Amazon.
- Reviewers are chosen for the program because they have “no history of abusive or dishonest reviews” and they meet all of Amazon’s “eligibility criteria.”
- Once program reviewers leave feedback, Amazon marks the review with an orange badge denoting its early reviewer status.
- Reviewers are rewarded for their participation in the program with a gift card typically valued at $1-$3, regardless of the review, be it a 1-star or 5-star rating. (Some sellers may feel this contradicts Amazon’s policy as sellers themselves aren’t allowed to incentivize reviews. To learn more about Amazon’s rules/regulations regarding reviews, be sure to read our article outlining Amazon’s terms of service.)
How do I join as a seller?
If you’re a seller and wish to become a part of the Amazon Early Reviewer program, just follow these steps:
Login to Seller Central and select the ‘Advertising’ tab; in the dropdown that appears, choose the Early Reviewer Program.
Next, click the orange ‘Get Started’ button on the Early Reviewer home page.
Enter an eligible SKU; if the SKU has too many reviews already, it will be rejected by Amazon automatically.
Submit the SKU and confirm enrollment.
After that, it’s just a matter of waiting for the reviews to roll in!
Amazon Early Reviewer Program: Is it worth it?
As we researched Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program, we were curious about what other sellers thought of the program. Here are what some of them told us in our Amazon FBA Competitive Edge Facebook group:
Overall, most sellers’ feedback was positive:
“Worth it, but it took a while (it’s a seasonal product). Once I got a couple reviews, I definitely got more sales and traction.” – Greg H.
“Yes, it works but make sure your product and listing is in top shape.” – Mitch B.
“I think it’s worth the investment. I run it on every new product I launch.” Ron/Eileen T.
“My philosophy on it is “why not?”. We usually get some reviews through it but it does take a while so it’s certainly not the only method we use to get reviews for new products.” – Misha S.
Others, however, weren’t as impressed:
“There is no guarantee that the first review would be positive. When the first review is negative you know what happens. In that case you actually pay for the negative review.” – Ahmed K.
“I just used it for the first time. Got one 5-star but weak comments for a review. Do they send out to everyone who purchased? I’ve sold 18 items and only got one review from their program….and that cost $60!?” – Sandra M.
The general consensus on the Amazon Early Reviewer Program
While most sellers we spoke with seemed positive about the program, seeing it as a great way to get early reviews, there were two main complaints.
First, getting reviews takes time. Many sellers admitted that it sometimes took 2-3 months to get the first review.
Second, sellers were concerned that if negative reviews came in through the program, they could potentially ruin the product as reviewers can be swayed by peer pressure.
How else can I get reviews on Amazon?
Getting reviews now is nowhere near as easy as it was before Amazon changed their terms of service, even with the Early Reviewer Program. But, there are still other methods that can help.
One such method is using a product launch platform like Jungle Scout’s Launch feature. It remains a popular way for sellers to get their products out to potential reviewers quickly, as these platforms allow you to share product promotions with shoppers, accelerating your sales.
However, there is no guarantee that the buyers on these sites will leave reviews.
So, in addition to product launch platforms, you can also use an automated email responder to follow-up with your customers.
Plus, not only can you encourage them to leave a review with this method, but you can address any potential issues immediately as well (before they leave a review).
Another option is to use product inserts. Some sellers swear by them, claiming they deliver some of the best returns on investment.
But remember, with inserts you must remain neutral. You may ask only that the shopper leave an unbiased and honest review.
You cannot incentivize, nor can you use what-Amazon-considers manipulative language that would encourage only positive reviews. Examples of manipulative language include, “We are a family-owned business…” or “we are a very small business trying to get a start on Amazon…”
Ultimately, though, if you have a great product, a fully optimized listing, and deliver terrific customer service, you should get the good reviews you’re looking for.
And always make sure, whichever method you choose—whether it’s Amazon’s Early Reviewer program and/or one of the aforementioned methods—that you follow Amazon’s terms of service closely.
So what other ways have you discovered for getting positive reviews on Amazon? Let us know in the comments below!