In October 2016 Amazon announced that incentivized reviews are no longer allowed has left many sellers wondering how to adapt their product launch strategies. In this article I will review what changed, and five ways sellers can continue to have successful product launches on Amazon.
What has changed?
A product on Amazon with no reviews will usually have a low conversion rate. Lacking social proof, customers will often go to another product, looking for 4 and 5 star reviews to convince them to buy. Brand owners and private label sellers have commonly used the practice of giving away their products for free or at a discount in exchange for a product review in order to overcome this hurdle when launching a brand new product.
Many of these reviewers, as required by Amazon, leave the disclaimer, “I received this product for free or at a discount in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.” Customers have begun to notice and have grown increasingly suspicious of these types of reviews. Recently data has been published showing that these reviews are indeed biased. While sellers may have been requesting that reviewers leave an unbiased review, the fact is many reviewers still felt inclined to give a more favorable review.
Amazon has taken notice and has taken action by banning these types of reviews. If customers can’t trust the reviews on its site, Amazon risks losing the customer. Amazon in fact has been working most of the year to bring trust back to the product review process. Several lawsuits have been filed against providers and users of fake reviews. Banning incentivized reviews is just the latest step to assure customers that they can continue to rely on its huge volume of product reviews.
Adapting product launches
So how can sellers continue to have successful product launches? I suggest a 5 point strategy:
Minimize your risk
Amazon will continue to update its seller policies in order to protect customers from the latest trends sellers are using to maximize their sales. Third party sellers can minimize their exposure to these changes by ensuring they are using white hat strategies, strategies not designed to manipulate Amazon’s systems. Sellers should also evaluate their overall selling strategy and ensure they have minimized risks by diversifying sales channels and enabling their company to react quickly to the ever changing Amazon marketplace.
Need more assistance in defining your Amazon strategy? Contact us now for a free 30 minute consultation.
Stay up-to-date with Amazon seller insights and best-practices.