Understanding Amazon Seller Feedbacks and Review Policies in 2022

What you need to know about Amazon's feedback and review policies in 2022.

Amazon reviews and seller feedback are crucial key metrics for eCom success, as they are one of the most essential tools consumers use to make a purchase. Sellers understand that with thousands of competitors, you need every tool you can get your hands on to stand out from the competition. If you can get product reviews and seller feedback, you're already ahead of the game because it establishes credibility and attracts new customers to your products. Since customer trust in Amazon depends on the credibility of reviews and feedbacks. Amazon enforces strict regulations to keep a check over any fake, misleading, and fraudulent feedback or review activity.

This causes the feedback and review policies to evolve constantly, which is hard to navigate and keep up with - resulting in increased risk and instances of violation for sellers. There's a lot of bad advice floating around on the internet related to this topic, so we thought it would be helpful to go over what you need to know about Amazon's feedback and review policies in 2022 so you can make the most of your time on the platform.

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Seller Feedback Vs. Reviews :

Talk about the most misunderstood Amazon terms; the top position goes to Amazon Reviews and Seller Feedback. Even the most experienced sellers (and buyers) need clarification at times which is why we would first clear out what they actually mean. Having a better understanding of two means, you can make better decisions as a buyer and learn to up your selling game as a seller.

Amazon Reviews is a public evaluation of customer happiness with a particular item you sell. New buyers refer to product reviews to get more information and social proof that the product is worthwhile. Amazon reviews are viewed on product pages in the form of basic star ratings, written comments, images, or videos. 

Seller Feedback is the evaluation of how a seller performs on Amazon. It tells buyers about a seller's credibility, customer service, and trustworthiness based on previous buyers' experience. By checking seller ratings, you can better know what to expect in terms of packaging, shipping, service, support, and customer experience. 

Since both seller feedback and reviews are different metrics, it is important to understand the difference and have a strategy to grow each. Seller feedback is only provided by customers who have shopped from you and is visible both on your product page and seller profile. On the other hand, anyone is free to submit a review, but Amazon grants a verified purchase badge to consumers who did not buy the item at a significant discount. You can request seller feedback within 90-days of customer purchase, while product review requests have a 30-day time frame. 

The table below shows more differences between the two.

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Amazon’s Seller Feedback and Review Policies:

According to research, 91% of customers agree that good ratings and reviews increase their likelihood of buying a product and engaging with a seller. This indicates that shopper confidence in online reviews is at an all-time high. Since reviews have become so crucial to sales, eCommerce marketplaces are seeing an extreme soar in number of fake reviews and feedback, which is a challenge that Amazon is dealing with full force - to retain the trust of its customer base on the promise of best service and 100% authenticity. 

The eCom giant has always made concerted efforts to identify and eliminate any misleading, fraudulent reviews; however, they have recently toughened the system even more, to scrutinize all feedback or reviews and crack down upon any sellers violating their policies. One of the most prominent changes in the latest policy update is that sellers can no longer publicly comment on reviews and feedback. Let's talk about the major seller malpractices you need to keep your account clear before jumping onto ways to grow your feedbacks and reviews the healthy way.

No More Incentives: Never offer any financial reward, discount, free product, or compensation in exchange for a review of your product.

Reviewing Your Own Product:  It is probably one of the most outdated black hat tactics. Just don't do it. They have proper systems to detect this one very easily. Technically anyone related to the seller can't post reviews, including family, friends, employees, etc. Amazon never discloses how they make the connections, whether it's through collected information, IP addresses, or social media, but ratings from close ones usually don't make it through the review process, and if they suspect you are trying to farm fraudulent reviews, you may get a ban.

Asking For Positive Feedback/Reviews:  While you can definitely request customers to leave a review, it must be done neutrally. Asking for positive reviews directly or through third-party sources is another common violation typically committed by novice sellers and resulting in a ban.

Offering Compensation to Remove Unfavorable Feedback: Negative remarks from customers are painful to deal with. They hurt your seller reputation, product credibility, and sales which is why sellers are ready to go to all extents to get those removed. However, there is no option available to remove ALL the negative reviews since both positive and negative reviews give you and your buyers a realistic overview of your strong and weak points. Amazon does not allow any manipulation with customer feedback for the seller or the product, so offering any compensation to influence buyer reviews is strictly forbidden. 

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Best Practices For Healthy Reviews & Feedbacks:

Requesting for Feedbacks and Reviews The Right Way: Amazon allows you to ask for reviews and feedbacks in multiple ways that are compliant with their Updated Communication Guidelines.

You should make 100% use of proactive permitted messages which means using a request a review button to neutrally ask for reviews. As discussed earlier, this one-time 

message can be sent within 30 days of order completion with the Order ID using the buyer's language of preference. Vine Program, Buyer-Seller Messaging templates in Seller Central, and third-party applications found in Amazon API are also great options for the same purpose. Previously, the Early Reviewer Program was also launched but got closed in 2021.

Tackling Negative Feedbacks: While removing all negative reviews is impossible, there are certainly some practices you need to adopt to keep them at a minimum (and remove the ones you can) - both for your seller performance and products. First, it is important to double-check whether the seller feedback or product review complies with Amazon guidelines. If not, Amazon has a proper review removal policy for it. Another case is when you think it is given by a competitor and can prove that by solid evidence. You can notify Amazon by opening a case with seller support, reporting these on the product page, or emailing at community-help@amazon.com with ASIN, time, date, and name/pseudonym of the reviewer with a link to the review. Any reviews with profane language, personal details, and demands for compensation in exchange for a positive review will be removed. Multiple negative reviews from the same customer will also be removed.

In case of a full-blown infestation of fake negative reviews, you should immediately alert Amazon for malicious attacks so your listing doesn't get affected. Amazon also removes negative seller feedbacks if they are entirely a product review and strikes back if the seller feedback is related to shipping and delivery in case of buy shipping or FBA.

If the negative review(s)or seller feedbacks are not eligible for removal, you need to have a management strategy in place to minimize the damage and hope for the best. 

Review the feedback/review and solve your customer's concern as quickly as possible, which may lead to chances of review alteration. You can use the Contact Customer link on the Brands dashboard (available to brand-registered sellers only) to directly send template message to buyers who have left critical (1-3 star) reviews on your product page. This option will allow you to offer a refund or replacement. 

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Key Takeaway:

As it is always said, prevention is better than cure. It is a lot easier to avoid instances of negative reviews/feedbacks happening to your business than to control the damage done; however, sometimes, it is an unavoidable part of the game. What sellers can do is to try their best to ace the game and not let a few negative ratings get them down OR resort to the black/gray area that puts their business further at risk.

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