Did you know that according to one study, nine out of ten customers read reviews before deciding whether or not to buy a product? This is why encouraging customers to write positive reviews is so essential, especially those that have been certified authentic. A certified review is known as a verified review.
A verified review comes after a verified purchase. Let’s define the term verified review in further detail.
You receive a verified review when Amazon can confirm the reviewing customer has indeed purchased the product. This typically means they need to make the review through a specific link that Amazon provides them.
Ideally, that verified review won’t be negative. Regardless, this article will discuss the importance of encouraging customers to leave verified reviews for their Amazon purchases.
1. What Does Verified Purchase Mean on Amazon?
Before we continue, let's look at what Amazon has to say about verified purchases. Here’s a quote directly from Amazon.com:
"An Amazon Verified Purchase review means that we've verified that the person writing the review purchased the product from Amazon, and didn't receive the product at a big discount.
Reviews that are not marked Amazon Verified Purchase are valuable as well, but, either we cannot confirm that the product was purchased from Amazon, or that the customer paid a price that is available to most Amazon shoppers."
We can learn from the quote above that non-verified reviews are not necessarily fake reviews. Both kinds of reviews are important in your strategy to gain recognition on Amazon.
However real either type may be, Amazon puts greater value on verified reviews. Moving on, let's discuss how offering discounts can help you receive more Amazon verified reviews.
2. Offering Discounts for Amazon Verified Reviews
When customers leave behind online reviews, they're usually pretty honest about their experience. This is because if they take the time to write a review, the experience is usually memorable (whether positive or negative). One of the best strategies you can use to encourage positive, verified reviews is to offer discounts. If there is one thing that buyers love, it’s getting a better deal than other people!
For example, if someone offered to sell you a Mercedes Benz for half the price, you're more than likely to leave a 5-star review for that salesperson! It's important not to abuse discounts, however. Let's move on to discussing Amazon’s anti-manipulation policy for customer reviews.
3. Amazon Reviews Verified Purchase Anti-Manipulation Policy
For both sellers and buyers, Amazon’s policy on manipulated reviews is clear:
"Any attempt to manipulate reviews, including by directly or indirectly contributing false, misleading, or inauthentic content, is strictly prohibited."
Years ago, Amazon had a big problem with fake reviews on their website. It’s similar to Google’s old problem of people taking advantage of keyword rankings by repeating the same keyword over and over again.
Reviews were given in exchange for a deep discount. They were also often left by the sellers themselves using alternative accounts. While Amazon hasn’t found a way to solve this problem entirely, its algorithm discourages users from participating in these practices.
What are the Penalties for Encouraging Fake Reviews?
In the worst-case scenario, those who are caught falsifying a positive review may face the following penalties:
- Permanent removal of the product from Amazon (more likely if you own the brand)
- Removal of reviews from the product
- Prevention of further reviews from adding to the product
- Permanent removal of seller privileges on Amazon
- Withholding of funds owed to the seller
- Legal action against the seller
While false reviews lead to a potential kickstart in sales, it isn’t worth the backlash. In your best-case scenario, that product is gone forever. Most likely, Amazon will remove you from its platform.
The same penalties apply if you attempt sabotage to your competitor’s review pages.
4. How To Increase Your Amazon Verified Reviews
Now that you know what a verified purchase on Amazon is, we'll move on to discussing how exactly you can get them. Not just any reviews, positive, genuine reviews.
Below, we will provide you with tips you can use to increase those verified reviews.
Tip 1: Create a Custom Message
When a customer makes an Amazon verified purchase, they will automatically receive a review request via email. Amazon then sends reminders via Kindle or email if the review has not yet been made.
One problem with these automated requests is that they are robotic and repetitive. As a result, people will pass over them without a second thought.
Instead of allowing this to continue, you can use your customer messaging system in Seller Central to send a custom message. A custom message can offer a personalized thank you for their purchase.
People are more likely to leave a review if they get a personalized reminder. However, you have to be careful when sending reminders, because you don't want to violate any "Terms of Sale" conditions.
If you plan on creating a custom message, you can familiarize yourself with the Customer product reviews policy.
Some of the most common violations of Amazon’s customer review policy include the following:
- Offering incentives in exchange for a review (gift cards, discounts, etc.)
- Requesting positive feedback (discouraging negative reviews)
- A request to change or remove a product review
- A friend or family member leaves a positive review
Another common mistake people make when sending messages is encouraging people to come off-site. However, we will address how you can create a long-term strategy for off-site reviews later.
Messaging Limits on Amazon
Amazon typically does not want sellers to send a second message regarding reviews. Because Amazon believes in maintaining the customer experience, it doesn’t always like custom messages.
Amazon would likely prefer if you left things in their hands, but that isn’t always the best option for most sales. So while it is good advice to k always be sure that this one message follows guidelines.
Do not pressure your buyers too much to leave a review, or your positive review might turn into a report to Amazon.
Tip 2: Request Amazon Verified Reviews in Product Inserts
Another strategy you can use to obtain a review is by using Amazon Product Inserts. Amazon Product Inserts are small sheets of paper you can include in the package when your product is shipped. These papers are meant to do one of the following:
- Thank the customer for purchasing the product
- Providing a discount code for another product
- Giving instructions to the buyer on how to use the product
You can read more about how to create a product insert that is Amazon TOS compliant in another one of our blog articles.
Finally, you can try to obtain a review by doing the following:
- Requesting the buyer to share their experience with the product
Amazon sellers are more likely to see their online reviews increase if they ask for the reviews. But with buyer messaging being so tricky, a product insert is your next best bet.
Because of Amazon’s extensive efforts to tightly regulate seller messaging, sellers may prefer to use product inserts. This works well because Amazon fulfillment centers do not check the inside of boxes.
That also means that if you offer an incentive in exchange for a product review in your product insert, Amazon will have a more difficult time tracking it. Many larger sellers recognize this and take advantage of it often.
The problem with doing this is that if you get caught, you will be removed from Amazon. So instead of playing with fire, follow these quick tips to increase your chances of a product review without a TOS violation:
- Do not include discount codes alongside product review requests, even if it is evident that getting the code has nothing to do with leaving behind a review
- Provide steps for people on how to leave behind an Amazon verified review. Inform them to access a link from their orders page to do so
- Give the buyer instructions on how to use the product alongside review requests effectively. This informs the buyer that your priority is being helpful
Later in this article, we will be revisiting product inserts for a loophole around this review request issue. This loophole is not against the Amazon TOS.
Tip 3: Announce New Products as an Amazon Private Label Seller (Amazon Brand)
If you're not already familiar, the Amazon Brand Registry offers many tools for sellers with brands. Taking advantage of these tools can help you become a more competitive seller.
The Amazon Brand Registry is also a tool to help you get more verified reviews. This can be achieved using an Amazon Storefront. If you already have an Amazon Storefront, you can check out this article to learn the best practices for Optimizing your Amazon Storefront.
If you’ve paid attention to Amazon Stores, you know that there is a small follow button in the corner of every storefront. This button enables buyers who love your brand to receive updates and recommended product notifications from you.
The follow button also enables sellers to make new product announcements. Those new product announcements will encourage buyers who are already invested in your brand to leave five-star reviews.
You might say that there is no way to establish that this will happen. But the truth is that it is actually far easier to convince people who already know your brand quality to make a purchase, and then leave a review. Since they already know the level of quality they can expect from your brand, it's easier for them to make a verified review. If you want to learn more about private label selling on Amazon, check this article out.
Tip 4: Invest in Amazon Advertising to Increase Exposure
Using Amazon Sponsored Products Advertising is an excellent way to get your product exposure. In this case, your ultimate goal is to increase awareness of your products.
In addition to Sponsored Products, you generally want to have a diverse advertising portfolio. So when we say “invest in ads,” we mean to invest in multiple types of advertising.
Despite how fruitful one form of ads might become, smaller sellers often get trumped by someone with more resources. By having a diverse advertising portfolio, you will get the most out of your money.
Having multiple advertising strategies also enables you to discover what works best for your product. ACoS, or Advertising Cost of Sales, is one of the most critical aspects of Amazon metrics.
To provide your advertising strategy with an enhanced data set, DataHawk Amazon Advertising solution can help you optimize your advertisements. The more traffic so your listings, means more sales, which means more reviews!
Tip 5: Use Amazon Product Listing Optimization to Gain More Exposure
Many Amazon sellers have limited advertising budgets. If you are just starting out, that budget is most likely to be near $0. Some people do still manage to gain exposure.
How do they do that?
Much of this comes from being incredibly effective with their keyword targets, offering a high-quality product, and being a master at Amazon SEO. Amazon SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of ensuring your Amazon listing meets quality standards.
This optimization process includes the following tasks:
- Uploading high-quality images that meet Amazon’s standards
- Having an engaging product title with a primary keyword
- Creating bullet points with secondary keywords that address customer concerns
- Having more excellent details in the later product descriptions.
Optimization is often thought of as just plugging in the right keywords. However, you’ll find that this mode of thinking is incredibly outdated.
While keywords are important, it is just as important to use them selectively. The backend keywords you place under the “search terms” section are often more critical.
If you are going to place keywords, make sure their location makes sense. Don’t place a keyword just because you think it will make you rank well. The best strategy is to use an Amazon Keyword Research tool.
Tip 6: Utilize The Amazon Influencer Program
Finally, we want to remind you to utilize all of your resources. One of your most valuable resources should involve advertising and partner up with popular influencers.
Influencers are various web stars that have gained their fame online for different reasons. They typically have audiences of followers that follow their style, tech tips, or other lifestyle advice.
To be an Amazon Influencer is to influence people to purchase Amazon products. You can see a good example of an Amazon influencer by looking at Amazon Live.
Amazon Live features various influencers on Amazon that the company has chosen to represent products. The Amazon influencer program exists to link you with some influencers that might appear here.
It isn’t guaranteed that your product will end up here, but you might find an audience elsewhere. Typically, micro-influencers are far more effective at marketing your product anyway.
Much like the Amazon Affiliate Program, influencers make a commission based on their audience. The strongest influencers have greater leverage, typically demanding higher commission rates as a result.
5. Considering Your Long-Term Strategy Regarding Reviews
When it comes to collecting Amazon verified reviews, you will want to create a long-term strategy. This involves using all of your sales channels. You might as why would you bother if everything works well already on Amazon.
Ultimately, you should never build your strategy around using a single platform. Instead, your goal should be to develop your brand in such a way where it can stand on its own.
This way, you can acquire reviews on social media platforms, personal sites, and other marketplace platforms. With the addition of Walmart Marketplace, it is possible to develop a business to delegate matters between platforms.
But since Amazon discourages you from linking to off-site locations, how do you gain exposure? The answer is through social media references in product inserts.
Utilizing Product Inserts To Gain Off-Site Exposure
An effective method for avoiding "Terms of Sale" violations is by using product inserts on your social media pages. While Amazon doesn’t permit you to add URLs to your product listings. They will even go so far as to outright ban you for links to an off-site store. Luckily, you can mention your social media handle.
Social media is another method you can use to legitimize your brand. Amazon understands this, which is why they do not discourage this behavior.
The idea is that once they are on your social media, you can start gaining off-site reviews and sales. Amazon has no say on what you can do on your social media. Provided you don’t claim to be working for Amazon; you can expand your strategies.
Option One: Offering Incentivized Reviews
Other websites don’t typically care if you use your social media to offer incentives for reviews. While those incentives cannot be directly related to Amazon, they might make people more likely to share a positive experience.
The lure of “free stuff” is hard to resist for most people.
Option Two: Promotional Sharing
The only thing you can currently do on Amazon Brands is announce new products. While this is an excellent feature for those who follow you, it isn’t very compelling.
Instead, your goal should be to promote your social media pages and website. You can, for example, host a social media campaign where you offer raffles for free products in exchange for sharing your brand.
You’ll still want to provide engaging content that is worth sharing.
Option Three: Share Upcoming Sales
Amazon will feature your products at the top of their search results if you are a high-quality seller. but unfortunately if your products are on sale, you are not permitted to announce this sale to your brand followers. However, there is no rule against this on your social media page.
This can be incredibly effective during Prime Day, where it is easy to get lost in the sea of competitive sales. You can dominate sales rankings if you have direct access and gain more sales than your competition if you have a great social media presence.
Regardless of how you choose to do it, you have to find ways to work around Amazon's rules. You can do this by expanding your product offerings onto multiple platforms. That way, if competition gets too tricky on Amazon, you’ll have other platforms to rely on for sales.
The Last Tip - Don’t Ignore Negative Feedback
When it comes to Amazon reviews on verified purchases, unfortunately, they won’t always be positive. Sometimes, people might be confused by your product or report that it is of low quality.
While some of those reviews might be fake, negative reviews can actually be turned into a positive. For instance, you can use the feedback to improve.
Negative feedback isn’t some vindictive customer trying to destroy your online reputation. It’s someone who wants to share their frustrations and help others avoid the same negative experience.
Nobody wants to attack you personally over having a bad experience with a product. Instead of viewing it as a personal attack, view any negative review as a chance for growth.
With a positive mindset and some effort, you can become a successful Amazon Seller!
6. Final Thoughts - What Does Verified Purchase Mean on Amazon?
When it comes to collecting positive reviews, Amazon verified reviews have much more impact on your conversions. This is because other customers will see them and see you as a credible seller. Amazon is also more likely to boost your sales rank based if you have many positive reviews.
To gain these reviews, you can ask directly through two means:
- Making requests using the seller messaging system
- Asking for reviews using product inserts
When following up with your customers about reviews, always be sure not to harass them. This might lead to you gaining negative feedback, and further, leading to a poor customer experience.
As always, consider long-term goals when making these requests. Sometimes, the best customer reviews aren’t those you get primarily from Amazon. Thanks for reading and happy selling!