Customer reviews are one of the main reasons why shoppers go to Amazon. So how does Amazon get so many customers to write those reviews?
Getting the first customer review on any product is difficult. Most shoppers have a reluctance to be the first to write anything and those that do often write a negative comment due to a bad experience with the product. This has been the experience of many retailers when they started customer review programmes and caused some to either drop the idea or in a few cases attempt to “edit” the reviews. Never a good idea.
The Amazon business model is so dependant upon customer reviews that they had to find a way to overcome these issues and they created Amazon Vine. It works by sending products out to members of Amazon Vine for them to keep at no charge as long as they complete a customer review. Keep writing reviews and Vine members get the opportunity to request more free stuff to review. Don’t write reviews and get taken off the distribution list. Getting selected to review specific products can be quite competitive too.
The Vine programme started mainly with low value items like books but today also includes expensive products generic name of ventolin such as top of the range TV’s. Imagine that you are a member of Amazon Prime and you get a “free” expensive product to review. How critical of the product are you likely to be? The likelihood is that Amazon Vine members would tend to give better reviews than ordinary paying customers and might just award more stars too. Look carefully at specific reviews and it does say if it was created by an Amazon Vine member.
As soon as the ball is rolling with the first reviews product sales increase. This leads to more reviews and sales continue to grow. Of course Amazon also email customers and ask them for reviews on the products that they’ve bought. If you used a recommendation to select which product to buy many people feel that they also have to contribute a review too.
There are a number of ways that retailers with physical stores can apply lesson learnt from Amazon in their own customer reviews programme. Have a look at the top item on the News page of our website. The Amazon Effect A Pierhouse White paper.