How to Launch a Product on Amazon in 2019 (Part 2)
Article by: Karleigh Roberts
Last month, I compared launching products on Amazon to being tossed into the cockpit of a plane in flight. The metaphor resonated with a number of readers who have since requested a full “flight plan” to keep them from falling out of the sky. Specifically, brands wanted to know more about the programs that Amazon has to help products become marketing ready and drive traffic once they are.
So here it is… the first of two more articles focused on some of the other levers at your disposal. We’ll start with Amazon Vine, Early Reviewer, Buyer-Seller Messaging, and Giveaways. You’ve got me in your ear, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.
(Click here to read Part 1)
The importance of reviews for new products on Amazon cannot be overstated. As mentioned in part one, over half of all Amazon customers want a review to verify their purchase decision. Since the average organic review rate is only around 2%, Amazon offers a few programs to help jumpstart reviews for new products.
For first-party vendors, the Amazon Vine program can be a useful tool for increasing reviews. Brands pay at the ASIN level to send samples to a curated list of trusted reviewers who provide unbiased reviews about the product, answering questions like “Does the product quality reflect its price?” and “Does the product detail page content accurately depict the product?”
Pricing for the Vine program can depend on the product category and number of samples sent. Vendors enroll their products through Vendor Central, where they select the desired ASINS, determine sample quantity, and print labels. Vendors then secure the labels to their products and ship them to Amazon fulfillment centers to be distributed to reviewers.
While participating in Amazon Vine prior to product launch can be an effective way to ensure that your products are marketing-ready, the program can also be effective for products that have already launched.
For third-party sellers, the Early Reviewer program has proved particularly useful for generating new product reviews. Sellers who are verified through Amazon Brand Registry can sign up within Seller Central to send Amazon gift cards ($1 – $3) to customers who purchased their product, incentivizing them to leave a review. The reward is only redeemable after a review is left, though the offer remains valid for up to a year or until your product receives 5 reviews (enough to significantly increase conversion and new product discoverability).
Brands aren’t charged for the promotion until a review is left, and enrollments cover an entire SKU variation family.
It should be noted, however, that Amazon prohibits soliciting positive reviews. So brands participating in the Early Reviewer program rely strictly on the quality of their product to elicit positive responses.
Another option for third-party sellers to gain reviews is through Buyer-Seller Messaging, a free program whereby brands can send a customizable message out to customers after purchase. Sellers can include useful information to their customers like tips for product use, maintenance instructions, and even creative add-ons like recipes or word games. Of course, the additional touch-point also serves as an avenue for requesting product feedback with a simple message like, “Tell us how we did.” While you can’t incentivize feedback or request positive reviews, the messaging is still an effective method for increasing review rate, often bumping the average up to 5 or 6%.
A lesser-known marketing tool to utilize during product launch is Amazon Giveaway, a program allowing both vendors and sellers to set up sweepstake promotions. These promotions can be an effective way of generating buzz around your new product and growing your customer base.
Third-party sellers enroll in Amazon Giveaway through Seller Central. First-party vendors, on the other hand, set up the promotion through a link titled “setup giveaway” located on the product detail page of the ASIN they wish to promote (pictured below)
When setting up the promotion, brands first select the number of products to give away with a maximum of 30 physical prizes or 50 digital prizes and a max of $5,000 in total retail value. Then brands determine whether prizes are awarded by first come-first served or on a set interval (every n-th entry wins). You also have the ability to set entry requirements for boosting brand exposure such as viewing a custom video advertisement linked in from YouTube.
Once the above parameters are in place, Amazon handles the rest including hosting the promotion on their site. If you set the giveaway to “public,” Amazon will even market it for you on their giveaway listing page, daily email promotions, and other placements. Giveaways that are set to “private” can only be accessed through a link that you can market on your own.
Only verified Amazon customers can enter into giveaways, and they are limited to one entry per participant. You can find more information about the program and a list of frequently asked questions here.
Have specific questions about the above programs? Looking for help launching your product?
Reach out to speak with the Orca Pacific team, or send me a direct message.