How to Use Reviews to Inform Your Amazon Strategy
Article by: Becky Trowbridge [Guest Contributor]
Your customers are talking to you, but are you listening? If you’re not regularly monitoring your Amazon reviews, you’re missing key information that should be informing your brand strategy.
We all love positive ratings, but a negative review can really hurt. After all, you work hard to build your brand and create products that customers will love. Seeing that a buyer had a bad experience with your brand is disappointing, but ignoring it is the last thing you should do.
In this article, we’ll cover five reputation management tactics to help your brand successfully manage and learn from product reviews.
- Identify and Resolve Issues
- Observe the Product Life Cycle
- Find Opportunities to Innovate
- Inform Your Brand Strategy
- Monitor Competing ASINs
1) Identify and Resolve Issues
If a customer is unhappy with your product, it’s your job to figure out why. After all, your brand reputation depends on buyers having positive experiences with your products. You should be monitoring reviews for all your products just as you monitor social sites and search engines for mentions of your brand. Customer reviews provide a unique opportunity for a buyer to tell you exactly what they love and don’t love about your product. Listening to those reviews and taking steps to identify and resolve any problems that customers are experiencing will pave the way for your brand’s continued success.
You can monitor your ASINs manually by checking them regularly, or you can set up alerting through a tool like FeedbackFive, which allows you and/or your team members to automatically receive SMS messages or emails when you receive a negative or neutral review on Amazon. Although you can never ask a customer to change their review, sometimes taking quick action to resolve a negative experience is all it takes for a buyer to change their mind…and the offending review. You can leave a public comment on the review (be sure to keep your response professional and follow Amazon’s Community Guidelines), offering to make the situation right for the customer. This also shows prospective buyers that you are listening to customers and providing the exceptional level of service that we’ve all come to expect from Amazon sellers.
2) Observe the Product Life Cycle
Is a former top seller struggling to get sales and reviews? If a product that once performed well is really lagging behind the rest of your line, it could be a sign that it is reaching the end of the product life cycle in its current form. Perhaps it’s time to consider refreshing the current product with a new look or updated features. Maybe it’s best to retire that product altogether to focus on your current best-selling products.
Take an in-depth look at the product’s ratings over time and pay careful attention to what buyers are saying about the item now versus right after it launched. If demand has decreased over time but the product still offers positive ROI for your brand, it may simply make sense to produce and stock less of it. You might also consider creating a kit or offering a “limited edition” version of the product to try to generate interest and inspire collectors to make more purchases.
3) Find Opportunities to Innovate
When you look closely at your reviews, what are buyers really saying about your products? Use those comments to inspire future growth. If you find that customers are looking for a solution to a problem that your product could solve with a few design tweaks, think about how that might work. Could you make those changes, and is there a business case that supports doing so?
In other cases, reviews might tell you what customers are missing. For example:
“The watercolors worked as expected, but I had to go across town to buy a set of paintbrushes to use them.”
“I wish this hat included reflective material because I usually run in low light conditions and visibility is an issue.”
Search your reviews (both negative and positive) for comments like these. Your customers are literally telling you how to improve your product, what’s working well, and what isn’t working at all in their reviews. This is a great starting point for product research and development, whether you decide to begin offering a kit/bundle, add new features to an existing product, or create a new item.
4) Inform Your Brand Strategy
Customer reviews are full of information that is invaluable for your overall brand strategy. If you’re just getting started or recently launched a new product, getting reviews is key. As those initial reviews start to roll in, be on the lookout for any common complaints or issues. You may find that your product listing is misleading for consumers, so a few simple changes to the copy could prevent negative buyer experiences in the future. You might discover that your branded packaging isn’t protecting your product adequately, or you may find that everything is going as well as you anticipated at launch.
Amazon reviews allow you to objectively measure customer satisfaction. Getting enough good reviews can increase your product’s organic search rankings and help your advertising dollars go farther. If your product is regularly receiving negative ratings, try to get to the root of the issue before advertising that item. Advertising a product with poor reviews can really backfire and might result in one of your worst nightmares: an empty wallet and an overstocked warehouse.
5) Monitor Competing ASINs
Amazon is a competitive market. In order for your brand to thrive, you need to be exceptional and constantly staying at least one step ahead of others in your niche. Regularly monitor competing ASINs for your top products and recently launched items to see what buyers are saying about your competition. Here are a few questions to consider as you do so:
- Are there opportunities to add a suggested feature or variation to your own product?
- What are you doing more effectively than the competition? Where do you fall short?
- How can you continue to differentiate your brand from those in your niche?
We’re not suggesting that you go out and copy everything your top competition is doing. Rather, use their reviews as extended product research to help you improve upon your own strategy.
Use Reviews to Your Brand’s Advantage
No matter your selling model, customer reviews are essential to your brand. You should regularly monitor your ASINs and use the information buyers share in their reviews to continue building your brand. You can save time by using a third-party tool like FeedbackFive to automatically track your ASINs and receive alerts for negative ratings.
This article was written by a guest contributor to the Orca Pacific blog.
As the Managing Content Editor for eComEngine, Becky Trowbridge works to bring you the latest eCommerce industry news as well as tips for running a successful Amazon business. When she’s not writing or managing content, she enjoys spending time outdoors, trying new recipes and reading.