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Amazon Early Reviewer Program: Does It Still Work In 2024?

Amazon Early Reviewer Program screenshot

As of March 2021, Amazon discontinued the Early Reviewer Program, encouraging sellers to adopt new review generation strategies. This change demonstrates Amazon's commitment to maintaining honest reviews that are beneficial for customers' buying decisions.

The Early Reviewer Program served as an Amazon seller tool that assisted new or low-review products in gaining initial reviews. For a $60 fee per SKU, Amazon would ask recent buyers for honest reviews, marked with an orange badge for trust and visibility. Sellers needed brand ownership and products priced over $15 to participate. If the desired number of reviews wasn't reached, sellers received a refund.

Now, let's explore the current situation for Amazon sellers attempting to build product reviews. We'll discuss the impact of this change and unveil effective strategies to enhance your sales and brand reputation without the Early Reviewer Program.

What Was Amazon's Early Reviewer Program?

From 2018 to 2021, Amazon's marketplace featured the Early Reviewer Program, a significant strategy designed to assist sellers in obtaining initial feedback for new or low-review products. 

Launched following Amazon's strict prohibition on incentivized reviews, the program filled a gap by allowing sellers to legally solicit reviews within a defined structure. 

At a cost of $60 per SKU, sellers could register products and potentially receive genuine reviews identified with an orange badge, indicating their origin from the program.

The Evolution of Review Acquisition on Amazon

The program's methodology was both creative and direct. Offering a $1 to $3 gift card as a small incentive to customers who had already bought a product, Amazon created a system where early, truthful feedback was promoted without impacting the trustworthiness of the reviews. This method not only encouraged authentic customer participation but also added to the initial credibility and visibility of new products on the platform.

However, Amazon ceased new enrollments to the Early Reviewer Program in March 2021, signaling a change in its approach to review collection, highlighting the value of organic growth and genuine customer experiences.

Even though the orange badge and structured feedback solicitation are no longer available, the program's core principles—establishing trust and maintaining review authenticity—still influence Amazon's seller policies and offerings. 

In this post-Early Reviewer Program period, attention is now on using Amazon's existing tools and following best practices for review acquisition while upholding the marketplace's commitment to integrity and authenticity.

Exploring Past Eligibility Requirements and Current Review Approaches

The Amazon Early Reviewer Program may have ended, but knowledge of its eligibility criteria offers valuable insights into Amazon's evolving landscape for sellers and product promotion. This insight can be used to adapt to the current Amazon environment, where obtaining authentic reviews is a crucial aspect of a seller's success.

Past Requirements for the Early Reviewer Program:

Brand Ownership: Participants were required to own their own trademarked products, highlighting the program's emphasis on supporting the development of unique brands rather than resellers.

Product Eligibility: Products with less than 5 reviews and priced at $15 or higher were eligible. This requirement was intended to support new products in the marketplace and encourage the initial collection of reviews.

Amazon Brand Registry: Joining the Amazon Brand Registry was a requirement, which confirmed that brands were officially recognized and protected on Amazon, enhancing the credibility of the products in the program.

Adapting to Now:

Amazon's seller programs

In the current Amazon marketplace, despite the Early Reviewer Program no longer being a source for acquiring reviews, the principles of its eligibility criteria continue to guide best practices for brand owners:

Utilize Amazon Brand Registry: Consistently leverage the Brand Registry's resources and protections to establish and uphold your brand's Amazon presence.

Focus on Authentic Review Generation: Transition towards natural methods for acquiring reviews, such as providing exceptional customer service, following up post-purchase (in compliance with Amazon's communication guidelines), and ensuring your product listings are comprehensive and informative.

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Explore Amazon's Current Programs: Stay informed about and engage with Amazon's existing programs that aid sellers in obtaining reviews and promoting products, like the Amazon Vine program, which assists in generating early reviews, albeit operating differently from the Early Reviewer Program.

Understanding Amazon's Review Environment:

As Amazon continues to evolve, familiarizing yourself with past programs like the Early Reviewer Program can offer strategic insights. However, the key to success on Amazon is to remain adaptable, seize current brand expansion opportunities, and adhere to Amazon's review acquisition guidelines. This approach fosters ongoing success by establishing a reputable and reliable Amazon presence.

Review Acquisition Alternatives and Strategies

Woman reviewing a product for Amazon Vine Program

The Amazon Vine Program is a method that provides products to dependable reviewers for impartial feedback. Grasping the requirements for involvement and the benefits of early reviews can improve your product's prominence.

This review method is advantageous not only for consumers in search of authentic product feedback but also for sellers aiming to enhance visibility and boost sales. By using this method, you can acquire trustworthy reviews, boosting the reliability and popularity of your products on Amazon. The program encourages trust and openness, promoting an improved shopping experience for everyone.

Promote Organic Reviews

Promoting genuine reviews by providing excellent customer service is hugely beneficial. Methods like sending follow-up emails aligned with Amazon's rules, incorporating review requests within product packaging, and upholding superior product quality and customer service are advantageous.

Furthermore, fostering clear and honest communication with customers can establish a positive rapport and encourage them to provide truthful feedback. Consistently checking and responding to reviews can also demonstrate to customers that their viewpoints are respected, leading to enhanced customer loyalty and repeat sales.

Use Amazon Request a Review Button

Amazon allows sellers to communicate with buyers through specific message types. You can utilize the 'Request a Review' button on the Order Details page on Amazon. 

Amazon Seller Central Review Button

This feature enables sellers to request reviews and seller feedback at the same time, following Amazon's communication policies.

Customers often refrain from leaving product feedback due to the time requirement. Quick reviews address this issue by allowing customers to rate a product with stars, bypassing the need for a detailed written review. This option is exclusively available to verified buyers and can be suggested in your buyer-seller communication.

Interact With Customers After Purchase

Interacting with customers post-purchase, within Amazon's guidelines, can enhance your brand experience. This includes promptly and effectively solving customer issues and providing a memorable brand experience that encourages them to leave positive feedback willingly.

It's also important to always be professional when communicating with customers. This pertains not only to the speed and effectiveness of handling customer issues but also to how you communicate. A polite, respectful conversation can greatly improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, resulting in more purchases and positive feedback. 

Remember, each interaction is a chance to reinforce your brand values and develop stronger customer relationships.

Monitor and Reply to Reviews

Amazon reviews and and stars

Monitoring and responding to reviews, both positive and negative, is valuable. Engaging with reviewers can enhance customer satisfaction and demonstrate to potential buyers that you value feedback and prioritize excellent customer service.

Stay Updated on Amazon's Policies

Stay informed about Amazon's latest policies on review acquisition to ensure your strategies are compliant and effective. This involves comprehending what Amazon considers as incentivization and how to avoid practices that may put your seller account at risk.

Conclusion: Adjusting to Change

Adjusting to the seller life without the Amazon Early Reviewer Program requires new tactics and instruments for Amazon sellers. Luckily, there are alternatives available. 

Concentrating on natural growth, interacting with customers, and employing Amazon's existing services can help sellers maintain a robust collection of reviews that boost sales and enhance brand trustworthiness.

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