A Guide to Seller Feedback

One of the great things about Amazon is that absolutely anyone can sell on it, from a teenager in his garage to a CEO who’s led her Fortune 500 company for years. As a result, however, more and more people are joining the Amazon marketplace every year, some more dependable than others.

This influx of new sellers can make customers nervous. After all, consumer research has repeatedly proven that most people prefer to do business with the familiar. If customers aren’t familiar with your brand, they at least want to know what other people think of you. Consider how popular Yelp has become in the past few years.

On Amazon, however, there is no Yelp. Amazon’s measure of why a customer should buy from you, specifically, is seller rating. Your seller rating, as you likely know, is the average rating you’ve received in all seller feedback, out of 5 stars.

It’s relatively painless for a customer to leave seller feedback. Just a few clicks, a short message, and it’s done. Amazon estimates that around 10-20% of sales produce seller feedback, a much higher percentage than product reviews.

Despite this, when’s the last time you looked through seller feedback? The product rating is what’s displayed prominently on the page—not the seller rating. Why does seller feedback matter in the first place?

For quite a few reasons, as it turns out. Customers may not care too much about your seller rating, but Amazon certainly does. More specifically, Amazon’s search algorithm cares.

Amazon’s guidelines state that your seller feedback should be over 95% positive, meaning less than 5% of your seller feedback should be neutral or negative. Note that Amazon considers a 3-star rating to be neutral, and anything below that counts as negative.

If you’re below that 95% margin, expect your search rankings to quickly drop off the board. Of course, many top sellers on Amazon have 99–100% positive seller feedback, so in order to compete, you’ll need to be well above the cutoff.

All that information is well and good, but when it comes down to it, what exact actions should you take when it comes to seller feedback?

Worry not—we’ve got specific tips for dealing with negative feedback and leveraging positive feedback. Read on!

Responding to Negative Feedback

1. Learn From It

Treat every negative review as a learning opportunity. In the grand scheme of things, one negative review doesn’t matter much - the vast majority of customers will only see your overall seller rating, and very few will take the time to scroll through comments individually.

However, it can mean a lot to you. They provided you with valuable information about inconsistencies or problems in your business. Use this opportunity to examine and improve your order intake system, inventory management, fulfillment process, or whatever else might have gone wrong. The ultimate goal is to prevent this problem from inconveniencing future customers, and maybe even give you an efficiency edge over your competitors.

2. Prevent a Negative Product Review

Remember: customers leave seller feedback before they have a chance to post a product review. A customer who took the time to leave negative seller feedback is more likely to post a product review, and it’s not likely they’ll have nice things to say there either.

You have a limited window here—after you catch the negative seller feedback, but before they post a product review. If you can quickly and courteously reach out to them in this window, you may stop their negative opinion from becoming much more visible under your product reviews section.

You don’t have to do much when you reach out. Be courteous, offer an apology, and try to help them resolve their frustration if you can. At worst, you’ll appear considerate and attentive. The fact that you cared enough to get in contact may stave them off from writing that bad review. At best, they may even edit or remove their seller feedback entirely.

3. Respond Quickly

How quick should a “quick” response be? Survey says: within 24 hours of the feedback. That’s what customer research has found to be acceptable, and what Amazon expects you to meet when responding to customer messages. However, Amazon’s newest push sets a 12-hour response time as the performance target—keep this in mind, as it may become the new standard over time.

Although your response should be fast, it doesn’t necessarily have to solve all their problems. Research has shown that twice as many customers prefer a fast but relatively unhelpful response to a slow, thought-out response. It’s more important that they feel heard and acknowledged—solutions can come later.

Leveraging Positive Feedback

Even if you’re well above the 95% positive feedback margin, you have no reason to be twiddling your thumbs just yet. With a few simple steps, you can make your positive seller feedback go much further, driving more reviews and repeat sales.

1. Show Your Appreciation

It’s a simple step, but an important one: when you receive positive feedback, shoot the customer an email thanking them for their kind words. You can also suggest they contact you with any questions or eventual issues.

This is an easy step towards building a relationship with your customers. You'll have a much better chance at creating a return customer, which has enormous value in the long run.

2. Drive Product Reviews

While you’re thanking the customer for their seller feedback, ask them to leave a product review as well. If they were happy with the seller experience, they’ll likely also have good things to say about the product.

All you have to do here is ask them to consider leaving a review once they’ve had a chance to test out the product. Don’t overstep here. Don’t ask for a positive review or ask them to leave a certain amount of stars. First of all, it’s bad manners—customers don’t like being told what to do. Second of all, it’s a breach of Amazon’s policy. Keep it simple and honest—no begging.

Conclusion - Automation

Keeping track of seller feedback takes one of two things: a team of sleep-deprived interns constantly refreshing your Seller Central page, or some level of automation. Efficient Era is here to help—with the latter. We’re clean out of interns at the moment.

With our alert systems, buyer-reviewer matching software, seller feedback dashboards, and automatic post-order emails, you’ll have everything you need to leverage your seller feedback—and more—to its greatest potential. Sign up for a free trial today!

Have any questions, additions, or comments? Let us know below!

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