Archive for February, 2021

How to Leverage Product Reviews to Increase Sales on Amazon

How to Leverage Product Reviews to Increase Sales on Amazon

It’s no secret that customer reviews are an integral part of the shopping experience on Amazon. Customers use these reviews to learn more about products, assess whether they fit their needs, and make an informed purchase decision. While most sellers understand that accumulating positive reviews is an important component to building a successful brand on Amazon, many are unclear about just how powerful reviews can be and, more importantly, why they are so influential.

How Amazon Reviews Provide Social Proof

The key to understanding the importance of positive reviews is a concept called social proof. The term was coined in 1984 by Robert Caldini, a renowned psychologist who is globally credited as the foundational expert in the science of influence. In its essence, social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon wherein people are persuaded to mimic the actions of others. Applied to business, it simply means people are more likely to purchase a product if they have proof that others have bought it and like it. You might remember the old billboards for McDonald’s that boasted “over 1 billion sold!” The idea is that if a billion people like their hamburgers, you probably will also.

The nature of online shopping gives even more power to reviews because it enables customers to provide a rating for a product that is viewable to all future shoppers. With e-commerce at an all-time high, product reviews have never been more influential. A recent report by Spiegel Research Center found that 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase and that most trust these reviews as much as they would a recommendation from a friend. In fact, upon visiting a product page, many customers skip immediately to the first few reviews to determine whether they should read more.

According to Forbes, product reviews are becoming more important to a customer’s purchasing decision than brand influence. This is good news for new and smaller brands because it provides an opportunity to compete more aggressively against brands that have traditionally relied on customer loyalty. In other words, social proof allows small to medium-sized businesses an opportunity to siphon sales from larger competitors.

How to Generate Amazon Reviews

Accumulating positive reviews can be challenging – especially for sellers who are just launching their brands on Amazon. It may even seem paradoxical. After all, you need reviews to get customers, but you need customers to get reviews. Fortunately, Amazon has a few mechanisms in place to help sellers acquire them.

Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program encourages customers who have already purchased a product to share their experience, regardless of whether it is a 1-star or 5-star review. This program helps generate early reviews for products that have few or no reviews, helping shoppers to make smarter buying decisions as well as brands who benefit from acquiring reviews. Currently, the Early Reviewer Program is limited to U.S. sellers with SKUs that are priced above $9.00. and have less than five reviews. If a SKU is listed on additional marketplaces, it will be eligible for enrollment, but Amazon will only request reviews from customers who purchased the SKU on www.amazon.com.

Another option for acquiring reviews is Amazon Vine. This program invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release products to help other customers make informed purchase decisions. Amazon invites customers to become Vine Voices based on their reviewer rank, which reflects the quality and helpfulness of their reviews as judged by other Amazon customers. Most sellers who are enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry can participate in Amazon Vine for free, so long as their products meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must give away each product for free
  • You must have fewer than 30 reviews on your listing
  • Your product must be an FBA offer in ‘New’ condition
  • Your product must not be an “adult” product
  • Your product must already have launched at the time of enrollment
  • You must have available inventory for your product
  • Your listing must have an image and a description

How to Manage Negative Reviews

As a seller on Amazon, you will inevitably run into negative reviews. Such is the nature of e-commerce. Fortunately, most online shoppers are aware that virtually every product – regardless of its quality – will always have a few bad reviews. That said, burdensome customers can influence how well your products sell, which is why it is important to manage negative reviews appropriately. Active shoppers use reviews as a purchasing guide when making their buying decisions. This includes judging how well your brand deals with a difficult customer. In fact, when handled properly, a bad review can lead to new sales. The following best practices will help you manage negative reviews in a way that shows other shoppers that your business is responsive and dedicated to customer service and product quality:

  • Always utilize the ‘managed orders’ feature on Amazon to obtain details of the customer’s order
  • Always get in contact with the customer directly and promptly
  • Always assure the customer that you are well informed of the situation and avoid upsetting the customer further by reducing any inconvenient or unnecessary back and forth
  • Always display your brand’s core values while dealing with an upset customer
  • Always maintain a positive, understanding, and friendly tone
  • Always monitor reviews
  • Always identify commonly reported issues and find a solution for the root of the problem

Resolving the issue with the customer directly may lead to the removal of negative feedback. Of course, this doesn’t always happen. Therefore, it’s important to respond publicly to negative feedback with a friendly, helpful, and sincere tone. Other shoppers will see how your brand responds to upset customers, which can neutralize negative reviews and help maintain a positive image for your brand.

CHANNEL KEY TAKEAWAY

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said, “If you build a great experience, customers will tell each other. Word of mouth is very powerful.” This concept is especially true for e-commerce businesses. Your best salespeople are satisfied customers who leave great reviews on your product pages. The social proof that these reviews provide often mean more to a shopper than your product descriptions. According to Dr. Caldini, social proof is one of six key ethical principles of persuasion that influence people to say “yes” in a given situation. In the context of Amazon, this means purchasing a product. Understanding the psychological effect that social proof has on a customer is the key to leveraging positive reviews to increase sales on Amazon. When utilized effectively, there is no limit to your growth potential.

ABOUT CHANNEL KEY

Channel Key is a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate close to $500M in Amazon sales for retail brands around the world. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, ongoing consulting, and much more. To learn more about how Channel Key can help increase sales for your business, contact us today for a free consultation.


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Download our FREE Interactive Guide to Selling on Amazon in 2021!

Nine Important Amazon Advertising Updates that Impact Sellers

Nine Important Amazon Advertising Updates that Impact Sellers

Amazon Advertising is a robust platform for brands to target and convert both new and existing customers. As the largest and most powerful e-commerce marketplace, the retail giant is always improving and expanding its vast suite of marketing and advertising tools. Staying up to date with the latest changes can be challenging and time-consuming. As a proven and recognized Amazon agency, Channel Key receives early insight into new Amazon Advertising programs, analytics, and metrics. To help your brand stay ahead of the competition, we’ve compiled the most recent changes that impact Amazon sellers so you can focus your time and energy on what’s important – running your business.

Manage Brand-to-Product Relationships

The Amazon Advertising console now offers the ability to review and manage brand-to-product relationships to help measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns across all ad programs. It’s now simple to add products to your brands or remove misclassified products for better attribution to your metrics such as total purchases and a better selection experience. Any changes made to these relationships will impact all ad campaigns that are currently running as well as any future campaigns. After suggested changes are approved by Amazon, attribution will be impacted across display ads, Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, and Sponsored Display campaigns for metrics such as total purchases.

New Category Benchmarks for Sponsored Brands

Amazon Advertising now provides a category benchmark report, which helps evaluate the performance of Sponsored Brands campaigns relative to their peers using the category benchmark report. Category benchmarks are available for impressions, click-through rate (CTR), return on ad spend (ROAS), and advertising cost of sales (ACOS). For each metric, the benchmark presents your performance with your closest peers’ performance values at the median, lower-performing quartile (bottom 25%), and top-performing quartile (top 25%) within specific shopping categories. This data helps identify improvement areas like insufficient spend in categories with lower relative impressions, which can better inform an overall brand’s strategy. It also makes it easier to understand how performance changes are impacted by a brand’s campaign optimizations or category trends. Note that the category benchmark report is available for a 90-day lookback window.

Upcoming Change to Sponsored Brands True Brand Logo Requirement

Beginning March 31, 2021, new Sponsored Brands campaigns will require the use of a true brand logo. True brand logos provide a better experience for shoppers and help drive more engagement with your brand and products. According to Amazon, shoppers engage 20% more on desktop and 13% more on mobile with ad campaigns that have a true brand logo. All Sponsored Brands creative types will be impacted, including product collection, custom image, and Store spotlight.

Upcoming Change to Sponsored Brands Product Optimization Support

Beginning March 25, 2021, the product optimization feature for Sponsored Brands campaigns will no longer be supported in the US (and UK) in the advertising console or the Amazon Advertising API. Existing Sponsored Brands campaigns with product optimization enabled will no longer have the products in the creative automatically optimized. Campaigns with product optimization enabled will be converted to standard Sponsored Brands product collection campaigns with the default selected products showing in the creative.

Improved Product Targeting Recommendations for Sponsored Display

Amazon recently launched improved targeting recommendations for Sponsored Display product targeting in the Amazon Advertising console. These recommendations are ranked by their probability of driving a higher clickthrough rate (CTR) for the advertised products selected. This feature expedites the campaign launching process and can help improve product consideration. Improved recommendations are also available through the Amazon Advertising API.

Create Multiple Budgets in a Single Order on DSP

Amazon now provides the ability to create multiple budgets for different flight periods within an order on the Amazon DSP. This eliminates the need to create separate orders or line items to assign different budget amounts per flight. Campaigns now pace towards order budgets unless the sum of line item budgets in the order is lower than total order budgets. In this case, Amazon paces towards the sum of line item budgets as that amount is more restrictive.

New Whole Foods Market Lookalike Category-Level Audiences

Amazon recently launched lookalike category-level audiences (e.g., meat or dairy shoppers) leveraging Whole Foods Market shopping signals, including online (pick-up and delivery) and offline (in-store). This feature enables U.S. advertisers to reach audiences who shop at Whole Foods Market – both online and at physical locations. Combining these audiences with existing audience sources allows brands to reach the most relevant customers at the right moments in their shopping journeys.

Responsive E-Commerce Creative Now Generally Available

Responsive e-commerce creative is now available to all advertisers on Amazon DSP. This provides the ability to auto-generate an e-commerce display ad creative with up to 20 featured products and automatically skips the rendering of a product that is out of stock. Additionally, responsive e-commerce creative enables brands to select and deselect up to 10 supported sizes utilized both onsite and offsite via Amazon DSP and monitor a campaign’s performance across each placement size via the Amazon DSP report center.

Bulk Association of Creatives to Line Items

Amazon has added a new creatives button to the bulk actions bar on the line item page that provides the ability to add or remove multiple creatives to multiple lines in a single action. Managing creatives in bulk helps reduce the time spent when assigning creatives by removing the need to navigate and assign to individual line items. All line item and creative types present in the Amazon DSP console are supported.

CHANNEL KEY TAKEAWAY

Amazon has become much more than an online marketplace. Today, it’s the #1 platform where customers begin their shopping journey. Because of this, its advertising business has soared. According to the Wall Street Journal, digital ad revenue for Amazon jumped a whopping 51% in the most recent quarter. More brands are realizing that Amazon Advertising is a powerful way to reach customers, which means greater competition. The key to distinguishing your brand with Amazon Advertising is to not only understand the platform’s complex suite of available marketing tools, but also remaining up to date with ongoing changes that impact sellers. Be sure to check back soon for the latest Amazon Advertising developments that can help your brand increase sales on the largest e-commerce marketplace in the world.

ABOUT CHANNEL KEY

Channel Key is a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate $250M in Amazon sales for retail brands around the world. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, ongoing consulting, and much more. To learn more about how Channel Key can help increase sales for your business, contact us today for a free consultation.


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Download our FREE Interactive Guide to Selling on Amazon in 2021!

Channel Key Names Corey Heim Head of Sales and Business Development

Channel Key Names Corey Heim
Head of Sales and Business Development

Channel Key is excited to announce that Corey Heim has been named Head of Sales and Business Development. Heim will be a part of the leadership team for our agency, which is experiencing rapid growth due to the acceleration of e-commerce across all industries.

“Through his background running his previous organization, Corey brings a tremendous amount of experience with Amazon and also a Brand perspective that will be critical as we continue to add brand partners to the CK portfolio,” said Dan Brownsher, CEO and Co-Founder of Channel Key. “I’m most excited about adding his leadership and progressive mindset to our culture.”

As Head of Sales and Business Development, Corey will provide leadership, direction, and resource stewardship to grow Channel Key through client acquisition. Heim will be accountable for the agency’s overall sales performance, including owning all business development department processes, developing and executing sales strategies, maximizing interdepartmental communication for operational efficiency and effectiveness, attending tradeshows and conferences, communicating the Channel Key value proposition through proposals and presentations, and building and maintaining long-term client partnerships.

“The past twelve months have seen a major shift in how consumers search and shop for products,” said Corey. “Retail brands and manufacturers need e-commerce now more than ever. With the digital marketplace landscape growing more complex and essential each day, partnering with a proven channel management agency gives businesses a competitive advantage. I’m excited to join such an accomplished team of e-commerce professionals who share my passion for helping brands adapt and succeed.”

Before joining Channel Key, Corey spent 15 years building brands in the consumer products space. He served as Chief Operating Officer and co-founder at DryCorp and DryCase where he acquired a wide variety of business experience to include product development, sales management, and business development. He has built up sales channels across several different industries including consumer medical and outdoor retail. Heim has mentored and coached dozens of salespeople over the years and enjoys seeing them become successful sales leaders.

ABOUT CHANNEL KEY

Channel Key is a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate $250M in Amazon sales for retail brands around the world. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, ongoing consulting, and much more. To learn more about how Channel Key can help increase sales for your business, contact us today for a free consultation.


Ebook cover

Download our FREE Interactive Guide to Selling on Amazon in 2021!

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