In the world of marketing and advertising, content is king. Yet, now more than ever, consumers are more invested in peer reviews. Considered to be a trustworthy source, reviews are king in the world of Amazon. Often times it can be difficult or near impossible to get reviews when selling a new product, but Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program makes it easier to get valuable feedback.

The Conundrum:

  • In order to increase sales on Amazon, you need more reviews
  • In order to get more reviews, you need higher sales
  • In order to get higher sales, you need to rank higher in product searches
  • In order to rank higher in product searches, you need more reviews AND more sales

Amazon understands the difficulty of getting early reviews within its platform. To help sellers, Amazon created the Early Reviewer Program in 2018.

What you’ll learn:

  1. What is the Early Reviewer Program?
  2. Why Was the Early Reviewer Program Created?
  3. How Does It Work for Buyers?
  4. What are Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program Requirements for Sellers?
  5. How Does It Work for Amazon Sellers?
  6. Step-By-Step Guide for Enrollment
  7. Is the Early Reviewer Program Worth It?

What is the Early Reviewer Program?

Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program is an incentivized program that encourages buyers to share honest and authentic reviews. This means that sellers can receive both positive and negative feedback from buyers about their products.

Nowadays, customers rely on other customers to share their experiences about products so they can make informed decisions—especially in e-commerce. This program focuses on early reviews for products and brands that are new to Amazon. With little to no feedback, this is a great way to jumpstart your products to increase page views and sales.

Mutually Beneficial:

  • Customers receive an incentive for leaving an authentic review
  • Sellers receive more reviews while improving sales and increasing their searching ranking

Why Was the Early Reviewer Program Created?

Originally, it was common practice for sellers to offer customers incentives to leave reviews for their products and services on Amazon. Unfortunately, this became controversial because incentivizing reviews made them less credible. In 2016, Amazon changed its Terms of Service (TOS) to restore credibility within their reviewer system.

Though this was an improvement for buyers, sellers faced the difficulty of launching new products and brands onto the marketplace. In response to this, Amazon launched the Early Reviewer Program in 2018 as a way for sellers to remain competitive in the review-dominated marketplace.

How Does It Work for Buyers?

It’s simple:

  1. Customers purchase a particular product enrolled in the program
  2. Amazon randomly selects them to leave a review of the product
  3. Buyer leaves an authentic review within a certain timeframe and meets all community guidelines
  4. They are rewarded by Amazon with an Amazon.com gift card of $1-$3

According to Amazon, no buyer is ever informed of any products enrolled in this program prior to purchasing them. This program is NOT intended to encourage purchases—the focus is on reviews. The small reward customers receive is a simple thank you for participating in the program.

It’s important to note that buyers cannot have any previous history of abusive or dishonest reviews and must meet all of Amazon’s eligibility criteria. Also, no Amazon employees, sellers, or friends and family of sellers are eligible to take part in this program. That is a direct violation of Amazon’s policies and could result in account suspension or worse.

What are Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program Requirements for Sellers?

Requirements include:

  • Must be enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry
  • SKUs must have less than 5 total reviews
  • SKU must be priced above $9; if SKU falls below $9, Amazon will stop requesting reviews for this product
  • Early Reviewer Program is only eligible to sellers with SKUs in the United States
  • Must agree to all terms and conditions for Early Reviewer Program including paying the enrollment fee of $60 plus any applicable taxes per SKU (i.e. 10 SKUs = $600 + tax)

How Does It Work for Amazon Sellers?

Again, it’s a simple process for sellers. After enrolling in Amazon’s Brand Registry, you will have access to the Early Reviewer Program through your Seller Central account. Keep in mind it may take a few days to access the Early Reviewer Program portal. Once you’re granted access, select the SKUs you wish to enroll and begin inputting them into the program. Always check your ‘Submission Status’ to make sure all the necessary SKUs are enrolled and don’t forget to check the performance of your SKUs. This can be done via the Dashboard under the Early Reviewer Program in your seller account.

Things to consider:

  • Your Seller Central account will not be charged until you receive your first review for each SKU enrolled
  • Variations can be included in the Early Reviewer Program, enroll the parent SKU and child SKUs will be included and fixed; no changes to variation will be added to the Early Reviewer Program
  • Participation ends once you receive 5 reviews directly from the program or 1 year has passed, whichever comes first

Step-By-Step Guide for Enrollment into the Early Reviewer Program

  1. Go to Early Reviewer Program under Advertising tab on Seller Central account
    Early Reviewer Program: Is It Worth It for Amazon Sellers?
  2. Select “Get Started” at the bottom of the page
    Early Reviewer Program: Is It Worth It for Amazon Sellers?
  3. Begin inputting any eligible SKUs you wish to enroll in the program
    (Note: If your SKU is not eligible and you attempt to enroll it, Amazon will alert you immediately and tell you why the SKU isn’t eligible.)
    Early Reviewer Program: Is It Worth It for Amazon Sellers?
  4. If you are successful, Amazon will ask you to confirm enrollment by selecting “Enroll in Program”
    Early Reviewer Program: Is It Worth It for Amazon Sellers?
  5. Then check your Enrollment Dashboard to confirm all the necessary SKUs are enrolled and to review the performance of each SKU
    Early Reviewer Program: Is It Worth It for Amazon Sellers?

Is the Early Reviewer Program Worth It?

In short, YES! Ultimately, it’s worth it because this program is a fruitful investment for getting those early reviews.

With the elimination of incentivized reviews on Amazon, this is a great opportunity to remain compliant with Amazon’s TOS while still offering customers a small incentive to be honest about your products. It’s also a great way for sellers to accumulate reviews without using black hat tactics. Finally, it’s one of only a few opportunities to boost the visibility of your products on Amazon quickly—giving you time to start working on other sales strategies.

WishingUWell uses the Early Reviewer Program to benefit our products and brands that are new to the marketplace or simply need a jumpstart. According to Amazon, “a product’s first review can increase sales by up to 3.5x”—making this program incredibly valuable and worth the cost. Adding 5 reviews to your product listings will help increase sales and create traction over time.

Any Negatives to the Early Reviewer Program?

As sellers, we have to take the bad with the good. Here are a few negatives we’ve learned along the way:

  • Not Always Competitive Enough: The 5 reviews you could get through this program are a great start, but it’s not always competitive enough. This really depends on which market you’re selling in and how saturated it is on Amazon.
  • It Takes Times: This program is set up to work over the course of 1 year, you may not get reviews as quickly as you think.
  • Negative Reviews Happen: If you receive negative reviews through this program, you paid for them and that can turn off a lot of sellers.
  • This Can’t Be Your Only Method: In order for this program to be effective for you long-term, you have to implement other strategies simultaneously.

Other Strategies for More Reviews

In order for this tactic to really pay off, you have to couple it with other strategies that all work together to drive traffic to your listings or create an overall positive experience for your customers. Here are a few examples:

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