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How to Handle Negative Reviews on Amazon

Amazon’s mission is to be the most customer-centric company in the world, a place where shoppers can find anything that they might want to purchase online. As an Amazon merchant, your goal is to provide the products and services to support that mission.

That’s why receiving a negative Amazon review can be more than just a bump in an otherwise good day or week. Product reviews can make or break your Amazon business, since they are directly related to Amazon’s customer-centric mission. Even if you regularly receive five-star ratings, it’s important to know how to handle negative reviews. Understanding how to use your customer reviews to help inform business decisions can help you achieve consistent growth in a competitive market. In this article, we’ll explore why reviews matter so much, what you can learn from your customers, and how to handle negative comments about your products.

High Stakes
When you’re selling products online, buyers are vetting your business and products based on the information that is readily available to them. When Amazon pioneered the online customer review in 1995, traditional businesses thought it was an absurd idea. Today, online reviews are found all over the internet, especially on eCommerce platforms, and these ratings function as a sort of digital “word of mouth” for businesses. In fact, more than 90% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase. Good online reviews for your products can help increase your sales, but the stakes are even higher for Amazon reviews.

For example, customer reviews are a factor in Amazon’s A9 organic search algorithm. In an increasingly competitive environment, reviews can give your products a much-needed boost. With one out of every ten product pages visited on Amazon being accessed through sponsored content and Amazon advertising becoming a necessity for many sellers, reviews again come into the mix. You can include your star rating in your ads to help increase buyer trust if you are eligible.

In addition to being essential for increasing your Amazon sales, reviews also play an important role in informing your business strategy and future product decisions.

Understanding the Customer
Direct insight into customer opinions is a powerful tool, but it’s important to use it wisely. You can learn a lot from your customers. For example, here are some questions to consider as you review your Amazon reviews:

Are there small improvements you could make to improve the overall quality of your top products?

Is there a common “wish list” item that shoppers are searching for that your product almost but not quite matches?

Do shoppers feel frustrated because they need to purchase another item to use your product effectively? (This could signal an opportunity to create a kit or bundle, which helps you differentiate from similar products.)

What do customers love about your products?

Should you offer variations, such as additional sizes or colors?

Is your product listing or brand content misleading or confusing? Are there common questions that you could answer in your product description or images?

Reviews can help you predict trends and understand your product life cycle. If your top seller used to get frequent reviews that have recently slowed to a trickle, it could be a sign that demand for the product has lessened. You might use that information to work with your manufacturer to create an updated version of the item, offer new variations, or simply order less stock in the future.

Your customers are telling you exactly what they love and what they’d like to see more of in their reviews. Make sure you’re listening!

Handling Negative Reviews
Everyone loves seeing a new positive review. But sometimes receiving a negative review can really hurt or make you angry. After all, you’re only human. You work hard to provide a quality product and experience for Amazon shoppers, and sometimes a particularly nasty rating can leave you feeling quite negative yourself. While you might feel inclined to give the reviewer a piece of your mind, fight the impulse and take a moment to collect yourself. Then follow these steps:

Learn what you can. Is there a useful nugget buried somewhere in the negative rating? Is there constructive criticism that can help you make product improvements? Does your product description or brand content need to be updated to provide a more realistic overview for potential customers? Unfortunately, sometimes reviews are just negative, but if there’s a lesson to be learned, use it to your advantage!

Respond professionally. Although the buyer will not receive a notification that you replied to the review, future shoppers will see that your company is engaged with what customers have to say. This might even be the deciding factor in a future sale. Always be sure to respond politely and use language in accordance with Amazon’s Community Guidelines.

Share with your team. Make it a habit to regularly discuss Amazon reviews in your conversations about what is and isn’t working for your company. Customer reviews might even inform some of your most important product developments. Keep them top of mind, because there is no substitute for insight directly from consumers.

Hopefully, negative ratings are a rarity for your business, but it’s a good idea to have a plan for managing them no matter how infrequently you receive them. Consider designating a team member to regularly manage your reviews. A third-party tool like FeedbackFive can even alert you and/or your team when you receive a negative rating, allowing you to respond quickly.

While Amazon does allow sellers to reply to customer reviews, asking buyers to change their reviews is not allowed per Amazon’s Terms of Service. Never contact a buyer to ask for an updated review, even if you replace a product that arrived damaged or take other action to improve their experience with your company. (Note that the rules are slightly different for seller feedback and product reviews, and be sure to review Amazon’s Terms of Service regularly.)

Building Buyer Trust
At the end of the day, Amazon reviews help shoppers decide whether they trust your products enough to make a purchase. A negative review or two won’t break your seller reputation; in some cases, it could even help. (68% of customers say that they trust reviews more when they see a mix of ratings, as opposed to all positive.) However, if negative reviews start rolling in regularly, it’s a sign that you need to make some changes to ensure that your business is supporting Amazon’s customer-centric mission. Use reviews to inform your future business decisions and watch your sales grow!

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