I received an email today, following up on a purchase I’d made on Amazon.  You probably get these too.  It went along the lines of “Thank you for your purchase, we’re a small business and your feedback makes a big difference.  Please leave us a product review.”

I skimmed it, then it went straight into my trash.  And then, do you know what happened?  I was struck with a feeling of pure horror.  Because I am also an Amazon seller and I also send these emails.  Yet, here I was, disregarding one from someone else, in exactly the same boat as me.

I felt pretty ashamed if I’m honest.  I send out these emails (well, at the moment I’m trialling having Jumpsend send some for me – but most I do myself) and I genuinely want and need feedback from buyers.  Yet I wasn’t prepared to help out another seller?  When I have a blog all about helping other sellers? That’s pretty bad form.

Example feedback email

Why are reviews important?

You probably know that social proof plays a key role in influencing purchases. If you’re on Amazon, you search for a product and you get a page of results, you’ll probably only look at the ones with the most reviews.

In fact, on any website, if you scroll to the reviews and there are lots of complaints, chances are you’ll move on and go and find something else. I’ll be honest, I try to avoid sites where there’s no feedback (ASOS, for example), as I do genuinely want to know what experience other customers have had.

The same goes for service-based businesses too.  I tend to use businesses my friends or family have recommended and, even then, I’ll take a look at their Facebook page to see what other people are saying about them, before parting with any money.

This all matters even more on Amazon, as the number and and quality of reviews influences how high you rank in the search results. If you have few reviews, or terrible ones, you probably won’t even show up on page one unless you’re spending a lot of money on ads.  (And who even looks at page 2?)

So what can we do about it?

As a consumer

I’ve now made it my resolution to review as many of my online purchases as possible – and 100% of my Amazon purchases.

I’m hoping that if there’s any kind of karma, doing this for others will help spread positivity and perhaps people will leave reviews for me also.

My plea to all of you would be, please do try and find the time to feedback on all the products that you buy from independent sellers (and the big chains, if you feel inclined to). It really does massively help the people selling them.

You can also look and see if they have a Facebook page and leave feedback. I know a lot of people do this when they have an issue – it’s nice for businesses to get some positive feedback there too!

If you’re unhappy, try and contact the seller first, before leaving a negative review.  Most small businesses (that I’ve come across, anyway) are really customer-focused and will do whatever they can to resolve your problem.  At least give them that chance.

From what I can see, people tend to leave more reviews when they’re unhappy, than when they’re happy.  This impacts sellers in a big (and negative) way.  

As a seller

Well, firstly, if you sell on Amazon (or anywhere for that matter) you probably know already that not many people leave reviews.  I can’t find a definitive source for this, but almost every figure I’ve found is under 10%.

To incentivise more people to leave you positive feedback, there are two things you can do.

Firstly, make sure your product has no really obvious issues that are going to generate negative feedback.  For example, the first batch of swaddles I had didn’t have great boxes.  (The box still isn’t perfect now – but it’s much better.)  They weren’t packaged well for the journey from China to the UK and, as a result, some ended up torn or worse.  Most were sent back to me as ‘damaged goods’, but a few did make it to customers in that condition.  Quite rightly, they weren’t happy – which led to a few negative reviews.

By keeping an eye on my return reports – and contacting customers who requested a return – I was able to work out what the problem was and fix it. No more problem hopefully means no more (or less) negative reviews.

Secondly, you need to ask for reviews!  Some people will leave them anyway (I would guess if they are either extremely delighted or disappointed).  Most won’t.  Most still won’t even if you ask, but it does at least improve your chances.

Again, I can’t find a definitive answer to this but Jumpsend (the same people as Jungle Scout), say this:

Jumpsend

I mentioned Jumpsend* earlier, as I’m currently trialing it in one marketplace (but it supports them all).  It’s good, as it’s automated, but other than the time saving I’m really not sure if I can justify the cost, as my reviews aren’t really increasing.

*This isn’t an affiliate link.

Finally…

If you’ve brought, or been gifted one of my products, please leave me a review.  I know it sounds contrived now I’ve said everything above, but, it really is needed and appreciated.

There’s a few places you can do this. I’ve listed them in order of importance.