Planning to start your business with Amazon? Or working on launching a new product? The first challenge you are to face for sure is how to get initial reviews. It’s undeniable that product reviews are one of the major factor customers buy a product on Amazon. Without social proof in the form of a product review, a customer wouldn’t trust your product enough to end up buying it. But how would sellers be able to get those much-needed reviews with all the recent changes with Amazon’s TOS?
Amazon knows your struggle and so they decided to offer a solution – that is Amazon’s Vine Program. But should you use this program? Will it suit your business? In this article, we’ll guide you through your decision-making so let’s dive in!
What is the Amazon Vine Program?
Amazon Vine is a program created and managed by Amazon to help sellers gather legitimate initial product reviews. This program is an “invitation only” program and customers cannot volunteer to join. Amazon will be the one to choose the reviewers who will be referred to as the Vine Voices. Members of the Vine Voice will then be entrusted to leave their honest and unbiased reviews on your products.
Vine Voices are chosen based on the customer’s reviewer ranking. This is determined by the number of product reviews the customer has posted as well as the helpful votes their reviews have garnered over time. Reviewers who were chosen by Amazon to be a Vine Voice will then receive free products in exchange for their honest reviews.
One important thing to note about the Vine Program though – it’s currently available only to businesses under Vendor Central. But who knows? With the constant changes that are happening inside Amazon, it wouldn’t be impossible for Amazon to consider offering the program to sellers too. As always, having more knowledge about existing Amazon programs will surely give you the upper hand.
Vendors who decide to join the Vine program will have to submit their products to Amazon which will then be sent by Amazon to the reviewers under the Vine Voices. Vendors will have no interaction whatsoever to these reviewers which makes the reviews totally honest and unbiased. And as we all know, this is what Amazon is after – to maintain the high level of trustworthiness in the review system of their platform.
Now that you know what Amazon Vine is, let’s help you understand if this is something you and your business can take advantage of by knowing what are its pros and cons.
Pros of Amazon Vine
- Vendors can easily get honest and unbiased reviews that potential customers can trust. And we all know that in product launches, soliciting reviews from organic customers is always a challenge. Through Amazon Vine, reviewers are sure to post a review on your product.
- Amazon Vine can also be used to boost a listing of older product/s that have not been converting well by increasing the number of reviews, hopefully, good ones from the Vine Voices.
- Reviews from the Vine Voices are highly regarded by organic customers given that reviewers from this group are seen as “experts”. They have a Vine Voice badge under their reviewer name so reviews from the group are easy to identify. See image below:
Cons of Amazon Vine
- First on the list of the drawbacks of Amazon Vine is that it’s quite expensive. So if you’re just starting out or this is your first product, joining the program might not be for you. However, if you do have quite big funds then well and good. Vendors who’d be willing to participate in the program will have to pay a fee of around $2,500 to $7,500 per ASIN. Such a huge amount right?
- The program also restricts the number of free products or samples that you can submit for reviews, usually from 10-100 units per ASIN which means you don’t have the ability to get as many reviews as you want.
- As mentioned above, the program is only available for sellers under Vendor Central. So if you’re selling via Seller Central, then you have no way to participate in the program.
To sum up, Amazon Vine is only viable for those vendors who are already making a good amount of money in Amazon as they do have significant funds for marketing.
Alternative to Amazon Vine
Since it’s not possible for businesses under Seller Central to participate in the program, Amazon has introduced another review program that sellers can take advantage of. And this is the Early Reviewer Program. Registration is quite easy and the price is cheaper than Amazon Vine. You also won’t be charged until you receive an actual review through this program. The number of reviews is limited to 5 though.
Product review solicitation has undeniably become a pain after Amazon banned incentivized reviews. But if you ensure you have a good product and you provide quality after-sales service, organic customers would be more than willing to share their positive experience with you through a product review.
Want to know more ways to gather legitimate quality reviews? Check out our other helpful articles below.