What is the Amazon Vine Program and How Can It Help Your Brand?
On Amazon, product reviews have a huge impact on a product’s rankings, traffic and conversions. But this can pose a problem when you launch a new listing. A product needs sales in order to receive reviews, but without reviews it will struggle to make any sales. It’s a vicious circle, but the Amazon Vine Program can help. Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the Amazon Vine Program?
The Amazon Vine Program is designed to help brands increase the number of product reviews they receive on new listings.
To take part, you’ll need to send your products to Amazon’s trusted reviewers and pay a fee. Each Amazon product tester – or ‘Vine Voice’ – will then share their thoughts on your product page. Each Amazon product tester is recruited because they have a history of writing informative reviews, so you should receive detailed feedback.
The Amazon Vine Program has been helping brands capture reviews for years. But thanks to recent updates, as well as the wind down of Amazon’s Early Review Program, it has become more important than ever.
Now that Amazon has banned incentivised reviews, taking part in the Amazon Vine Program is one of the few ways brands can boost their reviews without ignoring Amazon’s ever-changing guidelines.
Eligibility requirements to join Amazon Vine
The Amazon Vine Program is only available to brand owners who are members of the Amazon Brand Registry. The products you submit also need to meet certain criteria:
- They must have less than 30 reviews
- They must be available through Fulfillment by Amazon
- Their condition must be new
- Stock must be available at the time of enrolment
It’s also worth noting that adult products, bulky items and products that require an accompanying item to work aren’t eligible.
Benefits of the Amazon Vine Program
Tons of benefits come with receiving retailer product reviews – especially if they are positive. Below, we explore just four of the advantages of building up reviews with the Amazon Vine Program.
1. Greater visibility
Brand new Amazon listings don’t have any reviews or sales, but both of these things impact a product’s search rankings.
That’s a problem because 70% of Amazon shoppers never look beyond the first page of search results. Luckily, tools like the Amazon Vine Program and Sponsored Ads can kickstart your listings and build visibility for your products.
2. Positive reviews boost trust and sales
Online shoppers rely heavily on reviews when deciding what to buy. In fact, 91% of them read at least one review before making a purchase.
Reviews bring trust and credibility to a product listing. They often provide the extra information and reassurance a shopper needs to convert. Of course, positive reviews are most effective for increasing Amazon sales. Statistics show that when a product’s star rating goes up from three to five, conversions rise by 12%.
3. You’ll receive in-depth feedback
Each Amazon reviewer is hand-picked because they have a history of writing high quality feedback. This means each Amazon product tester will provide you with clear, detailed and insightful reviews.
When shoppers can gather extra information through reviews, they’re more likely to be satisfied with their purchase and your brand will have less returns to deal with. This detailed feedback can also be used by marketing and product departments to improve product descriptions, targeting and future designs.
4. Shoppers know the reviews are genuine
67% of consumers worry about review fraud. That’s why Amazon has been working so hard to clamp down on fake and incentivised reviews.
With the Amazon Vine Program, every piece of feedback left by an official Amazon reviewer features a distinctive green stripe. This lets shoppers know the review is genuine.
How to get started with Amazon Vine
To gain access to the Amazon Vine Program, your products need to be part of Amazon’s Brand Registry. If you have a registered or pending trademark, you can sign up through the Brand Services website.
Once your brand is a member, you can access the Vine Program under the ‘Advertising’ section of your Seller Central account. Then, you simply choose the parent ASIN you’d like to enrol, as well as the number of units you want to make available to reviewers.
Once you’ve enrolled, reviewers will be able to request your products. Brands can opt to make product variations available. This is a good idea because, if each Amazon reviewer can choose their favourite colour or design, this could improve your chances of receiving positive feedback.
When you receive your first review, you’ll be charged an enrolment fee. This costs $200 in the US or £140 in the UK. It is only charged once for each parent ASIN enrolled. However, Amazon waives the fee if your product doesn’t receive any reviews within 90 days.
What are the downsides of joining Amazon Vine?
The biggest drawback of the Amazon Vine Program is that brands can receive negative feedback.
Reviewers are under no obligation to highlight the positive aspects of your product. In fact, every Amazon reviewer is encouraged to be honest and unbiased. This means you could end up paying for unfavourable feedback.
This can be annoying, especially since brands have no control over which reviewers receive their products. So make sure your product images and descriptions appeal to the right target audience before you enrol a product. Reviewers will only request items that appeal to them.
Another disadvantage is that it can take a long time for reviews to come through. Indeed, there is no guarantee that you’ll receive any at all. While Amazon vets and monitors its reviewers, they don’t have any deadlines. If an Amazon product tester isn’t actively reviewing their products, they will probably lose their position. But they won’t have to send their products back.
It’s also worth noting that you can only enrol a product in the Amazon Vine Program once.
3 other ways to get more Amazon reviews
While the Amazon Vine Program is a useful tool for launching new listings, there are lots of alternative methods for getting more reviews on Amazon.
1. Use the ‘Request a Review’ button
Amazon’s ‘Request a Review’ feature allows brands to send review requests to customers within a month of delivery. Brands can manually send requests from their Seller Central account with just one click. Alternatively, they can buy software to automate the process.
2. Actively monitor reviews
If you want to increase positive reviews, it’s a good idea to closely monitor the feedback you already have. This allows you to understand any issues that past customers have had. A digital shelf tool that monitors ratings and reviews will automatically analyse feedback and gather granular data for you.
Your brand can then take action to improve the consumer journey for future prospects. Simple changes like updating product descriptions for accuracy or using more protective packaging can make a big difference.
3. Provide top class customer service
If your customer service agents can wow shoppers, they will be much more likely to leave a positive review. So every time a prospect or a customer contacts your brand, be sure to charm them with an excellent customer experience.
Simply put, more reviews mean more sales. So brands need to do everything in their power to generate feedback. This Amazon review program is just one tactic that works.