Early Review Programme
Amazon has finally launched its Early Review Programme in the UK.
Reviews are one of the most important factors influencing purchase on Amazon. For new brands, its a real struggle getting your first reviews, especially now Amazon have clamped down on incentivised reviews and monitor reviewers IP and email addresses to check authenticity.
There are some eligibility rules that apply. First of all, the brand must be registered to Brand Registry (which requires you to own the trademark to your brand). Secondly, as this programme is intended to boost early on its only available to ASIN's that have fewer than 5 reviews. Thirdly, the item must have a value of £15 or more.
The programme is quite simple. Once you apply, Amazon starts its work without charging the seller yet. Once the programme delivers its first review for the ASIN, the seller gets charged £60 (per SKU/ASIN). Amazon will carry on gathering reviews for a full year afterwards, or until the ASIN reaches the 5 review quota.
Once you are signed up to the programme, Amazon will contact a random person who has bought your product to request a review. The reviewers are chosen for the programme from a list of customers who have purchased the participating products. Some users may be excluded from the offers – mostly people who have previously posted abusive or dishonest reviews, including the incentivised ones. The review itself also needs to meet the community guidelines to apply.
The potential reviewers receive an Amazon voucher (ranging from £1 to £3) regardless of whether the comment was positive or negative. It also adds an orange 'Early Reviewer Rewards' badge next to the review for clear transparency.
Early Reviewer Programme comments can’t be deleted (unless they break the community guidelines). Also, to remain extra impartial, the users won’t see that they’re eligible for the programme anywhere on the product page – it will only show up in their inbox after a successful purchase.
AMS Study (Global)
A new study by Analytic Partners has highlighted how advertising on Amazon drives significant sales across other retail channels.
The key highlights are as follows:
On average, they saw that more than half of the impact of AMS is actually onto non-Amazon sales channels.
The proportion of impact is heavily related to what percentage of a brand’s sales are on Amazon.
70-90% of the impact of AMG (Amazon Display Ads) is onto non-Amazon sales channels.
Businesses who advertise through banner ads on the Amazon platform not only drive sales on Amazon, but also drive offline and online sales through other retail channels.
The study results consistently showed that advertising’s impact goes well beyond the immediate time, place, and channel and has a lasting effect and impacts sales outside of that platform.
Bidding on the unbranded (category) terms often has the highest response and can also pay out from an ROI perspective. .
The study also compared the relative impact of AMS on ROI compared to other Amazon marketing programmes. The results showed that ROI of search is significantly higher than banners, merchandising and promotions.
Whilst none of these findings were surprising to us, we did take note of the scale of impact on offline sales and the significant difference in the efficiency of AMS in driving sales compared to other amazon marketing options.
Delivery driver details (US)
Starting this month, Amazon will provide customers with the first name and a photograph of delivery drivers carrying their packages.
The identifying information will be shared with customers once a driver is within 10 stops of their delivery address. The notification will also show the location of the driver on a map through Amazon’s Map Tracking feature.
The change will only impact Amazon Flex drivers, who work as independent contractors and deliver packages using their own vehicles. It’s possible that Amazon could later extend it to other drivers as well, such as those working for third-party contractors, who Amazon call Delivery Service Partners.
Amazon also recently started requiring its drivers to snap selfies on the road to verify their identities. These selfies are not the photos that will be shared with customers. Customers will instead receive drivers’ Amazon Flex account photo.
With this update, Amazon is following the lead of Uber and Lyft by providing more identity information on drivers to give customers security, confidence and awareness of pending deliveries. We would all feel more comfortable seeing the face of someone before they appear at your front door.
Suppressing non-compliant titles (US)
Amazon's are always looking to improve the experience for shoppers. Their latest initiative targets the quality of Product Titles. Sellers have been using titles to try and trick the Amazon algorithm to get more prominence in searches. Tactics included stuffing keywords or adding special characters or elongated titles and capitalizing letters. Consequently, many SERPS pages look like a village jumble sale, affecting the customer experience and image of Amazon as a reputable marketplace. Starting on July 22, 2019, they will suppress listings that do not comply with category title requirements. Sellers will have until July 15, 2019, to meet Amazon’s guidelines or risk having their listing taken down.
Our advice is to have a good review of all your listings. Your newer ASIN listings might be fully compliant, but as rules have changed over time, perhaps your early listings had less care and attention. A good rule of thumb is to keep your title between 50 and 95 characters, but each category has its own guidelines. You should also be careful with formatting and make sure that the titles are consistent across your catalogue. We see even the most reputable brands slip up here. Double-check that you’re following these rules so that your listing remains active and you continue bringing in sales.