Written by Dan Marzullo

June 22, 2020

Most people scroll straight down to the customer reviews before purchasing an Amazon product. Then, they filter by ‘most recent’ and glance over the initial reviews for a minute or two. Those couple of minutes are what determines if they ‘add to cart’ or refresh the search bar.

If people are drawn to a product without reviews then they keep scrolling.

A huge chasm for Amazon sellers to cross is selling products that haven’t been reviewed yet. 

Customers rely heavily on Amazon product reviews to make an informed decision before purchasing. If those stars aren’t filled in then your product could have a tough time getting off of the shelf and into a shipping box. If you’re wondering how to sell items on Amazon, product reviews are a must. Selling on Amazon can be difficult due to the sheer volume of traffic. The competition is massive, to say the least. No matter how strong your eCommerce marketing strategy is, without reviews, the hill gets a little tougher to climb. Products could be selling at a rapid rate, but if reviews aren’t coming in then potential customers don’t really have an incentive to purchase a new product.

Amazon customer reviews

Thankfully, Amazon rolled out the Amazon Early Reviewer Program back in 2018 to help sellers boost sales through gaining customer reviews.

What Is The Amazon Early Reviewer Program? 

The Amazon Early Reviewer Program was initiated by Amazon to help sellers gain early reviews for their products. 

The Early Reviewer Program encourages Amazon shoppers who have already purchased a product to share their authentic review about that product, regardless of whether it is a 1-star or 5-star customer review. 

Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program is brilliant because it benefits the seller by helping them to boost the number  of initial reviews they have, the Amazon customer by giving them a small reward, and of course, Amazon itself by boosting sales and their brand.

The Early Review Program doesn’t just help your business to boost reviews but helps you to gain more credibility on Amazon. The program does not coerce Amazon shoppers to leave a comment that is not their authentic review. Amazon does not disclose to customers that their product review is in exchange for a small reward until after the customer review is submitted. This helps to avoid false reviews. You can read about the guidelines of Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program here.

What is the early reviewer program?

How Do I Join The Amazon Early Reviewer Program?

Joining the Amazon Early Reviewer Program is straightforward. 

Note that Amazon Early Reviewer Program is only open to brand owners who are registered with the Amazon Brand Registry. You will have to complete that registration process prior to applying for the Amazon Early Reviewer Program.

Follow these steps to apply for the program:

  1. Log in to Seller Central and select the ‘Advertising’ tab. 
  2. Choose the Early Reviewer Program.
  3. Click ‘Get Started’
  4. Begin the enrollment process
  5. Enter the SKU of the product you want to be reviewed to ensure it’s eligibility
  6. Submit the SKU and enroll (you will be able to bulk upload)
  7. You’re done! Just wait for those reviews to roll in. The Enrollment Dashboard that you will have access to will give you the fine details of the items you have listed and their reviews as they are submitted.

Are Early Reviewer Programs Worth It? 

Early reviewer programs are great in theory, but they have to be executed perfectly to make it a lucrative choice.

For example, some companies have early reviewer programs where customers are given a free or heavily discounted product to review prior to a public product launch. The Amazon customer uses the product and leaves a review on the company website. The problem that can arise when a program is operated in that way is that it is rarely unbiased. Customers will review a product positively if they have received it for free. They basically didn’t have any investment and won’t likely leave an honest review. In those cases, an early reviewer program wouldn’t be worth the money spent by the company to incentivize the customer. 

Amazon helps to eliminate any biased reviews by the anonymity embedded in the selection process.

As with any aspect of your business, it’s important to know the details before opting in to a program. Amazon discloses everything plainly for those that are interested in enrolling in its Early Reviewer Program. 

We’ve compiled the most important details for you.

Product Specifications

  • The product should have few or no reviews
  • They must be a part of the Amazon Brand Registry
  • They must be priced at at least $15
  • Amazon will gather reviews for 1 year or until five reviews are collected for the product through the program

Seller’s Rights

  • Sellers can choose the products they want to enroll, but they have no say in who Amazon chooses for the reviews
  • Sellers cannot influence the quality of a product review through bribery or other ways

Fees

  • The fee for the program is $60 for each eligible SKU. That means if a seller is enrolling 10 different SKUs in the program, then he/she will have to pay $600

Pros and Cons of the Early Reviewer Program

Early reviewer programs can really be a paradox.

On one hand, it’s frustrating that a business has to put so much effort into receiving an honest review.

On the other hand, the fact that the Early Reviewer Program provides an excellent opportunity for businesses whose reviews are getting radio silence. Also, consider your Amazon listing optimization to make sure your product is being seen by potential customers. 

Your business may be desperate for new product reviews, but how can you gauge when it’s an appropriate time to enroll in Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program? Should you be down so many reviews? How long should your product be sold without reviews before there is cause for concern? 

The advice, although it’s not a clear answer, is that you need to assess your business closely before you decide. Here are a few pros and cons of Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program that you may want to take to the drawing board with you.

Pro 1

You get the reviews you need to spark sales. Ideally, those reviews will help your business gain more recognition and become a top-rated seller.

Con 1

Those reviews may take a while. A study showed that many sellers admitted that it sometimes took 2-3 months to get the first review. It’s up to your team to decide if your business can afford the time that it will take to get reviews.

Pro 2

You can enroll multiple products as long as they meet the criteria (few or no reviews). You will have the option to bulk enroll products to save time.

Con 2

Amazon does collect fees for each SKU that sells through the Early Reviewer Program. Your business will want to carefully weigh the costs from all angles. Is it more cost prohibitive to promote those products with few reviews by Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program or via other means in your Amazon marketing strategy. 

Pro 3

Set it and forget it. Enrolling your products and allowing Amazon to help with the heavy lifting by choosing the reviewers at random will open up more time to focus on other aspects of your business.

Con 3

Relinquishing the rights of choosing your reviewer could backfire. Your product reviews may come in being less than desirable. Incentivizing customers to review their purchase within your own business may be an opportunity to expand your brand voice. 

Key Takeaways

Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program may be for your business if your products have been posted for some time and buyers aren’t leaving reviews. Amazon offers a great option of incentivizing customers to review while keeping things ethical. The enrollment process is easy and it doesn’t take a lot of work to get products approved and listed. Your business’ timeline matters because you’ll likely have to wait a couple of months for your first review. Keep an eye on the fees and how they affect your budget. Know the costs associated with each product you enroll. Compare those numbers with efforts you could get your team to execute on your home turf. 

Overall, Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program is a great choice for sellers that need to boost the visibility of their product and increase sales.