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Amazon Product Review Updates: Here’s Why You Can’t Reply to Customer Reviews Anymore

Sharise Toombs
Feb 5, 2021 5:04:47 PM

Amazon Product Reviews

It’s a well-known fact that Amazon is constantly evolving. From changes to buyer-seller messaging guidelines to new advertising options and insights, it takes a lot of work to keep up with the marketplace. For Amazon sellers, it can be hard to manage your marketing, fulfillment, and overall strategy, and also stay up to date—especially when these updates come without warning.

Such is the case with Amazon’s decision to remove the capability for sellers to leave a comment in response to customer product reviews. Read on to learn more about why Amazon might’ve decided to prohibit sellers from engaging with customers on reviews, and where to go from here:

  

Amazon Product Review Policy Update: What Happened & Why?

In a nutshell, between mid December 2020 to mid January 2021, Amazon updated their customer review and product policies and removed the capability for sellers to provide a comment back to customers on all reviews. Amazon also removed already existing comments/replies on past product reviews from sellers’ product pages. This came as a surprise and disappointment to some brands (more on that later). 

Why did Amazon decide to make this change? Though they haven’t clearly stated why, our research tells us that Amazon wasn’t seeing enough shoppers and sellers utilizing the feature or replying to comments on reviews. This change is one of many Amazon has made in order to put more strict policies in place that define how sellers can interact with their customers.

Just so we’re on the same page: Amazon defines a “seller” as including all the seller’s employees and third-party partners. A seller or seller’s employees cannot post a review of their own product—and Amazon even prohibits a seller’s family member from posting a review of the product, or even a competitor's product.

If you choose to ignore and prohibit these guidelines you risk account suspension and, even worse, termination from the Amazon marketplace.

  

How These Changes Impacts Seller Response

Reviewing products is critical to the success of brands. Product reviews build brand trust and popularity with Amazon shoppers, and help customers gather social proof and information before making a purchase decision. Rest assured, while changes will continue to be made, Amazon reviews aren’t going anywhere. Shoppers will still be able to post honest reviews on their favorite (or not so favorite) products. 

But, some Amazon sellers use product reviews as a way to keep tabs on recurring issues with their products. Some used negative reviews as a way to engage with unhappy customers and help fix their issue, while proving to future shoppers their professionalism and promptness in responding and resolving issues. Having this conversation posted publicly, where all Amazon shoppers could see, was a good way for brands to build trust and show they were open to post-purchase communication—especially when 82% of consumers specifically seek out negative reviews when making a purchase. 

Unfortunately, it’s now going to be more difficult for sellers who want to grow their review count, publicly resolve and reassure negative customer experiences, and portray themselves as a trustworthy brand.

   

How to Move Forward

While options at the moment are limited, you can still report negative or neutral reviews if you believe they’re inappropriate or go against Amazon’s guidelines.  Inappropriate content is defined in full detail on their policy page, but here’s a condensed version for reference:

  • Contains sexual content.
  • Infringing content that uses someone else’s words or images as their own.
  • Illegal activities: threatening, physical or financial harm to yourself or others, including terrorism. Offering reimbursement or promotion, content that encourages the misuse of products.
  • Must not include external links to sites outside of Amazon. 

Moving forward, Amazon will continue to make changes that impact sellers' communication with shoppers, as well as changes that alter the way the marketplace is viewed. Managing an Amazon strategy is a full-time job (sometimes more than one full-time job!) and requires attention to detail and persistence to continue growing.

At SupplyKick, we make it a priority to stay up to date on all things selling on Amazon, including customer service and brand management. We use our knowledge and expertise to help shape our partners’ Amazon strategies and work hard to maximize their presence and sales, while helping them build trust and approach their brand as a whole on the marketplace. Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more about how an Amazon agency partnership can take your brand to the next level.

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