Most of us are no stranger to Amazon but many have not yet heard of Amazon Vine – Amazon’s product review program.
Available for businesses only, Amazon Vine ranks high on trust due to its strict rules and exclusive nature.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what Amazon Vine is, who it’s for and, the benefits of getting involved.
In 2007, Amazon launched Amazon Vine to counteract the number of sellers gaining reviews by offering incentives to reviewers.
Amazon invites trusted customers to join its community known as ‘Vine Voices’. Members of Vine Voices are then invited to review new and not-yet-released products listed by sellers and vendors – products which are sent to them by Amazon free of charge.
Sellers and vendors are not able to contact the reviewers or, influence them in any way.
The idea behind this is that these trusted members are likely to leave detailed and thoughtful reviews that are helpful to both sellers and potential customers.
Vine Voices members are carefully selected by examining their activity on Amazon – including the quality of the reviews that they leave for purchases.
When a product is reviewed by Vine Voices, the review displays a badge – which tells customers that it is a trusted reviewer.
To become a Vine Voices reviewer, Amazon customers must fit certain criteria which includes:
- A decent reviewers rank, including regular and recent reviews
- Demonstrated expertise in a specific product category
- Interest in products listed in the Vine program
It’s worth noting that Vine Voices members are under no obligation to leave a review or only leave positive reviews for any given product.
It used to be a program for Vendor accounts only. But it seems Amazon has changed the policy and started to release it to third-party sellers.
Still, some sellers haven’t had the Vine option under their seller central, Amazon appears to conduct some tests first before gradually launch Amazon Vine to more third-party seller accounts.
To begin with, sellers need to fit certain criteria in order to be accepted into Amazon Vine. These criteria are as follows:
- You must be a brand registered Amazon seller with a professional selling plan
- You must own the trademark to your brand name if this appears on your product and packaging
- Your product must have fewer than 30 reviews
- Your product must be in ‘New’ condition
- Your product must not be an ‘adult’ item
- You must have listed the product for selling already
- You must have an available inventory of your product
- Your product page must have an image and full description
Notice：Your product which must have fewer than 30 reviews. After participating in the program, it will be automatically ended once the number of your reviews reach to 30 in total!
If you’re confident that your brand and your products fit the bill, you can join Amazon Vine as follows:
Ensure that your brand is enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry.
From the Advertising option, select Vine. You will see that you can only submit up to 5 different products and up to 30 quantities in stock for each of them.
It’s now time to submit your products. To do this, upload eligible ASINs into the column where instructed.
Once uploaded, you’ll be asked to agree to Amazon’s terms and conditions. And you’ll be able to view the status of your submission within the portal. Amazon will carry on gathering reviews for each of your accepted ASINs.
That’s it! Vine voices can start to order your items within 24 hours after you finished your enrollment.
Though sellers cannot control when reviewers will leave reviews for the item, Amazon will surely select those who are actively leaving reviews on the platform.
Some reviewers may leave a review within a week after delivery, the others may take more than a month to do so. You will be able to view how many reviews you have received at the end.
As with any program, it’s a good idea to know the ins and outs before signing up. Here are a few things to consider before going ahead.
Amazon Vine Fees
In the past, Amazon charges sellers per ASIN to participate in Amazon Vine – and it’s not cheap. Prices vary depending on the product and its price but the charge may be up to thousands of dollars.
The fee is non-refundable – even if you receive nothing but bad reviews from the Vine Voices The cost alone is a very good reason to give serious thought into joining the program.
Currently, some of the sellers have tested the Amazon Vine and found out that it does not cost any fee for the first 5 product ASINs that you enroll. Prices may subject to change, so you don’t want to miss it!
In the interests of fairness, Amazon restricts the number of products which a brand can submit for reviews by Vine Voices.
Dependent on the product category, brands are expected to submit between 10 and 100 products to be sent to reviewers – which is another thing to bear in mind as these are to be sent to the reviewers free of charge.
How useful is Amazon Vine to sellers?
Amazon Vine can be helpful in gaining quality product reviews. Buyers would likely to be convinced by Vine voice’s reviews, thus increase the conversation rate of your listings, especially when you plan to launch a new item.
But, you should notices that the high price of Amazon Vine means that brands need to weigh up the value of those reviews against the cost which includes any losses you may make from submitting free products to the reviewers.
And also bear in mind the fact that buyers may leave negative reviews as well as positive.
It is suggested to enroll in the program only if you are confident in the quality of your items or you may not be happy with the results that you receive at the end.
The Pros and Cons of Amazon Vine
As with any program, Amazon Vine isn’t for everyone and, here, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons to help you decide if this program is the right one for you:
If this review has put you off Amazon Vine, don’t worry – there are some good alternatives available and, these include:
We’ve mentioned this one a little earlier in the article and it’s a solid alternative to Amazon Vine.
Those with an Amazon brand registry account can take advantage of the Amazon Early Reviewer Program as a seller.
This program gives sellers the option to submit one product SKU which will be promoted to a pre-vetted reviewer by Amazon.
The charge to sellers is $60 per SKU which will only be charged on receipt of one review or when 12 months has passed.
Cashbackbase is primarily a discount site for Amazon products. Sellers can sign up to have their products featured as long as they are prepared to offer significant products with offered discounts.
The site encourages buyers to leave honest and valuable reviews to improve the shopping experience.
So, sellers can also offer free items in exchange for customer reviews, as long as it is unbiased.
AMZDiscover is a dedicated site for Amazon sellers looking for product reviewers.
The online search engine allows sellers to search for new customers and potential reviewers and get hold of important customer information such as email addresses, social media accounts and more.
The service costs $0.1 per reviewer’s contact info which is a low cost to help you get in touch with reviewers and promote new items to them.
It is also a great way to help you to retarget your potential customers via email marketing.
Gathering reviews is a necessary part of an Amazon seller’s job and, these alternatives are cost-effective ways of doing just that.
Whilst there’s no doubt that sellers can gain some high-quality reviews via Amazon Vine, the high price means that it’s only really suitable for those selling high quality, high priced products.
Also, sellers need to bear in mind the fact that it is possible to receive negative and damaging reviews.
In these cases, a seller can contact Amazon but the review is unlikely to be removed unless it contains prohibited content.
Most smaller businesses with cheaper products are likely to find that the investment is not worth the results.
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