Have you ever heard of the magician using “smoke and mirrors” to achieve their magic trick? The media is well known for this stunt, as well as the government. Make one (seemingly) large announcement to divert attention and then sweep the more controversial issues/changes while no one is watching or paying attention.
As the hours tick by and turn into days, more and more information is coming to light about Amazon’s Customer Review Update posted October 3, 2016. Yes, they did change a few details when it comes to Amazon Sellers offering discounts to people willing to give a unbiased opinion of their products. This does effect the people who wrote product reviews in a negative way, since many of them have lost their privileges to write reviews on Amazon. It also effects the thousands of Amazon Sellers that offered the discounts to get reviews on their products. Which can be devastating to their small business, especially since 92% of shoppers seek out reviews when making a purchase decision, yet, less than 10% of consumers take the time to leave their experiences.
This is where my points start to evolve, while everyone is cheering that “I received a discount for my unbiased opinion of _____ product” will no longer be allowed on Amazon reviews. The dust is starting to clear on another topic that didn’t get the “Breaking News Update” that it deserved. The new fees that are being added to Amazon’s sellers. It’s the trickle down effect, now that 3rd party websites are restricted from offering sellers an avenue to reach product reviewers to help boost their products (at a much smaller fee). Amazon has revamped their product review program, Amazon VINE (Only available to those who pay another FEE to become a vendor). What used to be a $1300 fee to Vendor, has been inflated to $2500 for the use of the program. The VINE program is allowed to offer Vendor products to reviewers at a discount for product review. So, those disclaimers that you thought you wouldn’t see any longer? You will still find on Amazon. (The seller’s that don’t become vendor’s, are left dependent on the 10% of consumers that actually leave product reviews.)
The Lightning discounts that you see daily? Those were once offered to sellers at no charge to help Amazon offer daily sales on their site (without losing money on their own products and increasing foot traffic to their website). The days of “no charge” have come to an end now that Amazon has the sellers in a choke hold. The sellers will now have to pay a fee to “feature” a lightning deal on their site. They have the storage fees, as well as referral fees, that are changing as well! Don’t even get me started on the pay per click ads, you will have to depend heavily on PPC to get your product seen. The lists goes on and on… but have you heard anything about it in updates? Breaking news?
It comes down to this, Amazon prides itself as the “go to” place for product reviews. Yet they have been caught many times removing reviews they deemed “prejudice”(competitive product reviews). They pick and choose what stays and what goes. They weigh heavily in their own favor. They have now made it so the “small business” seller can’t compete with Amazon or it’s Vendors in the ranking department, because really… how many pages do you search on Amazon before deciding on a purchase? After seeing all of the above fees, how do they compete? This could be good news for Ebay and other online retail companies such as Jet.com. However, not great news for anyone trying to start or build a business selling on Amazon. Those days seem to have passed by…
Unless, a program existed that was affordable to sellers… That was completely in line with Amazon’s TOS, helped build your social presence and increased sales. Now where could they find something like that… The Real Deal Gals