26 January 2022
Min/Max Inventory: Is it really the best way to set your restock levels?
TweetLinkedInShareEmailPrint If you’ve been in the ecommerce game for long, you know the #1 rule: control y...
Short answer: Yes
The old adage that the “customer is always right” is making a strong comeback thanks to Amazon’s A10 algorithm. Amazon has never been shy about its generous return and refund policies, nor about applying its standards to 3rd party sellers. In fact, Amazon sellers that choose the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service provided by the e-commerce platform enjoy many benefits, such as having Amazon handle logistics, customer service and returns, which lead to increased consumer trust and more sales. These benefits also come with a strict adherence to Amazon’s policies and Amazon doesn’t just listen to their customers, they tend to side with them on nearly every occasion. Now more than ever, as the A10 algorithm puts a high priority on Seller Authority, it’s still crucial for sellers, even FBA sellers, to prioritize their feedback management for several reasons.
Amazon uses an algorithm popularly known as A10 that takes into account a myriad of information to determine the relevance and credibility of a seller’s listing. Negative feedback on a seller’s account is a strong signal to the algorithm that the listing may not be trustworthy or of high quality. According to Amazon’s released information about the changes between A9 and A10, and confirmed by data from multiple Amazon seller tools, the new A10 algorithm prioritizes the customers’ experience, and a seller’s feedback rating is a direct reflection of that.
When you receive negative feedback, it will lower your listing’s visibility, making it harder for potential customers to find and purchase your products. This can lead to a decrease in your sales and profit margin. In addition to hurting your listing’s rank, negative feedback damages your reputation in the Amazon marketplace and decreases the number of promotional opportunities you’ll have available in Seller Central. In addition to these new impacts driven by A10, potential customers have always seen negative feedback as a signal to choose to buy from a different seller instead.
In the past, FBA sellers were content to mostly ignore, or at best take a passive approach, to Negative Feedback management. After all, if Amazon is handling pick/pack, shipping, and customer service, wouldn’t they handle feedback management too? Unfortunately they don’t. Amazon does auto remove most of an FBA sellers’ negative feedback, at least when the feedback is blatantly about Amazon’s services. There is a limit, however, to an algorithm’s ability to recognize vague language. When negative feedback isn’t auto removed, your seller account and bottom line pay the price. With the way A10 works, it’s more important than ever that FBA sellers attempt to get rid of every negative feedback on their account.
Potential buyers view positive feedback as a confirmation that their decision to buy is backed by a long history of other customers’ good experiences. It smoothes the conversion process. The more feedback you have, the more trust a casual browser will put into your products. It tells them that, “hey, others have bought from this seller and were happy with the result, chances are that if I buy their products, I will be too.”
High feedback ratings boosts customer trust and confidence in your ability to provide a positive experience. By staying on top of your feedback, you are differentiating your business from competitors and therefore attracting more customers to your listings. The nature of seller authority is such that it rewards sellers that take action before their competitors do, but penalizes sellers that fail to take an action once their competitors have already done so.
Amazon’s business model prioritizes customer experience, and they do so because they want customers to come back and buy from the platform again and again. That’s why Amazon’s policies are quite stringent towards sellers, and sellers violating these terms may find their accounts flagged with warnings, issued suspensions, and eventually even banned permanently. From Amazon’s point of view, even a single negative experience can potentially cost Amazon thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars that the customer would have spent in their lifetime.
If you’ve ever unknowingly violated an Amazon policy, the quickest resolution is often afforded by raising an appeal. The appeal process, however, is opaque and depends a lot on the Seller Support team or other teams depending on the violation in question. Data shows that sellers with great seller feedback generally see shorter response times and have their issues resolved favorably more often than sellers with lower feedback scores. By maintaining high levels of positive seller feedback, FBA sellers essentially demonstrate to Amazon that they recognize the customer’s lifetime value. These sellers, in turn, are the kind of sellers that Amazon wants to have continued to operate on their platform.
The Buy Box is the prominent call-to-action (CTA) button or box on an Amazon product detail page. It allows a customer to quickly add an item to their cart or make a purchase with just one click. When multiple sellers offer the same product, the Buy Box rotates between them if all signals are the same, but winning the Buy Box more often is possible when one of the sellers differentiates themselves from the other. Winning the Buy Box more often is crucial for maximizing a sellers’ sales.
Using FBA will already give you a leg up on non-FBA listings when it comes to winning the Buy Box. Experienced sellers know, however, that a higher feedback score is a way to differentiate you from other FBA sellers and increase your chances of winning the Buy Box. The Buy Box algorithm is not straightforward, by any means. Data shows that it is primarily awarded on factors like offer price and the geographic location of the seller’s goods. However, when price is more or less equal, and geographic location isn’t a factor thanks to FBA, each seller’s feedback score and other customer service metrics have a prominent impact on Buy Box percentage.
If you use tools to monitor your Buy Box percentage, you’ll find that positive seller feedback is an essential factor that Amazon considers when determining which seller will win the Buy Box on listings that are hyper competitive, or listings where factors such as price and geographic location can’t play a strong role. When you have a high feedback score, it directly contributes to improving seller metrics that calculate your probability of winning the Buy Box.
It’s a common customer service complaint wherein a customer will buy something that they didn’t properly read the product description on and then get an item that’s totally different from what they thought they ordered. Of course, this will result in negative feedback even though it’s not the seller’s fault that the customer failed to read the description and got an item they didn’t want. This is a common negative feedback on Amazon FBA sellers’ accounts because the automated algorithm doesn’t categorize such complaints as falling under fulfillment responsibilities.
Customers that pay attention to product details are also much more likely to pay attention to a sellers’ feedback score when shopping. They are more likely to buy from sellers with a high feedback score than from sellers with a low score. This means that if your negative feedback isn’t disputed and removed, you’re risking losing these detail oriented customers. At the same time, you’ll still get customers that don’t pay attention to details and are more likely to leave you negative feedback that isn’t your fault – resulting in a vicious loop of less satisfied customers but a higher chance of unsatisfied customers.
This loop is compounded by the fact that today’s Amazon customer is not the same as just 5 years ago. Data shows that an increasing number of shoppers differentiate between 3rd party sellers by reviewing the feedback score. Although these customers do not yet make up the majority of Amazon shoppers, their numbers are swelling each year thanks to more and more articles, videos, and even communications with Amazon Customer Support team members that encourage customers to pay attention to a seller’s feedback score. Don’t let your account fall into the “Poor Customer Loop” by making sure to address each and every negative feedback that you receive.
In Animal Farm, George Orwell famously wrote “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others” and this is just as true in the Amazon marketplace as it is in government (be it animal run or human run). Not every seller gets the same opportunities, deals, and promotions offered through the platform. Invitations to feature items on Deals may be extended more frequently to sellers that Amazon thinks will offer the best customer experience. Lightning Deals, for example, are offered to sellers who have at least 5 feedback ratings per month and have an overall rating of at least 3.5 stars, but those are the minimum requirements. Amazon’s business model relies on customers coming back and buying on their site again and again, and they will offer better and more opportunities to sellers that contribute to that ethos.
Like with many elements of selling on Amazon, meeting the minimum requirements isn’t difficult. However, to be truly successful on the platform, the best sellers understand that their performance metrics must rise well above the minimum. With the new A10 algorithm in place, keeping your feedback score high won’t just impact back-end opportunities anymore, but directly help your listings rank higher as well. It is more important than ever, therefore, to take an active look at your feedback and make sure to take steps to improve your feedback score.
ust because Amazon takes care of warehousing, customer service, and logistics doesn’t mean that an Amazon FBA seller can afford to ignore feedback management. Getting feedback and listening to what your customers are saying can give you insights into customer satisfaction, product quality, and most importantly – help you maintain and build Seller Authority on Amazon. There are plenty of opportunities that open up for you when your seller account maintains high feedback ratings, and it all boils down to getting more sales and in turn, having higher profit margins.