Should FBA Sellers Join the Amazon Vine Program?
Getting a new product off the ground on Amazon can be daunting. There’s stiff competition on the platform, and you often find you’re going up against several similar products.
As soon as you launch, you take a leap into the unknown: Will your product face positive or negative reviews when it goes out into the world?
Customer reviews are a make-it or break-it element of ecommerce. They’re difficult to source, and it’s even more difficult to get the number of reviews you need to stand above the competition. Thankfully, Amazon has recognized this and has created in-platform solutions for gaining Amazon reviews.
The Amazon Vine Program is one of the most powerful tools you can use to gain trusted reviews. We’ll break down how the program works and how you can leverage it to get your products in front of millions of potential customers.
What is the Amazon Vine Program?
The Amazon Vine Program was established to help Amazon sellers gain honest reviews of their products.
Here’s how Amazon defines the Vine program:
“Amazon Vine invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions. Amazon invites customers to become Vine Voices based on their reviewer rank, which is a reflection of the quality and helpfulness of their reviews, as judged by other Amazon customers. Amazon provides Vine members with free products that have been submitted to the program by participating vendors.”
What the program comes down to is an exchange. The seller gets a valuable review, and the Vine Voice reviewer gets free stuff. The outcome is that Amazon customers can rely on real feedback about products, thereby enabling them to make informed purchasing decisions.
How Much Does it Cost to Join the Amazon Vine Program?
Enrolling in Vine is free! Your only true expense is the cost of the products you supply to Vine Voices.
Requirements for Joining the Amazon Vine Program
Reviews through the program aren’t without rules. Naturally, there are restrictions to keep the process streamlined, and criteria are set around what products can be reviewed.
- You must meet these requirements to be enrolled in the program:
- You must be a part of Amazon Brand Registry.
- Your product must be FBA.
- You need fewer than 30 published reviews.
- You must have inventory available.
- Your product cannot be an adult item.
- You must have launched your product by the time you enroll.
- You must have an image and a description of your product.
How to Enroll Your FBA Business in Amazon Vine
To get started on Vine, follow these easy steps:
- Log into Amazon Seller Central.
- Navigate to the “Advertising” tab and scroll down to “Vine.”
- On the Vine dashboard, add the ASIN of the product you’d like to enroll in the program.
Once the product is enrolled, you can track the approval process on the enrollment details page by clicking the “Details” button.
How Many Reviews Can You Get?
In the program, each ASIN can receive a maximum of 30 product reviews. This is worth noting, as if your product has 15 reviews already, that means you qualify for only 15 more.
Everyone has a different strategy for using the program, but it may be beneficial to apply for Vine reviews early on, as you have a higher chance of obtaining insightful reviews through the program than in the general marketplace.
How Does Amazon Select Reviewers?
Amazon selects reviewers based on their history of writing helpful reviews which are voted on by other Amazon shoppers. If a reviewer shows a high level of expertise in a product niche and receives high scores for their reviews, Amazon invites them to become a Vine Voice. They are not paid to be a part of the program, nor do they have to leave positive reviews; their review activity level keeps them in the program and actively receiving free products.
The Difference between the Amazon Vine and Amazon Early Reviewer Programs
Knowing how critical reviews are to the success of sellers as well as the decision-making of potential customers, Amazon has put other programs in place to help boost reviews in the marketplace.
In 2016, Amazon made a move to more or less ban incentivized reviews because the marketplace was filling with false positive reviews (essentially false information). As the company still wanted to help sellers gain reviews, it rolled out the Amazon Early Reviewer Program. If your product costs more than $15 and has fewer than five reviews, you can register its ASIN with the program for $60 and Amazon will reach out to buyers of the product and offer them a small Amazon gift card ($1–$3) in exchange for a review. This program helps sellers get up to five reviews.
The issue with this approach is that it still involves making a sale to get a review. This is where the Vine Program has an advantage over the Early Reviewer Program for new sellers. Getting first sales going with no reviews can be nearly impossible, so new sellers can use Vine Voices to review their new products so that they can launch them with detailed, honest reviews ready to be viewed.
Benefits of the Amazon Vine Program
It’s clear from Vine Voices reviews that the reviewers are a part of the program, which signifies that they are experienced. Customers examine reviews closely and are more likely to feel that they can trust reviews from a designated program within Amazon. The reviews generated by Vine tend to be more honest than typical reviews, which can be the most difficult type of reviews to come by.
Vine Voices are specifically selected to give in-depth reviews that help customers make fully informed buying decisions. As they are incentivized by free products, you can trust that they will spend the time necessary to give you detailed descriptive reviews. Vine reviews will likely be the highest-quality reviews your business receives, so it’s beneficial to get these reviews early on after your product launch.
Completely White Hat
Amazon is known to bring down the banhammer without much explanation. Anything remotely black hat puts your business at risk of getting shut down, so it’s important to stick to what Amazon considers to be white-hat tactics. As the program is run by Amazon and the company chooses Vine reviewers, if you stay within Amazon’s guidelines, you will get the needed reviews of your Amazon products.
Vine reviews tend to offer thorough, genuine feedback on your products. Getting this feedback early on allows you to make small changes to your products or change the listing descriptions to clarify any features that potential customers may need to consider before buying.
Reviews Increase Conversions
Ultimately, you go to the trouble of hunting down quality reviews to make your products seem more valuable in the eyes of customers. By securing the best reviews available, your new products have a much higher chance of selling. The more high-quality reviews you gain over time, the more your sales grow and the better your business ranks in Amazon’s algorithm, further increasing your overall conversion rate.
Should You Sign Up for the Amazon Vine Program?
Considering all the previously mentioned benefits and the fact that it is free to use, there isn’t a strong reason not to take advantage of Amazon Vine. Through the program, you get the reviews you need when launching new products and you can ensure that they will be high-quality reviews that convert potential customers into buyers.
Reviews are incredibly important to a seller, but they are just one piece of the puzzle. You can increase the success of your business in many ways, one of the most powerful of which is to sell your business. Check out our marketplace to see how much other Amazon businesses are selling for, or go ahead and fill out our valuation tool to see how much your business is worth.