Amazon is leading the pack as one of the most influential companies in today’s economy. When Amazon first launched in 1995, it was a website that sold only books. But even then, founder Jeff Bezos had a vision for the company’s rapid growth and mass expansion. He knew from the very beginning that Amazon would become an “everything store,” and foresaw its eventual e-commerce market domination. What had begun as an online bookstore quickly became not only one of the most valuable companies in the world, but one that would change how buyers made decisions forever.

Today, Amazon reviews are monumentally important when it comes to a brand’s success on Amazon and in the marketplace overall. In fact, nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase (according to a 2017 report by Spiegel Research Center). That means that reviews your customers leave on Amazon are doing a lot of the heavy lifting of marketing for you. And this is good news! To capitalize on customer reviews, it’s important to understand just how the process works. The first step is to understand the different types of reviews on Amazon.

Two Types of Amazon Reviews

1. Product Reviews: Product reviews are the star ratings featured on a product page, just underneath the product title. Their prominent display is no accident. By informing shoppers right away just how users feel about the product, Amazon is letting online shoppers know that if they buy here, they can trust what they’re told — and that’s important. People buy from Amazon in large part because it’s a company that’s won their trust.

Trust is a concept we’ll revisit — but for now, back to the nuts and bolts of product reviews. Here are a few key facts: 

  • Product reviews are attached to the product itself, not a particular seller
  • Anyone with an Amazon account can leave a product review, whether they bought the item on Amazon or not 
  • Products with 4-star reviews or higher have been proven to rank higher in Amazon searches

Product reviews are the most important reviews on Amazon because they are the first ones shoppers read when considering purchasing your product. When shopping online, customers are sometimes shooting in the dark. They have no way of knowing exactly what they’re buying until it shows up at their door. Product reviews give them a sense of the look, feel and experience of using a particular product. Reading a review is similar to asking a friend, “Hey, what did you think of that new bed you bought?” But, rather than just asking one friend, they’re asking a whole bunch of people all at once. 

These are the reviews shoppers read to decide if they’re willing to take a risk on buying your product. The advantages shoppers receive from product reviews are astounding. People trust what their peers are saying and can pretty accurately predict if a product is going to be right for them or not.

2. Seller Ratings: Amazon’s Seller Ratings are different from product reviews. These star ratings are connected to the seller’s account, rather than a particular product. The intention behind these ratings is to enhance the credibility of the seller and speak to performance history overall. Seller Ratings are important because they influence buying decisions when several sellers are selling the same product. They’re all about healthy competition.

Unlike product reviews, Seller Ratings are always connected to an Amazon sale. These ratings work together with good product reviews to drive sales and boost your brand’s reputation overall. Anything less than four stars on either product reviews or Seller Ratings negatively impacts your sales. The key takeaway here: It’s important to start by selling a quality product that people like and/or can easily use and provide excellent service to both existing and prospective customers. 

The Real Impact of Amazon Reviews

Michael LeBoeuf, the author of How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life, famously said, “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” This is something that Amazon has always understood. Customer satisfaction is a value of utmost importance. And the Amazon customer reviews that have grown out of this emphasis have not only revolutionized the shopping experience for people around the globe, but they have also become one of the company’s most valuable tools. 

Bottom line: Amazon reviews don’t just measure customer satisfaction. They measure trust. People buy from those they trust — and avoid those they don’t like the plague. What people say about your brand and your products online matters. Your customers’ experiences determine whether your company sinks or swims. It’s your job to make sure they have no reason to do anything but sing your praises.

While five-star product reviews and Seller Ratings are always something to strive for, having a solid plan for reputation management and handling reviews will enhance your overall customer experience. Learn more about online reputation management (ORM) tools like Reputation Studio to see how to consolidate customer reviews into a single dashboard, automate the routing of reviews to teams, post responses in real-time, apply AI to provide actionable insights and track review sentiment and intent.