When you’ve hummed and hawed over that next purchase on Amazon, you have probably perused the reviews and come upon an Amazon Vine Voice badge. Those reviews come from certain individuals who are part of the Amazon Vine program, an invitation-only review program. This program helps small businesses get verified reviews for their products when they have yet to receive many from customers. It also, however, comes with certain caveats. We’ll explain the details of what Amazon Vine is, what are some of its limitations, and why you might benefit from it.
What is Amazon Vine?
Amazon Vine is a program where reviewers called Vine Voices can receive free products to write reviews for the product pages that express their “unbiased opinions – positive, neutral or negative.” It originally began in 2007 as monthly emails that featured product reviews. By 2011, as Amazon’s inventory and number of Voices grew, the emails became unwieldy, and one could feature over 400 reviews. As a result, the program was overhauled in 2016 to its current form, where reviews became featured on the individual product page above other reviews with a prominent “Vine Voice” badge.
Who are the Vine Voices?
Anyone can become a Vine Voice, the unpaid reviewers of Amazon Vine. However, they first need to be invited to the program by Amazon. That invitation only comes after someone consistently leaves fair and detailed reviews about the products they purchase. After enough reviews have been written and rated highly by other users, Amazon will invite that account to become a voice for the Vine platform. Similarly, Amazon regularly removes Voices who stop writing reviews or break their terms of agreement, although it is not always apparent to these reviewers why they lose access.
Once they join the platform, Vine Voices can access a special product feed on Amazon of items targeted towards their interests that need reviews. The products offered have little to no reviews; this ensures Vine Voices are focused on vetting less popular or well-known products. Any of the products they request are shipped to them for free with the requirement that they use it and write a detailed review. Those reviews are then featured on the product page above all other users.
Whose Products Can be Reviewed on Amazon Vine?
Since 2019, third-party sellers have been able to enter their products into the Amazon Vine system to receive reviews from Vine Voices. To enroll as a seller in Amazon Vine you must pay a $200 enrollment fee and be a registered seller. Once in the service, you may offer your products for review provided that the item:
- Has less than 30 reviews
- Has already launched and is available for purchase
- Is an FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) offer with the “New” condition
- Is not an “adult” item
- Has available inventory
- Its listing has an image and description
So long as it meets all those criteria, the product can be offered to Amazon Voices for free so that they will write a review.
What are the Benefits of Amazon Vine?
Amazon Vine can be beneficial to smaller companies who offer their products through Amazon because they can provide less popular products with reviews, which are central to online shopping. 93% of customers state that reviews impact their purchase decisions, and studies have found that a product is up to 270% more likelyto be purchased if it has at least 5 reviews. Furthermore, on Amazon, positively reviewed products are given priority in product feeds and searches.
Therefore, Vine helps small businesses get those reviews because it only offers products with a few reviews for Voices to review. If your products are high quality, you can expect good reviews. Those reviews are extra valuable because they are verified and vetted. The general probability of a purchase increases by 15% if a review is a verified purchase. That verification along with the priority display and status of a Vine review can be only more convincing.
What are the Limitations of Amazon Vine?
Vine and Voices can be an excellent way to secure reviews and reach on Amazon, but there are a few caveats to the program. There is no guarantee that a Vine Voice will request your product or provide you with a stellar review. The reviews are also nominally anonymous because Amazon does not require Voices to use their real name. However, there’s little incentive for a Voice to maliciously leave a false review; it is a breach of the program. If Amazon finds their review misleading, such as by a seller’s appeal, the review will be erased and the Voice’s membership revoked. Yes, that anonymity can undermine their credibility and they are less recognizable compared to a product review from a well-known influencer.
Some other factors to consider are the program’s cost. There are no payments besides the initial fee. However, products must be provided for free to incentivize the otherwise uncompensated Voices to write reviews. That isn’t necessarily unusual for professional reviews. Products are typically ‘gifted’ to influencers and professional critics for their publicized and expert opinions, but Voices also aren’t professional reviewers, nor experts, which can limit the quality of their reviews. Furthermore, if your products are expensive, large, or heavy, it will inherently mean a higher investment to ship free products for these reviews. This can make Vine better suited towards lower-priced items that sell more frequently. That positive attention can get your brand wider recognition on Amazon, leading to potential sales and natural customer reviews of those big-ticket products.
Growing Vines and Settling Roots
Hopefully, you now have a good sense of what Amazon Vine and Voices are, along with the benefits and limitations of the program for small businesses. If you’re interested in adding your products to Amazon Vine or discovering other methods to expand your store’s reach, be sure to contact Rosewood Marketing. We will be happy to strategize and discuss various options in both e-commerce design and marketing.