If you’re a relatively new seller on the Amazon marketplace, you might be trying to understand how Amazon customer feedback works.

For example, what’s the difference between a “review” and “feedback”? Does a customer’s rating remain public after it has been published? How does all of this impact my sales revenue?

These are all good questions.

In this post, I’ll briefly touch upon a few of the ways that Amazon shoppers can express their feedback.

Private Message

Before we discuss the topic of public ratings, I thought we should first address a somewhat overlooked form of customer feedback: direct messages from buyers. When I say “overlooked,” it’s not to imply that sellers frequently ignore incoming customer messages. Quite the opposite – Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) actually measures seller responsiveness as a key performance metric and points out that “Contact Response Time measures the percentage of customer-initiated messages that you respond to within 24 hours.”

So, clearly, if you want to succeed on Amazon.com, you must get in the habit of swiftly responding to buyer messages. What can be less obvious, however, is the importance of such private messages on a seller’s business. Like any form of feedback, a direct message offers valuable insight into buyer concerns and preferences. In addition, a private email gives the seller a chance to correct potential issues before they are transferred to the public domain.

Judging by the “Contact Seller” form, it’s apparent that many shoppers use this as a conduit to share feedback to sellers. Here are just a few of the “Subject” lines that a shopper can choose from when contacting the seller:

  • Where’s My Stuff?
  • Cancel Order
  • Can You Ship Faster?
  • Received Wrong Item
  • Received Damaged Item
  • Received Defective Item
  • Return Policy
  • Refund Policy

So, the next time a customer sends you a private message with one of these headlines, you might actually want to thank them for keeping it private!

Public Feedback

Not all feedback is negative. Likewise, not all feedback is private.

When a customer buys from you on the Amazon marketplace, he or she is entitled (but not obligated) to rate the transaction by leaving public seller feedback. As we pointed out in this recent post and other similar articles on our blog, seller feedback:

  • Is visible on your seller profile once it’s published
  • Should be seller-focused, not product-focused
  • Is based on a 5-star system
  • Includes a few open-ended comments from the shopper
  • Impacts your Amazon Account Health metrics
  • Influences your ability to win the Buy Box
  • Can be published by the customer within a 90-day window
  • Can be removed by the buyer, but must be done within 60 days of publication

With public feedback playing such an important role for third-party merchants, many sellers develop strategies to maintain a pristine seller reputation. Some turn to manual solicitation, while others use automated platforms, such as our FeedbackFive tool.

Public Reviews

Although sellers have been known to use the words “review” and “feedback” interchangeably, they’re actually two different entities in the Amazon world. In fact, we’ve written quite extensively on this topic, such as our popular article, “Feedback vs. Product Reviews: What’s the Difference?“. In case you don’t have time to read the full post, allow me to briefly summarize.

Reviews:

  • Appear on the product’s detail page (not the seller’s profile) once published
  • Should be product-focused, and not seller-focused
  • Use a 5-star rating scale and customer comment system (similar to feedback)
  • Impact an item’s visibility on the Amazon marketplace
  • Can be submitted by anyone, not just those who have purchased via Amazon.com
  • Can be removed, but sellers should never ask buyers to do so
  • Have additional guidelines and anti-manipulation policies, as specified by Amazon

It’s no surprise that merchants involved with private labeling and bundling are particularly interested in review solicitation and tracking. In reality, any Amazon seller could glean valuable insights from product ratings. Such information can especially be useful when making sourcing decisions, restocking or venturing into new product categories.

A World of Customer Feedback

As you can see, customer feedback plays an important role on the Amazon marketplace. Smart sellers take steps to proactively manage such feedback, thereby laying the groundwork for happier customers and stellar reputations.

Need help managing customer feedback? Give FeedbackFive a try for 14 days.

Colleen Quattlebaum

As the Business Development Manager for eComEngine, Colleen Quattlebaum is committed to helping Amazon Sellers succeed. Colleen reviews the latest market trends and strategizes on how to improve eComEngine’s offerings, so she can pass that insight and value on to Amazon merchants.

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    This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.