Negative Amazon reviews are painful–they can bring down your overall rating, damage your brand reputation, and thwart future customers. But they also feel inevitable, because every buyer will come with different expectations. So how do you deal with negative reviews?
Previously, Amazon allowed sellers to provide a custom response to any and all reviews to help mitigate this pain. A brand’s response appeared as a comment in a public thread on the initial review on the product listing page. This gave brands a way to support the customer further, while showing future customers that the brand was aware of the feedback, was working to make improvements, and cared about each customer’s experience.
Unfortunately, buyers weren’t regularly responding to seller comments trying to help the experience, meaning the feature wasn’t necessarily driving better customer support or resolving unfavorable reports.
In a bittersweet way, the ability to comment directly on reviews was retired by Amazon in December 2020. Bitter because removing the feature left brands feeling deflated and hopeless against resolving negative reviews and the issues causing them. Sweet because it paved the way for Amazon to launch a Contact Customer feature under the Customer Reviews tools.
You heard it right, Amazon provides a feature allowing sellers to respond directly to negative reviews to get more information from the buyer, offer a replacement, or offer a full refund.
The Contact Customer feature allows brands to respond to negative reviews in seller central using a templated email. Brands have the option between 2 Amazon created templates: One that offers a replacement or refund, and another that asks for more information.
The templated emails are not customizable, but offer a starting point to allow sellers to contact unhappy buyers. If the customer chooses to respond to a seller’s initial email, the response will show in the messages section of seller central and the seller can then respond freely, no templates necessary.
This feature can help drive results because sellers are reaching out to buyers directly via email, instead of hoping a customer checks their previous negative reviews for responses.
Any review that received a 1, 2, or 3 star rating is eligible for the Contact Customer feature. If a review is eligible it will show in the right hand corner of the review in the Customer Reviews section of seller central.
If a review received 4 or 5 stars, a message will be displayed in the right hand corner letting sellers know the review is not eligible for the feature.
To access this feature you must be a registered brand with Amazon. Adding yet another benefit to the analytics, advertising, A+ Content, and more of Brand Registry. (If Brand Registry is your only barrier to the feature, get in touch today to see how we can help)
Brands are also only able to respond to negative reviews that occurred within the last 6 months, so checking reviews and responding in a timely manner is a must.
The ability to contact customers directly has the potential to benefit sellers greatly. Responding to an unhappy buyer and resolving their issues may result in that buyer removing their negative review, or even better, changing it into a positive one.
Since you can’t remove negative reviews, helping the customer to have a better experience and rethink their negative review is your best option. And, because Amazon is the gatekeeper of customer contact information there is no way for sellers to reach out to disgruntled buyers outside of the feature.
But even if the buyer doesn’t change or remove their review–and even if they don’t respond to your message–if the buyer sees the email attempting to provide a solution for their grievance this can positively impact the way they view your brand going forward, which boosts your brand reputation.
While emailing buyers is a more direct approach to solving their problems, emails can be easily lost or ignored in our digital age. On top of that, these emails are not public, so even when you do your best to resolve the issues raised in the negative review, future customers won’t know.
Previously, when sellers could comment on reviews, prospective customers could see how a brand responded to any down-sides mentioned in a negative review and weigh the brand’s response against the criticism. Now the resolution is between the buyer and seller alone.
Amazon customers also have the option to opt out of all communications from sellers. So, if a buyer has opted out of these communications then the option to contact the customer will not be available. And, unfortunately, there is a good percentage of customers who have opted out.
To use the Contact Customer feature open the main navigation in Seller Central and select brands and then Customer Reviews.
Once on the customer reviews page you can sort reviews by star rating and select 1, 2, and 3 stars.
After you have sorted by stars you will see all reviews that have the potential for the Contact Customer email. The feature availability will be displayed in the top right corner. If the customer has opted out of messaging you will see ‘Unable to Contact Customer’ and if the review is 4 or 5 stars you will see ‘Great job! Reply not needed.’
But if the option is available, you will see ‘Contact Customer’ which you can click to select which email template you’d like to send.
If you select the Courtesy refund you will see a templated email offering a replacement or refund, depending on the customer’s request in their response.
If you select the Customer review email you will see a templated email letting the customer know you’d like to address their concerns.
Once you have decided which email to send, you simply click ‘send’ in the bottom right corner. It’s that easy!
While every consumer can have a unique perspective on how they want their concerns handled, Amazon offering more options for buyer-seller communications is a win in itself.
Looking for help managing your reviews and customer experience? We’d love to set you up with a brand manager who can help manage your marketplace information, optimize your listings, and handle negative reviews and customer support.
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Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.
In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.
From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.
According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.
From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.
It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.
A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.
Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.
The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)
Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.
Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.
Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.
Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.
Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.