Sounds too good to be true, right? 150 FREE reviews for your Amazon listings? Yes, unfortunately, it is… The real number is closer to 75 to 100 reviews, but hey, it’s the best and quickest way to launch a new product on Amazon and get real user reviews in place.
What am I talking about? The Amazon Vine program. Previously, this program was only available to select sellers, but now it’s open to EVERYONE who is brand registered! And there’s even better news: Amazon is running a special promotion right now that allows all brand-registered sellers to enter five products into the Vine program (up to 30 units per product) for FREE!
So, what is the Amazon Vine program and how does it work?
Basically, Amazon monitors customers who leave the most valuable reviews on the website and invites them to join this program. In return, they can receive free products from merchants who submit their offers to the Vine program. The participating reviewers are not obligated to leave a review, but most of them do (more on the numbers later).
These reviews are published on product pages, just like normal reviews. However, there is a small message informing the customer that the reviewer is participating in VINE VOICE, with a further disclaimer that it is a “Vine Customer Review of Free Product”.
As I said, right now, Amazon is running a special promotion where each brand-registered seller can submit up to five products (at a maximum of 30 units per product/ASIN) to the Vine program. We don’t pay any fees on these “orders” right now, but we’ll see what the pricing looks like when the free promotion ends.
Also, this feature and the free promotion are available on ALL five Amazon EU platforms: The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. So, if you’re selling in any of these countries, make sure to take advantage of this opportunity while it lasts!
What are the requirements to submit your items to the Vine program?
First, you must be registered with Amazon’s Brand Registry. Most of you will be registered already. If not, this is just another reason to do so. More and more features are only being made available to brand-registered sellers, so if you’re serious about your Amazon FBA business, you should definitely register to take advantage of A+ Content, Sponsored Brands ads, Amazon Stores, and now the Vine program.
Apart from that, the listing you submit must have fewer than 30 reviews. It can be anything from zero reviews to 29 reviews, as long as it’s less than 30.
Lastly, you must have available inventory with Amazon FBA. This is an obvious one, as otherwise, there are no items available to send to the reviewers. If you fulfil items on your own, you won’t be able to participate in this program. It’s only open to FBA sellers.
How do you submit your listings to the Amazon Vine program?
The process is super simple. Go to the main Advertising menu. From the dropdown options, select “Vine”. This is the page you will be presented with:
Enter the ASIN code in the top part of the page and click on “Begin enrollment”.
On the next page, the product image with the relevant details shows up. Here, you can select how many units you want to enrol in the program:
The maximum number is 30, and that’s the option I recommend you go for, unless you sell something very expensive and can’t afford to give away 30 units of it for free.
Simply click on the “Enroll” button and you’re done!
As I said, it’s super simple. Amazon does not ask for too many details here, so it should take you less than five minutes to complete this process, even if you submit the maximum five products allowed.
What results can you expect from the Amazon Vine program?
Within a few days of submission, people (Vine program members) will start to claim their free items. You can monitor the process from the same Vine page under the main Advertising menu. On this page, you will be able to see how many people have claimed the item, as well as some additional information:
This page also has a column for Vine reviews, but at the moment of writing this post, it doesn’t work. It shows zero for all my items, even though I have received plenty of reviews. It’s probably just a temporary glitch and will be fixed soon.
So, from the moment you submit your items, it will take up to a week before you start seeing your first reviews. This is because it takes time for Amazon to process the requests, ship your items to Vine members, etc. Also, Amazon does not ask Vine reviewers to submit their review within a specific timeframe, so it could be that some reviews come in weeks after the person has received your item.
For the UK marketplace, I submitted five items right before Christmas and received my first review on the 26th of December, which was super-fast! Then, over the next two weeks, I received the majority of the remaining reviews—about 80 in total. This means that 70 people still haven’t left a review. Not all of them will, and that’s fine. Even a 50% success rate is good in my opinion.
Speaking of reviews: how good are they? Remember, Vine reviewers are NOT obligated to leave you a good review. In fact, they’re advised to leave an honest, unbiased review. This means if your product is crap, you probably shouldn’t use this program. People will definitely point out any problems with your product in their reviews.
From the reviews I have received, I’ve found that they are a bit harsher than my “regular” reviews, but not that much. The average review I got for a listing that had zero reviews to start with is four-and-a-half stars, which is not bad at all. Mostly, it’s five-star reviews with some four-star reviews and then a couple of three-star reviews.
Most of the reviews are very detailed, and if it’s a bad review (three or four stars), people tend to explain what they didn’t like about the product. This is information you should take as valuable customer feedback that will allow you to improve your product in the future.
What I also like about Vine reviews is that many of them submitted product images, too, and some even uploaded videos! This makes these reviews super real and trustworthy, which is a great conversion rate booster.
I’ve already seen sales improvements for some of the items I submitted to the program, especially the ones that had zero reviews to start with. Yes, these reviews are marked as Vine Voice on the product page, but I don’t think it’s a massive problem. Most customers on Amazon probably don’t know what that means anyway, but your listing will still convert so much better with those 15 or 20 Vine reviews. Over time, they will be mixed in with your natural/organic reviews and look even better.
To sum it up, I think this is the best new feature/addition Amazon has launched in ages! With this Vine program, we can take a brand-new listing from zero reviews to 15-20+ reviews in a matter of weeks! We don’t yet know how the pricing will look in the future, but for now, while it’s free, it’s a no brainer and you should absolutely go for it!
This new program also eliminates the need for using family/friends or participating in other shady schemes to get those first reviews in. You can send 30 units of your product to “real” customers and get honest, unbiased reviews in return. It’s as simple as that!
I don’t know where this leaves the recently introduced Early Reviewer program, though. Why would anyone want to pay £60 for just five reviews when we can get many more for free through the Vine program? This may change when Amazon announces the pricing for the Vine program, but for now, let’s all take advantage of this special promotion while it lasts!
If you have any further questions about the Amazon Vine program, feel free to leave a comment below this post. I will personally reply to all comments within 24 hours, Monday to Friday.
If you’re looking for a step-by-step Amazon FBA training program and my personal support, check out my Amazon Sharks video course here.
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