What you’ll learn
The Amazon Vine program is an invite-only elite group of Amazon reviewers known as “Vine Voices” who receive products from Amazon sellers for free in exchange for their reviews. Usually, Vine reviewers receive products to submit their unbiased feedback when products are newly released. Sellers will list their products for Vine Voices to help a listing gain traction with reviews.
According to Amazon, the purpose of the Vine program is “to provide customers with more information including honest and unbiased feedback from some of Amazon’s mistrusted reviewers.”
Anyone who is a member of the Vine Voices Program will have a badge on all the vine reviews they leave on Amazon distinguishing them as Vine Voices. This doesn’t mean every single review written by a Vine member is a result of a freebie. The review is usually labeled Vine Customer Review of Free Product if they receive the item as part of the program.
Vine members used to receive a monthly newsletter featuring books and other products they chose from to review – with products valued at anywhere from a few dollars to close to $1,000 – they now have access to a rolling list of items they can order at any time. Vine members cannot sell or give items received through the program away and Amazon can ask for the items back, but they don’t.
Vine Voices reviewers are not told to leave positive reviews only. Writing a negative review will have no impact on a Vine member’s ranking.
The purpose of Vine Voices for sellers
Sellers are enrolled in the program so that they can submit their products to be reviewed by Vine Voices.
The overall intention of the program is to provide shoppers with genuine and reliable feedback so that they can make the best buying decision. Meaning, Vine Voices submit honest and frequent feedback that is helpful to other buyers on the Amazon marketplace.
Before Amazon Vine was enabled for all Amazon sellers, it’s no secret that sellers solicited and created an underground system of incentivized reviews. New products launched 10 days could rack up thousands of reviews, all positive 5 stars, and the reviewers got the product for free and many sellers offered another $20 via PayPal to the reviewer as a bonus.
To make matters worse, these products were horrible, counterfeit, and dangerous. If a shopper had an account and could leave a review, they were considered hot assets.
In response to media backlash, Amazon is finally banning Chinese sellers who manipulated it to the max. They’ve also rolled out Project Zero to tackle the counterfeit problem and protect brands through continuous scanning of its marketplace. Vine is second-tier protection designed by Amazon to safeguard against fake reviews. A reviewer’s rating is not affected by negative reviews, which encourages honest input.
Vendors and sellers cannot contact the reviewers directly and have no say in which Vine Voices review their products. Amazon Vine offers an unprecedented way to improve customer trust in your brand and increase the number of reviews of your products. As a seller, you should only submit a product that’s ready for the market since negative reviews can happen. Also, ensure you swiftly respond or address negative feedback to show potential buyers that you care about them and their experience with your product.
Benefits of Amazon Vine to vendors and sellers
The essence of Amazon Vine is to generate real reviews to enable potential customers to make the best buying decision possible. Generating real reviews or helpful and insightful reviews be can overwhelming for a new seller that does not know how the Amazon marketplace works. But with Amazon Vine Voices, you can send your products to reviewers to give their feedback before listing the products on Amazon. The truth is that every buyer on Amazon wants to buy a product that has at least 4 or 5-star reviews, and this is what the Vine program offers sellers.
Additionally, participating in the Vine program helps drive brand awareness. Remember, a product or brand performance is a measure of customer feedback and the number of sales. Amazon algorithms pay more attention to reviewer ranking. For instance, if a Vine Voice gives a positive review after testing out your product, the chances are that Amazon will pop the product higher in the queue. Valuable feedback will help your products to appear as the top result for consumer queries.
What’s more? Amazon Vine also increases conversion rates. The more positive reviews your products receive, the more conversion and sales you will also earn. You have an edge over your competitors if you start with product reviews from day one of your product launch. You want your product to be a force to reckon with in your target niche market, but still provide proof of quality, which Amazon Vine will help you achieve.
Is there a cost to use Amazon Vine for sellers?
As Amazon Vine launched at the end of 2019 in Seller Central, Amazon temporarily suspended the enrollment fee to enable more startups to join the program. It’s now available for all sellers and hopefully, it stays that way.
- 2019 cost of Vine program for sellers – $2,500
- 2020 cost of Vine program for sellers – $0
- 2021 Oct cost of Vine program for sellers – $200 per parent product
Vine is no longer free, but it’s still worth it for the seller because I value each review around $50 for the first 50. Being able to get max 30 reviews for $200 is still a no-brainer.
And the important part is that the fee is for a parent ASIN. If your parent has many variations underneath it, it’s a big win for the seller.
It’s not cheap to try and get reviews with only PPC, SEO, Facebook ads, giveaways, coupon discounts. It comes out to be more.
Note that sellers have to bear all product costs, FBA fees and other charges just like a regular FBA order.
How do I use Amazon Vine as a seller?
There are several criteria to join the Vine program as a seller. You must satisfy the following requirements:
- You must be an active seller with a registered brand in the Amazon Brand Registry
- You must have a buyable FBA “new” offer
- You must have less than 30 reviews on your product
- You also must have available inventory, images, and descriptions
- Not be in a blocked category like adult, CBD, or other high-risk categories
- Not a drop shipper
- Account is not in danger of being suspended
Go to Vine from your account and then click the enroll button.
If you are eligible, you’ll see a text input box where you can enter the ASIN you want to enroll in the program. You can enroll 5 products at a time. If you end a Vine campaign early, you can use up that slot for another product you want to market to the Vine community.
The Vine program doesn’t accommodate all products – some products are not eligible for this program. Therefore, it is important to consider your inventory before making any attempt to enroll your product. Some of the products not eligible for the program are:
- Heavy or bulky items
- Drop-ship items
- Adult product
- Hazmat items
- Sample products
With big brands selling on the Amazon marketplace, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd and offer your competitors a run for their money. And that is why it is important for you to rank high among customers to increase your sales.
Amazon vine reviews are a determining factor if you want your brand to rank high so that customers can pick your products. In a saturated market like Amazon, new products will find it difficult to find a solid footing. The best way to distinguish your brand from the rest is to use Amazon Vine to source credible reviews and also tag your products with the badge of reviewer authenticity.
Even Amazon uses it for their own listings too.
If you can get videos, images, lengthy use reviews, that’s a home run.
How do you get an invite to become an Amazon Vine reviewer?
Now that Amazon’s Early Review program is extinct, trying to get an invite to become part of the Vine program is a hot topic.
Getting an invite is not complicated, but it’s difficult.
If you are eligible for the program, Amazon will reach out to you. They focus on the quality of review instead of the quantity. If you are leaving a million one-word reviews hoping that you get invited – wrong.
You need your reviews to get a ton of helpful votes. Also use this reference for Amazon’s guidelines for a Vine Voice:
- Priority is given to recent reviews (keep in mind that reviewer ranking is usually updated every couple of days).
- You must consistently write helpful reviews
- Demonstrated expertise in one specific product category
- Interest in products similar to those enrolled in the Vine program
- A reviewer’s rank; the rank is a function of the number of reviews and the overall helpfulness of the reviews.
Your interest in the products enrolled is a key factor to get an invite from Amazon. There is no real way to determine whether a product has been enrolled or not, aside from looking for Vine reviews on Amazon. In all honesty, this is usually not an easy task to embark on. All I know is that vendors pay to have their products included in the program – this is a fact that Amazon never disclose; thus, leading to some negative coverage of the program in the past.
Vine Voices: Tips for Writing Reviews
If you are trying to get an invite to join the Amazon Vine program as a Vine Voice, the last thing to consider is to pay attention to Amazon’s vine review guidelines. When you are about to write a review, this is what Amazon suggests:
- Do compare products received to other similar products on the market and then share the length of time you used the product.
- Do explain what you liked and disliked about a product.
- Do identify specific attributes and state whether they met your expectations (like the battery life of a camera or comfort & fit of a shirt)
- Don’t include reviews written or promotional content of any kind in exchange for compensation.
- Don’t describe your shipping or seller experience. You have the opportunity to do that at amazon.com/feedback.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does Amazon Vine cost?
As of now, Amazon Vine is free of charge. Earlier Amazon charged vendors $2,500 for each enrolled ASIN. All sellers can enroll their product for free, but the seller has to give away the product for free.
How long does it take for a product on Amazon Vine to get all the reviews?
It takes around 4-8 weeks to receive a review once a Vine Voice receives your products.
What is Amazon’s Vine program for sellers?
Sellers use Amazon Vine to give away their newly released products for free. The product is enrolled in the Vine system, and Vine members can make a free purchase of the product. The Vine reviewer will then leave a review for the product.
The overall intention of the program is to provide shoppers with genuine and reliable reviews.
What is Amazon’s Vine program for buyers?
Amazon Vine is a program that puts your products in the hands of reviewers so that they can give their honest opinion about your products. The program gives buyers the confidence to make purchases knowing that they cannot be misled into parting with their hard-earned money.
Can I Sell Amazon Vine products?
As a Vine voice, you are not allowed to sell or give away products received through the Amazon Vine program.
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