Change remains the only constant on Amazon, and the latest updates from the tech giant’s marketplace aim to improve the Amazon product review experience. Currently the buzz in the Amazon seller community revolves around Amazon product reviews, which are at the heart of discussions due to recent changes that impact how customer reviews are showcased and created. These updates are affecting sellers and customers alike.
Keep reading as we discuss a few major headlines in the Amazon landscape, directly related to Amazon product reviews. You won’t want to miss this.
Amazon’s New Star Rating Display
In late August, customers began to notice the Amazon search results page started looking a little different. Instead of the traditional five-star rating system that displays a product’s weighted average by coloring the stars in yellow to match the review count, a single star fully shaded in yellow with a number presented before the star took its place.
As one Redditor points out, Amazon appears to be testing out that space left open by displaying the percentage of five-star ratings. At this moment, these displays seem dependent on the browser and product category.
To this point, sentiment regarding Amazon’s new star ratings display seems less than favorable.
While the new display doesn’t change the review rating a customer would see, the visual doesn’t jump off the page like the traditional display. As a result, shoppers who prioritize by review ratings must be more diligent in spotting poorly-rated products. For example, a 2-star product with three unshaded boxes is easily noticeable and its lack of quality reviews becomes conspicuous, while the update makes each product appear more uniform.
Perhaps the change will grow on shoppers as it becomes more familiar, but at the moment the change appears to be rating 1.0 ⭐ with consumers.
Introduction of AI-Generated Customer Review Highlights
As artificial intelligence continues to gain momentum and impact industries, it should come as no surprise that Amazon would be near the forefront of utilizing and deploying the technology. In recent weeks, Amazon shoppers on mobile began seeing AI-generated customer review highlights below the customer reviews header summarizing customer reviews. This brand-new feature adds importance to reviews beyond the star review system, emphasizing what customers write about a product is more important than the subjective star rating they leave for a product.
Like how the average customer review star system combines the average review rating to offer a general idea of customer satisfaction, the AI-generated review highlights allow customers to see common themes and comments without sifting through each review. While customers might still opt to read reviews, the AI-generated highlights serve as a valuable source of information that gives shoppers an idea of what to look for when perusing reviews for potential issues or validation before purchasing.
Amazon sellers will undoubtedly want to monitor these AI-generated review highlights. A wave of negative reviews citing critical details about a product can nosedive sales more than ever, even for products with a rich sales history. Conversely, accumulating positive reviews becomes even more valuable as the Amazon product review highlights recap what customers say about a given product.
Amazon states the new AI-generated review highlights only include customer reviews from verified purchases, filtering out reviews from customers who purchased the product off Amazon or at a steep discount. This measure keeps low-value, potentially skewed customer reviews from impacting the AI-generated review summaries.
Continuing the Never-Ending Fight Against Fraudulent Reviews
Speaking of fraudulent reviews, Amazon continued the battle to protect the marketplace from counterfeit customer reviews by filing two new lawsuits against fake review brokers. The two new lawsuits tack on to the four lawsuits filed by Amazon in late June targeting fraudulent reviews.
“Our goal is to ensure that every review in Amazon’s stores is trustworthy and reflects customers’ actual experiences. Amazon welcomes authentic reviews—whether positive or negative —but strictly prohibits fake reviews that intentionally mislead customers.”David Montague, Amazon Vice President of Selling Partner Risk
The two new lawsuits tack on to the four lawsuits filed by Amazon in late June targeting fraudulent reviews.
Of course, Amazon is not the only one playing defense against fraudulent reviews. In this calendar year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken a tough approach against the practice by making The Bountiful Company pay back $600,000 to customers for deceiving customers via manipulative review practices. The ruling set a precedent as the first law enforcement challenging “review hijacking,” in which a marketer steals or repurposes reviews of another product.
On top of the landmark punishment, the FTC also proposed a rule on July 31st aimed at the fake review industry that would carry up to a $50,000 fine per fraudulent review for businesses looking to scam their way to the top of search, enhance their product listing with Amazon badges, or deceive customer through false representations.
The heavy-handed penalties, the threat of lawsuits from one of the largest companies in the world, and the preventative measures taken by Amazon seek to bring the fake review industry to its knees.
Amazon product reviews have been the cornerstone of the platform, fostering trust and quality assurance since 1995. With many products from third-party brands on the marketplace, authentic customer reviews are vital to consumer trust.
For Amazon sellers, the message is clear: always stay within Amazon’s guidelines when boosting reviews. While a cascade of 5-star reviews sounds alluring, the risk of being suspended or banned from Amazon, getting a listing suppressed, or being financially punished after the fact creates the risk of permanently ending your online business.
Amazon reviews are here to stay, and the introduction of AI-generated highlights, new rating displays, and a stringent stance against fake reviews reflect Amazon’s dedication to enhancing the review experience.
With all this information in mind, sellers would be wise to optimize their review generation strategy with Review Automation, the most effective Amazon-approved review generation strategy. Compliant with Amazon’s terms of service and up to 5 times more effective than traditional email follow-ups, Review Automation gets Amazon to request reviews on your behalf to customers who qualify for verified reviews. Get started today to streamline your review strategy without putting your business at risk.