Amazon Negative Reviews: How to Manage Poor Product Ratings

It’s easy to see why Amazon sellers are so concerned about negative reviews. 

Amazon reviews have a major impact on the purchasing decisions of millions of potential buyers. Products with high numbers of positive reviews help consumers purchase with confidence. However, even just a handful of negative reviews can cause some shoppers to go looking elsewhere.

That being said, please don’t be discouraged – negative reviews don’t have to be a death sentence for your Amazon store. With the proper strategy in place, you can turn negative reviews into an asset and use them to strengthen your business. Here’s how.

What Happens When You Get a Negative Review?

First, it’s important to remember that a few bad reviews here and there is normal. It’s a natural part of the online selling process where customers can’t see the product first-hand before buying. The item itself may be good, but it’s just not what they had in mind. Plus, you can’t always please everyone – some of the hottest products are still going to have some critics. 

What you don’t want is for this to become the norm as this signals to Amazon that you are no longer a reliable seller. Once your negative reviews start to outweigh the positive ones, you’ll quickly notice a decline in your search visibility, bestseller ranking, advertising performance, and more. It’s a vicious cycle that continues to impact the most precious thing of all – your sales.

Next, let’s discuss how to stop it. 

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How to Handle Negative Reviews on Amazon

Here are the four steps for managing Amazon negative reviews.

1) Monitor Your Products for Reviews

As you may already know, Amazon doesn’t send email notifications when negative reviews are received. In fact, it doesn’t send rating alerts of any kind.

Therefore, the first step in managing your Amazon negative reviews is to monitor your products for 1- and 2-star ratings as well as negative written comments. You can’t fix something if you don’t know there’s a problem, right?

There are a few different ways to monitor your reviews. You can:

  1. Manually check your product pages for new reviews. While this is the most basic method, it’s only feasible for sellers with a few products. To save time, you can try filtering your reviews by Amazon’s ‘Read reviews that mention’ feature. 
  2. Visit Amazon’s Customer Reviews page in Seller Central. Amazon does have its own tool for monitoring reviews, but you must be a brand owner enrolled in the Brand Registry program to use it. You can view any product reviews received in the past 30 days on the dashboard within 24 hours of when they were published. 
  3. Automate the process with Amazon review monitoring software. This can be considered the most hands-off approach (hey, you’ve got enough on your plate!) but you’ll certainly get much more intel. These third-party tools track your products for new reviews and pull in comprehensive review data for each one. 

In a recent reviews survey, 89% of Amazon sellers said they monitored their reviews. Are you one of them? We hope so!

2) Perform an Amazon Review Analysis

Now that you have all of this review data, it’s time to dig deeper. We recommend looking for a few different things, which we’ll divide into two separate groups: a) suspicious review activity and b) action items.

Every Amazon seller should become familiar with the marketplace’s review policies and Community Guidelines. There are strict rules in place for both buyers and sellers.

While you can’t ask a customer to change or remove a negative review, you can ask Amazon to remove reviews that violate its rules or are strongly suspected to be fake.

Here’s a quick list of what Amazon has said is not allowed in your reviews:

  • Seller, order, or shipping feedback 
  • Comments about pricing or availability
  • Content written in unsupported languages
  • Private information, like phone numbers, email addresses, and order numbers
  • Profanity, harassment, sexual content, or hate speech
  • External links to other sites

Use the “Report abuse” link below the review you would like to report. If there’s no link, email [email protected]. Be sure to include details about where the review is and why you think it’s a violation.

Amazon has been trying to solve its fake review problem for years. Today, thanks to programs like Amazon Transparency and numerous lawsuits against bad actors, the eCommerce giant is inching closer and closer to that goal.  

Keep in mind that not every negative review will be fake, but you should watch out for certain warning signs, like multiple negative reviews being posted at once and bad reviews about different products entirely.

Inevitably, you’re going to get some bad reviews because people just don’t like what you’re selling. However, other customers may leave negative reviews because they’ve discovered a real problem with your product. This is where your action items come into play.

3) Resolve the Issue 

Buyers leave reviews for many different reasons. Your review data can reveal what went wrong. 

For example, if you receive several reviews that mention the item is not the expected size or color, you’ll want to immediately update your listing to ensure that you’re setting the right expectations for the next buyer.

Sometimes it’s as simple as updating your listing. Other times, the problem may be more complex (i.e. a design flaw or faulty material) and require you to talk with your manufacturer.

While you work on resolving the issue, it’s also recommended to reach out to buyers about their negative reviews. Before December 2020, this was pretty simple – all sellers could publicly comment on their reviews. Today, you must be enrolled in the Brand Registry program to 

access the “Contact Buyer” feature that lets you send direct messages to buyers who left critical (1-3 star) reviews for either of these reasons: 

  • To offer a full courtesy refund or a replacement item
  • To attempt to clarify a product issue based on the review

Both messages are templated emails from Amazon and may not be edited. You can find the link by going to the Brands menu and clicking on “Customer Reviews.” 

Tip: If the problem seems isolated, offering the buyer a refund or a replacement is likely the best course of action. However, if the issue is unclear or you believe the problem stems from user error, it’s in your best interest to ask for more details. Responding quickly will demonstrate good customer service and increase your chances of buyers removing or editing negative reviews on their own.

4) Get More Positive Reviews

While the methods above are highly effective for managing your negative reviews, if you want to truly overcome them you need to tip the scales with more positive ratings

But what’s the best way to get more good reviews? It’s simple – you must ask for them! Per Amazon policy, sellers retain the right to ask for seller feedback and product reviews.

You must follow Amazon’s review guidelines very carefully, which means:

  1. Sending one review request per order. Requests must be sent within 30 days of order completion, include the order ID, and be translated into the buyer’s preferred language.
  2. Only use neutral language. Don’t explicitly ask buyers to leave positive reviews.
  3. Not offering any incentives in exchange for reviews. This includes money, gift cards, coupons toward future purchases, and free products.

It’s highly recommended to ask for a review on every order. Many buyers, even those that are highly satisfied, won’t think to leave a review on their own. A gentle, timely reminder can go a long way.

There are a few different ways that you can request reviews from buyers:

  1. Click the Request a Review button on the customer’s Order Details page in Seller Central. This message is guaranteed to be compliant with Amazon’s policies.
  2. Send a templated Buyer-Seller Messaging email to the customer from Seller Central. There are additional guidelines you must follow to ensure compliance.
  3. Automate either of the options above with third-party software that connects to the Amazon API. You can find these tools in Amazon’s Selling Partner Appstore.

The first two methods typically work well for smaller sellers who only sell a few products. Most of the larger sellers are looking to save time while also reaching more buyers, which is a clear-cut advantage of review request software.

Overcome Amazon Negative Reviews with the Right Review Strategy

Avoiding Amazon negative reviews altogether just isn’t possible. Therefore, it’s best to be prepared and have a plan in place.

FeedbackFive by eComEngine has all of your needs covered. In addition to helping Amazon sellers worldwide receive millions of reviews with Request a Review or Buyer-Seller Messaging automation, FeedbackFive keeps you perfectly in tune with your product’s reputation. Text and/or email alerts notify you when new negative reviews have been received so you can take action faster.

Our top-ranked review software also makes review monitoring quick and easy by importing and organizing reviews for any product you wish to track. Its ratings distribution will be neatly displayed on an at-a-glance dashboard, which also allows you to sort and filter your reviews as you see fit. You can even export your reviews to a CSV file for analysis outside of the tool.

Ready to get started analyzing your reviews? We’d be happy to help with a free ASIN analysis!

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