For anyone who has ever shopped online, it’s no surprise that product reviews are crucial to a product’s success. When it comes to Amazon, it’s even more important, as sales velocity and ratings feed into a product’s ranking and can also affect your seller ranking. Want to be on the top page of Amazon search results? You’re going to need some serious star power.
About Amazon Vine
Amazon originally launched Amazon Vine as a tool for vendors. With steep fees to join, it traditionally costs anywhere from $1750 to $7500 per ASIN! In late 2019, Amazon overhauled the program and expanded it to include sellers that met certain criteria. With the discontinuation of the Early Review Program in 2021, Amazon Vine is now the best and most legit way to get reviews on your products.
Amazon Vine in 2022
As of 2022, there have been some significant changes to the program. Including a simplified workflow, new costs for each enrolment, and an increased limit for products that can be enrolled.
Currently, Amazon vendors and Amazon professional sellers with FBA fulfillment are all eligible for Amazon Vine, but the tool is only available for those enrolled in the Brand Registry. In order to participate in Vine, you must be registered as the brand owner in the Amazon Brand Registry.
Amazon has also expanded the enrolment limit to 60 ASINs. This used to be capped at 5 ASINs for sellers and vendors, so there is quite a bit of opportunity for brands with larger catalogues.
Amazon Vine costs
The biggest change this year is that Amazon Vine is no longer free for anyone. In the US, each ASIN enrolled will cost $200 for sellers and $1250 for vendors, and in the UK each will cost £140 for sellers and £1200 for vendors.
(Example of the Amazon Vine homepage in US Seller Central).
How does Amazon Vine work?
Amazon Vine is an in-house program where Amazon allows a pool of trusted reviewers (based on their review ranking) to review products put into the program. These reviewers, called Vine Voices, were selected for their ability to post insightful reviews on their prior Amazon purchases.
Each enrolment lets your business offer up to 30 units of a product for review by the Vine Voices. Eligible products must have less than 30 reviews. The products must be offered FBA and in “New” condition. Your product must have sufficient inventory and be buyable.
Tip: If you are a Brand Registry seller, make sure your products are all properly associated with your registered brand. You can only enrol products for brands you own, so it’s important to ensure your products are set up and mapped correctly.
How do I use Amazon Vine?
In Seller Central, ensure you’re logged in to your Brand Registry-linked account. Under the “Advertising” drop-down, navigate to “Vine.” At the top, enter the ASIN you wish to enrol at the top right of the page.
In Vendor Central, ensure you’re logged into the account associated with your Brand Registry account. Under the “Merchandising” tab, click “Amazon Vine.”
From there, Amazon will guide you through setup, which can be done quickly and easily. Just select the number of units you want to offer and confirm that you agree with the terms and conditions. Amazon will then automatically offer your products to Vine Voices through the reviewer portal.
How soon will I see reviews?
This depends on your product and category. Amazon will offer units to a select group of people who are likely to want your product, typically those who have purchased in your category before. After 28 days, they will expand it to a wider group. Usually, reviews can roll in as quickly as 4 weeks after enrolment, but this may take longer. Reviewers typically need time to use the product and form an opinion about it.
Vine Voices typically post a detailed review and oftentimes are very thorough with feedback. This could be good or bad, depending on your item.
Is Amazon Vine worth it?
Amazon does not guarantee you will get reviews from the program. Also, even if you receive reviews, they are not guaranteed to be positive ones. Sellers and vendors have no contact with the potential reviewers and no influence over the reviews. The product must speak for itself, so make sure you’ve done your QA and properly optimised your detail pages to answer common customer questions and issues.
Because the program now costs money for each parent ASIN enrolled, plus your business must give the product away, Amazon Vine can be a pricey endeavour. Some products, especially those with a high price point, may not be able to support 30 enrolled units. At the very least, some businesses might not want to pony up that much product or money for every single listing.
That said, Amazon Vine is really the only legitimate way to get reviews. The cost of not having reviews can be detrimental. We would advise against any nefarious package inserts, give-aways, or black-hat tricks on third-party sites to garner positive reviews.
“Once our clients have strong foundations in place and have their listings retail-ready, the Vine program is always something that we suggest to get the Amazon flywheel going. For many of our clients, it's an integral part of their marketing plan. The shift to sellers having to pay for this looks like a classic Amazon move in shifting towards supporting brands, especially those with a budget behind them,” says eCommerce Nurse Senior Marketing Manager Dani Thompson.
Help with Amazon Vine
Reviews are important for traction on Amazon, and there are very few ways to get legitimate ones. Amazon Vine offers a simple way to expand your reach and solicit real reviews from people who are likely to provide a comprehensive and legitimate opinion. That said, enrolment can be a double-edged sword. Brands should be prepared for constructive, honest feedback and be prepared to eat the cost of giving away free units to customers who are in no way obligated to be positive. With added costs in 2022, it’s still worth it but may require brands to be more strategic.
Once you have enrolled an ASIN, it cannot be enrolled a second time (even if it still meets all of the other requirements). Keep this in mind when deciding how many units to place into the pool.
If you need more information or assistance with management of your brand on Amazon, please contact our full-service agency, specialising in Amazon.