Understanding Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program

What is Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program (ERP)?

When you add a new product to your catalog, you are competing against some well-established competitor products and the lack of reviews puts you at an unfair disadvantage. Amazon wants to help try and minimize that disadvantage with the Early Reviewer Program, in which Amazon requests reviews on your behalf for up to 1 year or until 5 reviews are received.

Reputable Amazon reviewers who have made a certified purchase of your product will be asked to participate in the program. If they accept the invitation, they will leave a review and receive a $1-$3 gift card after the review is approved. Regardless of the star rating of the review, the gift card amount will not change, and the reviewer will not be asked to participate more or less often. The reviewer will not know at the time of purchase whether the product is involved in the program so that the purchase remains authentic and there is no incentive to entice the buyer. 

What do ERP Reviews Look Like?

When you see the review posted on your listing, an Early Reviewer Program badge will appear by the review and because of the initial vetting of the reviewer, it is almost impossible to get the review removed. This does not guarantee positive reviews; it only increases your chances of receiving reviews from trusted Amazon reviewers.

How are reviewers vetted?

Only customers who have already purchased the product are asked to share their experience, receiving a message similar to the following: 

Amazon shoppers depend on reviews to learn more about products, and this program helps to acquire early reviews on products that have few or no reviews, helping shoppers make smarter buying decisions. 

Reviewers are chosen randomly from a list of all customers who have purchased products in the program, as long as they have no history of dishonest reviews and meet the eligibility criteria (must have spent at least $50 on Amazon, not including Prime). Despite requesting to share their opinions, chosen buyers are not aware that it is part of ERP. Reviewers can choose to participate or not.

How much does ERP cost?

You will be charged $60 for each parent SKU enrolled, however those charges will not occur until you receive your first ERP review. You cannot get a refund if 5 reviews are not received within your 1 year of participation, as Amazon does not guarantee any specific number of reviews. Charges can be viewed in your transaction report and will show up as “Early Reviewer Program fee.”

How do I enroll in ERP?

You must be a brand registered seller on the US platform. SKUs also need to be available on the US platform (they can be available on other platforms, but only US purchases qualify). Other SKU requirements include:

  • Parent-level or stand-alone
    • children automatically enrolled under the parent
  • Have less than 5 reviews
  • Priced at $15 or more
    • if lower may be denied
    • if price drops Amazon may automatically unenroll

If you enrolled any of your products into ERP prior to August 2017, you may remember participation being restricted to new items only. That is no longer the case, and any listing meeting the above criteria now qualifies.

Once enrolled, you cannot cancel a SKU’s participation in the program. Amazon will continue requesting reviews from approved customers for up to 1 year from enrollment or until 5 reviews are received, whichever comes first. The 1 year enrollment period does not start until the first official review has been approved by Amazon. 

Restrictions & Limitations

Sellers cannot advertise that their product is enrolled in ERP. They also cannot try to influence the content or rating of a review. As such they are prohibited from communicating with customers about their reviews. ERP reviews also will not be modified or removed as long as they comply with Amazon’s community guidelines.

Caiti Inc

Caiti Inc is the Analytics Lead at Digital Brandworks, a digital consultancy that provides customized solutions for improving marketplace performance on Amazon and beyond.

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