Have you ever heard of ‘Vine’ before? We are not talking about the video-based social media app which grew in popularity in 2013, way before Instagram and Tiktok reels took over.
We are talking about the ‘Vine Program’ launched by Amazon for its sellers. Some say it is also a recipe to get free products from amazon. And who doesn’t love free products! But of course, it is not that straightforward.
Let’s dive into what this program is all about and how can you become eligible.
Amazon Vine is an exclusive program to get unbiased feedback from some trusted reviewers on Amazon for new and pre-released products. It is only available to selling partners who meet certain criteria.
These trusted reviewers who become a part of the program are called ‘Vine voices’ who use vine products and write a detailed review of the product on Amazon PDP. Voices are not paid to participate in the program and write reviews.
Examples of Vine Reviews
The unbiased reviews help target customers get an authentic opinion on the new products for an effective purchase decision.
“Amazon invites customers to become Vine Voices based on their reviewer rank, which is a reflection of the quality and helpfulness of their reviews as judged by other Amazon customers”
Selling partners who are vendors or sellers can enroll in this program by paying a fee to Amazon.
The enrollment fee varies with the country. For e.g., on Amazon.com, it used to be free for sellers but now the enrollment fee is $200 for each enrolled parent ASIN.
Enrollment fees are billed after the first Vine review is published. If the products do not receive any review within 90 days, then the enrollment fee will be paid back to the selling partners. The tricky part is that the products may receive negative feedback too since Vine voices write unbiased reviews. Negative reviews are not removed from the Amazon system and the enrollment fee is not paid back to the selling partner.
The selling partner (vendor or seller) should have the brand registry on Amazon. But in some cases having a brand registry will not be enough to be eligible for the Vine program.
If the selling partner is a Seller, they should not have an individual seller account. Only a Professional seller account will be eligible for the Vine program. Vendors are eligible if they have the brand registry.
Selling partners should be ‘Brand Owners’ on the Amazon system.
Vendors send the product to the Amazon warehouse directly but Sellers should have an FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). Vine enrolled units should come out from Amazon’s warehouses to customers. (Amazon takes the anonymity of Vine voices very seriously. This is the main reason why Amazon sends the products to Vine voices directly.)
After selling partners are eligible for the Vine program, they start to enroll the products in the system before they send samples to Amazon.
Amazon limits the number of ASINs that can be active at one time to five. Once a product is unenrolled, you can enroll in another product. And regardless of category maximum, 30 ASINs are allowed for enrollment for Selling partners.
The products should meet the following criteria:
Customers cannot apply to be Vine Voices. It works with invitations only.
But how does Amazon decide who can be the Vine Voice?
Amazon intentionally chooses the vine voices from the Trusted Customers who actually write specific & detailed reviews. You may be an active customer who gives a lot of reviews on Amazon but writing ‘this is a good product’ may not be good enough to be eligible for being a Vine Voice. It needs to be useful & detailed with information.
In addition to that, Amazon considers the effectiveness and helpfulness of the reviews. Under every review, there is a helpful button to see how many people liked the comment.
Amazon also monitors the active participation of Vine Voices and their contribution to the program. Only the best reviewers will remain in Vine. Because there is no policy or rule for Vine voices to write a review (even though it is what is expected from them), they can receive the product and may not write a comment. But Amazon will consider that and choose other vine voices for the next time because if a vine-enrolled product does not receive any review from vine voices, then Amazon will have to pay the enrollment fee back to the selling partners.
Vine voices will be able to see all available Vine products and they may pick any of them for trial.
After they pick the vine item, Amazon informs the Selling partner but Amazon does not share the Vine Voice information with selling partners. Vendors have no contact with the Vine Voices and have no influence over which Vine Voices will review their products.
Amazon sends the item to Vine voices and as soon as Vine voices receive the products, they can leave a review anytime they want.
If no reviews are received for 90 days, Amazon will pay the enrollment fee back to the selling partner.
The review should be unbiased hence it could be negative as well.
Currently, the Vine program is available in 8 marketplaces:
This whole process is a little bit risky for Selling partners since the vine voices will review the products from every angle, which means the product can receive negative reviews as well. But Vine program increases the credibility of the product reviews immensely. Hence if the review is helpful, customers will not hesitate in buying the item.
The item will be reviewed by the most trusted Customers of Amazon, which means selling partners will be able to see if there is anything to improve or develop in the product.
Vine-enrolled products have more reviews and on Amazon, one of the most important metrics for traffic & conversion is ranking & reviews. If the products have more reviews, there are more chances to get better traffic with an increased conversion rate.
We at PiWheel, help the biggest brands and FMCGs with their Amazon strategy. Our industry experts are Amazon veterans with 40+ years of combined experience in advertising, content, and eCommerce strategy. Connect with us today to boost your brand.
This article was covered in the prestigious Campaign Middle East: Read here.
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