Amazon are introducing seller ratings scoring points for great buyer experiences but dinging you for poor customer service. Typically you’ll score a point for a no problem transaction and a bonus tenth of a point for great service but you could be penalised with zero, minus one or even minus five points when things go wrong.
Matthew Ogborne of The Last Drop of Ink broke the news today and whilst you may not see seller ratings on your account today it’ll be rolled out within the next couple of weeks.
Currently it’ll be Amazon assigning the ratings based on seller metrics, that makes them free from any buyer bias, they’re based on hard data. Amazon will be dinging your score for canceled or expired orders, when you ship late, questions from buyers that you took longer than 24 hours to respond to (make certain to mark any not requiring an answer!), credit card charge backs, A to Z claims and negative feedback. On the plus side there will be a time weighting meaning more recent transactions can affect your rating more than a transaction from a year ago. The ratings are measured over the last 12 months performance.
The ratings won’t be visible to buyers… at the moment! Amazon want you to have time to get used to the ratings and use them as a guide to improve your service rather than put them up front for buyers to view.
You’ll find a new Seller Rating Dashboard in your Amazon Seller Central once it’s live on your account. From there you’ll be able to dive into your ratings and find where Amazon think you should or could improve with suggestions for doing so.
In theory this isn’t a huge change for Amazon – you’ve always been able to view your seller metrics. In reality in the future you’ll want to watch your metrics closer than ever as once companies have a new way to measure your performance they’ll almost certainly use it to tighten up on standards and sellers near the bottom will start to find their selling status impacted. We saw this in the past with eBay Detailed Seller Ratings – to start with they measured your best ratings with a 4.6 minimum requirement and then they added measurement for the maximum number of low ratings allowable. More recently eBay added in open and unresolved customer resolution cases into the mix for seller standards.
The really big question of course is will Amazon start using Seller Ratings to determine product placement order. They already have criteria for winning the blue buy box, but could sellers see themselves promoted or more importantly demoted in the future based on the new seller ratings?
Amazon Seller Ratings Introduction Video
For more information head over to The Last Drop Of Ink where Matthew has screenshots and analysis.