Amazon is rolling out changes to its buyer-seller messaging policies once again, causing sellers to rethink their feedback strategy. The good news is that the updates are relatively small and are focused on boosting the quality of messages between both parties.
Basically, Amazon is looking to protect buyers from fraud and sellers from unscrupulous competitors through further restricted permitted and proactive messages.
First, let’s go over what these two message types are. Permitted messages are when you send emails to customers who have asked you a question. These messages can only be sent through your Amazon seller account.
Proactive messages are those that you send to the buyer without any prompt. You can send proactive messages through your Amazon seller account with the Contact Buyer or Request a Review options, or you can use third-party software.
The feedback policy key details
On September 8th, Amazon released changes to its messaging and feedback policies. These changes must be implemented by November 3rd, 2020, otherwise, sellers risk being slammed with suspensions from the platform.
There are a few different times covered. So let’s look at it one at a time:
Sellers should not send out emails with the following content:
- Order or shipping confirmations
- Messages that say only “Thank you”
- Marketing or promotional messaging for products on Amazon or third-party products.
- Content that incentivizes the buyer to submit positive reviews or seller feedback. This includes by offering compensation, money, gift cards, free or discounted products, refunds, rebates or reimbursements, or any other benefits
- Content that requests removal or a modification of an existing product review
- Content that requests a product review only if they have had a positive experience with the product
- A repeat request (per order) for a product review or seller feedback
- Links to websites that not relevant to the selling experience (such as a tracking tag)
- Links to opt-out of unsolicited messages
- Logos that contain a link to your website
In reality, you shouldn’t have been doing 90% of this stuff anyway. Asking for positive reviews has been on the no-go list for years. As we can see from the ban on linking out of Amazon, the platform basically wants to keep as much interaction on Amazon as possible and limit the possibilities for fraud.
You may be wondering what you can send. Luckily, we have a list for that, too:
- You can resolve an issue related to fulfillment
- Requesting information necessary for order completion, for example, if you are working on a custom order.
- Asking a question related to a return
- Sending an invoice
- Requesting product review and/or seller feedback
- Scheduling delivery for a heavy or bulky item
- Scheduling a Home Services appointment
- Verifying a custom design
- Any other reason that would make it possible for the buyer to receive the purchase.
In other words, there are still several situations in which you can interact with your buyers and ensure they have the best customer experience possible.
What this update means for you
These policy updates are meant to primarily improve the quality and transparency in seller-buyer communication. Ideally, this should limit fraudulent emails sent to buyers and prevent competitors from using underhanded or blackhat methods.
For users already using an automated email template, this just means you need to return to your emails and review the content.
Permitted Message styling may not contain any of the following:
- Accessibility issues as specified in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
- Messages with margins over 20% of the max-width
- Images or graphics larger than 80% of the max-width
- Overrides of Amazon’s default line height, font family, or font color
- Fonts in more than three sizes
- Message bodies that are centered or that otherwise override default text alignment settings
- More than two line-breaks in a row
- Unsecure images, such as using URLs that begin with http rather https
- Spelling or grammar errors
Whether you are sending a proactive or permitted message, you must send them within 30 days of the order and you must include your 17 digit Amazon order ID.
The good news is that this message update confirms that sellers can and should be sending messages to their buyers. Third-party apps (like Feedbackz) are perfectly acceptable. The important thing is maintaining quality messaging standards and sending relevant messages. What you need to do before November 3rd is double check your email sequences and automation and fine-tune the content and styles to ensure you are complying with Amazon’s updated policies.