Buyer-Seller Messaging isn’t just used for Review & Feedback requests. They provide an open forum between you and customers, or potential customers. While Amazon will send shipping notifications, and a 30-day satisfaction follow-up, there are plenty of other reasons you would want to reach out to your customers. In fact, Amazon’s messaging system has a few preset reasons for you.
What Types of Messages Can I Send?
You actually have a lot of freedom. Amazon breaks out the messages you can send into 3 categories: Critical, Non-Critical, and Other.
Critical messages are considered integral to completing a purchase. Examples include:
- Additional information required
- Product customization
- Delivery scheduling
- Issues with shipping address or payment
Do not choose this message type if the information you are sending is not necessary to complete a transaction. Amazon does monitor your messages, and they offer other options for messages not related to completing the purchase.
Non-critical messages are still related to the transaction, but not a required communication to complete it. Some examples include:
- Feedback/Review requests
- Order/Shipment/Delivery confirmations
- Return/Refund confirmations
- Proactive customer service (manuals, warranties, FAQ, etc)
- Shipment delays (out of stock, etc)
Sometimes you want to send other messages to your customers that aren’t related to any specific transaction. Examples of this type of message include:
- Coupons to encourage return business
- In-stock notifications
- Sales notifications
Be careful with this kind of message. Too many will be seen as spam by Amazon. However, they can encourage repeat buyers if done correctly.
What Can I Include?
So now you know the types of messages Amazon allows you to send to customers. There are other rules to follow in terms of formatting and the information you can include.
Does Amazon Support Special Formatting?
Amazon allows the use of HTML in the buyer-seller messaging system. You can enter this manually when using the system within your Seller Central portal. If you choose to manage messaging from your email client or a third party API, any formatting you use on those platforms will translate into HTML when sent to the customer.
Can I Add Attachments?
Yes, Amazon approves the inclusion of attachments up to 10MB in size. Supported file types are:
- text files (.txt)
- PDF files (.pdf)
- word documents (.doc, .docx)
- image files (.jpg, .gif, .tiff, .bmp, .png)
Can I Add Contact Information?
Generally speaking, no. Amazon will filter out mail addresses, as they specifically code buyer & seller emails within their system. This is to ensure all communications go through Amazon, so in the event of a conflict they can intervene with all applicable information.
Likewise, Amazon frowns on including off-Amazon URLs. If you have an online warranty form or database customers can search (think part finder, compatibility, etc), you are better off taking an indirect method:
Please fill out the warranty card on our website. You can locate it by scrolling the the bottom of our main page, selecting Contact Us, and choosing the link for Warranty Cards.
However, Amazon will allow you to include a phone number.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Buyer-Seller Messaging?
In addition to the above, it is important to know that Amazon’s Terms of Service have a few additional points. Not adhering to these guidelines can put your account at risk.
Amazon does not permit seller-seller messaging. Copies of all your messages are received by Amazon, so they will know if you break this rule.
Amazon also prohibits communication outside of your seller platform, as you probably noticed with the limitations on contact information & URLs. This includes sending email blasts to Amazon customers. The emails in your account are coded, and they are unique to your buyer-seller pair. If you try to blast those emails outside of Amazon, they will know.
Amazon requires all messages to be replied to within 24 hours, even during weekends and holidays. This is easily managed via your own email, within Seller Central’s settings, the Seller Central phone app, or third party tools.
Some messages may not require a response. These messages could be a simple thank-you, or even spam. Amazon does have a feature that let’s you flag a meassge as not needing a response, but that still needs to be accomplished within 24 hours from receipt.
Amazon allows customers to opt-out of seller messaging. To ensure your message is received by your customer, choose a Critical message type. If using a third party tool or API to manage your messaging, make sure to include [Important] (including brackets) in the subject line.
Use of critical messaging, or the [Important] subject line flag, ensures your emails do not bounce back. Do not abuse this, as Amazon may suspend your account for using this flag for non-critical messages.
If your messages are bouncing back due to customer opt-out, you can adjust your settings in Seller Central so that your inbox is not overwhelmed. You will see a non-deliverable note if you go to the thread within Seller-Central itself, however. Many third party tools use a global blacklist to help cut down the number of bounce-backs as well.
How do I write effective messages?
We’ve shared some useful tips & tricks on how to write feedback & review requests. A lot of this can be universally applied to customer messages:
- A distinct email subject
- Share info directly related to the purchase
- Use language specific messaging
- Use your company’s voice
- Include an opt-out/unsubscribe option
The team at Digital Brandworks can help you generate templates for common emails as well as frequent consumer inquiries. Contact Us to take the next steps.