Few changes have been made by Amazon in their communication systems with regards to how private businesses interact with buyers from Amazon. Everything you need to know is in this article!

The recent updates made on Amazon Communication Guidelines were announced late October of this year as a response to some critical feedback given by buyers regarding the previous policies established surrounding third-party sellers and Amazon buyers communication. It stirred some conversations in the e-commerce world. It’s hard to keep up with the scattered information. As you go down this post, I will elaborate how the recent changes will affect you as a private Amazon seller and the way you communicate with the buyers on the platform.

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First of all, before we get into the details and implications of these amendments, let us first understand the reason why Amazon is changing the terms.

One of the effects of these changes that was frowned upon is that getting seller reviews seemed to be a lot more difficult. While that may be true from one perspective, it is important to keep in mind that the customers you gain aren’t exactly yours to begin with. They are Amazon’s customers. You are a platform user aiming to get sales from the traffic that Amazon gets on a daily basis, and this traffic is mainly due to the fact that Amazon is a world-renowned brand and you just happened to be in it.

The business industry isn’t exactly the cleanest game. Competition is tough and therefore the maneuvers being made just to get ahead are oftentimes unimaginable. This happens specifically to reviews. With the new rules implemented, Amazon prevents the further ethical violations of these diabolical business players, making everything a fair game to give every entrepreneur an equal chance at winning.

Come to think of it, Amazon can easily cut off buyer communication in a lot of ways but the company is aware of how important customer service and buyer reviews are in e-commerce. Thus, they allow the private exchanges between their sellers and buyers.

On the 6th of November, Amazon updated some parts of its Communication Guidelines on Seller Central. You can these by clicking on this link.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. Fortunately, Amazon gave a large span of time for sellers to adapt to the changes in the policy. The announcement was made sometime in between September and October, and it took effect early November. Apparently, this does not normally happen. This was seen as an improvement in Amazon’s practices that sellers hope will be followed for updates that may come in the future.
  2. The document shows a general overview of the way Amazon thinks. Sufficient details are presented and it is a reliable source of answers for common questions.
  3. The gist of the updates basically reduce the complications of the communication process between third-party buyers and sellers. Users need not to worry because the essential details are in the document.  

What’s the next step to be taken after the changes are applied?

To quote a passage from the updated communication guidelines policy:

“Proactive Permitted Messages are those messages that you initiate that are not responses to a buyer’s question. Proactive Permitted Messages can be sent via email, using Amazon’s templates via the Contact Buyer or Request a Review page in Seller Central, third-party applications in the Application Store, or via Application Programmer Interface (API).”

What are implications of this statement?

Third-party messaging tools such as Follow-Up by Helium 10, and similar applications like PrivateEmail.com can be used by sellers to reach out to their buyers.

Request for product reviews are still allowed and can now be sent through other messaging tools like the example stated above. However, there are certain limitations as to what should be the context of the messages, and what they contain, such as image or document attachments.

How does these changes affect the seller?

There is a strict rule against repetition. Sellers can only request for one product review for every order. Even if in one order there are multiple products, you are only allowed one review request for that order. You have to pick which product you want to request a review on. You cannot ask for reviews on the other products. The good thing is that this does not seem to be that big of an issue. It rarely occurs. Nevertheless, it is still beyond the seller’s control and a mandate by Amazon.

Emails without valid intent or content are prohibited. Amazon disallows unnecessary messages, even just to confirm an order or to thank a buyer. Content that do not provide essential order information is not approved by the Amazon guidelines. Unless it is an email containing warranty information or something similar, it goes against the new policies.

The traditional “contact me for any product-related concerns” message is not allowed as well. This has always been a common part of a buyer’s script when attending to client orders. However, Amazon seems to view this as a cunning strategy by sellers to not get negative reviews even if the product delivered deserved that kind of feedback. It is allowed to provide your contact information to your customers, but Amazon draws the line at telling customers when or why they should reach out to you.

The PDF attachments that are allowed to be sent do not include informative materials. You can find this stated on the Seller Central guidelines. Instruction manuals, product-related readables, and the like are not permitted to be sent.

As soon as these changes are in effect, the appearance of your messages will have some few changes as well.

Your main product photo will show up on your messages. GIFs, emojis, logo of an external website, and other unrelated pictures and graphic material, will not be included in the message anymore. The format and context are strictly professional and in accordance to the rules set by Amazon. Any images that you want to attach to the email, it could be a promotional photo of a customer using that particular product. Stock images are not allowed.