Sellers are talking about an email Amazon has been sending out this week, informing them that buyers have opted out of receiving unsolicited email from sellers. Many are getting the following message:
"We were unable to deliver the message you sent for order [xxxx] because the buyer has chosen to opt out of receiving unsolicited messages from sellers."
The email goes on to explain how to contact the buyer for information necessary to fill the order, such as customization or address questions. They also state that if this method is used to send messages that are "not critical" it may result in the loss of selling privileges. "Not critical" messages include seller feedback and product review solicitations.
What does this mean for sellers?
Amazon is allowing customers to opt out of any messages not vital to completing their order. If you need to send an email to a buyer who has opted out of receiving messages, you will need to first be sure it meets Amazon's criteria for critical communication. This includes:
To keep the message from being blocked you will need to either reply to the buyer's original email to you, or you can send the message through the Buyer-Seller Messaging system by selecting "Additional Information Required" from the drop down as your subject line.
Will I get penalized for accidentally sending a non-critical email?
If you send an email to a customer who has opted out, it will simply be blocked and you will receive a message informing you that it was blocked. Sellers using systems like FeedbackFive or FeedbackGenius to send automated follow up emails will not be penalized. I do recommend adding the customer email to your system's blacklist feature so that you don't continue to get notifications or use up your monthly email quota on non-deliverable emails. Both FeedbackFive and FeedbackGenius have an automated way of doing this, you can check their blog posts here and here for instructions.
Why is Amazon threatening loss of selling privileges?
This warning at the end of their email is for sellers who try to get around the system to continue sending non-critical messages to buyers who opted out. If you try to game the system to continue sending marketing information or product review requests to opted out buyers you will risk having your account suspended. Again, non-critical messages include:
Again, if you inadvertently send these to opted out buyers they will simply be blocked, with no penatly to you the seller. It's only if you try to manipulate the system to get around the opt out.
Why is Amazon allowing buyers to opt out?
Amazon's number one priority is pleasing their customers. Many buyers do not want to receive emails other than what is needed to fill an order. With a couple million sellers potentially sending emails, the best way to help the customer is to allow them to opt out at the Amazon level, rather than with each individual seller. This move by Amazon is intended to improve the buying experience for the customer so that they are more likely to continue to shop on the site.
For more details on this update see Amazon's Buyer-Seller Messaging FAQ's, especially the three questions on the bottom.
Amazon will continue to make policy updates from time to time to continue to improve the customer experience. If you have further questions or need additional help with your Amazon strategy contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our Contact form.
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