October 16, 2018 by Price-Fuel
There are 5 million marketplace sellers on Amazon. 1.7 million of them have products for sale.
If you’re one of these individuals, you might use Fulfillment by Amazon, or FBA.
For the uninitiated, FBA means that Amazon stocks the items you sell and packages and ships them to your customers. This frees you up for marketing activities and creating other income streams.
But sometimes sellers run into issues with their FBA customers. They can have trouble with their order or leave an unwarranted poor review. This may prompt you, as a business owner, to want to get in touch with them directly.
Amazon, however, has very strict guidelines surrounding this. We’ll go over some of these, as well as ways in which you can get in touch with your customer if necessary.
Amazon has very strict policies in place to prevent you from using information from your FBA customers for private contact.
If you fulfill your own orders, Amazon will provide you with customer phone numbers, emails and addresses. This will help you locate a package if it has gone missing, or communicate in order to deliver the package.
However, Amazon strictly prohibits you from contacting the person in any manner not directly related to the shipment.
You may not use any information about your customers to retain for future marketing material. Some sellers find this frustrating, because often times, FBA customers are not even aware that they are purchasing an item through a third-party seller.
You can contact your FBA customers through Buyer-Seller messaging if necessary, but this also has a code of conduct in place.
If necessary, you may contact FBA customers through Buyer-Selling messaging inside Amazon’s portal. You can only use approved subject lines, as using other subjects can result in your message rendering itself undeliverable to the customer.
You may contact the buyer about a variety of issues relating to their order through the Buyer-Seller portal. If it is critical, you should use the phrase [Important] in brackets. This guarantees that the buyer receives your message.
A critical message is one that is necessary for the seller to complete the order. This solely includes customization questions, scheduling deliveries and issues with the address provided. If you use the [Important] demarkation for anything else, you can result in having your account suspended.
If you have registered your email address as part of your seller profile, you will be able to receive FBA customer emails directly to that mailbox. You will also be able to reply to them from the same mailbox. Your email address will be anonymized through Amazon, giving you an Amazon.com Marketplace address.
In order to prevent spam, Amazon will only allow you to send five times the number of your daily order volume plus an additional 600 messages to customers.
Amazon deals with all of the shipment information for FBA customers, so you don’t have to worry about questions involving postage.
You are unable to send unsolicited emails to customers unless it directly relates to their order. You are also unable to email any customers marketing material and you cannot encourage customers to communicate with you in another email client.
At your own risk: If you would like customers to reach out to you, you can consider adding contact information in your FBA packaging in order to follow up. You can also add items such as mystery gifts, warranty cards and other contact data in your shipment. You cannot, however, try and persuade your customer to purchase your item from another site.
If an FBA customer left a bad review of your item, it is difficult to discern who the customer is unless they also message you directly. There are tools that can match up bad reviews with the exact order, but it is possible that these are against Amazon FBA’s Terms of Service. Using them may result in a violation of policy.
Through Amazon’s portal, you can look at the item they are reviewing, go into your sales history and take a guess as to what customer possibly left the review. In this instance, you may message them through Buyer-Seller messaging if you would like to offer a replacement item or tell them about any warranty you have. You cannot use this opportunity to market another product to them.
If you have no idea who left the review based on your sales records, you can leave a response to the reviewer expressing regret for their experience. If you have a guarantee or warranty, you can inform them there. Although the original customer may not see this, it will at least help others who are looking at the negative review when deciding whether to purchase your item.
If you feel the review is somehow inappropriate, you may contact Amazon directly and have them deal with it. If you have any previous communication with the buyer through Amazon’s portal, this may help strengthen your case.
It will be up to Amazon whether they feel that the review was written unnecessarily and if they should remove it or not. In many cases, the review will remain, so replying to it is generally your best bet. Giving great service is your best armor against negative reviews.
Contacting an FBA customer should really only be done on an as-needed basis. While many users find this frustrating, Amazon has taken many steps to ensure that both your identity and the buyer’s identity is kept secure. They also want to ensure that no inappropriate communication takes place, such as unsolicited sales calls or other potentially unsavory dealings.
Going through Amazon’s Buyer-Seller portal is ultimately the best way to contact a buyer.
For more tips and tricks for selling on Amazon, visit our blog.