Amazon are adding the Amazon Communication Guidelines as a new programme policy. This policy includes direction on permitted message types, appropriate content and stylistic features for clearer communication with buyers.
As with most marketplace policies sticking to the principal of accepting the customer belongs to the marketplace and not you will keep you pretty much in line with the policy. In general, you can contact buyers only to complete orders or to respond to customer service questions. You cannot contact buyers for marketing or promotional purposes.
Impact of adding as a new programme policy
Changing the Amazon Communication Guidelines to the status of a programme policy means that breaking the guidelines will carry consequences which could impact your account including having the ability to add proactive Permitted Messages to Amazon’s templates blocked or a complete suspension of selling privileges.
The key changes are that you may only send permitted messages and the Amazon Communication Guidelines set out messages which are not permitted and language which can’t be used. You’ll want to take particular note that the guidelines even include a ban on spelling errors and grammar issues. You might think that this only applies to non-English speakers, but it could also apply to you if you sell on sites where communications are in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Arabic or Turkish.
How to send permitted messages
It’s worth noting that 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).
Amazon Communication Guidelines
When can you send permitted messages?
You may send proactive Permitted Messages for the following reasons
- Resolving an issue with order fulfillment
- Requesting additional information required to complete the order
- Asking a return-related question
- Sending an invoice
- Requesting product review and/or seller feedback
- Scheduling the delivery of a heavy or bulky item
- Scheduling a Home Services appointment
- Verifying a custom design
- Any other reason where the contact is required for the buyer to receive their purchase
Banned message types
Amazon will likely be sending many of these messages on your behalf and don’t want them duplicated:
- Order or shipping confirmations (See Indirect communication below)
- Messages that say only “Thank you” or that you are here to help if buyers have any problems
- Marketing or promotional messaging, including coupons
- Language that either incentivises or persuades the buyer to submit positive product reviews or seller feedback, including by offering compensation, money, gift cards, free or discounted products, refunds, rebates or reimbursements, or future benefits
- Language that requests removal or an update of an existing product review
- Language 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
Content banned in permitted messages
- External links unless they are secure working links (https, not http) necessary for order completion or links to Amazon
- Attachments except for product instructions, warranty information, or invoices
- Logos, if they contain or display a link to your website
- Link to opt-out of messaging
- Sensitive content in images or text (e.g. bare skin, violence/gore, adult/offensive language)
- Tracking pixels or images
- Email addresses or telephone numbers
- Images of purchased products as Amazon includes those on your behalf
- Images that do not relate to your brand or company
Styling banned in permitted messages
- Accessibility issues as specified in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines from the Web Accessibility Initiative
- Message margins over 20% max width
- Image or graphic sizes larger than 80% 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 (spacing between paragraphs) in a row
- Unsecure images (http instead of https)
- Spelling errors or grammar issues