There’s no denying that Amazon is a powerful platform for e-commerce sales. With access to millions of shoppers and an iron-clad reputation, Amazon sellers have a great opportunity to make a living, while spending more time with family, working from the poolside and/or traveling the world.
But selling on Amazon does not come without limitations. Amazon encourages dog-eat-dog competition among its sellers. For crying out loud, competitors can buy display ads on your own listing, poaching customers’ attention from yours products to theirs. Amazon can suspend you if you violate their terms- which they often change. And they can even start selling products in your niche. With their size and global reach, it would be hard to compete with Amazon on price. So they can essentially squeeze you out of the market.
One thing in particular Amazon is adamant about: When someone buys a product from you on Amazon, that is Amazon’s customer not yours. This explains why Amazon does not give you customer emails. They don’t want you redirecting customers from Amazon.com to your own e-commerce site.
But there is a way that Amazon sellers can protect their businesses against these limitations, while leveraging all the positives that the ecommerce behemoth has to offer. That is driving building email lists.
Email lists are the mother of all online marketing assets. With emails, you can build an army of loyal customers, differentiate your brand from the competition and protect yourself against being bullied by Amazon (and the White House).
Now, you may be thinking, Amazon does not allow you to email customers. Amazon restricts the customer information they make available to sellers. They provide the names and addresses of customers, but not email addresses. Sellers can only message buyers through Amazon’s Buyer-Seller Messaging platform.
Here’s Amazon’s exact Guidelines from their Buyer-Seller Messaging info page:
“In general, you may contact buyers (Amazon.com customers) only to complete orders or to respond to customer service inquiries. You may not contact buyers for marketing or promotional purposes (including via e-mail, physical mail, telephone, or otherwise).”
So, sellers can only use the Buyer/Seller Messaging tool for customer service, not for marketing. Again, they are Amazon’s customers not yours.
While it is true that Amazon is very strict about how you email customers, there’s a simple way to get around that. How? You collect emails before customers reach Amazon. That way it’s your email, not Amazon’s. Your customer.
How to go about collecting emails for Amazon sales
If you have an existing website for your physical products business, you can put an email capture on your website. SumoMe is a great tool for this.
If you have social media pages and followings, you can post links to a page that captures emails.
Another way to collect emails before customers reach Amazon is to use a promotional landing page tool. These tools convert your Amazon listing into a landing page, on which you exchange a single-use discount code for an email.
You can drive traffic to this landing page through social media, online ads (we’ve found Facebook Ads work great), or through a blog.
There’s many more creative ways Amazon sellers can go about collecting emails. Some methods are prohibited by Amazon, yet sellers get away with them.
For instance, there are software tools which take the customer information Amazon provides sellers (name, address) and matches this info with Facebook profiles to find the customer’s email. This is not recommended, because if Amazon catches wind of this, the sellers risks being suspended.
Other sellers insert little cards into their packaging, which include links to their websites. Officially, they provide the link to sign-up for a warranty. But once they collect the emails, they use it for marketing. This is also not allowed by Amazon.
How can you tell if collecting an email is compliant with Amazon’s Terms? It’s pretty simple: just collect the email off of Amazon, before any sale is made on Amazon.
Using Emails to Build a Brand and Drive Sales
Once you’ve collected emails, then you can do any number of things to build your brand and increase your sales on (and off) Amazon.
Here are some ideas:
- A weekly newsletter to provide valuable content to your subscribers
- A product launch list. When you want to launch a new product on Amazon, send discounts to your email list to get sales quick. Getting those initial sales is one of the biggest hurdles to gaining traction for a new product on Amazon.
- Promotions for existing products: Want to boost Amazon rankings for existing products? Send discounts to your email list. This will increase sales velocity and conversion rate- the two biggest factors in Amazon’s A9 algorithm. You rankings will increase, so Amazon will send you more customers.
- Solicit reviews: Ask your customers to leave reviews on products they bought on Amazon. Don’t offer any sort of incentive for these reviews. And make sure to ask for honest reviews. You don’t want to get in trouble with Amazon.
- Sell on your own e-commerce site: If you have your own website, you can drive sales there instead of Amazon. So you can save on the fees and control every step of the customer experience.
In Summary: Email Marketing for Amazon Sellers
Building email lists allows all the mom-and-pop-shop Amazon sellers to leverage all that Amazon has to offer while protecting themselves from the downsides of working with a giant corporation in a time of uncertainty.
As mentioned above, one of the most effective and compliant ways to collect emails is by driving external traffic to Amazon and using promotional landing pages to distribute single-use promo codes in exchange for emails. Want to learn how to drive traffic to Amazon the right way? Download this guide to get started.