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Mon Nov 11 2019 11:07:05

Expert Warns Amazon Sellers about Package Inserts

By: Ina Steiner

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Branding is important in business, and many sellers include inserts in their online orders. Online marketplaces can be strict about how sellers interact with customers, however.

Today, online-selling guru Skip McGrath noted that Amazon recently clarified its insert policy - and he expects the company to enforce it. 

Package inserts aren't always about branding - often sellers are so concerned about the ramifications of bad feedback or the impact of product reviews on sales that they include messaging that could be problematic in the eyes of online marketplaces - "bribing customers," as one seller put it. 

The policy McGrath published in his blog post specifically deals with product reviews. How many times have you opened an order as a buyer and found notes from the seller about leaving positive feedback? Some even sound like invitations to negotiate a refund in exchange for a positive review.

An example of the uncertainty sellers face about "gray areas" - last year, one seller asked on an Amazon discussion board, "I want to make a small card that goes like: Thank you for purchasing from us! We wish to ask you to give us your honest review on the product and how are you enjoying it! if there is any problem do not hesitate to contact us so we could take care of it." And in the bottom of it "P.S here is a 10% discount on you next order! Enjoy!"" The responses show the messaging on Amazon package inserts is something sellers take seriously.

Doing a search for "amazon package inserts" comes back with numerous posts and YouTube videos on the topic. It's understandable that sellers want to encourage positive reviews - an artisan seller noted they had sold thousands of products, but only had about 40 reviews. 

Some sellers say it's also more likely that a customer will take the time to leave a review if they are unhappy rather than happy with a product - it can be very frustrating for those who feel hamstrung in asking satisfied customers to leave a review.

You can find the "Amazon Policy Changed Regarding Inserts" post on SkipMcGrath.com. Let us know what you think and if you'll be making any changes to your practices.



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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 11 11:24:47 2019

Oh my. Whatever are we going to do about those compensated endorsements in advertising?

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 11 22:15:18 2019

If your are a 3rd party seller on Amazon self fulfilling then Amazon requires you to put a packing slip in the package, even tho Amazon does not do so with their own sales.

My packing slips do contain a small advertising section at the bottom. Which, among other things, does often contain  web addresses to my other venues.

I do not personally care what Amazon has to say about the practice. Also, all of my invoices included in the package included my main web site address.  

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 11 22:22:09 2019

PS: McGrath's article mainly relates to product review requests and such.  I personally have never asked such, so am not concerned with the policy change.

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by: leathermermaid8 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 12 07:52:53 2019

This is only enforceable if Amazon is doing the fulfillment and is to be expected.  At eBay, you'd be hard put to get a package that DOESN'T ask for feedback.  

In the earlier days, people ranted on boards about finding religious material in their packages and left or wanted to leave negative feedback.

As long as I got the item, I either took their "blessings" or tossed out whatever extra that was included.  No ranting or howling needed.   Live and let live. But these were person to person sales, not corporations and many argued it was still unprofessional.

Any seller who doesn't actively promote their own website/venue if they have one is shooting themselves in the wallet.  If it means invoices and adverts in a package you yourself are personally shipping, so be it.

When the business relationship with Amazon or eBay occurs, you have to hit the ground running.  I have kept many business cards from sellers I did business with.  Only TOO happy to shop wherever they've gone.  Competition is good for everybody and should be encouraged.    

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by: lisapar This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 12 08:47:23 2019

I sell on AMZ, and I take these warnings very seriously.  I have never enclosed advertising materials, or ''Thank You'' cards requesting positive reviews inside packages.  How will AMZ catch your violation?  Just wait until you have one customer complain to AMZ, or a competitor purchases your product to report you.  AMZ will take down your store faster than you can say ''Wait !....''.  And good luck re-instating your AMZ store.  It won't happen.

So to those that thumb their nose at AMZ's policy, it's your business.  But to me, my revenue on AMZ is more important than risking suspension.  Besides...I truly think only a small percentage of buyers really look at seller's FB scores.  Shoppers see the lowest price and CLICK.  They bought it.  They know AMZ has their back if there is anything wrong with the order.

On another note, I just had my AMZ Message use restricted for 30 days.  The reason?  I signed up for a 3rd party messaging system that sends the same exact message to buyer's that sellers are putting on card inserts -- ''We hope you are pleased with your purchase, please take a moment to leave us a positive review, blah blah blah''.  According to AMZ, this is a no-no, hence my 30-day messaging restriction.  I can still answer buyer's messages.  I just can't send new messages for 30 days.  I spoke to an AMZ rep and they told me that AMZ sends out Feedback/Review requests, so for a seller to send the same message is a duplicate, and they consider it harassment to their shoppers when you duplicate the request.

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 12 12:33:55 2019

WOW - Amazon - Jeffie just how much money did you lose in the divorce?? Your like the gestapo terrorizing your vendors.  I do have product listed on Amazon but not for much longer. Sellers are like slaves over there aren't they? The more I read about their business tactics the less I like the big gorilla in the room.  Glad I'm old - I don't like the Brave new World much.  



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