Product inserts are a useful tool for Amazon sellers like you to improve their customer service, increase customer lifetime value, and drive more reviews without violating Amazon’s terms of service. But what exactly are product inserts, how can they be used effectively, and what exactly is allowed and not allowed? Keep reading and learn more!
What are Product Inserts?
A product insert is a piece of paper or document included in a product packaging that calls out to the customer, inviting them to take some action. The goal is to create a connection with the customer to:
- Get more reviews
- Increase traffic to your website
- Provide better customer support
- Increase the amount each customer generates over the course of their life.
These inserts can be valuable for brands selling on Amazon or other channels, but if you don’t want to run into trouble with the Amazon TOS, you need to get strategic about how and when you use them.
What Isn’t Allowed with Amazon Product Inserts?
Amazon has strict guidelines which are designed to protect the trust between Amazon and its customers. Amazon’s TOS explicitly prohibits product inserts that influence or impact customer feedback on Amazon’s community. This includes
- Offering compensation for product reviews
- Using language that violates Amazon’s selling policies, including offering gifts, refunds, or outside payments for product reviews
- Asking customers to contact you outside of Amazon’s buyer-seller messaging service.
It’s important to note that Amazon’s guidelines apply to all employees and third-party marketing companies involved with your brand.
The Problem with Amazon’s Guidelines for Product Inserts
As a savvy seller on Amazon, it’s crucial to stay informed on Amazon guidelines for product inserts. Amazon is strict when it comes to influencing or impacting customer feedback within the Amazon community. Any attempts to do so can result in severe consequences.
The Amazon community encompasses everything from product reviews to seller feedback ratings and any other form of customer engagement. Amazon enforces strict regulations on buyer-seller messages and prohibits companies from offering customer information for reviews. This has been the case for years. This level of strictness is essential to maintain Amazon’s commitment to customer trust and to prevent fraudulent reviews from tarnishing that trust.
Another key rule to keep in mind is that you cannot ask customers to contact you outside of Amazon’s buyer-seller messaging service. As a brand, it’s crucial to ensure that all employees and third-party marketing companies are aware of this rule and adhere to it. However, this can present a challenge for companies that sell on multiple channels, not just Amazon.
Differentiating between Amazon and retail packaging or only communicating through Amazon may seem unrealistic for companies producing thousands of units. In our opinion, this rule is heavy-handed and may hinder a company’s ability to effectively grow its brand and reach its customers.
Staying knowledgeable about Amazon’s selling policies is critical, but it’s also important to consider the practicality of these rules for companies selling on multiple channels.
What is Allowed?
There are several things Amazon is ok with. Here’s a rundown of the key points to keep in mind.
- Thanking Customers: Amazon allows product inserts that thank customers for their purchases. This is a great way to show your appreciation and build a positive relationship with your clientele.
- Requesting Reviews: You can also ask shoppers to leave a review based on their experience with the product. However, you cannot ask for only positive reviews or specify the type of review you would like to receive.
Amazon claims to monitor these inserts to ensure they are in compliance with its terms of service. However, they are unlikely to have the scale to monitor every insert that goes through their fulfillment centers. Keep that in mind while you review your strategy.
- Responsibility for Inserts: As a seller, you are responsible for everything inside the product, including the inserts and packaging. If your insert violates Amazon’s terms of service, you will be required to remove all of your inventory from Amazon’s fulfillment centers (if you’re using FBA) or remove the insert before shipping out the item (if you’re using FBM).
- Protecting the Amazon Ecosystem: Amazon takes its terms of service very seriously and wants to protect its ecosystem and the customer-Amazon relationship. This is why they are strict with product inserts and will take action if they are alerted to a violation.
One of the companies that do a great job utilizing product inserts is Keurig. Let’s talk about their strategy for a bit.
The Power of Keurig’s Product Inserts
Have you ever purchased a Keurig coffee machine on Amazon, seen the printed cards inside, and wondered what those are all about? Well, they’re not just there for show. In fact, they play a crucial role in Keurig’s marketing strategy.
- Keurig wants you to visit their website. Their inserts focus on directing customers to their website to register for warranties, get product info, and view accessories not for sale directly on Amazon. By doing this, Keurig is able to capture valuable customer information and increase its margins and lifetime value.
- Keurig is not just using Amazon for this strategy. They use product inserts across all their channels to drive customers to their website and increase their customer base.
It’s a gray area, but Keurig’s technique of offering warranties and information (rather than asking for reviews directly) is more likely to be supported if there’s ever any scrutiny by Amazon compliance. Customers may register for support or warranty extensions, especially for legitimate products.
Keurig now has your information outside of Amazon. While Amazon may not be thrilled about this, it is a way for Keurig to ensure that customers get the full value and use of their product.
Overall, Keurig’s product inserts are a powerful tool in their marketing strategy, helping them to increase customer engagement and build a stronger relationship with their customers in a way that stays well inside the guidelines but offers maximum effectiveness.
Here’s another example of how a client of ours was able to implement a successful strategy that was highly effective.
How See Spot Run did it
This client of ours sold a spray product that had to be applied in a very specific way. They needed to educate their customers on how to use the product properly.
The product packaging, listing, and other materials all included information on how to use the spray, but we wanted to make sure the customer understood the importance of using it correctly. That’s where the product insert came in.
The insert card was designed to educate the customer. Lots of detailed instructions. On the back of the card was a QR code that directed the customer to the website for more information since not everything could fit on the insert.
By providing a product insert and connecting the customer to the brand’s website, the client was able to strengthen the customer-brand connection, capture email and other personal information, and increase the lifetime value of the customer by opening them up to further sales efforts, marketing, and long term communication.
Overall, product inserts can be a great way to support your customers and improve their experience with your brand. Just be careful not to violate Amazon’s terms of service by asking for great reviews or any other monetary exchanges. The goal is to make the customer happy with their purchase while getting closer to them in the long term, and product inserts can help you achieve that.
If you are in need of detailed assistance or want to chat about getting a pro involved in the implementation of a successful marketing strategy, please feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help, just click on the contact link below or reach out directly at email@example.com.