Why Amazon's Buyer Opt-Out Policy Is Actually a Good Thing

by Colleen Quattlebaum, on May 15, 2017

Recently, the seller community became much abuzz when Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") began blocking feedback solicitations (and other emails) to customers who had opted out of unsolicited messages.

Some merchants assumed the worst, worrying that Amazon had pivoted away from its longstanding encouragement of feedback solicitation. In the end, it's clear that this was not the case (for a more detailed look at this topic, click here). Amazon still permits sellers to ask for feedback; the only difference being that buyers can choose to opt out of such solicitations.

In this post, I'll share my thoughts on why this change is not only good for Amazon buyers - it's actually good for sellers, too.

You're In the Business of Keeping People Happy

Think of the many times you've gone above and beyond just to make a single customer happy. You've issued refunds, sent replacement parts and answered countless buyer questions - all in the interest of ensuring satisfaction.

Although most customers appreciate the personal touch that you provide, some prefer to bypass the pleasantries. By allowing such customers to opt out of certain messages, Amazon is actually helping sellers deliver a more enjoyable buying experience to that specific group of customers. Buyers can opt out of all "promotional emails" (including seller feedback emails) by clicking "do not send me any marketing email for now" within account communication preferences. Checking this box will stop all non-critical emails, such as:

  • Department-specific communications (there are dozens of department-specific emails)
  • Customer surveys
  • General offers
  • News
  • Seller communications
  • ...and many others

Simply put, shoppers are now in control of what communication they receive from sellers. In the long run, this will help sellers to better respect their clients' wishes, thereby reaffirming the commitment to satisfaction.

Most People Won't Opt Out

At first glance, Amazon's decision to provide a buyer opt-out option seems scary - especially to third-party merchants who solicit feedback. What if every customer opted out? How will I still generate enough seller feedback for my business? These are the types of questions that many sellers are still asking.

The good news is that only a small percentage of buyers are choosing to opt out. In fact, our data shows that less than 10% of buyers are opting out. With more than 90% of your customers still receiving your feedback solicitations, it's unlikely that such a small group of customers could make a noticeable dent in your feedback conversion rating.

It's also important to remember that this new policy affects all sellers - not just your business. Even if there is a noticeable dip in feedback, it's going to impact all of your competitors, too.

You Don't Want to Solicit People Who Opt Out Anyway

Let's imagine for a moment that Amazon reversed its opt-out policy. Sure, the universe of buyers to solicit would slightly increase once again. However, knowing what you know now, would you actually want to send solicitations to those customers?

I doubt it.

Remember, buyers who opt out do so for a reason. They're either too busy, their inbox is too full or they simply don't like communicating with sellers. Sending any type of email to this type of customer is unlikely to result in a favorable outcome for you. In fact, I could make the case that the opposite (i.e. negative feedback) is the more probable.

A Final Thought: Compliance is Key

With all of this being said about the merits of Amazon's opt-out program, it's still up to you to respect each customer's request. FeedbackFive makes it easy to comply - customers can forward (or autoforward) opt-out notifications to this inbox: optout@mail.feedbackfive.com. The customer will be added to our global opt-out database, ensuring he or she will never receive an email from any FeedbackFive user. And by joining the FeedbackFive family, you'll gain access to the most accurate database of opted-in Amazon buyers.

To automate the management of opt outs, click here to sign up for a FeedbackFive account.