Perfect Timing: Knowing When to Send Your Emails
by Rachel Hoover, on October 4, 2017
Email timing can make a huge difference to your open rates and conversion metrics. As a seller on the Amazon marketplace, you might be wondering how soon to send a seller feedback request or a product review solicitation after an order. Should you ask for feedback the day the buyer receives the package? Does it help to follow up a few days later, or will this annoy your customers?
Email timing isn't an exact science, and every audience is different. However, this post will help you make an informed decision about when to send email solicitations to your buyers, thereby maximizing your open rates and boosting your store's reputation.
Seller Feedback Requests
Optimal timing for seller feedback requests may depend on whether you use the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) platform or the Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN) channel. For example, you don't want to send a cheerful email asking about the timeliness of the delivery when the customer hasn't yet received the package. Buyers might take the email to mean that they should have already received their item, and leave unwarranted negative feedback if they haven't.
The FBA channel tends to be fairly accurate with its delivery dates. This means that FBA orders can safely be solicited within a day or two of delivery. If you send on the day of delivery, you should send the message in the evening, in case the delivery truck comes late in the day. Sending one day later is even better, since it gives you an extra cushion just in case Amazon Fulfillment Services run late. (Of course, if you receive negative feedback for something that was clearly Amazon's fault, you can ask Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") to remove it via the Feedback Manager.)
For MFN orders, you will need to make a judgment call about how accurate your estimated delivery dates usually are, but 2-3 days after the estimated date is probably a safe bet.
Product Review Requests
Optimal timing for product review requests highly depends on what the product is and how long it typically takes people to form an opinion of it. It's generally good to solicit reviews later than seller feedback. While seller feedback should be solicited while the ordering experience is fresh in the buyer's mind, product review requests should come when a buyer has had a chance to try the product. Here are a few ballpark time frames for different item categories:
- For large or long-lasting items, such as furniture, appliances or shoes, give the buyer a chance to get comfortable with the products and see how they perform. Two weeks to a month after delivery might be good timing.
- For vitamin supplements or other products that are meant to produce a long-term benefit, consider how long it will take a buyer to see the good effects of the product. Anywhere from one week to a month may be appropriate.
- Outdoor supplies, such as fishing poles or skateboards, and anything that has to do with fun and leisure, such as movies, wine glass markers or gift wrap, might benefit from making sure a weekend has elapsed between the item's arrival and when you ask for a review. Send your request about 8-10 days after delivery or create a system based on the day of the week (for example, send only on Tuesday-Thursday, at least 5 days after delivery).
- Some items are highly seasonal, such as holiday decorations and Halloween costumes. This can be a tricky case, because you want to get reviews while other buyers are still shopping for the product, but you also have to wait for people to use the product before they review it (not to mention that the holiday rush can make buyers less likely to take time to write reviews). Consider sending one request between delivery and the relevant holiday or event, and then a follow-up reminder just after the holiday, so that at least you'll have the reviews for next year. (Read more about follow-ups below.)
- For small, consumable or everyday products, such as dishes, office supplies, toiletries, phone chargers or food items, 5-7 days after delivery will usually be plenty of time for the buyer to use the item - and maybe even use it up! Solicit these orders while the buyer is still thinking about the item. If you wait more than a week to ask how a busy mom likes her paper towels, she might not remember which paper towels she bought from you, so catch her while she still has a few of them left.
These strategies are easy enough if you only sell one category of product. If you sell several, you'll need to segment your buyers and send different product review campaigns at different intervals after delivery, based on the SKUs or ASINs the buyers ordered.
Follow-Ups: To Send or Not to Send?
Sometimes you won't catch a buyer on the first try, so a follow-up a couple of days later, preferably at a different time of day, can help. However, you want to avoid annoying your customers, which can lead to bad feedback. FeedbackFive allows you to send up to five emails per order, and it's best to plan on sending no more than three for feedback and reviews (to give yourself space to answer buyers' questions or any other communication that might arise). FeedbackFive ensures that you don't exceed Amazon's daily email limit.
The key here is to decide what you are most focused on obtaining – product reviews or seller feedback – and choose your three emails wisely. Many sellers find success by sending two seller feedback requests, about two days apart and at different times of day, and then a product review request later on. However, you might choose to send two product review requests and only one (or no) seller feedback request, depending on your needs.
You can also target product review requests to buyers who have already left feedback, since the ones who didn't leave feedback after your polite reminders might just not want to leave ratings at all. This keeps your emails efficient and avoids the possibility of annoying customers who don't like leaving ratings. Similarly, make sure to stop soliciting seller feedback from a customer who already left it, to avoid sending excessive emails. (FeedbackFive does this automatically at the Pro & above plans.)
How to Keep Track
If all this talk of segmenting and targeting campaigns to specific buyers is daunting, don't worry! FeedbackFive can help you divide your customers into categories and make sure they each get the right email at the right time. With just a few clicks, you can tailor your messages to your target audience. You can also add a list of SKUs or ASINs to each campaign so that the right buyers get review requests at the right time. FeedbackFive makes all these tasks easy and worry-free.
Plus, FeedbackFive helps you manage your seller reputation by excluding orders that didn't go as planned from your email solicitation. You can exclude all orders that ship late using the auto-exclusions tab (especially handy if you use the FBA channel and don't want to be blamed when Amazon Fulfillment Services run late). If you sell on both via FBA and MFN channels, you can even send different campaigns for each fulfillment channel, to make sure your timing is impeccable for both. This all adds up to a customized email experience for the buyer with minimal time and effort for you, allowing you to spend your valuable time building up your business.