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Loosening up to catch up: Amazon sellers now allowed to communicate directly

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Amazon is rolling out a new tool that lets sellers communicate directly with customers even when it’s not for an order status update or return.

Amazon sellers leaned over a laptop while on the phone, checking data mid-conversation.

Except for addressing purchase order concerns, engaging with customers is something Amazon doesn’t let sellers do. Now, the retail giant is changing things up as it faces competition from other e-commerce platforms.

Amazon is rolling out a new tool, called Manage Your Customer Engagement (MYCE), that will allow third-party sellers to manage content and send email campaigns to Amazon customers. Brand owners that are part of the company’s Brand Registry program will have access to this new tool for free. Launched in 2015, Brand Registry already has over 350,000 brands enrolled in the program.

With the new communication tool, sellers will now be able to leverage email marketing to announce product launches and offer promotions to their customers. According to Amazon, its new tool will “help [businesses] drive brand loyalty, retention, and engagement with Amazon customers.”

However, sellers won’t have free range to send emails out to all Amazon customers. They will only be able to send out marketing emails to customers who’ve purchased products from their company and those who “follow” their business page or videos on Amazon’s live streaming platform, Amazon Live.

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Also, Amazon customer contact information will not be shared with sellers and will remain private. According to CNBC, when using the MYCE tool, companies will only receive “aggregate data” and see “how many emails will go out when they decide to share marketing campaigns with their followers.”

Besides connecting brands with their customers, companies will also be able to monitor the impact of their campaigns by accessing performance metrics through the tool.

Furthermore, email campaigns will need to go through an approval process. A moderation team will determine if the campaign meets Amazon’s requirements. If a campaign is not approved, a new one meeting “content requirements” will need to be created.

“Amazon is committed to serving our shoppers by helping them engage with their favorite brands. With Manage Your Customer Engagement, brands will be able to initiate email campaigns about new product announcements and offers that Amazon will send to shoppers who choose to follow the brand,” an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC.

Amazon’s MYCE tool might seem unexpected, especially since the company has strongly prohibited sellers from directly soliciting customers. But, frankly, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. As more e-commerce platforms open up to take advantage of the online sales boom, Amazon wants to make sure its sellers aren’t leaving anytime soon.

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Veronica Garcia has a Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Science in Radio/TV/Film from The University of Texas at Austin. When she’s not writing, she’s in the kitchen trying to attempt every Nailed It! dessert, or on the hunt trying to find the latest Funko Pop! to add to her collection.

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