Amazon has announced a free program to help sellers increase their email marketing reach.
The new offering, Tailored Audiences, allows merchants to expand beyond brand followers to target repeat, recent customers and high-spending customers.
Sellers can select the audience types, and Amazon will send the email directly to those customers.
Amazon is currently testing Tailored Audiences in beta and plans to roll it out to all U.S. sellers in early 2023. It will be available at no cost in Seller Central, Amazon’s online portal for sellers. The firm announced the launch during its annual seller conference.
In addition, Amazon plans to add design capabilities with custom HTML content and improved templates in the near future.
“Brands are able to quickly acquire new customers in the Amazon store, but they expressed a need for improved tools to increase customer lifetime value,” states Benjamin Hartman, vice president of Amazon North America Selling Partner Services.
“These improvements help unlock the value of remarketing,” Hartman adds.
The program has drawn varying comments, with one source questioning the “long-term implications of unfettered access to the inbox.”
“This is a good move for sellers on Amazon as there's been only minimal support to reach buyers,” says Ryan Phelan, managing partner of RPE Origin, adding: “But I think Amazon lacked some responsibility in putting some guardrails on these messages. A little governance would have shown sellers the way instead of opening the floodgates. Long term, I think it damages the ecosystem.”
"It's short-sided to equate increased email volume to increase in sales," Phelan says. "Those in the space know the severe implications of increasing volume as a path to revenue. Short term, it works. Long term, it's detrimental to the brand.
But James Gossling, director of ecommerce at Sports Research, sees Tailored Audiences as a net positive.
Gossling adds: “As a health and wellness company, repeat customers and subscribers are so important to our business. We’ve been really intrigued with the new Tailored Audiences tool. These email marketing capabilities are exactly what we’re looking for to keep our customers coming back.”
Amazon recently rolled out Premium A+ Content, an upgrade to its content management system. It features larger modules on product pages, including video, interactive hover hotspots, image carousels and Q&A.
Meanwhile, Phelan praised Gmail’s moves in response to political groups wanting access to the inbox, and hints that Amazon could take a page from it.
“At a point where many, including myself, thought that Gmail would open the floodgates, they actually came to the table as a critical member of the email compliance stack that places more importance with respect of the channel to the ISP than on existing law,” he says. “The rules gives approved political groups some leeway but does not give them carte blanch access to our inbox.”