Amazon announced a major expansion of the email marketing capabilities it offers to sellers on its marketplace.

Amazon.com Inc. unveiled a new, free-of-charge plan Wednesday to broaden the ability of marketplace sellers to use email marketing.

Under the plan, sellers can now use the Amazon Customer Engagement tool to send marketing emails to their most loyal customers. The new tool includes repeat customers (from the previous 12 months), recent customers, and high-spend customers. Previously, sellers could only use email marketing to communicate with customers who followed a brand on Amazon.com.

The initiative, dubbed Amazon Customer Engagement’s Tailored Audiences, also provides sellers with performance and reporting metrics. Tailored Audiences includes open rate, click-through rates, emails delivered, opt-out rates, sales and conversion.

Amazon will offer “plug-and-play” templates to announce special deals, new product launches and similar initiatives.

Amazon email marketing: Tailored Audiences

Tailored Audiences is in a beta program phase. The retailer plans to make it available to all U.S. sellers in early 2023. Through this tool, sellers select the customer audience types and Amazon sends the marketing email directly to those customers. The tool will be available at no cost in Seller Central, Amazon’s online portal for sellers. Amazon also plans to enhance the messages’ design capabilities with custom HTML content soon.

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“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,” Benjamin Hartman, vice president of Amazon North America Selling Partner Services, said at this year’s Amazon Accelerate conference. The conference is the ecommerce giant’s annual gathering of sellers. “These improvements help unlock the value of remarketing as we further our commitment to helping sellers reach the right customer at the right time.”

James Gossling, director of ecommerce at Sports Research, said the expansion of email marketing tools is welcome news for sellers like him.

“With these capabilities, Amazon is helping to put more control into the hands of brands around how they market to their customers,” he said in a written statement Amazon provided. “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 is No. 1 in the 2022 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 and No. 3 in the 2022 Digital Commerce 360 Global Online Marketplaces Report.

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Other plans

Amazon uses the Accelerate conference to announce initiatives aimed at helping sellers succeed on the platform. Among the other initiatives the retailer said are in beta are:

  • A Buy with Prime badge: Participating sellers can show they offer Prime shopping benefits on their own website or on social media with a badge that connects shoppers to a brand’s storefront on Amazon. Sellers can also direct Amazon shoppers to those direct-to-consumer (DTC) products by using Sponsored Brands, which are customizable ads for brands.
  • Customers Ask Alexa: A program in which sellers can suggest answers for Alexa to give to customers who seek advice on household tasks like “how do I remove dog fur from my carpet?”

Seller worries

The announcements come as sellers brace for a bleak holiday shopping season as inflation-bitten consumers curb spending. Many merchants fear they will have to cut prices to move a mountain of unsold inventory. It’s an abrupt change from the previous two years, when sellers scrambled to get enough products into Amazon warehouses to meet pandemic-fueled demand even as chronic shortages let them jack up prices.

Sellers on the Amazon marketplace drive a significant portion of the retailer’s revenue. That portion has grown on the most important day in Amazon’s calendar: Prime Day.

Marketplace sales as a share of total Prime Day spending through Amazon had been on the decline before 2020, Digital Commerce 360 estimates, as much of the sale’s marketing was increasingly centered around Amazon devices. But that trend reversed in 2020. For the past several years, a Digital Commerce 360 analysis shows the share of marketplace sales is growing on Prime Day. Third-party merchants’ sales accounted for 37.2% of all Prime Day sales through Amazon this year. That’s up from 36.0% in 2021 and 35.1% in 2020.

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