How to write a Product Insert that is Amazon TOS Compliant

When you buy products from a website, they almost always include reading material. This reading material is marketing for the business and provides contact info, social links, and review requests. But Amazon has always been a bit tricky when it comes to rules on product inserts. 

Given the stringent rules over what you can and can't do to customers, the platform is tricky to navigate regarding packaging inserts. This article seeks to address those problems by answering all questions you have related to marketing material in your package. 

1. What are The Benefits of Adding an Insert to Amazon Orders?

How to write a Product Insert that is Amazon TOS Compliant

You might ask, "why would I bother with these inserts if Amazon is picky about them?" Well, the answer is that the benefits of these inserts include the following:

  • They offer a direct way to request reviews 
  • These inserts provide you an opportunity to restate the value
  • You can provide instructions on how to use the product
  • You can promote other products from your Amazon storefront
  • You can direct them to your social media pages 

The right CTA or instructions can offer series of bonuses to your customer. These inserts have the potential to reduce returns, increase brand awareness, and provide extra revenue streams. 

However, Amazon has strict terms of service that you need to follow. 

2. What is Amazon's Policy on Package Inserts?

How to write a Product Insert that is Amazon TOS Compliant

Amazon's policies have tight restrictions on what and how you can do things. While the list of benefits above is clear, violating Amazon's guidelines for package inserts is a recipe for disaster. Below is a list of those policies:

You Cannot Request a Positive Review

Positive reviews are great, but requesting those reviews is one way to get your account flagged. While you can request reviews, you cannot request that those reviews be positive. The result is a warped perception of the quality of your product, discouraging honest reviews. 

We'll discuss a more detailed how-to of requesting reviews later in this article. 

You Cannot Direct People To Contact You Over Leaving a Negative Review 

Amazon seeks out an honest review if at all possible. If the customer service experience was poor, customer reviews should reflect that. 

Requesting the customer to contact you if they have any problems might seem harmless, but it warps reviews of your product. It leads to customers potentially gaining refunds or other incentives outside of the standard process. 

You Cannot Use Manipulative Language To Request Reviews 

Requesting specific types of product reviews is a clear negative. However, Amazon also discourages manipulative language from requesting any review. 

For example, you could describe a bit of your brand story about how you are a "family-owned and operated" business. But if you include that as part of some literature request a review, Amazon will see you are tugging at their heartstrings. 

This writing encourages the customer to think about their "better nature" before tearing down an inferior product because of some emotional appeal. 

You Cannot Provide Incentives for Reviews 

Amazon makes it clear you cannot provide any level of incentive for a review. These incentives include the following:

  • Another free product
  • Their next order free
  • Discounts
  • Gift cards 
  • Cash

If you've ever received an offer to get a free bottle of the next thing for a review, they are violating the Amazon TOS. 

You Cannot Suggest Moving Business From Amazon 

It might be tempting for you to take a customer's business to another eCommerce platform through this. However, Amazon sees it as a big no-no. This violation is the kind of stuff that will get your account suspended. 

Directing them to a store on any other platform is against TOS. Stores can be anywhere from Etsy to Shopify. Do not suggest your customer check out any products off of Amazon. 

Do Not Speak Poorly of Your Competition

Harmful statements about competition are a general code of conduct rule but do not use your insert to communicate poorly about your competition. Yes, we know that your product is the best available product on the market. However, that doesn't mean you can call the other guy's product terrible in the process.

Your competition also sells on Amazon, and Amazon wants to be sure you make money solely on your merits. Speaking badly about competition is considered manipulative language. Plus, it doesn't usually work as a long-term strategy. 

Amazon's Code of Conduct rules detail everything you can and cannot do as a seller. Please familiarize yourself with them before considering any product packaging inserts. 

Do Not Request Contact information 

Amazon prohibits you from "over-communication" on their platform. That means no harassing emails for reviews and no emails informing customers of new products if they aren't following your brand.

You might believe you can request contact information to get around this, but that would be wrong. Amazon considers it a poor customer service situation for you to send another piece of mail to cut Amazon out of the communication. 

While you can link to social media accounts, you can't request contact info to include them in your email marketing campaign. However, you can request that information on social media away from Amazon. 

3. If I Do My Fulfillment, Can I Put Whatever I Like On Packaging Inserts?

How to write a Product Insert that is Amazon TOS Compliant

There's some speculation about Amazon's rules as they apply to FBA sellers vs. non-FBA sellers. When it comes to those who handle their fulfillment, they might believe that the regulations regarding insert cards don't apply.

However, because these packaging insert rules come from Amazon's Code of Conduct, the rules do not change. You cannot put anything you want on packaging inserts if you handle fulfillment. 

While it is easier to hide (no Amazon employee will look at them), it is still a risky endeavor to try and circumvent Amazon's codes. Stretching the rules on package inserts is an active effort to undermine Amazon's policies. 

4. How Should I Ask For Reviews on Product Inserts?

How to write a Product Insert that is Amazon TOS Compliant

Believe it or not, Amazon allows this product insert to be one way to request reviews. However, the big mistake people make is forgetting to limit their requests to only asking for reviews. Sellers often make the mistake of overdoing the product insert. 

Check out these tips to ensure you don't make the same mistake on these product cards. 

Tip One: Do Not Include A Feedback Request With a Coupon

Many sellers think they can just put feedback requests and coupons on separate cards. They might believe that their discount code is a different element from the review request. However, Amazon isn't likely to see eye-to-eye with that sentiment. 

When you include the two in the same box, Amazon typically assumes one is for the other. The customer might also see the same situation, creating a problem where the customer believes you are incentivizing the review. 

To avoid this situation, be sure to put feedback requests and coupons in separate inserts. So choose half of your boxes with feedback requests and the other half with coupon codes. What you choose will depend on your overall goal. 

Tip Two: Do Include Feedback Requests With Instructions 

Receiving negative feedback typically comes from a customer's lack of understanding. Not knowing how to use a product leads to a poor experience. Ergo, a bad review. 

The package insert provides you with the opportunity to give instructions. You should write these instructions as though you are for fifth graders. The fewer questions customers have about your product, the better off you will be. 

Including instructions with feedback, requests are also good with Amazon's TOS. With the understanding of how to use a product and further instructions on how to leave behind feedback, both Amazon and the customer won't see you as pushy. 

Tip Three: Avoid "If" Statements

Many people like to condition their reviews by focusing on positive experiences. In comparison, that might work with other companies, "if" statements are typically a violation of the TOS. 

For example, "if you enjoyed our products, we would appreciate a review!" 

The problem is related to you directly speaking to those who had a positive experience. This wording discourages negative reviews, leading to a more positive review rate through manipulative language. 

Instead, replace it with "We hope you enjoyed our product. Please share your experience to let us know what you think." 

The statement above is a pressure-free statement, avoiding Amazon TOS issues. There's another way to request a review.

Tip Four: Present Your Review Request Like a Set of Instructions 

Another way to avoid TOS issues is to present your review request like a set of instructions. Here's an example:

  1. Go to the "orders" tab of your Amazon account 
  2. Click the "write a review" tab 
  3. Give us your honest review

Providing instructions to do a review alongside instructions to use your product is considered pretty low pressure. Be sure to avoid statements that encourage positive reviews. Everything has to be very basic, so using the term "honest review" appeals to Amazon's monitors. 

5. Can I Use Amazon Package Inserts To Get Customers To Sign Up For My Email List

How to write a Product Insert that is Amazon TOS Compliant

The Amazon code of conduct explicitly states you are not to include business URLs to a personal eCommerce website. Also, you cannot create a product insert that requests personal information. Instead, your product insert can focus on drawing people to your marketing efforts; this includes an email list. 

If your website utilizes an alternate eCommerce platform, you cannot link to that website. However, there is nothing against using the product insert to link to your social media accounts. Because social accounts are a way for you to grow your Amazon brand, it's encouraged to include it typically.

Amazon appreciates loyal customers coming from off-site traffic like Facebook and Twitter. From there, you can encourage visitors to go to your website and add their email address voluntarily. 

You cannot request an email address in exchange for products, as that encourages an incentivized exchange of information that may lead to fake reviews. Customers will need to provide that information of their own volition with no direct links to Amazon.

Once they follow you on social media or regularly visit a personal blog you might have, you can do what you wish on that platform. Amazon has limited control over their activities performed after they follow your off-platform activities directly. 

6. What Should I Avoid Putting on Product Inserts?

Other than the apparent policy violations, there are many things you should avoid inserting into your package. Here are some examples:

Complicated Information 

The most effective product inserts have a simple CTA that can request anything from using a coupon code to requesting seller feedback. Remember you can't do both!

However, some companies like to include complicated jargon or detailed information packages. Most customers throw these out, as they don't want to read a set of ridiculous instructions or company jargon. 

Remember, your prospective customer probably doesn't care much about how it got there. That level of care might change if your product creation process is fascinating. 

Expensive Business Cards 

People who sell premium products on Amazon believe that this is an opportunity to show how much success they have. However, having fancy paper and fancy business cards that remind people of your success is vapid, not appealing to the most discerning customer. 

Be aware that having fancy paper for your card inserts won't help. It would be best to focus on your customer's needs to impress them over something fancy in the box. 

Extended Warranties 

A typical offering among even some big-name companies on Amazon is extended warranties in exchange for reviews. As we've discussed earlier, Amazon sees this as a violation of the TOS. 

To believe that an extended warranty is not an incentive is wrong. If you have a product warranty, you must include it regardless of what reviews you receive. 

Your Contact Information 

Amazon's TOS prevents you from encouraging people to contact you directly if there is any problem. Because Amazon's storefront is representing your product, they like to handle it on your behalf. It also discourages negative feedback, leaving behind positive feedback solely. 

Even if this TOS section was eliminated, including personal contact information will blow up your phone quickly. Some of that information might lead to problems ranging from prank calls to requests for additional incentives over giving you a one-star review. 

Keep those communications to Seller Central. Better yet, let Amazon take care of the customer service process, especially if you are new to selling. 

Be Careful with Statements of Urgency 

Amazon generally discourages you from creating a sense of urgency towards customers. While it's a great way to persuade customers in many situations, it also leads to a pressured customer experience. 

Amazon's detailed TOS dictates a variety of requests that boil down to excellent customer experiences. Instead of saying "buy now, or you might miss out," Amazon wants you to focus on the qualities of the product. 

Amazon does this themselves through prime sales. If you've ever seen the "want it tomorrow" screen under Prime offers, you know about this. Having an overabundance of urgency will pressure your customer out of the purchase. 

There's nothing precisely against packaging inserts with a sense of urgency, but be aware that Amazon can deny inserts based on their discretion. 

7. What are Examples of Good Packaging Inserts (Best Practices)?

Now that we've talked about all of the stuff you should avoid, let's delve into some of the positive sides of things. Below is a list of best practices you should consider for your product inserts. 

Choose A Marketing Priority 

Your first step on choosing suitable packaging inserts comes back to priority. What do you want to accomplish? 

  • Do you want more reviews on another product? 
  • Are you looking for a higher number of reviews? 
  • Are you trying to address product confusion? 

Whatever problems your customers are most experiencing with your product, you can address them with product inserts. If you have a common problem among the FAQs in your product listing, address that problem with future inserts to save you time—direct customers with specific sets of instructions.

If another one of your products is weak, consider using your strong product to supplement the weak one. By knowing your priority, your product inserts can have specific high-quality CTAs that increase conversion rates. 

Create Something Creative and Engaging

Product inserts with instructions are great, but creating creative and engaging content demands you don't limit these inserts to instructions. Instead, please take the opportunity to make multiple CTAs (provided they don't include both coupons and review requests)

For example, social media request follows are just fine. But saying "follow our social media" is pretty dull. Instead, think of another, more engaging way to request social media follows. Make sure it's on par with your brand, so think about what your customers might want to hear. 

The design should also be eye-popping. Attractive colors with high contrast draw the eye to the text. Just don't include any URLs, as the monitor will ping those.

List Satisfaction Guarantees and Warranties

A great way to affirm your value is to list satisfaction guarantees and warranty information upfront. This listing is a powerful affirmation of your product quality. It also reminds people that you understand that this product might not be best for them. 

As a reminder, ensure that warranty information is not contingent on anything. You cannot change a review for an extension of the warranty. 

Instead, focus on the fact that Amazon already offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Thus, you are just restating something that Amazon already provides without over-promising something. 

Include Gifts (But Don't Incentivize Them)

Bonus gifts (like an extra battery or replacement piece) are a great thing. To surprise your buyer with unique box inserts is something they appreciate. Double point to it is an accessory to the product included. 

You might also send branded items like stickers, lanyards, or buttons. These items are typically less helpful and appreciated. Still, sending someone something in exchange for a bit of free advertising is a pretty good deal.

We reiterate not to incentivize these gifts. If you do send gifts, be sure to indicate that it's not contingent upon any activity. You might include review requests and gifts in separate inserts to avoid this perception entirely. 

Don't Get Married To One Type of Box Insert 

There are many potential strategies when selecting the correct box insert. One approach might work well for one product, while another method may work better. It's up to you to run those tests to find out what works. 

To find out the details, start by selecting a few different designs and copy choices for your CTAs. These can include various combinations of review requests, instruction booklets, and social media following calls. 

Your goal is to set several different versions of the same type of requests. You can choose to divide these out by time or send them all out at once. Be sure you have a method of tracking what design choice works the best. 

Include QR Codes 

With the 21st century being the information age, QR codes are a must-have for product inserts. QR codes allow people direct links to any of the requests you make. These codes take the effort out of your customer's hands, increasing your potential conversion rate. 

Remember, the basic code of conduct still applies with including QR codes. That means no incentivized reviews, no URLs, no encouraging people to buy off Amazon, and no pushy sales tactics. Instead, provide links to the review page, your coupon code, or your social media pages. 

Conclusion 

The insert card for your Amazon product is a great way to direct people to your social media, personal website, and encourage sales of alternative Amazon products. With an awareness of the Amazon Code of Conduct, you will run suitable package inserts. Just be sure not to tell people to move off the platform! 

If you are looking for unique ways to increase sales of your Amazon products, take a look at DataHawk's Amazon business management software for retailers. Our powerful tools on Amazon SEO and advertising analytics will help boost your products through all channels. Thanks for reading!

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