Amazon Publishing Your Name and Address
Amazon has announced that beginning September 1, 2020, all US storefronts will have the owner names and addresses displayed on the storefront. This also includes your phone number.
This is disturbing to many Amazon entrepreneurs who use their home addresses and personal cell phone numbers for their business information. In fact, many sellers see this as downright dangerous because it means disgruntled buyers or competitors can find out who they are, where they live, and how to contact them.
As an Amazon seller myself, I also have concerns about this loss of privacy. I expect to get a lot more junk mail and phone solicitations. As an FBA-only seller, I pay Amazon to take care of the customer service. Why is Amazon doing this?
According to their July 8, 2020 newsletter, Amazon is doing this to make sure there is a “consistent baseline of seller information to help customers make informed shipping decisions.” Since my products are fulfilled and shipped from Amazon warehouses, I do not see how my personal information is relevant to the consumer’s buying decision. However, Amazon is probably not going to change their minds. As sellers, we need to make smart decisions and make the best of it.
Is There An Upside?
This decision by Amazon has its pros and cons, if you really want to find them. So just what is the upside here? Truthfully, there are some great advantages for both customers and sellers in this regard.
- If another seller hijacks your listing or steals your proprietary information, you will know how to contact them. This can be a big plus, especially if you are not brand registered.
- If you have a US address, this will assure many customers that they are dealing with an American business. Many customers are concerned about their products being shipped from China.
- There may come a time when a customer contacts you and you want to go above and beyond for the customer service. This is not something you have to do, but it can help you get seller ratings faster and build your reputation on Amazon.
- If you are trying to build brand recognition, having a business address and phone number customers can access just makes sense. If customers can associate you with a physical location and have access to you via telephone or mail, it makes your brand more tangible, more credible and more memorable to the consumer.
- This will provide an opportunity to form relationships outside of Amazon that could benefit your brand and your Amazon ratings and reviews. Amazon has rules about your communications with customers. For example, you cannot direct them to an outside website such as your own. Once you have a relationship outside of Amazon, though, you are not under those restrictions.
What can you do if these advantages do not apply to you? If you are a sole proprietor working from home, you may be unable to manage a large number of calls. Maybe you just want to sell your products through Amazon FBA without having to worry about communicating with the customers. That is one of the reasons you are willing to pay those high FBA fees, right? If that is you, there are solutions. If this is the case, this is the solution I have opted to try, and I recommend you try this too:
- Set up a Google voice phone number. This is a FREE service, which you can access here.
- Set up a voicemail greeting that says something like this: “Thank you for calling (your business name). If you have a product question, please feel free to ask the question through the product page on Amazon. If you have a question about a return or any other customer service issue, Amazon is handling all customer service matters on our behalf. Please contact them through the proper channels, and they will provide the excellent service you need. Please do not leave a message on this line, as this mailbox is not monitored. If you are calling to offer a product or service, you will need to contact us via other means, as we do not accept solicitations through this line.”
- Set up a virtual mailbox or get a mailbox at a UPS store in your area. Make sure you have a physical address, not just a PO Box.
- If you have an LLC and/or business bank account, change the address in both places to match your virtual address or UPS store address, in case Amazon asks for verification when you make these changes.
Amazon is very customer-centric. Amazon’s customer-centric approach is a big reason why they are one of the largest (if not THE largest) retailers in the world. As long as Amazon keeps customers happy and keeps the market share, they help keep the little guys like us, who rely on their platform, in business.
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