Amazon allows merchants to contact shoppers directly for the first time

Amazon is trialling a new scheme allowing some of its merchants to directly contact customers with marketing material, breaking from its strict controls on consumer data.

According to CNBC, Amazon began piloting a tool which enables brands to reach out to customers who “follow” them on its platforms to inform them of new products and promotions.

The new tool, dubbed “Manage Your Customer Engagement”, will not hand over the individual addresses of shoppers to merchants, but will inform them how many emails will go out when decide to share marketing campaigns to their followers.

Companies using the tool will also have access to analytics tools to see how their campaigns have performed.

Amazon says the pilot is designed to encourage merchants to “build your own brand with Amazon”, drive loyalty and boost repeat purchases.

READ MORE: Amazon launches new Kickstarter-style “Built It” concept letting shoppers vote on which products it will build

It marks a stark shift from Amazon’s historically strict attitude towards its customer data, preventing any merchants from contacting sellers directly unless in relation to the status of their order.

Currently only members of Amazon’s Brand Registry programme have access to the tool, which launched in 2015 as part of early efforts to tackle counterfeit goods on its platform.

Since then its third-party marketplace has exploded in popularity, seeing some 78 per cent of American brands sell on Amazon.

“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,” a spokesperson told CNBC.

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