How to Upsell with Amazon Product Inserts—the Right Way

Sometimes, a little surprise brightens your day: A 9th chicken nugget in your 8-nugget meal. A 50%-off coupon in your meal kit box. Cool brand-related stickers tucked in a shoe box.

When you find these bonus offerings, you likely feel excited, pampered, and lucky. You find yourself thinking about that extra something for days. This positive impression makes you want to purchase from that same brand, restaurant, or store again. 

This is how customers feel when they find a product insert in their Amazon package. These pieces of paper are little, above-and-beyond surprises that humanize the brand and make the customer want to return. Beyond these benefits, product inserts:

  1. Increase brand reputation
  2. Enhance brand awareness
  3. Foster customer loyalty
  4. Promote additional products
  5. Solicit reviews and feedback
Hand holds a card similar to a product insert that says hello you

Perhaps you are reading this and thinking, “This all sounds great, but don’t product inserts break Amazon’s code of conduct?” You are right to be leary of crossing Amazon’s rules. However, you can create and benefit from product inserts and honor Amazon’s policies and code of conduct.

The Marketing by Emma team is happy to lead you through the ins and outs of product inserts. Learn what you can include within them, what topics to avoid, and how to create an Amazon product insert that stands out!

What to Include—Some Advice and Ideas

1. Keep Your Text and Graphics Simple

When it comes to a marketing material such as a product insert card, less is often more. Too much text or too many images or graphics can appear overwhelming to customers, making them less likely to even look at your product package insert. 

For this reason, choose your text, pictures, and/or graphics carefully. Keep your content focused, informative, and in-brand. Even something as simple as a thank you can have a big impact on your business.

In addition, ensure your text, font, and images are high-quality. This will not only reflect positively on your brand and product, but will also guarantee that your insert is easily digestible and memorable for the right reasons.

Example of product insert shows Marketing by Emma’s tips in action by being simple quality and factual

2. Provide a Tempting Offer

Perhaps the largest upselling opportunity your product inserts provide is the result of a tempting offer. When we say “tempting,” we mean one that will actually entice customers to follow a QR code and enter their email to secure it. For the most part, free PDFs or ebooks aren’t enticing enough. 

Think about what offer suits your product. Consider a warranty for breakable or pricey items, a giveaway, or a discount for future purchases. Once you’ve decided on an offer, create a dynamic, aka editable, QR code (for more information on dynamic QR codes, click here). Lastly, make sure the QR code leads to a page where customers can type in their name and email address to enter in the giveaway or obtain the incentive.

Now here’s where you see tangible benefits from including an offer on your product insert: You now have an email list primed for upselling. You can now send your customers further offers, special promotions, new products, and more using this curated list. This may very well be the easiest upselling opportunity you’ll ever invest a little graphic design, paper, and ink in.

What if your offer isn’t gaining any traction? Try a different one. Don’t feel like you are married to a specific approach. You might even consider reaching out to your customers and asking what kind of offer they would like to see. 

When putting your offer together, make sure you stay within Amazon’s policy. Don’t ask for contact information on the insert itself. This would make gathering contact information a part of the Amazon transaction (in the box = part of the transaction), which is not allowed. It is allowed, however, to send customers to a different site and ask for contact information there as you will do with your QR code. 

If you’d like to look into this further, check out this article from Datahawk.

3. Incorporate Your Social Media Handles

What better way to encourage even more interaction with your brand and products than displaying your social media handles? Include corresponding social media icons and/or motivate customers to explore your social media sites with a header like “Let’s be friends,” “Join our tribe,” or some other phrase that fits your brand tone.

Something to keep in mind: you cannot incentivize customers to connect with you on social media. As long as you keep bribery out, you’re good to go!

4. Model Formatting Off Your Brand and Audience

 If you haven’t already fleshed out your brand and gotten to know your customers, now is the time. The best examples of product inserts reflect their brands and audience in their colors, images, fonts, and even paper type. 

A luxury skincare brand’s product insert might feature subtle colors, cursive headers, and thick paper, while a children’s toys brand might use bright colors, chunky lettering, and regular thickness. 

The possibilities are nearly endless. 

  • Size: Large tri-fold, small business card, or somewhere in between?
  • Shape: Square, rectangular, circular, or shaped like a sunflower?
  • Thickness: Almost cardboard or almost see-through?

5. Make Next Steps Clear

Sign says giveaway indicating an offer you can include in a product insert card

What do you want customers to take away from your insert? Do you want them to tag you on social media? Enter into a giveaway? Leave a review (This needs to be worded carefully, but more on that later)? Let them know, and make your expectations clear with a call to action or 2-3 calls to action. 

If what you are wanting customers to do involves steps, write out those steps to make their task easier, more straightforward, and more likely to be done.

Some Additional Content Ideas:

  • Include a short blurb about your brand. This can include your brand mission, values, or story.
  • Incorporate a how-to about your product. You can include pictures and short text to explain how to assemble or use your product. 
  • Add cleaning/maintenance tips or instructions.
  • Create a VIP club that customers can join by following the QR code. 
  • Advertise related products from your Amazon brand. (Just make sure you’re sending customers to Amazon and not a different storefront).

What to Avoid

1. Incentivizing a Review or Only Asking for Positive Reviews

Incentivizing a review (either positive or negative) or asking for positive reviews is in direct violation of Amazon’s Selling Policies and Seller Code of Conduct.

Screenshot of Amazons ratings feedback and reviews policy gives some examples of what you cannot do to gather reviews

You might have heard of inserts asking customers to leave a positive review if they are happy and to reach out to customer service if they are unhappy. This might seem like a great way to curate satisfied customers and a high percentage of 5-star reviews, yet with Amazon, this is a huge no-no. 

You also cannot ask customers to leave bad reviews on competitors’ listings or change an already existing review on your product.  

Product inserts can help you gain reviews, however. You just have to keep your wording neutral. Think something along the lines of “We’d love to hear what you think! Please leave us a review on Amazon.” Notice that in this example, we didn’t offer them something if they left a review or tell them what kind of review to leave. These are the two issues you have to keep in mind when asking for reviews.

2. Moving Transactions Away from Amazon

Amazon wants to keep business on their site. This makes sense, right? For this reason, you cannot include a QR code that leads customers to purchase from another site, and this includes your own.

However, this doesn’t mean that your QR code can’t lead to your website. It just means that if you claim the QR code leads to an offer, make certain that it does. Don’t divert customers to your website landing page or a product page instead. 

3. Requiring Actions Other Than Entering Basic Information

To take part in your offer, customers should have to provide their name and email—that’s it. You cannot require them to leave a review, follow or friend you on social media, or any other hoop. Those actions must be of the customers’ own inclination.

4. Waiting Until the “Right Time” to Use Product Inserts

Don’t wait until you feel like your brand is established. Start now! Your inserts will help establish your brand and build a customer base.

A traffic light is on green similarly to how even new Amazon sellers have the go ahead to create product inserts

That’s a Wrap

Feel inspired to create your own product inserts? We hope so! This simple addition is an exciting opportunity untapped by many Amazon sellers.

For further reading on product inserts, take a look at this article from Helium 10 or this one from eComEngine. If you want to take a deep dive into Amazon’s seller policies, you can do so here

Selling on Amazon can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Marketing by Emma has helped over 1,000 e-commerce businesses destress and find success, and we’re excited to help you! Whether you have questions or need an expertly crafted Amazon listing, we’re here to guide, communicate, and make your business shine.


Emma Gooch

Emma is a copywriter, ballet instructor, and word enthusiast. When not working or focusing on her master's homework, you can find her in the kitchen baking sweets or cocooned in a blanket reading books.

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