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Best Practices Guide

Use this guide to help you get started setting up your site and working with Checkout by Amazon.

This guide has three sections:

Please use this list as a list of the tasks to complete before and during your integration with Checkout by Amazon.

You can download a PDF version of this document here.

Before You Start

1. Create a buyer (customer) account for testing your buttons in Production mode

  • Benefit: Test your payment buttons by buying an item from your own website using a separate Amazon.com account just for test purchases.
  • Action: Go to Amazon.com and create a new account different from the one you use to log in to your Checkout by Amazon seller account. (An easy way to set up the account is to use the same e-mail address but a different password.) Be sure to enter a valid credit card and shipping address. Remember that while you're not charged for test purchases made in the Sandbox, you are charged for purchases made in Production. (See below on steps to take to cancel an order made using your test buyer account.) Also remember to keep this testing account secure, as it has your credit card information attached to it.

2. Toggle between Sandbox and Production modes as you set up your account and test your buttons

  • Benefit: Get important information about your account (such as orders waiting to ship or A-to-z Guarantee claims, which only appear in the Production mode), and build test buttons in the Sandbox mode.
  • Action: To toggle between modes, click the Enter the Sandbox or Switch to Production button on the home page of Seller Central.
Click the Enter the Sandbox button to switch to the Sandbox environment.
Click the Switch to Production button to switch to the Production environment.

Note that you get to the home page of Seller Central when you log in. If you're already logged-in, you can click the Home link on the top right corner of the Seller Central page.

You can also click the Website drop-down box in Seller Central to switch between Sandbox and Production mode.

Click the Website drop-down box and make sure you select Your Checkout Website from the list.

3. Enter your Success URL and Cancel URL in both your Checkout by Amazon -- Sandbox mode and in Production mode

  • Benefit: Your customers will automatically return to the pages you specify after completing or canceling a transaction. Setting this up before you begin testing (in the Sandbox mode and in the Production mode) allows you to validate your customer's experience when checking out purchases on your website.
  • Action: In Seller Central, switch to the Sandbox mode (see above), click Settings > Checkout Pipeline Settings, and verify that the Success URL and Cancel URL boxes have valid, working URLs in them. Now, switch to the Production mode (see above), click Settings > Checkout Pipeline Settings, and verify that the Success URL and Cancel URL boxes have valid, working URLs in them.
Checkout Settings Page showing a sample Success URL and a sample Cancel URL.

Note the use of https:// for a Production URL.

4. Set up your Production merchant profile with your logo and policies

  • Benefit: Customers see your logo in the checkout pipeline, and they can see your policies when they click links in the pipeline, which increases their trust in the transaction with you and Amazon Payments.
  • Action: Check your settings in Seller Central. Switch to the Production mode (see above); then click Settings > Your Info & Policies. Now check that you have uploaded your logo (120 pixels wide by 30 pixels tall, JPG or GIF), and that you have entered your shipping, returns and refunds, and other information about your business.

Note that for testing you should also set up these same values in the Sandbox environment. Switch to the Sandbox mode (see above) and then enter the same information on the Your Info & Policies pages.

5. Enter your bank account information in your Checkout by Amazon -- Production mode

  • Benefit: We require a valid U.S.-based, ACH-enabled bank account to pay you for your orders.
  • Action: In Seller Central, switch to the Production mode (see above), click Settings > Account Settings, and verify that your bank account information is entered correctly.
Seller Bank Account settings.

If your bank account information is correct but you're not receiving payments, please contact us.

6. Post your refund policy in the Your Info & Policies -- Refund page

  • Benefit: Your customers can review your policy in the checkout pipeline, reducing their confusion if there are problems later. (Note that your policies must align with the policies of Amazon Payments.)
  • Action: In Seller Central, switch to the Production mode (see above), click Settings > Your Info & Policies, and then click the Refund Policy page. Enter your refund policy and click Save.

7. Accept only signed carts, and then sign your carts

  • Benefit: Avoid problems with insecure carts (man-in-the-middle attacks, for example) by signing your carts.
  • Action: Switch to the Production mode (see above), then click Settings > Checkout Pipeline Settings, and under Checkout Pipeline Settings click Edit. Click to set the checkmark in the Shopping Cart Security box, and then click Update to set your account to accept only signed carts. Now when you build a button in the Production mode using the Create Checkout Button feature, the button will be signed.

Note that whether you create a button using the Create Checkout Button feature or you build your own buttons, the Amazon Payments process will now accept only signed carts. If you build your own checkout buttons, you can use your own signing algorithms, or use the code samples located in the Code Sample Library to build your signing algorithms.

You can also set your Sandbox mode to accept only signed carts. Simply switch to the Sandbox mode (see above) before you edit your Checkout Pipeline settings.

8. Put "@amazon.com" in your e-mail client's whitelist

  • Benefit: You won't miss important e-mails, such as order notifications, from Amazon Payments.
  • Action: Check your e-mail client for the steps to add addresses to a whitelist (list of permitted senders). In Microsoft Outlook 2007, click Tools > Options >Preferences, then click Junk E-mail. Click the Safe Recipients tab, click Add, type @amazon.com, and then click OK three times. If you use another e-mail client, check the application's online help for more information.
Outlook 2007 whitelist settings.

9. Place Amazon Payments buttons first in your accepted payments list

  • Benefit: Your customers will trust your site more and make larger purchases if they see the trusted Amazon Payments brand on your site.
  • Action: Check your page layout to be sure that Amazon Payments is listed first.
Put Amazon Payments first.

10. Place Amazon Payments buttons above and below your order detail information

  • Benefit: Your customers will have an easy way to pay without scrolling up or down the page.
  • Action: Check your order detail page layout, and be sure that you place the Amazon Payments Checkout buttons above and below the order information.
Checkout button positioned above and below the order detail information.

11. Follow the examples in the Marketing Toolkit when placing Amazon Payments buttons, images, and product information on your website

  • Benefit: Your customers will see the same buttons and images as they see on other sites using Amazon Payments. Using the familiar Amazon Payments brand helps increase customers' trust in your website.
  • Action: Check the Marketing Toolkit, and verify that you are specifying the right payment marks and buttons. Be sure to specify that you are using "Checkout by Amazon" as a product name -- not "Checkout by Amazon.com." Check the Marketing Toolkit and be sure you are using the payment marks and payment buttons appropriately. Don't resize or recolor the images provided in the Marketing Toolkit -- use them as-is.

12. Use the Up-sell feature to increase order totals

  • Benefit: The Up-sell feature lets you specify products from your website and products from the Amazon.com website that appear as additional items to buy when your customers are in the checkout pipeline.
  • Action: Enable the Up-sell feature in Seller Central (click Integration > Up-sell Cart, and follow the directions). Now, buttons you create using the Create Checkout Button feature will generate the Up-sell list. If you build your own payment buttons, you can also customize the Up-sell feature. See the Seller Central " Overview of the Up-sell Feature" online help topic for more information.

Note that you can enable this feature in the Sandbox mode (see above) to test it with Sandbox orders; then, before you begin building Production buttons, switch to the Production mode (see above) and again enable this feature for Production orders.

13. Create a Sandbox order using your buyer account to test that you can buy the product

  • Benefit: You'll be sure that your button code works, because you can go through the checkout pipeline and place the order.
  • Action: In Seller Central, switch to the Sandbox mode (see above). Click Integration > Create Checkout Button, and create a new button. Paste the code to a working page on your website, and click the Checkout button. Use your buyer account (see above) to place the order. Make sure you can go through the entire checkout pipeline to place the order. Don't worry about getting charged -- a Sandbox order never gets charged or completed. After about 15 minutes, go back to Seller Central, click Orders > Manage Orders > Advanced Search, set the Search All option), and locate the order you just placed with your buyer account.
Order report showing Pending orders.

Note that Sandbox orders are listed as "Pending" under the "Status" column. Also note that Sandbox orders appear with grey text instead of black text, and that Sandbox orders do not include buyer or shipping information.

14. Create a Production order using your buyer account to test that you can view the order in your Order Report

  • Benefit: You'll be sure that your button code works in Production, because you see that the order is visible in the Order Report.
  • Action: Follow these steps to place and view a Production order:
    1. In Seller Central, switch to the Production mode (see above).
    2. Click Integration > Create Checkout Button, and create a new button.
      Hint: As this order will be charged to your buyer account credit card, set the Price to a low value.
    3. Paste the code to a working page on your website, and click the Checkout button. Use your buyer account (see above) to place the order. Make sure you can go through the entire checkout pipeline to place the order.
    4. After 15 minutes, return to Seller Central, click Orders > Manage Orders and verify that the order appears.

Note that you should always cancel test orders (see below) as soon as you have verified that the test order worked.

15. Promptly cancel any test orders made in Production using your buyer account

  • Benefit: You'll keep your performance ratings up by not having artificial cancelation rates.
  • Action: Follow these steps to cancel the test orders.
  • Go to the Amazon Payments site (https://payments.amazon.com/), click Your Account, and sign in with your buyer account (see above).
  • Find this test order, and click Cancel.

Note that your buyer account credit card will be charged for test orders you place in production using your buyer account, and your Checkout by Amazon account will be evaluated. If you do not fulfill this valid, test order (that is, mark it as shipped), you must cancel this test order using your buyer account on the Amazon Payments site (https://payments.amazon.com/).

16. Put the most important details about a product in the first 200 characters in your Description

  • Benefit: Only the first 200 characters of the Description are sent through the order system, so putting relevant details first means you can track the order more easily.
  • Action: Check the content of the Description and be sure the first 200 characters contain the important information.

17. Check that your Description contains only alphanumeric characters

  • Benefit: The order process blocks purchases if the Description contains HTML/XML code markers such as " &" or " >", so avoid using them.
  • Action: Check your Description field and change any HTML/XML code markers to an equivalent, such as "and" for the HTML character "&".

18. Check that your SKU contains only alphanumeric characters

  • Benefit: The order process blocks purchases if the SKU contains special characters such as ™ or ®.
  • Action: Use only alphanumeric characters for your SKU.

19. Incorporate the Reserve Policy into your business plan

  • Benefit: You will understand when you will receive your payments, reducing confusion.
  • Action: Read the Reserve Policy. Note that depending on your Tier, you might have different limits.

20. Train your customer service representatives to handle Amazon Payments questions

  • Benefit: Increase your customers' trust in your website by training your representatives to expertly answer their questions about using Amazon Payments on your website.
  • Action: Plan what steps you will take when you receive a customer contact, write out the steps to follow, and then train your customer service representatives how to handle these contacts.

At Launch

1. Double-check that your Production mode is set up correctly

  • Benefit: You can be sure that your buttons and reports are set up for Production transactions.
  • Action: Switch to the Sandbox mode (see above). Review your bank account information and information on the Your Info & Policies pages. Switch to the Production mode (see above) and review the same pages, making sure you have copied the information correctly.

2. Announce to your customers that you now accept Amazon Payments

  • Benefit: Using Amazon Payments lets your customers use the credit cards in their Amazon accounts to purchase from your website, making purchases easy, fast, and safe.
  • Action: Check your launch plan (see the Launch Checklist PDF | XLS). See the Marketing Toolkit for a sample e-mail.

3. Tell your customers that Checkout by Amazon can be used for both domestic and international shipments

  • Benefit: Checkout by Amazon accepts the credit cards in their Amazon accounts. See "What countries are covered by the A-to-z Guarantee" for the list of countries supported by Amazon Payments.
  • Action: Verify that if you do mention this on your website, you mention that Checkout by Amazon supports both domestic and international shipments.

Business As Usual

1. Check your orders at least daily -- schedule and review your Order Report

  • Benefit: You'll stay on top of your orders so you won't have late or missed shipments. (If you do not confirm shipment by 30 days from the order date, then the order is automatically canceled and you will not be paid for the order, even if you shipped the item.)
  • Action: You can get order information using one of these four methods:
    1. Log in to Seller Central daily to check your Order Report online.
    2. Schedule and retrieve downloadable Order Report from Seller Central.
    3. Use AMTU to get and process Order Reports.
    4. Use APIs to get and process Order Reports.

Note that you must be in the Production mode (see above) when you check and fulfill your orders in Seller Central.

2. Fulfill orders promptly

  • Benefit: You will be paid promptly (according to your payment dates and our Reserve Policy), and you will not miss payments because you did not confirm shipment within 30 days of the order placement. (If you do not confirm shipment by 30 days from the order date, then the order is automatically canceled and you will not be paid for the order, even if you shipped the item.)
  • Action: Check your orders daily (see above), and then confirm shipment as soon as possible.

3. Post refunds so we can refund the buyer

  • Benefit: When you refund a buyer, post the refund through Seller Central so we can refund the amount to the buyer.
  • Action: Go to Seller Central, click Orders > Manage Orders, find and view the order, and then click the Refund Order button.

4. Ship only to the shipping address specified in the original order

  • Benefit: Amazon Payments protects your payments only if you ship to the address listed in the Order Report.
  • Action: If you receive any communication from buyers asking you to change the shipping address, reply that you cannot do so. You can encourage buyers to cancel the order themselves and then re-place the order with the new shipping address. Remind them that the Amazon Payments policy prohibits you from shipping to any address other than the address listed in the Order Report. See "What Countries are covered by the A-to-z Guarantee?" for more information.

5. Respond immediately to A-to-z Guarantee Claims (disputes)

  • Benefit: You will protect your ability to respond and present your side of the dispute.
  • Action: Always respond within five days, but the sooner the better. When you respond, send the information that presents your side of the dispute, such as shipping receipts or order details. To respond to a dispute, go to Seller Central, click Reports > Seller Performance > A-to-z Guarantee Claims.