Amazon is the biggest eCommerce shopping platform in the United States. In fact, Amazon has already extended its reach to European countries as well as in the Middle East and in Asia. The Amazon marketplace is like a haven for online shoppers as you can buy almost anything from pantry essentials, clothing, to gadgets.
Since the Amazon marketplace offers a lot of opportunities for sellers, you cannot deny that competition is also high. Big Brands such as Walmart and Target are already selling in the Amazon marketplace. That spells big competition for other small business owners and brands.
Protecting your Brand in the Amazon Marketplace
One of the biggest challenges that brand owners face is protecting their brand. There are a lot of small sellers who may hijack your listings or sell your products without permission. Before you think of exiting Amazon, here are some tips to help protect your brand.
- Check if there are other sellers who hijacked your listing.
Sometimes, there are sellers who ride on your listing. However, if you have authorized third-party sellers then this is normal. Make it a habit to check if all the sellers on your listing are authorized.
Here are the steps on how to check this:
Step 1: Log in to your seller central account.
Step 2: Click on the name of your product to go to your listing.
Step 3: View “Other Sellers” or click on the blue link that shows “More.” If it does not show other sellers, then your listing is safe.
This is what it looks like when other sellers are selling on your listing:
- Distinguish the hijackers from the legit sellers.
Of course, not all sellers shown on the list are hijackers. Some of them may even be your distributors. Also, it is legal for consumers to buy a product and resell it as “Used” if they do not like it. This is approved in the First Sale Doctrine.
Here’s how to check if they are hijackers or resellers. Do this only if the seller is not your authorized distribuitor.
Step 1: Go to their listing of your product.
Step 2: Add the product to your cart.
Step 3: Change the quantity to 999. Amazon will automatically drop the quantity to show the number of available items in their inventory. If they have more than 5 in stock, they could be hijacking your listing.
- Send them a cease and desist letter.
Once you have identified the hijackers to your listing, send them a cease and desist letter to scare them off. Once you send the letter, they have 24 to 48 hours to remove the listing. Otherwise, further action will be taken. Here is a sample cease and desist template.
- Report the seller to Amazon’s infringement team.
When you have already sent a cease and desist letter to the unauthorized seller but there was no response, you can report them to Amazon’s infringement team.
To do that, go to www.amazon.com/gp/help/reports/infringement.
When creating your infringement report, focus on how you value Amazon’s customers. Remember, Amazon is customer-centric. Tell them why protecting your brand is important to customers. Mention things like you only want the best quality for the customers. Let them know that this is an issue not because you want to win but because you want your customers to feel valued.
- Bundle and Personalize your Products
A personalized bundle will deter other sellers from duplicating your brand. Bundle your own products or choose items from other sellers. For example, if you are selling candy-making supplies include a brochure with recipes with your brand’s logo on it. This way, buyers will know that you are the original seller because it shows your brand and other sellers cannot duplicate this.
- Have Chinese suppliers build the pieces and have them assembled in the US.
One of the top problems that Amazon brand sellers experience is that their unique products are available on Alibaba.com or sold by Chinese sellers. What happened was that your supplier copied your product and sold it in China or even on Amazon. It is the exact same product because they copied the blueprint from you. So, just have them supply the pieces and have it assembled yourself or in the US so they won’t know what the end product is.
- Be Amazon Brand Registered
In a previous blog, you have read the benefits of being brand registered on Amazon. The best benefit that brand owners get is being protected. While it is not a guarantee to prevent hijackers, it will still be easier to prove that it is your brand. Being brand registered gives you control of your product title, description, and bullet points and these cannot be changed by hijackers.
- Take advantage of Brand Gating.
Brand gating lets brand owners have control over who uses their Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs). This helps prevent unauthorized sellers from hijacking listings and selling counterfeit items at very low prices. Brand gating prevents the selling of counterfeit items and allows brands to limit or control who sells their products. Before you can gate your products on Amazon, you should already have your trademark registered.
- File a trademark for your business.
Having a trademark is crucial for gating and is one of the most important aspects of having a brand. This shows Amazon and its consumers that you are serious about your brand. Not only does it help protect your brand, but you will also gain the trust of consumers. Having a trademark also lets other sellers know that you own this trademark. You can sue or contest other sellers or entities who are using your brand name.
Here’s how you can file a trademark for your business:
Step 1: Go to www.uspto.gov
This is the United States Patent Trademark Office. Search for your brand name or other misspelled variations.
Step 2: Go to www.knowem.com
Enter your brand name and you will see all social media handles using that brand name.
Step 3: File with a company such as www.CompuMark.com to do extensive research on your brand name. You may need to shell out $600-700 but it is worth it to avoid trademark issues in the future.
If any of the above searches do not show any results similar or close to your brand name, it means that you’re good to go.
Protecting your brand on Amazon is crucial. As a brand owner, you have spent time, money, and effort to build your brand so you should not let it go to waste because of hijackers and scammers. Be vigilant and protect your brand in the Amazon marketplace. Get started by giving us a call so we can help you out.