Amazon is probably one of the largest virtual marketplaces in the world today as official figures show that over 300 million customers have already shopped on it. To most customers, Amazon’s convenience is incomparable. Meanwhile, in the eyes of entrepreneurs, Amazon is one big opportunity to market their products to an enormous market.
However, Amazon is not 100% safe. There are counterfeiters and hijackers, people who want to make a living out of knock-off products, affecting legit brand manufacturers and distributors as well. These are the issues that oftentimes hold back entrepreneurs from joining the Amazon community. And this is exactly why Amazon came up with measures and programs to enhance Amazon brand protection.
Understanding Amazon Brand Protection and Why It Is Important
Amazon has a big impact on your brand along with those of all shapes and sizes of today. However, when it comes to brand security, three common key issues that threaten or affect it include:
- You can never be the sole seller of your brand.
As much as you want to take all the revenues from selling your products, there is a high chance the same products are sold by resellers and third parties. Having them sold by the former is okay as more likely these sellers are also sourcing the products from your inventory. However, with third-party sellers, it is a whole different story as they may include counterfeiters and hijackers. The thing is, Amazon is open to anyone selling your products or brand and it does not give a damn where these sellers are sourcing the items for as long as they are not fake, knock-off, or expired. You’d even be surprised how Amazon bluntly expresses its stance in favor of unauthorized resellers. To them, the control and distribution responsibility lies in the brand owner.
Because of Amazon’s blatant acceptance even of unauthorized resellers, the virtual marketplace has invited millions of resellers to join its catalog and it has made the competition even wider, leading to intensive price competition among resellers.
The thing is, the more popular your brand becomes, the more resellers and counterfeiters will be interested in selling your products or counterfeit ones. And if you decide to stop it, it might also negatively affect your sales.
- You need to be actively monitoring the distribution of your items starting on day one.
If your brand is just starting up, it will need room to grow. At some point, you might find yourself open for long-term ramifications like reaching a point of inviting people to resell your product. However, without sufficient attention to where those resellers will be sourcing the items, you might end up not getting the maximum perks of making such a decision. Instead of gaining, you might end up with a loss.
- You need to maintain good brand content as it is what matters to most of your customers.
Someway, somehow, as your brand goes popular and attracts more customers, more resellers, both authorized or not, will eventually want to sell your items on Amazon as well. In such cases, more often than not, your resellers will do all means to attract your customers and they will start by mimicking your product listing and its content, leaving the price and seller name as the only distinction. The thing is, while you can still benefit from authorized resellers, with counterfeiters and unauthorized sellers who might have sourced your products elsewhere, you won’t and this can equate to a loss on your part.
Because of the abovementioned threats, Amazon has created the brand registry program wherein legit brand manufacturers and distributors will just need to enroll their brands on it and comply with the requirements and in exchange, they will get the buy box advantage which is paramount to being an authorized, credible seller.
More recently, Amazon has created another program to help enhance Amazon brand protection. Named as Project Zero, the program is also aimed at protecting brands from counterfeits and their domino effect on customers.
How to Spot and Protect Your Brand From Counterfeit Goods?
Knock-off and counterfeit products can appear in numerous ways but the listings can be easily spotted. The signs include the following:
- If the listing uses the brand’s catalog photos, representing them as genuine but the seller is unable to go into details in response to inquiries.
- If the listing utilizes the patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property of the brand but the price is too good to be true, i.e. it is lower than the supposed standard retail price.
To combat counterfeit products and listings and reduce their chances of affecting your business, here are what you should do:
- Enroll your brand in Amazon’s Brand Registry and Project Zero as these will give you the advantage to be noticed and prioritized by Amazon.
- Watch out for duplicate listings of your items. As soon as you have spotted one, report it to Amazon right away.
- If your instinct is telling you that the seller is selling knock-off or counterfeit goods but waiting for Amazon to attend to your complaint will equate to a loss, implement the last resort instead. This would be to register yourself as a seller and purchase the item from your suspected listing. And then once the item is in your hands, do all means and take all potential pieces of evidence to Amazon to prove that the seller is indeed selling counterfeit items. This may be a hassle but it works quicker in eradicating counterfeits from the platform.
- Maintain a good image for your brand. This includes cleaning your customer reviews section from time to time but addressing them as well. Meanwhile, you can also reply to customer reviews if you feel like you need to explain or justify. Responses can help reduce damage.
- Keep a good feedback rating. Amazon has a seller feedback section that gauges how you are performing as a seller. It can help your brand keep a good reputation despite it being less prominent as the product reviews.