It’s coming! Leaves are falling, football is in (and hopefully “on”) the air, and Christmas shopping is right around the corner. Your Q4 processes are about to be put to the test, and we want to make sure you are well prepared to protect your pricing and brand reputation on Amazon as the traffic picks up.
Here are five helpful brand protection tips to keep your problems low and your margins high as Q4 approaches:
- Select and limit resellers to those who best represent and present your brand
- If you are yet to create a strategy for your brand that focuses sales through a limited number of quality resellers on the marketplace, now is the time. This leads seamlessly into our second point (below), but, in a nutshell, without a cohesive, brand-wide approach to marketplace sales that funnels these sales through an authorized, cooperative resale partner or through your own brand account, you are leaving your brand wide open to grey market disruption. That could come in the form of plummeting prices, orphaned product listings, and/or incorrect or misleading product information within listings.
- Clean up unauthorized sales and create your authorized reseller program
- Building upon point number one (above), once you’ve set your strategy and selected the partners you would like to use to sell your product, create and disseminate your authorized reseller agreement so that you may begin to distinguish between “authorized” and “unauthorized” resellers. This will prove crucial in your brand’s ability to enforce against those unauthorized (or “grey market”) sellers moving forward. At Retail Bloom, we have helped many clients form these programs, and we are always more than happy to discuss your efforts to put a proper reseller program in place. Importantly, taking care of tips one and two, will make tip number three have much more of an impact.
- Pay attention to pricing across all platforms! Amazon is not alone in lowering prices to match others.
- You likely have some sort of MAP (minimum advertised price) policy in place for your products. This is always recommended if you sell online. But, as we alluded to above, if you are not effectively removing unauthorized sellers from marketplaces such as Amazon, enforcing your MAP policy won’t move the needle one bit. Just keep in mind that your MAP policy is something you are only able to enforce against your authorized sellers. With a solid seller enforcement in place, protecting your pricing is the next, crucial step. We all know that Amazon will scan the internet to find lower prices and then will lower their own pricing to match or even beat that price listed elsewhere. Because of this and because of the fact that other platforms utilize this same practice (Walmart, etc.), make sure to monitor your brand’s product pricing across all online channels.
- Communicate frequently with your resellers heading into Q4
- There is no time like the present to ramp up your communication with your resale partners. Effectively communicating your brand’s policies, particularly your MAP policy, to your approved resellers will accomplish a few different things:
- It will let them know you care about your relationship with them and value their partnership.
- It will provide for easier enforcement when you need to talk with them about any violations they have.
- It will keep your brand and policies on the top of their mind as they approach Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the busy holiday season.
- Track the impact of different variables on key sales metrics
- No brand has a perfect online presence. Sad but true. But hey--look on the bright side: This allows you to take stock of your pricing and/or reseller issues that may not be fixable ahead of Q4 and put tracking measures in place to see how those problems impact your advertising efforts (ACOS, TaCOS, etc.), sessions, and overall sales. Brand protection is an ongoing process, and whatever lessons a brand is able to learn in one season can prove extremely valuable heading into the next.
As always, if you have questions about these tips or other efforts to enhance your brand’s marketplace presence, feel free to reach out to us through our website, RetailBloom.com. Happy Q4-ing!
About The Author
Andy Buss is the Legal & Corporate Development Specialist at Retail Bloom. As both an attorney and an entrepreneur with a background in marketing, Andy provides a unique and valuable perspective when it comes to sustainable brand growth. When he's not sharpening his ping-pong skills in the break room, he can be found tirelessly pursuing the best way to keep brand clients ahead of looming online threats. Be sure to follow him on LinkedIn.
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