Taking a product to market requires a lot of time and money invested into an idea. You create effective packaging, get enticing product images, write captivating product descriptions and more. It takes an investment just to get your product ready for the digital shelves.
Once you get there, you can’t afford to have other sellers threatening your success by undercutting your idea or prices. To protect your brand’s reputation, you have to protect your products and pricing while selling on Amazon.
What Does My Brand Need Protection From?
Imagine you're searching for the perfect gift online. You look up a pair of Reebok shoes, only to find one at $80 and another at $55. Which do you choose? Many would go with the cheaper option—especially if they are the same shoe and the same brand.
But when the cheaper pair comes, they are poorly made and the rubber is extremely lightweight. They aren’t going to hold up and you're disappointed that you couldn’t trust the brand name you mentally align with quality footwear. In reality, those were counterfeit shoes sold by an unauthorized dealer. See how this can hurt sales as well as long term loyalty?
When you're selling your products online other people may try to take your ideas. A company like Reebok is going to be actively looking for those unauthorized sellers that are selling counterfeit products. And companies of all sizes need to take this seriously as the threat it is.
What is Brand Protection?
Protecting your brand also includes monitoring your Amazon reviews to ensure they are appropriate, relevant, and accurate to the particular listing. Keeping your reviews high helps your products to land at the top of search results. Additionally, brands should establish an appropriate MAP (minimum advertising price) policy so that authorized retailers of your products aren’t undercutting you with lower prices that could devalue your brand.
Brand protection means watching to ensure sellers are using the correct descriptions and photos if they do sell your items. Protecting your ideas will include watching for competing products that are too close to your IP (intellectual property) for comfort, pushing away the audience you’ve worked so hard to target. Finally, brand protection means having a legal and effective way to investigate and remove unauthorized sellers of your products who may be causing many of the violations described above.
How Can I Protect My Brand on Amazon?
You can and should proactively protect your brand as an Amazon seller. You might be dealing with sellers who have legally acquired your products and are reselling them, but describe them inaccurately or use poor quality images, turning off your target audience. Or, you could be dealing with a competitive seller who is trying to steal your ideas or ride on your success with replica items.
- Strictly identify your branding, products and marketing approach.
- Identify which images and copy would be appropriate to use for listing your products.
- Build your brand identity on a public website, making it easier to protect your Amazon Brand Registry listings against fraud.
- If you are using FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon), use the Amazon barcode stickers to prevent counterfeits from being mixed with your products.
- Outline iron-clad deals with distributors, protecting you from price-cutting or poor seller behavior.
- Most importantly, have a company-wide, extensive eCommerce strategy before signing agreements, placing products on sites, and allowing unknown sellers to handle your products.
Avoiding Common Threats of Online Selling
Amazon rarely blocks out other sellers that are taking your ideas or selling your items without authorization. You need to deal with each situation as it occurs. Protecting your brand on Amazon is going to include consideration of reactive measures.
- Stay vigilant, looking for those who may be selling your products or ones that are very similar, continually monitoring the market.
- Search for similar product names, off spellings and product images to catch sellers attempting to list your products or knock-off products in more guarded ways.
- Test buy items that could be counterfeit to take down fraudulent sellers.
- Challenge unfair or mistaken reviews.
- In some instances, sending cease and desist (C&D) letters can help to protect your brand and enforce your IP rights.
Your original ideas and the parts that set your product apart should be protected as much as legally possible. Amazon offers a great resource for selling, but there are threats that could hurt your brand if you’re unprepared.
Find Help to Protect Your Online Selling
Amazon is not going to proactively help brands take down unauthorized sellers. This means you may have a lot of time wrapped up in catching problematic sellers and then trying to address them. Many of our clients want to save time and increase the protection of their brand.
We know the ins and outs of Amazon selling and the need for brand protection that comes with it. We are able to continually monitor the platform for potential threats. If you want help protecting your brand on Amazon or other online platforms, contact us today and let’s talk about solutions!