Brand Control & Amazon Transparency
As you may know, Amazon is the number one online marketplace, for various reasons. However, if you aren’t familiar with Amazon and the number of massive sellers experiencing success, pay attention these following facts:
- On average there are 300 Million Monthly Shoppers
- In 2017, there were over 200,000 sellers with sales over $100,000
- 80% of Amazon Prime Members purchase items at least once a month.
- Amazon net sales totaled 177.9 billion in 2017
- Amazon’s net sales in Q1 2018 totaled 51 Billion.
- There are over 1 million Small & Medium sized businesses that sell on Amazon.
We’ve all heard the dreadful stories about resellers, hijackers, map pricing issues, false advertisement of products and use of photos, UPC codes, etc. Trust me, ASDAL has been through it all. Although some companies claim to offer brand gating services, very few are 100% successful in managing and controlling everything.
We’ve called competitors and talked with their clients and the story is always the same, ‘they are doing a great job with keywords and PPC, but we still have a lot of resellers”.
Unfortunately, conducting brand control is a full-time job and there is no excuse for not finding solutions. Every product is different, but in all the steps are the same. To be frank, yes, brand gating is possible; however, assure you the standard Amazon rep will not be able to answer all your questions or assist you in the process, nor would the average accredited lawyer.
As a company, ASDAL has spent hours elevating techniques and speaking with different Amazon teams. We’ve managed to complete brand gating various ASINS, and we’ve found its best to start slow as well as use every program Amazon offers.
Why You Should Start Trusting ASDAL
We’ve called, emailed and sent in hard copy paper to Amazon legal. Overall, the answer is quite simple. There is no guarantee that your product or brand will achieve brand gating. However, this doesn’t mean your product & brand cannot be protected.
The are various software and services that alert you if a hijacker or reseller starts to sell your product.
In the near future, we will offer a software of our own as well.
Overall, getting your product protected on Amazon can be as simple as following the steps we take and moving forward with all of brand registries programs.
Before we go any further, be sure you are up to speed on the top five things to do before selling on Amazon. Our previous blog goes hand in hand with our brand control strategies.
The are many things that Amazon is doing to protect sellers in various ways. We have been working on a firm plan to protect our clients accounts for 13 months and we have put together helpful steps.
A Few Steps To Take Before Plunging In
Before diving into our personal steps we used in the past and the Amazon transparency program, you first need to understand that the Amazon platform is currently a ‘free for all marketplace’. Also, understand that Amazon is not your friend or business partner and will not enforce any of your reseller policies or MAP agreements.
Previously and somewhat currently we would ensure all clients have an e-commerce statement in place for all your distributors and their resellers to sign. A typical e-commerce statement should highlight complete restrictions from any third party marketplace such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc.
We would also ensure all clients utilize a hijacker or reseller alerting service. Furthermore, we would reach out to each seller, indicating they are violating our policies and allow them time to sell out their stock. Additionally, we would submit emails to seller performance, amazon business and amazon legal while also submitting the necessary hard copies.
Although all of these steps would not serve much purpose on their own, the overall purpose was to build a case. Often Amazon rewards sellers who can show they’ve done everything in their power to protect their brand. This works great and given the right circumstances, overtime, this does contribute toward brand gating. However, not all brands fit the brand gating criteria, but that does mean you cannot be protected.
The Amazon Transparency program, released last March, was built to fight counterfeiters and unapproved third party sellers. Originally this was offered as a way Amazon could protect its own products, but now is open to the public on a resection basis.
Transparency labels can be scanned and they provide additional information such as manufacturing date, location and other details like materials and ingredients.
The way the program works is roughly like a serialization or UPC code. A brand buys the codes from Amazon and the brand then enrolls all or a selection of products in the program. Amazon then provides a unique code for each unit. All codes are tracked and Amazon will not accept any items without a Transparency code linked to the seller account.
More on How it Works
Upon starting the program. Amazon will allow all third party seller 30 days to sell through their current stock levels. After thirty days has passed Amazon will only allow third party sellers who have approved invoices signed directly from the brand holder.
Once their stock is out, Amazon then will restrict future sales. Any third party seller who attempts to sell a brands product will trigger an automatic investigation and possible account suspension.
Technically, The Amazon Transparency program acts under the brand registry program, yet is its own department, but currently, it is only open to Amazon registered brands.
What Amazon Has to Say
We spoke with a spokeswoman from Amazon Transparency “This program is part of our investment in brand protection, we are building powerful tools tailored to the needs of rights owners. With pre-activated codes, all you need to do is add the barcode to your packaging or as a sticker. It’s as simple as that! Also for Transparency enrolled UPC’s we require all sellers to provide Transparency code information to their Amazon listings. If they cannot provide codes, they will not be allowed to ship an order via Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) to an Amazon Customer.”
The Ultimate Protection
Outside of the current brand control strategies and options, this serves as the top layer of protection. Amazon’s main goal is to establish legitimacy and transition their platform away from the typical reseller marketplace and more toward offering quality products from accredited brand owners.
In the future, we predict that this program will become standard across their platform and serve as require all sellers must abide by.
In order to achieve brand gating, we recommend you follow our steps. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that Amazon will gate your products, and hearing back on a response could take anywhere from a week to as long as 6 months.
To avoid missed sales and to conduct proper brand control, we recommend you also proceed with the Amazon Transparency program.
If you have any questions regarding brand control & channel directions, be sure to reach out to us and we can get you started.