Serious question. Would you be ok allowing your pet to cross the street alone? Would you feel more at ease knowing that it’s a busy street?
Of course not!
You would do everything in your power to ensure their safety and take the necessary steps to get them safely to the other side.
The same logic applies in protecting your brand on Amazon.
While your brand and your pet are not quite the same thing, I believe the analogy works because both require careful attention and love to help them stay safe and grow. When you take shortcuts and do not invest the time to implement the right policies and tools to protect your brand on Amazon, it can be devastating.
Protecting your brand on Amazon is critical. After all, you’ve probably spent a significant amount of time, money and energy to build your brand and that’s not something to take for granted.
There are 3 BIG issues you can run into when you don’t protect your brand on Amazon:
- Your brand can be compromised by counterfeit products.
- Your brand can encounter illegal use of your intellectual properties.
- Your brand can receive negative reviews.
Let’s dive into each!
1. Counterfeit Products
One of the ways your brand can be compromised, when not properly protected on Amazon is through counterfeiting. Unscrupulous people can make a duplicate or replica version of your product(s) and use your brand’s logo on the packaging, presenting it as if it was the real thing!
This type of action completely circumvents your quality control measures usually putting a cheap version into the customer’s hand, almost ensuring a negative customer experience, which can do permanent damage to your brand’s image and hinder your brand’s success on Amazon.
When a customer buys your product, they are assuming it’s your brand, and your quality. When it’s not your authentic product, that can open the door that leads to a poor customer experience, poor product performance and likely damage to your relationship with that customer.
One of our customers at Spotlight Brand Services came to us with this problem. They were receiving a tremendous number of poor reviews and their account was even shut down because of this. We were brought in to help them get their account back up and in good standing.
After a significant amount of investigation, we found a number of counterfeiters selling “fake products”, that were actually nothing like our client’s product. In fact, the “fake products” were not using the all-natural ingredients and were causing harm to the customers who purchased them.
We immediately put some of the key steps in place and got them back in business, and were able to remove the counterfeiters from the platform.
2. Illegal Use of Your Intellectual Property (IP)
Another way your brand can be compromised without proper protection on Amazon is through illegal use(s) of your Intellectual Property.
What is Intellectual Property you ask?
Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. There are many types of intellectual property, but the most well-known types are copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets.
This is one of the most common attacks we see on unprotected brands selling on Amazon. By not protecting your brand, you’re exposed to the illegal use of your Intellectual Property. Unprofessional and unwanted sellers can use your IP to ultimately divert traffic away from your Amazon listing and take sales away from your brand.
They do this by using your keywords, brand names and even pictures!
Yes, you read that correctly. They will actually use your keywords and/or your brand name in their listing to divert traffic from your listing to theirs. By doing this, their listing will begin to appear in the keyword search results that you worked tirelessly to get. What’s even worse, is they will actually profit from your brand name!
This is illegal on Amazon, so if you see this happening, you must request that Amazon remove the listing or have the author of that listing change it immediately, so it is not infringing upon your Intellectual Property.
3. Negative Reviews
Amazon is one of the world’s biggest billboards on the planet. The last thing you want is negative reviews on your product(s) and brand. This is a BIG reason why it is imperative you protect your brand on Amazon.
YOU DON’T WANT NEGATIVE REVIEWS!
Reviews are ultimately like gigantic billboards on the side of the road. It is real-life, social proof from customers sharing whether or not they like your product(s). All it takes is a potential customer searching your name, and reading a customer’s negative review, sharing a poor experience to stop a sale. These potential customers are judging you and the quality of your product based on these reviews. By not protecting your brand you are allowing unauthorized retailers, who aren’t trained professional sellers be the face of your brand and represent you to hundreds or thousands of customers every month.
Negative reviews will significantly hurt your sales performance and will lead to other unwanted headaches for you to have to focus on.
Did you know if your listing gets down to a 3.5-star rating, you’re no longer allowed to advertise your products and get new customers to your products? This is definitely NOT good for business.
Negative reviews will also affect your organic search. If you have many negative reviews, your listing is less likely to show up in an organic search, because Amazon assumes that your product does not deliver a great customer experience.
Of course, the same is true when selling outside of Amazon as well. It has been proven time and time again, that people shopping in retail stores will actually go on Amazon and look for reviews and feedback about a product that they’re interested in buying.
It’s called “Reverse Showroom”.
If your brand isn’t being protected properly, and someone sees your product being sold from an unwanted seller, they may see your product at a lower price, or see that a customer had a bad experience and ultimately get turned off. This is not only affecting your brand, but it’s affecting the sales of your brick-and-mortar customers and other retail partners outside of Amazon and could potentially hurt your relationship with them too.
It’s key to your success to be diligent in protecting your brand by keeping costs, experiences, and reviews consistent throughout all sales channels. Ultimately, as the brand, you want to incentivize customers to buy your product anywhere, not to buy your product from a specific place.
Now that you have learned about some of the negative affects you can encounter when you don’t protect your brand on Amazon, let’s look at some of the detailed ways that you can protect your brand on Amazon and other selling channels.
A. Ensure Your Brand is Registered with Amazon Brand Registry
First, let’s define what Amazon Brand Registry is.
Brand Registry is a service by Amazon designed to build and protect your brand. Enrolling in Amazon Brand Registry unlocks a suite of tools designed to help you build and protect your brand, creating a better experience for customers.
With Amazon Brand Registry, you can ensure that your products are correctly linked to your Brand, and can conduct regular scans on Amazon, ensuring there are no illegal uses of your IP. This is where a brand ultimately makes its claim that it owns the product(s) that are associated with their brand. This is how Amazon links your Intellectual Property to the listings on their website. If you have your trademark in place, it typically takes about 1-3 days to sign up.
At Spotlight Brand Services our team conducts regular IP checks to ensure that any extra uses of your Intellectual Property are within Amazon’s terms of service. This ensures that our clients customers aren’t being diverted to another brand or product through deceptive and illegal sales copy.
Brand registry is a very powerful tool when utilized properly.
It helps to limit the number of people who are allowed to change various aspects of your listing. When registering for an Amazon Brand Registry account, you can choose who is allowed to make changes on your behalf. This will help in avoiding incorrect or misleading information on your listing and ultimately avoid having a confused customer.
You’ll also gain access to advanced reporting tools by registering. If you’ve caught someone violating your intellectual property and aren’t registered, you would have to go through the traditional Amazon Seller Central portal and prove that it was your IP; however, with Amazon Brand Registry, Amazon already knows that it’s your brand and resolves these complaints much faster. This allows you, the brand, to remove unwanted sellers from your listings much easier and faster.
B. Protecting Your Supply Chain
The next way for you to protect your brand on Amazon is by protecting your supply chain.
This is one of, if not the most, important steps in protecting your brand. By protecting your supply chain, you are controlling who can sell your products before they are even presented for sale to potential customers. This proactive approach ensures a positive experience for your customers, right from the start.
By protecting your supply chain, you are also ensuring that the people who are buying your products – your distributors, your resellers, your stores, etc. are all following the rules you put in place and signed the right documentation stating that they are authorized to sell your products and will follow the rules to do so properly. With the right documentation, your brand is being protected on and off of Amazon.
This documentation should specify:
- The sales channels in which your sellers are authorized.
- They pricing they can sell your products for (MAP).
- Who can sell your products. The document must state the seller will not knowingly sell to distributors who sell into unauthorized channels.
By closing these loops at the beginning, it provides you with the ability to actively enforce your Intellectual Property and to be certain that sellers aren’t violating your rules; thereby protecting your brand, your brand integrity and the way in which your goods are sold.
If you’d like more information or assistance in learning how to protect your brand on Amazon, click the button below to schedule a FREE Amazon IP Audit and one of our Spotlight Brand Services Brand Optimization Specialists will meet with you to help you start growing your business on Amazon.