Amazon’s eCommerce platform is continuously growing in customers and Prime members, influencing eCommerce in the U.S. and around the world. This offers bigger opportunities for third-party sellers. It also attracts more competition, not all of it fair or honest. As a seller, this means it is crucial to regain control of your listings.
Among Amazon’s listings there are legitimate listings, but there are also duplicate listings, listings that amount to trademark infringements, and counterfeit goods. Protecting your brand by taking control of your Amazon listing(s) is increasingly important for any brand. Proactive prevention is the best way to do it.
The primary landing page for products on Amazon is the Detail Page. This page is designed to provide customers with information, and it’s Amazon who decides what information to display to buyers.
But even though the seller does not fully control the content displayed on the detail page, he contributes to it. Any seller selling on an Amazon listing can contribute photos, product details, title and description to the detail page. When more than one seller contributes content, Amazon’s algorithm determines what content to display.
However, if a brand enrolls in Amazon Brand Registry (for which you need a trademark in the country of the Amazon marketplace you are selling on), it allows the brand owner to have greater control over his product listings. And when a seller registers on Vendor Central, making Amazon the distributor of his products, the content he submits to Vendor Central will be the one displayed over any other content.
To stay on top of things, track your listings continuously for any changes in your displayed information, such as changes in images or of category.
To take control of your listings, you need to have the full picture. Start by tracking all listings of your product(s) on Amazon. To make sure you have all relevant listings, check all variations of your brand and product names and model numbers. Amazon Brand Registry enables you to search for content using images, keywords, or a list of Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs).
ASINs are unique blocks of 10 letters and/or numbers that identify items on Amazon. To create an organized list, if you don’t have one, record all the ASINs. You can find the ASIN on the item’s product information page at Amazon. When you examine an ASIN, pay attention to the number of reviews, the star rating and the number of sellers.
After you have your list of existing listings, it’s time to analyze and categorize them. This will enable you to understand which are legitimate listings (with your manufacturer UPC code, the 12-digit Universal Product Code which is unique for every product), duplicate listings (using your product name, title, images) and counterfeit listings (exploiting some of your information). Counterfeit listings are there to steal traffic and sell fake products, although counterfeit products can also be sold on a legitimate listing.
It’s also important to look at the sellers who are selling on those listings. You can view information about the sellers, including seller ID which can be found in the URL of the seller page. The seller ID is the best identification as it is permanent, whereas the seller display name is fairly easy to change.
Optimized product listings
Now it’s time to create optimized product listings for all inventory, whether already on Amazon or not.
To optimize listings, start with SEO keyword research. After you have knowledge of which search terms customers are using most, add them to your listing. On your listings, focus on the following: titles, bullet points, descriptions, and images, while using the search terms.
After you have your optimized listings in an Amazon template, it’s time to upload them. Doing this, you want to use your correct and optimized information, which sometimes requires updating Amazon’s existing information. This may require some help but it is doable.
Multiple products and duplicate listings
To optimize listings, if you have several product variations listed separately (for example, several colors or sizes of a product), it would probably be beneficial to look into listing them together in a single detail page, allowing the customer to easily choose between the different variations, as well as aggregating all product reviews.
As for duplicate listings, defined as secondary listings of the same product on Amazon, consider making them inactive or merged in.
As Amazon wishes to have every product listed properly one time only, it allows sellers to “merge” duplicate ASINs. This allows you, as a seller, to have all products reviews put together and increase the sales rank.
Taking control of your listings sometimes requires removing infringing or inaccurate content.
Trademark infringements include the use of trademarked term(s), and should be removed. The same goes for copyrighted text or photos. As for counterfeits, the sellers should be removed.
Start by contacting infringing sellers and sending them a note requesting them to remove themselves from duplicate or infringing listings. This will give them a chance to comply without you filing an infringement report. Doing this, it’s recommended you reference the relevant ASIN, explain the infringement, and state your request and timeframe.
If the seller doesn’t respond, the next step is reporting the intellectual property infringement to Amazon. This report must be true and accurate. If you have proven infringement, Amazon will act to rectify the infringement. However, Amazon may also deny the request if it was not appropriately proven.
In 2019, Amazon announced a new program with a goal to drive counterfeits to zero. As part of Project Zero, Amazon enables automated counterfeit removal. It also gives brands a tool that empowers them to remove counterfeit listings themselves. In these cases, instead of filing a report, brands can remove counterfeit listings on their own. It also added a product serialization opportunity that makes authenticity verification much simpler for enrolled products.
At this point, Project Zero is an invitation only service. Enrollment is free, and you can apply for the waiting list.
Online brand protection
To best combat IP infringements and gain online protection, consider using a brand protection company.
An online brand protection company such as Wiser Market will help you continuously monitor your active (as well as inactive) listings and ASINs, being proactive about protecting your IP rights on Amazon, and anywhere on the web.
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