Amazon Brand Protection: 2021 Ultimate Beginners Guide

May 28, 2021
Written by Jayce Broda
Amazon Brand Protection

In the age of the "new normal," it would be a logical step to sell your products online in a popular marketplace like Amazon rather than in a traditional brick-and-mortar setting. However, take into consideration that you're going to compete with over three million sellers worldwide. 

Applying a strong password in your Amazon Seller Central account is not enough because fraud merchants are always inventing ways to breach Amazon Marketplace. Hence, implementing a strong Amazon brand protection strategy is a must, especially if you're a novice Amazon seller. 

Why you should enforce Amazon brand protection

If you're not vigilant enough, you're inadvertently allowing counterfeiters and hijackers to damage your brand's reputation and sales. You might fall victim to the typical Amazon scams below.

  • Counterfeiting is the criminal act of selling counterfeit or fake products by third-party sellers. In a press release published by Amazon on June 24, 2020, Amazon announced the launch of the new Counterfeit Crimes Unit, which is one way to enforce Amazon marketplace protection across the platform. 

According to Amazon, forming this unit is part of the company's efforts to protect itself from counterfeits. If the giant online retailer company is serious about fighting this type of offender, you should be, too.

  • Listing hijacking is a deceitful method of stealing someone's Buy Box or Amazon Standard Identification Number by a third-party seller. Once they have successfully hijacked your listing, they will sell a knockoff version of your product or, worse, an entirely different product under your listing at a lower price. 

What is a protection plan on Amazon?

Now that you understand the importance of brand protection, you must be clear about its difference from Amazon Protection Plan to avoid confusion. Otherwise, you may choose the wrong type of Amazon brand protection solution.

Amazon Protection Plan offers buyers (not sellers) a sort of warranty protection for their purchases. Buy with caution, however, because some of these plans have negative reviews.

3 layers of Amazon brand protection 

Now that we have cleared what a protection plan on Amazon is, let’s discuss the different forms of protection you should have.

  1. Register a trademark for your brand.

Filing a trademark is an expensive and time-consuming process when you're itching to introduce your newest product to the market. However, if you don't have a trademark, your product is vulnerable to hijackers, counterfeiters, unauthorized sellers, and competitors who want to steal your concept. You also won’t be allowed to join Amazon Brand Registry, which is another layer of brand protection.

Moreover, a trademark can protect your brand and business under federal law. It means you have the legal right to protect your brand against fraudsters. Trademarks can also leverage your product's reputation and online presence.

If you're a new seller and you're not familiar with the process, the behemoth e-commerce site offers an alternative solution called Amazon Intellectual Property Accelerator. This program helps small and medium businesses to connect with trusted IP law firms. Amazon acts as a bridge between you and its vetted IP law firm to help you secure a trademark.  

  1. Sign up for Amazon Brand Registry. 

After obtaining an active registered trademark, you're eligible to join Amazon Brand Registry. Here are the benefits of Amazon Brand Registry.

  • Your product pages are more firmly in your control.
  • It streamlines the process of searching for potential infringement against your brand.
  • It ensures your product information is correct.
  • It protects your Amazon listings from hijackers.
  • It gives you access to tools like Sponsored Brands, Stores, Enhanced Brand Content, and Brand Dashboard.

You need to pass two stages for Amazon to verify and approve your Brand Registry application. First, Amazon will provide you with a code via email. Enter this code in your Amazon Seller Central account. Then, after one to two days, you will receive a unique identifier.

Congratulations, your Brand Registry is approved! The entire process is free, so don't worry about the cost.

  1. Sign up for Amazon Project Zero.

You can proceed to this step if you have a government-registered trademark and are enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry. Another requirement is your reports of potential infringements must have an acceptance rate of less than 90% in the last six months.

Amazon Project Zero is a powerful tool. How powerful? It lets you remove counterfeit listings on your own without Amazon's assistance. Project Zero lessens your fear of navigating Amazon Marketplace with this automated protection tool. 

This free brand protection program also offers product serialization service, which detects and stops the delivery of fake products before it reaches a customer.

Bonus tips on how to protect your brand on Amazon

Once you completed the (tedious) three-step process mentioned above, your next assignment is to apply the following Amazon brand protection solutions:

1. Use Amazon Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU).

If you want to have additional protection in Amazon Marketplace, use Amazon FNSKU for your listings and not UPC. FNSKU represents your product's barcodes. 

How is it different from a manufacturer's barcode or UPC? FNSKU is unique to you as a merchant. On the other hand, anyone can get the same UPC if they are selling a similar product to yours. It also prevents you from being targeted by ruthless online criminals.

2. Activate Amazon Seller Central’s two-step login.

If you want hijackers to have a hard time figuring out your Amazon Seller Central credentials, turn on Amazon's Two-Step Verification feature. You can enable it by going to the Advanced Security Settings of your account. Besides a primary phone number, you must provide a backup phone number if you can't access your primary mobile phone.

3. Activate Amazon Listing Alerts.

Amazon understands that you still have a business to run. If you don't have the luxury of time to monitor your listings regularly, you can automate this process by activating Amazon Listing Alerts. Get push notifications from Amazon about fraudsters who attempt to steal or copy your product images.

4. Place your brand name or logo on your product. 

While this one is a no-brainer, it is sometimes overlooked or taken for granted, especially by first-time sellers. Placing a brand name or logo on your product and packaging gives you a sense of ownership and prevents counterfeiters from copying your product. 

5. Monitor customer reviews.

Brand protection involves more hands-on monitoring and answering of your customer reviews. It might be daunting and intimidating at first, especially if you're dealing with hot-tempered buyers who drop negative reviews about your product. Nonetheless, it is another way to track counterfeiters who want to steal your product. 

By entering keywords like "fake," "knockoff," or "counterfeit," you can quickly identify and report the third-party sellers who hurt your business. Besides, you can proactively address your customer's issues and show them that you genuinely care about them.

Summary

In a nutshell, effective brand protection on Amazon has three layers, namely, trademark, Amazon Brand Registry, and Amazon Project Zero. These layers act as a shield against the unfair business practices happening around Amazon Marketplace. 

Amazon came up with these programs to improve brand protection on the platform. However, as a seller, you have a responsibility to practice due diligence and be proactive in safeguarding your business. In the end, protecting your brand is a two-way street involving you and Amazon.

Secure your brand by getting help from certified Amazon consultants. Seller Interactive offers Amazon brand protection and assistance to manage your brand and listings. For inquiries, email [email protected]

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