Hijackers, Low Roads: What to Do and How to Protect
It is a recurring nightmare for every private label Amazon seller: the product they worked hard for that is finally succeeding suddenly gets taken over by a hijacker. Typically, these Amazon hijackers are unscrupulous sales chasers selling cheap counterfeits. Often, they create accounts with the frequency and flippantness of a rabid squirrel. In their wake, they leave the wreckage of hard working private label Amazon sellers. But all is not lost! There are ways to combat this problem…
When selling on Amazon there are a couple of different potential paths. Many of the most successful sellers have created their own brands, and sell items as part of their private label. They go through the process of finding a product with potential, customizing and improving on that product, and creating high-quality listings. Just like you can sell products made by major brands (if you have the appropriate licensing), others can press the ever-so-easy “Sell this Item,” button. Hijackers are those that choose to sell your branded items, while actually selling counterfeits or knockoffs.
The Devastating Effects
Most private label sellers started with their own brand partially to avoid the rat race that is the Buy Box. Basically, they don’t want direct competition on their own listing, for their own products. A hijacker ruins this plan. Because hijackers frequently sell lower quality knockoffs, they can lower the prices substantially, devaluing the product overall. Additionally, a customer that receive this poor quality substitute is apt to be angry, disappointed, and may write a negative review. These negative reviews stay on your product page long after the hijacker’s account has been shutdown. Overall, a hijacker can hurt your brand’s image, destroy a product’s reviews and ranking, and turn that $10,000 a month item into a zero.
How to Protect Yourself
Luckily, there are steps you can take as a savvy seller to avoid these problems. It all starts with establishing your brand through Amazon’s Brand Registry program…
Step 1. Brand registration.
This was once as easy as a flimsy website and name, but the process has gotten more complicated. A trademarked name is a must, and they now require pictures and proof of a branded product. This means you can’t jump into Brand Registry until you’ve at least received samples of your branded items. Once you have a fleshed out site, a branded product, and an approved trademark, you can apply (and will likely get approved for) the registry.
Step 2. Displaying a trademarked brand name.
Once you have been approved for the registry, you have some modicum of protection. Make sure both your product and your listing prominently display your trademarked brand name. Sadly, this still does not gate other from jumping onto the listing. When they do, the first action is often notifying the seller. A simple cease and desist message will detract many hijackers. While many foreign sellers are willing to burn through accounts, your diligence may show that there are less aware sellers they should attack.
Step 3. Test buy and report to Amazon.
In case this does not work, a test buy will have to be performed. Purchase the product, take pictures showing how it is different from the listing, and submit the report to Amazon. You can file a complaint based on it being a fraudulent product. When this complaint is filed (and the item is returned), the hijacker will likely get kicked off the listing and shutdown.
Step 4. Monitoring and managing.
Once the listing is free of the hijackers, you can go back to the business of managing your Amazon account! One way to quickly and efficiently see if you are dealing with hijackers is to open your seller page and use the AMZScout Chrome extension. Any of your listings with more than one seller (as shown right in the extension) have been attacked! This is just one of the many ways that AMZScout helps you run a successful Amazon sales business. Download today, and take the battle right to the amoral hijackers, and follow the advice above to help keep them at bay!