When protecting your company’s brand or channel on Amazon, and removing counterfeit products sold by unauthorized sellers on ecommerce platforms, one of the most important considerations for any brand protection program is determining how to measure the success of these efforts.
There are many ways to measure the success of anti-counterfeiting tools and technologies. These measurements can include: the number of infringements detected on the ecommerce platform, the number of infringing sellers removed, or the quantity of takedown notices sent. All these data points are good, and in many cases necessary; but what is the actual goal or result? Activities aren’t goals or results.
One additional measure that is often less tracked but important for any brand owner - the number of additional sales and revenues gained by authorized sellers after the infringing sellers have been removed from the ecommerce platform.
It's simple really, the quantity of sellers offering a specific product on a platform like Amazon is not infinite. Remove the bad unauthorized sellers, and the good guys should sell more. Makes sense right? Some common objections to this measurement approach are, “our company doesn’t have any licensees or authorized resellers” or “we are a mass-market retailer (MMR) and don’t know who is authorized”. True, but identifying larger known retailers is not very difficult. In addition, we aren’t suggesting evaluating every seller of your product on Amazon - only the ones that are Buy Box winners - that is; those actually selling units of your product.
An effective brand protection program should detect and remove unauthorized sellers, but it should also generate new sales, to you (if you sell DTC), your authorized channel if you have one, or established sellers who are authorized to sell the products.
How is this important measure of success calculated and determined?
For brand owners that sell direct to consumers (DTC), or manage a reseller network on Amazon, aggressive enforcement of reseller agreements and IP violations means reduced unauthorized competition. That opens additional opportunities for brands and resellers to acquire and dominate that most coveted of Amazon positions, the “Buy Box Winner.”
Every product listing on Amazon is assigned an Amazon Standard Identification Number, or ASIN, and every unique ASIN will have between one and potentially dozens of seller offers attached to it at any given time. Each seller is competing to be the chosen one when that user clicks “buy.” Being the seller chosen to sell the product is “winning the Buy Box.” Buy Box winners will capture most, if not all, of the revenue generated by a product listing on Amazon.
A brand owner can measure the effectiveness of its brand protection efforts by tracking whether the authorized sellers, or resellers are winning the Amazon Buy Box more frequently.
What could be a better measure of success than watching your brand’s sales and revenue increase following implementation of brand protection tools, technologies, and strategies? If this measure doesn’t get senior executives comfortable with their financial investment in a brand protection program, nothing will.
Unfortunately, not all brand protection tools contain features that focus on Buy Box data and link that data to unauthorized sellers. Most solutions focus on product listing content, like images, because that is where copyrighted images or trademarks appear. This is important and needed, but sole focus here means you miss finding the true perpetrators. On an ecommerce platform like Amazon, many sellers share the same product listing content. It's like removing the street vendor’s stall, but letting the counterfeiter run free. In addition, most of these tools don’t calculate and track the net increase in sales revenue resulting from anti-counterfeiting enforcement actions (complaint filings, take downs, and cease and desist correspondence filings).
Within any organization, the legal team, marketing team, and the ecommerce team responsible for sales of company products, should all be closely aligned and, together, decide how to monitor Amazon in a way that aligns maxim consumer protection from fakes, while maximizing opportunities to grow sales. Start with your company's best selling products on Amazon, and work with your ecommerce team to track reported sales as your enforcement efforts ramp. There will be a correlation, and everyone wins.