Amazon’s annual “Prime Day” is July 12th & 13th, typically a bonanza of deals for shoppers, but this year, it all feels very different. I think, in large part, that is because everywhere you turn you hear the words “inflation” and “economic slowdown”. In May, U.S. inflation was 8.6%, a 40-year high. Prime Day, having only started in 2015, has never taken place during a period of such rapid price increases. Amazon and others are anticipating that there will be less traffic and sales on Prime Day, so Brands, Agencies, and Aggregators will need to step up their compliance monitoring and brand protection efforts to get their unfair share of the buy box in the face of lower demand and traffic. With lower demand, low-cost MAP violators and infringers will rush in, and Prime Day sales will be impacted for those that don’t take action.
Here is what to do.
For those unfamiliar with the “Black Friday in July” celebration, each summer since 2015, Amazon has been hosting a 24-hour (now 48-hour) sales event to celebrate Amazon's birthday. The "Prime" in the “Prime Day” name refers to Amazon's subscription service that offers free delivery on many products in as little as one to two days. Experts are forecasting that Amazon’s online sales are expected to exceed $12.6B worldwide during this year’s 48-hour buying frenzy. With that much sales activity, you can expect that unauthorized sellers and criminals will try and take advantage of consumers seeking deals on products and free shipping. Fake retailers using fraudulent listings on Amazon’s marketplaces will also attempt to lure consumers into purchasing counterfeit products instead of the genuine articles.
For days leading up to the official Prime Day event, and even for a good period of time thereafter, the bad guys do all they can to victimize unknowing consumers who flock to Amazon on Prime Day for great deals and savings. Heading into a projected period of economic headwinds, as reported by virtually every media outlet imaginable, will only make these problems that much more acute.
Because of the increased volume in sales, it’s crucial for brand owners and e-commerce managers to double down on their anti-counterfeiting and brand protection efforts during the week leading up to Prime Day and at least the 48 hours that follow. If you are expecting sales to increase significantly during Prime Day, then it's logical to assume that the volume of infringements, unauthorized sellers, and scams will also increase.
Staff Up. As many do for the holidays, some companies may hire additional employees to help with monitoring and enforcement. Reality is, this typically isn’t cost-effective, especially when the buying window is only two days. If you can get an extra person or two for help during the event, that is great, but what you really need is clear visibility, solid contract terms with your partners, data collection, and rapid capability to take action when unauthorized sellers pop up.
Visibility is key. Amazon is a very fluid environment, and you need to be able to leverage different data sources so you can see the various use cases unauthorized sellers are using to capture your sales. Keyword searches are static and only give you a sliver of the merchants actually selling your product. You need to identify and monitor every Amazon ASIN listing. Unless your ASINs are Gated, some unauthorized sellers will attach to your listing. Others may try to create new listings. Understanding those differences is key to knowing what seller action to take for successful enforcement.
Solid partner contracts are essential. In many cases, in particular, when an unauthorized seller attaches to your shared ASIN listing, content-based complaints for IP usage can’t be used. So be proactive in this area when you expect surges of online Amazon sales of your product. Send out a notification reminding them of the terms they have agreed to and that you will be proactively monitoring for compliance, which, frankly, for sellers playing by the rules, helps them as well.
Access to data means, at its most basic, detecting the seller activity; such as a new seller offer being attached to your ASIN, or an entirely new product ASIN appearing. A step further would mean getting your hands on seller inventory counts and Buy Box win rates. That enables you to begin to understand which sellers are actually holding and actively shipping your product, and how much. While I am certainly biased towards IPSecure’s data, there are definitely a number of different vendors that provide this data in different forms so it's most likely much more accessible than you think.
Finally, if a company already hasn’t done so, IPSecure strongly recommends brand owners and their e-commerce agencies consider enrolling in marketplace brand protection programs. Amazon, in particular, has a number of special programs that allow brand owners to report infringements, and proactively provide trademark data, to significantly reduce the friction of taking action against unauthorized sellers. Amazon has several programs, the most well known being, Brand Registry.
IPSecure strongly believes that online monitoring and takedown efforts are closely coordinated with the e-commerce sales and marketing teams, especially as it relates to Amazon. By closely coordinating tactical steps, positive inverse correlations can and do happen. When a company doubles down on its anti-counterfeiting efforts, it can increase sales making “Prime Day” one of the best online shopping days of the year.
For more information, or to start protecting your brand on Amazon in minutes, visit ipsecure.com and sign up today!