Amazon: love it or hate it, the one thing you can’t afford to do is ignore it.
Because whether you want it to or not, it will impact your business, which means you need to protect your brand on the platform.
In our latest episode, I sat down with Will Haire, CEO and Co-Founder of Bellavix, a marketing agency helping companies sell on Amazon and Walmart’s marketplaces, to learn more about why and how he’s helping retail businesses protect their brand from unauthorized sellers.
Will helps companies take control of their marketing and brand by:
- Having the tough conversations about brand protection
- Educating on why unauthorized sellers impact everything
- Helping organizations start early, before the damage to their brand is already done
Having the tough conversations
The toughest part about brand protection on Amazon often isn’t taking control of the buy box — it’s convincing brands that they need to in the first place.
At Bellavix, that means Will is leaning into having tough conversations with brands about the damage that unauthorized sellers are doing to their brand, right out of the gate. And it’s not always what companies expect to hear.
As an agency, Will says Bellavix’s marketing can only help brands so much without proper brand protection in place. The issue with unauthorized sellers is that you can’t just counter their activity by cranking up the marketing dial — that helps them just as much as it does for the brand.
And big or small, many companies aren’t even aware of the problem.
That’s why he is so dedicated to education. Retailers can only protect their brand if they understand the issues unauthorized sellers pose to them.
Will also confirms something we’ve seen come up time and again at Owning the Buy Box: Many companies think they are safe because they aren’t even selling their products on the platform. But even if they aren’t selling their wares there, someone is.
To illustrate that this problem affects everyone, just take a look at Nike. They decided to pull out of the retail platform, yet they’re still one of the most searched brand names on it.
But what do you think comes up when people search? Nothing?
Of course not. You probably already guessed it: innumerable unauthorized products.
Brand protection matters on Amazon even if you think you aren’t using it. Someone always is.
Helping companies understand this risk means having conversations early on the relationship — and warning of the dangers.
And there is no shortage of potential harm a company’s brand can face.
Unauthorized sellers impact everything
Once upon a time, even the companies that were ahead of the curve in their brand-protection savvy relegated the practice to their legal department, which doesn’t do justice to the numerous risks counterfeit goods and unauthorized sellers pose.
Chief among these? Revenue.
For Will, it’s the first thing he warns the organizations he serves about when they aren’t taking proactive steps to counteract the counterfeits and unauthorized resellers. If you’re not owning the buy box, whoever is will be helping themselves to your revenue.
The next threat on the list? Reputation.
If companies look at their poor reviews on Amazon, chances are high that the bulk of them aren’t even about the product; they’re much more likely to be about the experience. You work hard to make sure you are delivering the best customer experience possible — why would you want to cede control?
This is bad enough when it comes from arbitrage sellers who are selling your products legitimately, but the damage to your reputation goes up exponentially when dealing with counterfeiters. In these cases, quality control goes out the window — sometimes with disastrous results.
Will cited the example of beauty supply knock-offs containing unsafe ingredients that can actually physically harm your unaware customers. Yeah, it’s not pretty.
Poor-quality listings, substandard customer experience, fraudulent products — not to mention the damage to your marketing and ads — can all be mitigated.
You just need to be proactive with your brand protection.
Start early & partner quickly
Will outlines many steps organizations can take to protect their brand online: learning their supply chain and plugging leaks, ensuring they have the highest-quality product photos — even just having a policy in the first place.
But the effectiveness of these things is multiplied ten-fold when you do two things: Get started early and partner with someone who can help.
It’s much easier to deal with unauthorized sellers and counterfeit products before they’ve done any substantial damage to your brand. If you take your brand protection seriously from the outset, you can focus and have more resources to tackle the problems; if you don’t, you will be too busy cleaning up the damage already done to devote the attention brand protection deserves..
But if you are already late to the game, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act quickly. The problems are only going to get worse as time goes on.
That’s why it’s important to seek out the right partners to make sure you are doing all you can to keep your reputation safe. Seek out someone who can tackle the problem holistically and perfectly optimize your Amazon presence.
And you’ll be free to keep doing what matters most: keeping your customers happy.