Brand integrity on Amazon is a vital ingredient in any seller’s recipe for success.
Without it, unpoliced, 3rd-party sellers will invade your buy box, take your revenue and ruin your customers' buying experience.
Our latest guest, Jessica Wright, Amazon Brand Strategist at Seller Labs, is a true Amazon guru. She joins the show to share how Seller Labs combines their know-how with Amazon’s tools to foster brand equity and produce real revenue growth for their clients.
- The evolution of brand protection on Amazon
- How to properly defend your sales channel on Amazon today
- What the future holds for brand protection on Amazon
Navigating Amazon’s jungle of brand equity
At Seller Labs, Jessica’s role as Amazon Brand Strategist begins with a clear mission: helping clients do everything they can to protect their sales channel.
A big factor in achieving this is educating her clients about all the tools and resources available to them to protect their brand — and, of course, their buy box. Often, clients aren’t fully aware of the full set of powerful tools Amazon offers sellers on the platform.
Without full knowledge, it's impossible to achieve full protection.
Still, it’s understandable how sellers might be in the dark. Amazon’s suite of tools, brand-protection best practices on the platform and the tactics of crafty buy-box usurpers change — often substantially — over time.
On top of that, even if things weren’t constantly shifting, Amazon’s rules and supplied resources would still be opaque — not because they are intentionally hiding them, but because the sheer quantity is hard to keep up with. And that’s not even factoring in the fact that, historically, brand protection didn’t even seem to be on Amazon’s radar.
It’s a lot to keep up with. Which is why Jessica works hard to stay current so her clients aren’t left in the dark. Freeing them up to work hard doing what they do best — selling their products.
Still, while developments in brand protection on the platform may be confusing — and many disagree — Jessica’s 15+ years in the space has left her happy to credit Amazon with moving in the right direction.
“Over the last five or six years, we've come such a long way,” she says. “Amazon really does recognize brands now — and the importance of protecting those brands.”
These developments are important because, let’s be real: It’s not like the actors taking over your buy box — whether legitimate resellers or nefarious counterfeiters — are resting on their laurels. Your defense has to evolve alongside their offense.
And as a brand partner, Jessica says Seller Labs wouldn’t be very good at their job if they didn’t educate clients on all the tools available to them.
So, what are the most important tools and resources for brand protection today?
Defending your sales channel
The suite of brand-protection tools and resources Amazon offers its sellers have made great strides in recent years. This reflects the company’s growing recognition of the importance of brand protection — and the myriad, ever-evolving threats sellers face in defending their sales channel.
Jessica cites Amazon’s recent enhancements to their brand registry as one example of the company’s new-found commitment to brand equity.
For sellers, Amazon’s Project Zero — a counterfeit protection program and accompanying set of tools — is proof that the company is no longer content to let knock-offs flood the platform. Likewise, their Transparency program, though costly and somewhat difficult to enroll in, offers numerous brand-protection benefits.
Still, just because Amazon seems to finally be taking brand protection seriously and offering better tools for sellers doesn’t mean the problem has gone away. And it doesn’t negate a brand’s role in protecting itself.
In fact, some tools for sellers may seem great on paper at first glance, but may actually do more harm than good.
Take Amazon’s liquidation service to help sellers offload old products for pennies on the dollar — a service it automatically opted sellers into within the last year. Those products can easily get into the hands of resellers with the ability to do damage to your brand — all without breaking any of Amazon’s rules.
“You think it's a great tool to use because obviously Amazon made it available and there's not going to be any risk involved with it,” Jessica says. “But, wow — there's a lot of risk involved with it.”
It’s a prime example of why these brand protection tools, no matter how earnestly Amazon offers them, will never give brands total protection.
That’s why Jessica urges brands to never get complacent, sharing advice that regular listeners to the show will be familiar with:
- Shore up your supply chain
- Seek advice from experts
- Have a plan for how to respond if and when you lose the buy box
Ultimately, the last line of defense for your brand is always going to be you. Make sure you are prepared.
What the future holds
Jessica is optimistic that Amazon’s recent commitment to brand protection will continue well into the future.
But she doesn’t have blind faith. Her optimism is backed up by Amazon’s recent announcements for even more tools to protect brands — such as the upcoming customer-engagement service that allows only registered brands to reach out to their followers.
Still, with the rules, tools, best practices and threats constantly changing, she stresses that the future of successful brand protection is contingent upon, above all, sellers educating themselves and proactively taking steps to protect their brand.
Even after many years in the space and Amazon’s efforts, Jessica is still surprised how cavalier some brands are when it comes to losing their buy box:
“It just blows my mind that brands don't go into this process of selling direct on Amazon with the thought in their mind that this is something that could happen, and understanding their options and the paths for resolving it,” she says. “Until it happens, it’s a non-issue.”
That’s why the work that organizations like Seller Labs are doing is so important. Brands need to protect themselves, but that doesn’t mean they have to do so alone.
“That's where we come into play,” Jessica says. “And hopefully we can be the ones to help you. Losing the buy box may be happening less, but it's still a very prevalent problem.”