Controlling your sales channel on Amazon is critical.
Amazon’s reach is growing every single day, but how can you prevent 3rd-party sellers from taking your sales?
Owning the Buy Box’s first guest, Jed Nelsen, Director of Compliance, Risk and Legal at Kaspien — ranked in the top 100 sellers on Amazon — joins the show to discuss how they deploy brand protection to protect and grow their revenue on Amazon’s third-party marketplace.
- Brand protection on Amazon
- What brands should do
- Problems you face when the buy box goes unchecked
Protecting your brand on Amazon
You can find anything on Amazon, right?
It’s the reason half of all internet dollars are spent at the online retail behemoth that got its start as a humble bookstore.
Yet, for many retail brands, there is a dark side to the online marketplace. If you don’t own the buy box for your products on Amazon, unauthorized 3rd-party sellers — whether genuine or, in rare cases, counterfeit — may be doing damage to your brand.
That’s because every purchase of your product on the platform is telling your brand’s story to another customer. And if you’re not owning the buy box, then you’re ceding authorship of that story to whichever seller is.
Avoiding this outcome is easier said than done, however. The sheer size of Amazon brings with it complexity, which is often challenging for even the largest brands to navigate.
Some of the hurdles brands need to overcome include:
- Identifying and reigning in unauthorized sellers
- Ensuring consistency across authorized sellers
- Crafting their product listings to win prioritization by Amazon
- Remaining compliant with both the law and Amazon’s policies
And that’s not even factoring everything it takes to beat out your competitors in the marketplace.
So, what’s a brand to do?
Steps to take to protect your brand
Jed’s experience working with brands at an authorized 3rd-party seller as successful as Kaspien has instilled him with a wealth of knowledge on navigating Amazon’s complexity. It’s the kind of experience that would take many brands years to acquire.
That’s why, first and foremost, he urges brands overwhelmed by Amazon’s labyrinthine nuances to consider partnering with experienced authorized 3rd-party sellers like Kaspien.
In the same way a non-lawyer wouldn’t want to represent themselves when navigating the complexities of the legal system, brands would be wise to draw upon the experience of reputable sellers to ensure their brand story is told accurately. It’s the easiest way to protect your reputation.
Even if you successfully navigate the other complexities — reigning in all the unauthorized sellers by yourself and perfectly optimizing your content to Amazon’s standards — there is still an opportunity cost.
“One of the things that I think brands don't realize,” Jed says, “is if you spend all your time managing your 3rd-party sellers, you're not focusing your energies where it actually matters — competing in your category against your competitors.”
Similarly, he cautions that it’s better to work with a few high-caliber authorized sellers over a shotgun approach. Ensuring consistency, identifying and addressing issues, and protecting your brand is much easier with a few sellers than an abundance of them. Not to mention the diminishing returns from authorizing so many.
Jed says brands often assume that saturating Amazon with a high volume of authorized sellers will result in more sales and more revenue when in actuality, it can hurt your profits.
He likens the situation to opening a store in a mall:
“If Amazon was a mall and you wanted to open a store and, all of a sudden, 50 other stores wanted to open selling your products, only one or two stores would capture all the traffic,” Jed says. “adding more stores is just going to add more inventory and people to manage… and logistics cost money.”
The trouble with an unchecked buy box
Some brands look at Amazon’s complexity and decide that it’s not worth the trouble when they can use other sales channels, like Shopify or their own website and forgo the marketplace altogether.
Jed warns that this is a costly mistake. While you may think you have more control over how you tell your brand’s story in these other channels, Amazon is going to be telling your story whether or not you’re on the platform.
“I joke about this,” Jed says, laughing. “Have you ever searched for the Kirkland brand on Amazon? Does Costco sell on Amazon? No. But people want Kirkland brand Costco products on Amazon — so people have found ways to get it there.”
Put simply: If you aren’t telling your story on Amazon, someone will. That’s why it’s vital to take control of the narration.
And you can’t do that without owning the buy box.
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