Two days ago I received a notification from Amazon. I do seem to get these fairly frequently, and give them a glance over, but there’s not always a lot for me to do after I receive them. However, the email that I just received turned out to be an important notice: Amazon will be implementing “approval requirements” for certain private label brands.
If you received this email, then they listed the brands that are affected by this. This is what the email looks like:
The Policy Details:
For effected brands, the process for approval is quite simple. However, it is very important to note that you must seek approval prior to 8/30/16—otherwise your products will be removed from Amazon. They clearly mean business!
This new policy means that only sellers who are approved to sell these effected items can send in shipments to fulfillment centers and sell those products.
The more important change from this policy is implied that listing hijackers will be negatively impacted, perhaps even be a thing of the past. Listing hijackers are sellers who sell a private label product that is not their own. If you see a private label brand, but with two different vendors selling the product, one of those sellers is likely a listing hijacker.
For example, this Handheld Speaker is a private label sold by toby8585. As a private label brand, there should only be one seller selling this product. However, as you can see in the image below, there are two options to purchase the product:
These are the two options, if you clicked through to choose. The listing hijacker, AOER, is not offering a Fulfilled by Amazon option, the product ships from China (the product’s manufacturer, perhaps?), and the price is more expensive (did toby8585 have to lower their price in order to win the buy box?):
As you can see, listing hijackers can change the course of business in a negative way.
Hijackers hurt the businesses of private label sellers by directly taking customers that the private label brand would have had. However, even worse is that these products, which are often counterfeit or imitation versions of the brand, can lead to bad product reviews…which customers unknowingly leave on the private label sellers profile!
Consequently, private label sellers who are battling listing hijackers will see reduced sales, potentially negative reviews (both product reviews and seller feedback), and a series of headaches and hassle trying to remove the listing hijacker. I get upset even thinking about listing hijackers!
How You Can Protect Yourself
The easiest way to protect yourself against listing hijackers is to register your brand with Amazon. It is a very easy process that takes less than 5 minutes, but can have huge benefits.
Log in to your Seller Central Account and go to the Brand Registry page .
There is some basic information about your product and brand that you will need to fill out. One prerequisite to completing the Amazon Brand Registry is that you have to have a dedicated landing page for your private label product. This is actually quite simple to do, just setting up a WordPress.com, Squarespace, or Wix one-page website is sufficient.
And after you have registered your brand, make sure to seek Approval to sell your product within the next five days, before 8/30. Dealing with listing hijackers is a troubling fate, especially as it is outside of your control. But it would be even worse if your listing were removed from Amazon’s catalog temporarily because you neglected to get the proper approval.
I am very pleased that Amazon is taking these initial steps to remove the thorn in the side of private label sellers that listing hijackers represent. I have yet to see how this will play out in September and beyond. However, with the surge in demand that I expect with fourth quarter this year, you want to take every step possible to ensure you protect yourself and maximize your sales potential. Good luck to you, let me know if you have any questions about this!