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The Amazon ecommerce Dictionary

29 November 2018

By Drew Smith

Drew is the Director of Product Strategy at Volo and focuses on how technology can help brands and retailers deliver what their customers want.

Amazon Brands

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amazon brand representation and protection

Many brands benefit from Amazon’s ability to drive traffic and incredible logistics, helping them to attract and convert shoppers with a great customer experience. However, there’s an ever-present concern of damaging the brand when selling through Amazon. Here’s how sellers can develop, promote and protect their brands through the largest marketplace in the West.

This guide is split into two sections: first on developing and promoting a brand identity and then moving on to understand how to protect a brand against risks like copyright infringement or counterfeiting. Before that, a word on Amazon’s Brand Registry, which is what enables many of these options.

Amazon Brand Registry

Brand Registry is a marker of trademark ownership which Amazon provides for brands who have registered trademarks in all applicable countries. The trademark must be for the brand which appears on products or packaging.

Brand Registry services include:

  1. Improved control over product pages which feature the brand name – regardless of who owns the Buy Box
  2. Search and reporting tools for trademark infringements
  3. Automated protection tool which scans images and listings for trademark violations

Services which require Brand Registry to be enabled on the Amazon account:

  1. Enhanced Brand Content
  2. Storefront
  3. Brand Gating

Promoting and developing your brand on Amazon

Amazon offers a number of tools for sellers to develop and foreground their brand through their store page, product pages and other content.

A+ or Enhanced Brand Content

Enhanced Brand Content gives sellers more powerful and compelling content options on product listing pages. They can add videos, images and additional copy to their descriptions, which can improve conversion and reinforce the values and differentiation of the brand.

Amazon is a crowded marketplace with 560+ million products being sold. Standing out with custom content which emphasises what makes your brand different is vital.

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As you would imagine, the storefront tool allows you to create customised store layouts for your brands shopfront on Amazon. This also gives you the URL www.amazon.co.uk/[brandname].

As with Enhanced Brand Content, the opportunity here is to sell the personality and uniqueness of the brand through customised content. This is also an opportunity to improve the customer experience by guiding customers towards the right products for them in a more intuitive and user-friendly way than they would experience through search results.

Invest time in copy

Perhaps the most important thing of all is to concentrate on the product and how it will improve the customer’s life. Amazon is famously customer-centric, and all of the tools they provide are for one purpose – to help the customer get the product they want as quickly and effectively as possible. To be successful in this marketplace your product copy should reflect this ethos.

Protecting your brand on Amazon

There are several ways to monitor your brand and prevent it being adversely affected by competitors or fraudsters.

Brand Registry

The tools in the Brand Registry allow brands to directly control the details which are displayed on any products featuring their trademark. This prevents competitors from altering product information to create misleading impressions and potentially negative reviews.

The Brand Registry also allows brands to search for sellers abusing their trademarked brand name and/or logo, as well as automatically seeking out offenders with scanning technology. Amazon quotes a 90% reduction in reported cases thanks to the use of Brand Registry.

Brand Gating

Gating refers to the practice of restricting who can sell a brand’s products. Amazon asks sellers for 3 months of invoices from a manufacturer or written permission, plus a fee. This drastically restricts the number of unauthorised resellers of products to the marketplace and should improve the customer experience, prevent price wars and raise the quality of brand representation.

In order to get Amazon to gate a brand, typically the brand needs to have a Vendor relationship with Amazon in place already, and enough clout to communicate directly with an account manager.

Commingled Inventory

Commingled inventory refers to Amazon’s practice of placing unlabelled inventory from different sellers into one storage space, fulfilling an order from any one of the sellers with any item from the commingled space.

This means sellers can run into problems with counterfeits getting into commingled inventory and then being shipped out as their product, regardless of the inventory they originally provided.

The solution here is to print labels for all Vendor shipments to Amazon and make sure that the ‘commingled inventory’ setting is disabled in the Amazon account. Commingled inventory does have benefits, including the ability to spread inventory widely across fulfilment centres, which allows more buyers to see 2-day shipping availability. If the brand is happy to proactively monitor for issues starting to occur then it does not necessarily represent a high risk.

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