As more and more sellers herd to Amazon, the rivalry is becoming progressively harsh, ruthless and belligerent. And as I stated in my previous post, if you aren’t differentiating yourself from the competition, your e-commerce business will not persist in the long course.
To sum it up, Amazon doesn’t care about you as an individual seller. And since you’re just a commodity and easily expendable, you really have to look out for yourself because no one else will.
Today, I’m going to talk about a common problem that almost every soberly successful Amazon seller has experienced.
Getting Amazon Listing Hijack!
While examining your listings, you realize that there were two offers on one of your listings…how could that be?
Easy, someone saw a product that was selling. They felt they could effortlessly copy (counterfeit) and do an Amazon Listing Hijack without giving a rip about ethics. When this occurs, these sellers will contest with you on price and drive you out of the buy box. That cuts off your advertising and kills sales.
Here’s the worst part.
The product quality is likely not going to be as good. So when a customer buys a cheap rip-off product from China, they are probably going to be unhappy with it.
And unhappy customers will leave bad feedback on YOUR LISTING!
How to detect a seller doing Amazon listing hijack
Let’s say you studied bird feeders and, based on your findings, you had a new design created and manufactured under your brand. One day you happen to be looking at your listing and discover there is another offer. This is what you see.
You click on the link to see both offers and this is what you find.
The first offer is yours, but there is another seller competing on the listing under your brand.
Fighting Amazon Listing Hijack
So what can you do in this situation?
The first thing that you should do is lower your price so you get the buy box back even if it means making less profit! After all, the last thing you want to do is give the counterfeit seller any sales information regarding your product.
The next thing that you should do is send a polite letter to the punks requesting that they take down their listing.
Here’s an example of the letter you can write:
If the seller doesn’t respond report the counterfeiter to Amazon!
Amazon has an Anti-counterfeiting Policy you can find in Seller Central’s help files, which makes clear that they do not tolerate selling of these products on their platform. Here’s exactly what they say.
When you click the “notify us” link, you are taken to Amazon’s Report Infringement policy and form. File an infringement claim
Within 24 hours the offer will be removed. You’ll receive an email from Amazon’s Seller Performance Team notifying that the “…seller listing you identified…appears to have been removed from Amazon.com. We trust this will bring this matter to a close.”
There’s another way to report the seller to Amazon under Amazon’s counterfeit policy. Have a friend buy the counterfeit product and file an A to Z complaint to Amazon.
Here’s the exact procedure.
- Have a friend (not a relative) purchase the product in question.
- Wait until the item has been shipped and received
- Have your friend complain to the seller that the item is fake through Amazon where you “Report a Problem”. Choose the option about the product “not being materially the same”.
- Wait a day and then file an A to Z request against the counterfeit seller
- Make sure you use the terms “fake”, “not authentic” or “counterfeit” in your claim.
- If all goes well, Amazon will take down their listing within a few days.
Preventing Yourself From Getting Hijacked
First things first, you absolutely need to register your brand in the Amazon registry.
After you’ve registered your brand, you should make the following adjustments to your listing.
Take Photos With Your Brand Name
A hijacker is much less likely to steal a listing that has clear evidence of branding in the photography. So here’s what you can do.
Retake your photos so that your branded tag or branded packaging is clearly visible in the photo.
For example, if you sell superhero action figures, make sure your brand and logo can be visibly seen in your top level picture.
If you offer any special sort of special packaging, take a photo that indicates how your item will arrive in the mail.
If you sell plastic items, make slight modifications to your mold so that your brand is part of the plastic itself.
In short, make sure that your company brand is a part of your entire listing. But do not list any URLs or try to steer the customer away from Amazon.
Add Value To Your Listing Or Bundle Your Items
Let’s face it. The popular items found on Amazon can be simply copied by someone in China. Why? It’s because a majority of the goods and chattels traded in the US are manufactured there in the first place.
So even if you’ve followed all of the instruction that I’ve given above, you can still get hijacked. Now the item might not be PRECISELY the same as yours. But more often than not, the product will be pretty close.
And as Amazon doesn’t really police these hijacked products very often, you will likely have to take the time to take down these immoral sellers one by one and lose money in the process.
But that being said, there are a few ways to radically decrease the probabilities of getting hijacked.
One, you can offer something completely unique in your listing that is not mass produced or readily found on Alibaba. For example, if you sell yoga mats, you can have it come in a specially tailored carrying case.
The second strategy is bundling.
If you can bundle 2 unlike products together, the chances of your Amazon Listing Hijack are significantly reduced because the mimic now has to source 2 completely dissimilar items to piggyback on your listing.
For example, let’s say that you sell Juice mixer. Instead of listing juicer mixer by themselves, you might choose to bundle them in with a vegetable grinder at a similar price.
From the opinion of the customer, these 2 items go together which is great. But from the perspective of the copycat, they now have to find these irritating matching items to go along with it in order to hijack you.
This approach needs some extra work but will significantly reduce your amazon listing hijack possibility. Once again, a little bit of extra work can save you time in the long run.