If you have a business brand and you plan to sell your products on Amazon there is a precise way that you need to go about it. You will first need to sign up for the Amazon Brand Registry.
Unfortunately there are people selling counterfeit goods on the Internet, not accidentally, but because that is actually their business model. Such practices don’t do anyone any good; the original legitimate brand is harmed and the person who buys the product may also be physically harmed. In order to prevent this happening to you it is necessary to establish your own brand in the market and with Amazon.
The majority of people have no prior knowledge of the Amazon Brand Registry, so if you’re one of them then here’s a useful guide to what it is about and the very useful purposes it serves.
What Exactly Is the Amazon Brand Registry?
The Amazon Brand Registry is a commercial platform which, among other things, allows businesses to protect and validate their own brands and trademarks in a number of ways. They have an active support staff who are able to deal with technical and legal matters such as trademark violations.
Amazon Brand Registry was first instigated as an active means of preventing the growing practice of promoting bogus branded products on the Internet in 2015.
Access to the Brand Registry may be gained within Amazon’s Seller Central dashboard and it is here that sellers can enable Enhanced Brand Content to product listings and also to raise trademark infringement related issues. It should be noted that the earlier version of Amazon’s interface did not provide such a facility, and could not provide protection against counterfeiters who would simply move on under another identity after Amazon shut them down.
It was clear that more robust action needed to be taken. So a new version, often called Amazon Brand Registry 2.0, was opened which offered enhanced brand support and brand protection. This new version now requires brand owners to submit their trademarks and makes reporting of trademark infringement much easier.
Amazon Brand Registry 2.0 Enhancements
Amazon’s enhanced version of their platform offers several new resources and attributes, including the following.
Advanced Search Tools
Sellers who owned their own registered brands were originally only made aware of a copyright violation as a result of customer complaints about bogus or shoddy merchandise being sold under their name. The new version came with an advanced search function which allows users to discover such infringements by searching within the Brand Name, Product Name, ASIN, Image and Description fields.
Having spotted such an infringement, the new version then allows you to report it so that Amazon can take appropriate further action.
Brand Building Tools
The new version of the platform allows brand owners to enhance their business reach by any of the following:
- Amazon Storefronts: This allows you to create a bespoke Amazon.com URL specifically for your own business. It features a useful and intuitive interface featuring a drag-and-drop editor, making it easy to build your store without knowing how to code.
- Live Creator: This app enables you to publicize your products by means of streaming video sessions in real-time. These live streams can be watched on your store, your product listings, and the Amazon app itself.
- Headline Search Ads: These typically show three products together with the brand itself, and can be seen at the top of product search pages. This facility can give your brand enhanced exposure and helps to build brand authority and recognition.
- Enhanced Brand Content: You can use the Enhanced Brand Content resource to create your own bespoke descriptions which offer multi-media opportunities such as videos, enhanced images and unique text placements.
- Exclusive Ownership of The Buy Box: Lack of this exclusivity was one of the failings of the old version. With the 2.0 version you can actively prevent unscrupulous vendors from making use of the Buy Box for any products which belong to your own brand.
Business brand owners had to previously go to relatively great lengths to advise on any violations of intellectual copyright. With the new version this is made much easier by use of a function supplied specifically for reporting such violations from within the user interface.
With the new version you can use the Report Infringement Form to make Amazon aware of any infringement of Intellectual Property (IP), incorrect listing of products (such as improper variations or details, incorrect information and descriptions, marketplace infractions, technical errors and ambiguities, as well as product description and review manipulation. It is also possible to use the Report Infringement Form to appeal banned listings.
The Amazon support team which is behind this enhancement tells us that it does its best to resolve these and related issues, but they do need comprehensive information from businesses reporting any such issue, such as email addresses, ASIN, IP data and so on.
Amazon has a Transparency Program which sellers can make use of if they are listed with the Brand Registry, which allows registered businesses to use their own codes for the purposes of validating the authenticity of their products. Bogus sellers will not have access to such codes, so the legitimate owner of the brand may use this to stop counterfeit competition from encroaching on their own markets.
Amazon’s own fulfillment centers within the United States will check the veracity of the product by means of these codes, ensuring that customers are able to access only legitimate products. Outside of the United States, customers are able to verify the validity of a product by means of an app which checks the codes once delivery of the product has taken place. Again, this will enable consumers to satisfy themselves that what they’ve just bought is the genuine article and not a knockoff.
Transparency codes differ from the more widely used barcode systems in that they incorporate much more information about the product. Details such as the manufacture date, the expiry date and the materials used to make the item can be provided by authentic registered sellers to protect brand and consumer alike.
Brands Analytics is a very welcome feature and can be accessed by registered sellers from the Brand Benefits tab within the user interface. Alternatively it may be accessed from the Reports tab. This feature shows data for product sales as well as competitor data and, very usefully, customer search behavior from which sellers can derive market-driven results to determine future marketing plans.
Within Brand Analytics there is a wealth of data to be found, including the following:
Amazon Search Terms
Amazon Search Terms comprises a report which provides data about other products (up to three) that users clicked on as a result of a specific keyword search, click and conversion rates of the top three items, popular keyword searches within a given time frame, and any specific search term’s frequency in ranking order.
This is all highly useful information and can be used to make highly informed decisions relating to sellers’ advertising campaigns to optimize for better conversions and higher sales.
Market Basket Analysis allows sellers to know which other items are purchased together with their own products. This is hugely useful in targeting potential bundling strategies and identifying any cross-selling possibilities. Using this it will be easy to spot patterns in buying behavior where a competitor’s related products are bought along with your own, suggesting that it would be a good idea to offer your own related products when these purchases are made.
Item Comparison & Alternate Purchase Behavior
Sellers can see which other products (up to a maximum of five) customers were looking at, at the same time that they viewed your product. Such data is useful for the seller to gain competitive knowledge of other brands, or to brainstorm alternative keywords for use in PPC campaigns, etc.
This report contains demographic details about your customers, including age, gender, household income, socio-economic group and marital status. In aggregate, such date is highly useful in determining the course or content of future ad and marketing campaigns to make them more appealing to your target purchasers.
How to Enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry
Enrollment to the Amazon Brand Registry is open to all businesses provided that they have a registered trademark. This should be a text-based trademark or an illustration which consists, of letters, words or numbers. Amazon also insists that the trademark should be identical with the branded name on the product package or the product itself, and must be issued by a recognized trademark office in one of the following countries:
- European Union (EU)
- United Kingdom
- United States
If your registered trademark already exists with an organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization, the number which is registered with the local office should also be mentioned, allowing for a possible difference between both numbers.
Assuming that you have such a registered trademark you should proceed to the Amazon Brand Registry web page. You will need to submit the following information and images in addition to the trademark:
- Image(s) of the registered brand logo
- Photographs of the packaging or the actual products with trademark logo
- A list of all the categories you wish your brand to be in
- All the countries where your products are both made and distributed
Upon receipt of your application Amazon will seek to contact the place where the trademark was first issued in order to validate it. This may take up to ten working days from the time of application. Amazon will issue a Brand Registry verification code, assuming that there are no problems, to the office the trademark is registered. You will have to make contact with this office to pre-warn them about Amazon’s impending email, because it will need to be sent on to you.
Once in receipt of the Amazon Brand Registry verification code you should forward it to Amazon via the dashboard in order to complete the process of enrollment. After this there will be a wait of up to two working days for Amazon to verify your code and register you as the seller.
It is important to know that sellers who wish to register several brands may do this from the same contact details. In such cases, Amazon will levy a fee of up to $400 for processing each brand’s trademark application. Amazon will also charge a fee if you use the services of an attorney or a trademark specialist. Taking this into consideration, it would be more cost-effective to register a trademark which is universal for all brands that you own.
Activate Your Products in the Amazon Brand Registry
You will need to activate your product or products in the Amazon Brand Registry once you have successfully completed the enrollment process. There are several activation methods, including UPC Code, Catalog Number and Manufacturer Part Number.
Look in the user interface in the following path:
Reports > Business Reports > Brand Performance
If you see no product listed there you should open the Category Listing Report and then download this for the category of your brand. You should then delete all information except the required information and also the activation steps.
Do I need to re-enroll if I my brand is in Amazon’s original Brand Registry?
If the registration in Amazon’s Brand Registry is dated prior to 30 April, 2017, and as long as your brand fits all the requirements for the new version of the Registry, yes, you should re-enroll your brand in the Amazon Brand Registry 2.0. Not to do so would mean that you would not be able to use all the useful features and attributes described above, and you will not be able to make use of any future updated resources as they become available.
In Conclusion: Look after your brand with Amazon Brand Registry
As you can see from all the advantages that Amazon’s new version offers you, it is highly recommended that you enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry as soon as you can. The process may seem a bit fiddly at first, but the long term benefits are considerable, and they will go on and on giving. Protection of your brand will offer you peace of mind and you will benefit in real money terms from the protection of your intellectual property from bogus players and the counterfeit goods which will otherwise steal a share of the market which is rightfully yours.