In today’s digital age, online shopping has become increasingly popular, and Amazon is unarguably one of the most popular online shopping platforms. With millions of products available at competitive prices, Amazon has become a go-to destination for people worldwide. However, as the popularity of Amazon has grown, so has the number of counterfeit sellers on the platform.
Counterfeit sellers are individuals or organisations that produce and sell fake or unauthorised products. These products may look similar to the original products, but they are of low quality and can pose a significant risk to consumers. Not only do counterfeit products violate the intellectual property rights of legitimate sellers, but they can also be dangerous to consumers’ health and safety.
If you’re a seller on Amazon, fighting counterfeit sellers is an essential part of protecting your business and maintaining the trust of your customers.
What is Amazon listing hijacking?
Amazon listing hijacking is when an unauthorised seller takes control of your product listing and starts selling their own counterfeit or unauthorised version of your product on Amazon’s platform.
In other words, when a seller hijacks your listing, they essentially create a new offer on your existing product page, which appears to be your product but is sold by someone else. They can then undercut your prices, use different images or product descriptions, or even change the product details to offer an inferior product.
This practice is prevalent on Amazon, especially for popular and high-selling products, as hijackers try to take advantage of the product’s success and steal sales from legitimate sellers. Hijacked listings can have severe consequences for legitimate sellers, including loss of revenue, damage to their brand reputation, and even suspension of their Amazon account.
Let’s understand hijacking on Amazon with an example.
Suppose you are a legitimate seller on Amazon and have been selling a popular brand of kitchen utensils for several months. You have optimised your product listing, built a strong customer base, and have been receiving positive reviews from customers.
One fine day you notice that your sales have started to decline, and you no longer appear at the top of the search results for your product. You investigate and find that an unauthorised seller has taken control of your product listing, selling a counterfeit version of your product at a lower price.
The hijacker has used a different product image, description, and pricing than yours, making it difficult for customers to distinguish between the counterfeit and the genuine product. They have also started to receive negative reviews on your product page, damaging your reputation and eroding customer trust.
To make matters worse, the hijacker has lowered the price of the counterfeit product to a point where you can’t compete. Customers are buying counterfeit products, leaving negative reviews on your product page, and your sales are plummeting.
You try to contact the hijacker, but they do not respond to your messages. You file a complaint with Amazon, but it takes several days for them to investigate. In the meantime, the hijacker is still selling their counterfeit product on your listing, and you are losing money and customers.
Eventually, Amazon investigates and removes the hijacker from your listing, but the damage has already been done. You have lost revenue, received negative reviews, and your brand reputation has been damaged. You have also realised the importance of monitoring your listings and taking measures to prevent hijacking from happening again in the future.
This example illustrates the impact of hijacking on legitimate sellers on Amazon and emphasises the importance of taking preventative measures to protect your business from counterfeit and unauthorised sellers.
The impact of hijacking can be severe for legitimate sellers on Amazon. We have listed how hijacking can affect sellers:
- Loss of revenue: When a hijacker takes control of your listing, they can undercut your prices or sell an inferior product, which can lead to a loss of sales for your business. This can be especially damaging if the hijacker sells at a lower price than your cost of goods, making it impossible for you to compete.
- Damage to brand reputation: If a hijacker sells an inferior or counterfeit product under your brand name, it can damage your reputation and erode customer trust. Customers may leave negative reviews on your product page, which can hurt your sales and lead to a loss of credibility.
- Suspension of Amazon account: If Amazon suspects that you are involved in hijacking; your account may be suspended or even terminated. This can be catastrophic for your business, as you will lose access to your customer data, inventory, and sales history.
- Legal issues: If a hijacker sells counterfeit or unauthorised versions of your product, it can lead to legal issues. You may have to take legal action against the hijacker to protect your brand and intellectual property rights, which can be a costly and time-consuming process.
- Reduced control over your listings: When a hijacker takes control of your listing, you lose control over the product details, images, and pricing. This can make Amazon listing optimisation difficult for you and also impact your conversions adversely.
Therefore, it is essential for Amazon sellers and Amazon consultants to regularly monitor their listings, report any unauthorised sellers, and take measures to prevent hijackers from taking over their product listings. This can include registering their brand on Amazon, using Amazon’s Brand Registry, using product serialisation, and taking legal action against counterfeit sellers.
Let’s explore the steps you can take to identify and combat counterfeit sellers on Amazon.
Step 1: Understand the problem
The first step in combating counterfeit sellers on Amazon is understanding the problem. Counterfeit sellers use a variety of tactics to sell their products, including creating fake listings, stealing photos and descriptions from legitimate listings, and using bots to manipulate product reviews.
Counterfeit sellers can be found in every product category on Amazon, from electronics to clothing, and from toys to beauty products. They often sell their products at significantly lower prices than legitimate sellers, making it difficult for consumers to distinguish between genuine and fake products.
Counterfeit products can pose a significant risk to consumers. They may contain harmful chemicals or materials, may not work as intended, or may break easily, leading to injuries or damage. As a seller, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your products are genuine and safe.
Step 2: Monitor your listings
An essential step in combating counterfeit sellers is to conduct an Amazon listing audit and monitor your listings regularly. This involves checking your product listings for any signs of counterfeit activity, such as fake reviews or unauthorised sellers.
To monitor your listings effectively, you can use tools like the Amazon Brand Registry, which allows you to track your product listings and report any suspected counterfeit activity. You can also use third-party tools like Helium 10, which offers a range of Amazon seller tools to help you monitor and protect your listings. Regularly monitoring your listings can help you identify and remove counterfeit sellers quickly, protecting your business and customers.
Step 3: Register your brand
An important step in combating counterfeit sellers on Amazon is to register your brand with Amazon. This involves providing Amazon with information about your brand, including your trademark and logo.
Registering your brand with Amazon gives you access to various tools and services that can help you protect your brand from counterfeit sellers. For example, you can use the Amazon Brand Registry to report any suspected counterfeit activity and protect your product listings from unauthorised changes.
Registering your brand with Amazon is a critical step in protecting your business and customers from counterfeit activity.
Step 4: Use product serialisation
Using product serialisation is an immensely helpful step in combating counterfeit sellers on Amazon. This involves adding a unique code or serial number to each of your products, which can be used to track and identify genuine products.
Product serialisation can help you identify counterfeit products and track their source, making it easier to take legal action against counterfeit sellers. It can also help you identify the source of any counterfeit products and remove them from circulation quickly.
Step 5: Work with Amazon
The final and significant step in combating counterfeit sellers on Amazon is to work with Amazon directly. Amazon has a range of tools and services available to help you protect your brand from counterfeit activity, including the Amazon Brand Registry and the Amazon Transparency Program.
Working with Amazon can help you identify and remove counterfeit sellers quickly, protecting your business and customers from harm. You can also report any suspected counterfeit activity to Amazon directly, helping them identify and remove counterfeit sellers from their platform.
In addition to these steps, there are a few other things you can do to protect your business from counterfeit sellers on Amazon. These include:
- Building strong relationships with your customers: By building strong relationships with your customers, you can establish trust and loyalty, making it less likely that they will be tempted by counterfeit products. You can do this by offering excellent customer service, providing high-quality products, and engaging with your customers through social media and other channels.
- Educating your customers: Another way to protect your business from counterfeit sellers is to educate your customers about the risks of buying fake products. You can do this by providing information about the dangers of counterfeit products on your website and social media channels.
- Filing complaints with Amazon: If you suspect that a seller on Amazon is selling counterfeit products, you can file a complaint with Amazon. Amazon takes these complaints seriously and will investigate any suspected counterfeit activity.
- Taking legal action: Finally, if you are a victim of counterfeit activity, you can take legal action against the counterfeit seller. This can be a costly and time-consuming process, but it can help you protect your business and customers from harm.
In conclusion, combating counterfeit sellers on Amazon is an essential part of protecting your business and maintaining the trust of your customers. By understanding the problem, monitoring your listings, registering your brand, effective Amazon account audit, using product serialisation, and working with Amazon, you can protect your business from the counterfeit activity and ensure that your customers receive high-quality, genuine products.
While the fight against counterfeit sellers may seem daunting, it is essential to take action to protect your business and customers. By following the steps outlined in this blog and taking additional measures such as building strong customer relationships, educating your customers, filing complaints with Amazon, and taking help from Amazon consulting services, you can help ensure that your business thrives in a safe and trustworthy environment.