What is brand gating and why is it important to Amazon Marketplace sellers?
Brand gating is essentially brand protection; it is a series of measures that can be applied to make sure that the good reputation of a company and the products it offers are not tarnished by external factors. As a business practice, brand gating is highly recommended on the Amazon Marketplace for various reasons.
Why Brand Gating is So Important
First of all, brand gating is not for every seller. Let’s say you are a manufacturer of generic products such as cushions that provide lumbar support for the benefit of office workers seeking to introduce some ergonomics in their lives. You believe that the suggested $9.99 retail price of your cushion will make it an attractive Amazon product, and you will like to start moving inventory quickly; this situation is perfect for the Marketplace, where you can register your cushion with an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) and let other sellers offer it from their own e-commerce stores. These sellers may sell your cushions for $19.99 if they so wish. As long as you are meeting demand, you are locking in your profits.
If you notice that your lumbar support cushions start getting very positive reviews from shoppers, the next logical step would be for you to upgrade from a generic operation to a branded product. You may want to manufacture other ergonomic aids and make the most out of Amazon Marketplace experience, but you will now need brand gating because the sellers who have been offering your cushions will certainly notice your new approach to business.
The Need for Brand Gating
The Amazon Marketplace is not a retail Utopia. It is more like the Wild West of e-commerce. Jaded sellers who have had unpleasant experiences on the Marketplace call it “the place where brands are routinely hijacked,” and they are not exaggerating. Counterfeiters, unauthorized sellers, ASIN hijackers, and dropshippers are an unfortunate reality of the Marketplace; they are part of an underground “gray market” that generates more than 40 percent of Amazon sales. These rogue sellers are the reason Amazon introduced the brand gating program in 2016. They can easily turn your e-commerce dreams into a nightmare unless you take the following steps to protect your brand.
Amazon Brand Gating in 4 Steps for Marketplace Beginners:
1. Signing Up for Brand Registry
The first thing you should know about Brand Registry is that it is not a silver bullet; it is merely the first step towards brand gating, and you should not assume that Amazon will automatically grant your wishes.
2. Trademark Your Brand
Amazon will be more receptive to your gating request if you have gone through the process of registering your brand with the United States Patent and Trademark Registration Office. You can also submit paperwork that shows you have filed an application.
3. Provide Seller ID and ASIN Data
Amazon may be able to place some safeguards around the ASINs you have created, but they may take a very long time to do so unless you submit evidence that counterfeiters or hijackers have already taken nefarious action on your products. If you have already granted approval for some sellers, be sure to mention them so that they are not accidentally blocked.
4. Monitor Your ASINs With Brandlox
If you have created 10 or more ASINs, you should protect them with Brandlox, a subscription service that provides real-time monitoring of your Amazon products and sends you immediate notifications of suspicious activity.
Brandlox can also generate cease-and-desist legal notices and make test purchases from counterfeiters so you can report them to Amazon; this will considerably speed up the gating process. Learn more about Brandlox by speaking with one of our e-commerce specialists today. Call 866-848-6072.