Brand Gating to Protect Your Amazon Brand
Amazon has recently been making many updates to the Terms of Service for Amazon Sellers. One policy that went into effect on August 30th was requiring Amazon approval to sell on certain product listings. The main purpose of this brand gating policy is to reduce the counterfeiting of goods from unscrupulous sellers, but it arguable has had the largest impact on third-party sellers and retail arbitragers selling genuine products. The new policy for sellers requires them to pay $1500 per brand, provide invoices from the manufacturer, and have written permission from the brand.
While this has negatively affected the ability of some third-party resellers, the clear winner is the brand owner. Brand owners can now implement a brand gating strategy to help boost their sales through Seller Central and limit the number of resellers on their listings.
Why is Brand Gating Important?
Brand gating is single-handedly the most effective way to protect your listings from hijackers. Hijackers (particularly from China) have been a challenge for sellers and in some instances have flooded product categories. Reducing counterfeiting is a huge focus area for Amazon and they have largely simplified the process. Previously, a seller was required to purchase the counterfeit goods to prove to Amazon how it did not match their product exactly. This got expensive for sellers that got flooded by hijackers and many gave up their listing.
The policy change provides sellers a proactive option to stop hijacking. Amazon has implemented this plan automatically to protect large brands like Nike. Individual sellers can request to have their brands gated on Amazon. The process may take a few weeks, but there are certain steps that you can follow to give your brand the best chance of being approved.
How to Get Your Brand Gated?
Follow these steps to give your brand the best chance of being gated. Amazon does not guarantee that they will accept the request – however they may move to more of an automatic brand gating process in the future. Here are the steps:
- Register Your Brand with Brand Registry: Any seller must register their brand with brand registry in order to be considered a brand in Amazon’s eyes. The process can be annoying as Amazon will push back on the smallest details. Amazon requires a few things to approve brand registry: a website, an email account hosted at the website and listed on the Amazon account, images of the brand logo on the product and the packaging and the brand name. If you’re missing any of these or there are slight differences, be prepared to see how frustrating Amazon makes this.
- Trademarking your brand (optional): This step is optional, but can only help your case. It shows that you are actively interested in protecting your brand and can help in the approval process.
- List of ASINs for Brand Gating: Amazon will need a list of your products that you want to be gated. They may gate your entire brand in some instances, but clearly indicating the listings to be gated will help move along the process.
- Highlight Your Counterfeiting Efforts: Amazon does appear to give priority to sellers that are actively fighting counterfeiters on their listings. A history of removing counterfeiters will help you get your request approved. If you do not have a history, discussing the other steps such as registering your brand and trademarking again shows that you take your brand serious.
- Providing Your Seller ID: Indicate what your seller ID is to Amazon so the process goes smoothly.
It can take up to a month or more for a request to be approved. You may or may not receive an email notification from Amazon. To check if you brand gating request was approved, check your listings regularly. Click “Sell on Amazon” on your listing page in the “Other Sellers on Amazon” section. You will know if the request was approved if you are brought to a page saying “You need approval to list in this brand.”