Amazon listing hijacking is used by fake sellers and counterfeiters who sell a similar product the same or a knock off version of the product and are using your listing and ranking to generate high sales in a short time and runaway with the sales.
At times these are the sellers who purchase products from you at discounted prices and resale the same. Hijackers can also be counterfeiters and manufacturers who sell identical products and use your listing and ranking to generate more sales.
These hijackers prove to be a headache for genuine sellers as they end up stealing the Buy Box from them. Consequently, private sellers get fewer sales and even result in negative product reviews.
What is a Buy Box and How Does It Work?
So buyers have read all the reviews, looked into all the details, and compared similar products; now, it is time to add the product to their carts. The option of “Add-to-Cart” is also known as the Buy Box.
The platform only grants this button to authorized sellers upon verification of their listing. Owning a Buy Box gives you a lot of advantages in accelerating your sales revenue.
Today, Amazon has over 2.5 million third-party sellers. And, many of them are competing for the same products under the exact same listing through the same ASIN or Amazon Standard Identification Number.
The platform uses ASINs for every product to organize its catalog and avoid different sellers from listing the product twice. If you manage to win the Buy Box for a particular product, you are considered the default seller.
So the order for that product will be sold under your store. This implies that when users click on the “Add to Cart” option, the orders will be redirected to your stores unless the customer selects another seller manually.
Seldom customers make an effort to change the sellers themselves; this is why winning a Buy Box becomes imperative for Amazon sellers.
How Hijack Influences Your Business Sales?
Apart from the evident loss of revenue that your business experiences, Amazon hijackers can cause collateral damage through negative reviews. For instance, buyers may come across your listing and notice that the same product is available with another seller at a lower price.
They have no idea that the seller is an Amazon hijacker. Evidently, they are likely to click on the product sold by the hijacker, directly causing you loss of sale. But this is just the beginning.
The buyer is going to receive either a knock-off of your product or the same product through illegal means. And if they receive a fake product, it will result in a negative review. And this review can go to the listing of the genuine product sold by you. So, if losing money was not enough, you also end up risking your credibility.
What Are The Types of Hijacker?
Before we get to the steps to protect yourself from the hijackers, you must determine the types of hijackers you are likely to encounter. If you come across multiple sellers with the same product featuring the same ASIN, chances are quite high that one or more of them is a hijacker. The following are the three types of hijackers you are likely to come across.
- The Saboteurs:
Highly competitive hijackers would not rest by just going after the BuyBox. Instead, they could also jeopardize your listing by altering the titles, descriptions, categories, and product images. The winner of Buy Box is considered the owner of the listing and sellers with the same ASIN can change the listing content if the brand is not registered under Amazon.
- The Counterfeiters:
These hijackers try to take the brand name, logo, content, or images to sell a knock-off of your product. Considering that they are not shown in the listing, counterfeiters are hard to detect.
- The Imposters
The listing of imposters will look almost similar to yours, and the only change would be the name of the seller. And since they are trying to take over your customers, these hijackers generally keep the prices of their products lower than yours. Moreover, the imposters do not have to invest in promotions as they mooch off from your marketing benefits.
How to Identify the Listing of Hijackers Look Like?
Being a private label product seller implies that you are the default seller and have won the Buy Box. It is the white box positioned on the right side labelled as the Add to Cart button.
Simple way to figure out is if there are more than one seller in the listing and your product is branded and designed by you,then it is a sign that some body trying to hijack your listing .Amazon seller tools like productspypro alert you if the buy box changes or number of sellers in the listing changes.
To get this, the sellers have to compete for the spot. But how to differentiate between genuine sellers and hijackers who can leverage your Buy Box?
Take any product on Amazon by private sellers and see the sellers of that product and compare them. The first thing to look at is the name of the product. Genuine sellers are evidently going to have more ratings, so that is also a big sign of differentiating between the sellers.
All the listing details of the knock-off or similar product will be the same except for the price. The listing hijacker will be selling the product at a lower price.
With the product having the same description but lower price, the hijacker is going to get a competitive advantage over the private seller due to fewer price offerings.
How to Protect Your Amazon Listing From Hijacker?
Following are some of the important steps that you should follow to steer clear from Amazon Listing Hijackers:
- Register Yourself With Amazon
Start by registering your brand with Amazon’s brand registry. This will offer you automated protection. Amazon will use the brand information in order to remove –
- Images that do not have your brand’s logo to sell products.
- Unaffiliated product listing that exploits trademarked terms in their descriptions.
- Product listings that are created using your brand name.
- Sellers shipping products from other countries where you do not manufacture or distribute.
The Registration Process
The process of registration is quite simple and straightforward. To begin with, you will need an Amazon account and registered trademarks that are active, an authorized agent for the trademark, or a way to authenticate yourself as the owner. If you have a Seller Central account, that will be helpful.
Amazon accepts trademarks issued from the following countries –
- United States of America
- United Kingdom
Registering your brand on Amazon will provide you with more control over the listing and make it difficult for anyone else to change your listing without approval. But it is not the guarantee that you are safe from hijackers.
- Focus More on Branding Your Product
When you create stronger branding on the product listing and show that you have a distinctive brand logo on the package and the actual product, you may be able to deter the hijackers.
This helps because you are demonstrating the brand to your target audience in a clear manner. And if people order from hijackers, then they may not receive the branding in their products.
So when you are clicking product images, ensure to show the branding on the product and packaging. This is an important practice that will also help you in showing off your brand and generate marketing benefits.
- Invest in a Dedicated Ecommerce Website
By creating your dedicated e-commerce channel outside of Amazon, you can considerably avoid unwanted encounters with Amazon hijackers. It is an effective strategy that will help you in the long term. Moreover, you can start developing your dedicated customer base, which will provide you with greater exposure. People can contact you from Amazon, as well as your official website.
Moreover, Amazon provides a unique service known as label fulfilment service. This allows your customers to perform check-out from your site and have the products fulfilled by Amazon.
You also have the option to send your customers directly to your brand’s product page to execute the checkout process. Building a website today is quite simple and straightforward. You can use cost-effective mediums like SquareSpace or Shopify to create a solid website to retain your hard-earned customers.
- Get in Touch With The Seller Directly
Direct confrontation is among the most effective ways to deal with listing hijackers. These sellers flourish because what they do go majorly unnoticed.
And sending a letter calling them out is the perfect way to catch them in the act. But you cannot just intimidate them with any standard letter. You need to be assertive yet polite with your approach.
You can get in touch with them through the link mentioned on the profile. And, when getting in touch with the seller, make sure your message is short, precise, and friendly.
Simply inform them that you have noticed them selling the identical product under the same ASIN, and you have not authorized the same. And if they do not respond to your letter, then you should directly contact Amazon.
- File a Complaint with Amazon
This is the last and most formal way of dealing with Amazon listing hijackers. The process can go differently based on whether or not you have registered your brand on Amazon. But any which way, you can complain to Amazon and get support from it against the scammers.
If you have a registered account:
If you are a registered seller, you can fill up the trademark infringement claim against the hijackers. It is a simple process where you have to write a short message explaining your problem.
Moreover, take screenshots of the counterfeit to submit as proof and also add the link of the hijacker. Ensure to mark your message as urgent, and you can expect the issues to resolve in a couple of days.
If your brand is not registered:
You can still file a trademark infringement claim, even if your brand is not registered with Amazon. The process will remain the same as the above. Ensure to provide as much evidence as you can to prove the violation done by the listing hijacker.
You can send you a complaint to Seller Performance through email. You can reach them at email@example.com. However, when you are not a registered Amazon seller, you might have to wait a little longer to solve the issue.
Amazon will need you to provide the following information in order to investigate the concerning infringement claim –
- The business or store name of the sellers you are reporting
- The ASIN or ISBM of the concerned product
- An order ID of a purchase that validates the violation
- A precise explanation of the violation
- Images of the items you have received in the self-investigation.
While you do not necessarily have to be registered to get this service, its service gives you an added benefit. Once the report has been filed, you can proceed with the refund request for the test buy and gain the spent money back.
How Will You Know that Your Listing Has Been Hijacked?
Continuous monitoring is the first step to determine whether your listing has been hijacked. Whether it is the presence of a new seller on your ASIN, a sudden sales drop, the influx of bad reviews, or any similar changes, you must be vigilant to determine the changes. Constantly monitoring will allow you to identify new sellers faster and investigate the legitimacy at the right time. Amazon seller software like productspypro can help you in tracking all the above things happening to your listing 24/7 and send you notifications as well provide dashboard to view the alerts related to your listing.
Additionally, malicious sellers appear on your listing with limited stock but indicate the more items will be added soon. The little stock they offer is the products that they have purchased from you with an intent to manufacture a knock off in their factories.
Dealing with listing hijackers with malicious intent is one of the few downsides of selling your products on Amazon. There will always be people preying on your success and looking for ways to earn profit from your hard work.
This is why you have to stay vigilant and keep your account away from these lurkers. Continue to monitor your business closely to determine any dubious activity.
If you have come across any hijacker, take immediate action. Above, we have shared some of the effective ways to deal with these sellers. Taking the right measure at the right time can help you save a significant amount of time, money, and effort.
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