5 Keys to Preventing Hijackers on your Amazon Listings
At Listing Eagle, we’re all about helping you get rid of hijackers from your Amazon listings as fast as possible. Are there things you can do on the front end though to prevent hijackers from targeting your business? Absolutely. And are there things you can do that help your defense to then remove hijackers that do show up? Again, yes – for sure. That’s what we’ll hope to cover in this post for you.
Amazon Listing Hijacker Prevention
The biggest thing you can do early on in your Amazon business to prevent hijackers is to focus on differentiation. There are certainly successful models out there that are focused on turnover of generic or common items that can be arbitraged for a profit, but the fact of the matter is that as Amazon’s marketplace continues to become more and more competitive, selling items that anyone else can also find and sell is going to open you up to hijackers. You may have some success, which means that inevitably competition will come knocking on your door and if your product is in no way differentiated you will end with hijackers on your listing. So what can you do? Stand out.
To stand out and differentiate your products from your competition, you should create Private Labeled variations that are unique. If you are able to create a new product then nobody can replicate that product and offer in the market as their own (with the right protection in place with your suppliers – more on that in the next section). So if your research brings you to investigate a product to sell, you can do some research and investigation to understand what the best private label opportunities might be. Look at the reviews and note what people like about the product, dislike about the product and what they wish the product had, but does not. Look at competing products and perform the same research. Use your research to create a list of potential improvements to make on the product, such as altering specs of the product and adding a built-in custom branded label of some kind. Then start to work with OEM suppliers/manufacturers to understand the costs of the potential improvements, negotiate the costs and product order requirements/lots, create a simple agreement and move forward.
In working with your suppliers, make sure you protect your product improvements and brand through an OEM Supply Agreement. This agreement doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, but it should definitely spell out that the supplier is not allowed to offer your custom product to anyone else, nor can they offer or suggest the engineered customizations you worked hard to identify and develop. This is not going to stop all bad behavior, but with an agreement and a solid working relationship with your suppliers you’re at least doing what you can to set yourself up for success. Not nailing things down with your supplier can leave you open to risk and your business vulnerable.
The other thing you want to think about very early on is creating your own private branded website. This is a site/ecommerce store that you maintain control of on the internet that is separate from your Amazon listing. Put the pictures you want to use on your Amazon listing on your website as well. This is very important as it arms you submit a copyright infringement claim on Amazon should a pesky hijacker decide to use your pictures, descriptions, and other information from your private branded website. If the only web presence you have is on Amazon, it will be a much harder fight with Amazon to bring down other hijackers leveraging your information. Trust us, this will save you a ton of time and energy.
Another thing you can consider is focusing your business around items that are expensive to ship. Most hijackers essentially drop ship from China, so if your product can not be competitively shipped individually (because it’s big and/or heavy) than people will be less competitive with hijacking. It’s kind of counter-intuitive because then it may be more costly for you to ship as well, but when everyone in the market is focused on finding things that meet certain price and margin requirements and are easy to ship, you can differentiate yourself here again with the focus on the bigger/heavier items. Just make sure that your overall margin requirements are met when selecting products and choose the more expensive to ship products and this will make it harder for hijackers and counterfeiters to compete with you.
Of course the obvious one we can’t leave out is to join the Amazon Brand registry program. You have to jump through some hoops and complete some red tape to get approved, but once you do – this makes the barrier to hijackers much higher. And with the new program changes and enhancements Amazon is making, the Brand Registry will carry more weight and should deter hijackers and counterfeiters more effectively than in the past.
“But I still got hijacked?”
Is it possible to completely prevent hijacking on Amazon? Probably not. Of course the Brand Registry program can help as well, but counterfeiters sniff out success and will likely come to your listings at some point if you’re successful. So follow these five keys to minimize the likelihood that you’ll be hijacked, and position yourself to win the fight against them if they do come. Part of that fight is also awareness that a hijacker is on your listing so remember to use Listing Eagle to monitor your listings and alert you with text messages to your mobile phone and emails if any hijacker shows up. To your success!