If you are a manufacturer or brand owner, chances are high that your products will eventually be listed on Amazon — whether by your company directly, by authorized members of your resale channel, or by resellers who have no affiliation with your company and whom you can’t control at all. In other words, your products are bound for Amazon whether you like it or not.
And yes, if you find unauthorized Amazon listings that reflect badly on your products — featuring inaccurate specs, poorly written copy, low-quality or incorrect images, etc. — you can take action to have those listings removed. But that will take time and effort — and it could take many months, while your products sit in an embarrassing spotlight on Amazon.com and you wait impatiently for them to be pulled down.
Moreover, the actions you’ll need to take to remove an unauthorized or inaccurate listing of your product from Amazon represent only the cure for an injury that your brand is already suffering.
But there is a better way, a preventative measure you can take right now, which will give you more control over your Amazon listings and how your brand is presented and managed on Amazon generally. That preventative measure is the Amazon Brand Registry.
WHAT IS THE AMAZON BRAND REGISTRY?
The Amazon Brand Registry is a program designed by Amazon to help ensure more accurate and useful information about the products sold on the site. The program essentially grants content ownership — the ability to list products and manage brand identify on Amazon — to either a manufacturer or a “brand owner.”
If not the manufacturer itself, a company applying for the Amazon Brand Registry as “brand owner” will need written authorization proving it has manufacturer approval to represent its brand on Amazon. You can find an Amazon-provided template here for a letter that would-be brand owners can send to manufacturers for approval to represent their products on the site. A brand owner will need this authorization to manage a brand’s Amazon presence.
HOW DO YOU REGISTER FOR THE AMAZON BRAND REGISTRY?
As I mentioned above, to be included in the Amazon Brand Registry as a brand’s official content owner you’ll need to be either 1) the manufacturer, or 2) a reseller, distributor or other “brand owner” with written authorization to represent that brand on Amazon.
This is a good thing for manufacturers and authorized resellers. If the Amazon Brand Registry were open to anyone claiming to represent a brand, then the brand image and product listings of many companies — perhaps including yours — would be subject to hijacking by unscrupulous resellers. In this way, the Amazon Brand Registry is a valuable tool to help you protect your brand’s image on one of the world’s biggest online marketplaces.
But the vetting process that Amazon conducts on applicants means that being enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry takes some time and effort.
Here is what you will need to do to be accepted into the Amazon Brand Registry:
- You will need to complete and submit the standard application.
- You will need to submit an image of your product packaging, with the branding visible in the image.
- You will need to submit an image of your product, also with branding visible on the product itself.
- You will need to supply Amazon with an active website featuring your products or brand.
- If you are not the manufacturer but rather a reseller or other organization or individual seeking to become a “brand owner,” you will also need to submit an authorization letter signed by the manufacturer granting you its approval.
HOW LONG IS THE APPLICATION APPROVAL PROCESS?
When you submit a complete application package, Amazon’s Brand Registry team will begin its review. Assuming the process goes smoothly and the team does not have any follow-up questions or requests, your approval can take as little as a few business days. Generally, the process does not take longer than two calendar weeks (10 business days).
5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE AMAZON BRAND REGISTRY
- One valuable advantage of becoming a registered Amazon Brand Owner is that you will enjoy complete, simplified control over your brand’s content on Amazon.
For example, when you go into one of your product listings and update such details as the product’s specs, description or image, all of these changes will be reflected on the live page automatically — without any further approvals from Amazon needed.
- After your brand has been registered, each of your products will receive a unique product number called the Global Catalog Identifier (GCID), which will not change over time, by the country in which the item is viewed, or even if the product listing changes. This is in contrast to the Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN), which can change with new product listings and over time.
The GCID is an important component for the Amazon Brand Registry in that if it is not assigned to a particular product, you might not be able to automatically update the details on that product’s listing page.
- Although most product categories are included in the Amazon Brand Registry, there are a handful that are still not eligible.
Products not yet part of the registry include books, music, DVDs, and products in the “Entertainment Collectibles” and “Sports Collectibles” categories.
- While the Amazon Brand Registry offers many benefits for manufacturers or authorized brand owners looking to enjoy better control over how their products are managed in the Amazon marketplace, this registry program will not solve all problems relating to unauthorized resellers. For example, becoming a registered Amazon Brand Owner will not:
- Block sellers from buying one of your manufactured products, slightly modifying the product’s specs and branding, and then selling it on Amazon in direct competition with you.
- Stop sellers from selling your product even if you have not authorized them to do so (by buying your product, and then reselling it on Amazon themselves).
- Guarantee you automatic Buy Box status.
- There is another potential downside to the Amazon Brand Registry: Once your application has been approved and your brand registry goes active, some of the product attributes you’ve submitted for your product’s data will not be allowed to change.
In other words, each new product or product variation for which you create a new Amazon listing will need to be uniquely identified using the key attributes you were approved for. Otherwise Amazon will reject your new listing.
For more comprehensive monitoring, protection and enforcement of your products being sold on Amazon — as well as across virtually all other online marketplaces — contact TrackStreet now.