Vertical Rail has worked with many brand owners – from those starting new in Amazon to those developing new strategies to reinvent their brand in Amazon.
One thing is certain: No two brand owner situations are the same. Every industry and every brand has its own challenges and business goals. Some companies need assistance creating their Brand Store, while others need consultants to help them develop and deploy a long term marketing strategy across Seller Central and Vendor Central accounts.
As a brand owner, you can take advantage of a number of opportunities available only to you. Your needs and business goals are vastly different than resellers, as are the types of services that will benefit your brand. Brand owners may find themselves struggling with certain aspects of Amazon, from protecting your trademark and determining the right type of account for your business, to customizing A+ Content pages for your products.
Vertical Rail offers the following services specifically for brand owners:
Brand owners receive a number of benefits that are not available to other sellers. To make sure you get the most out of Amazon, you’ll want to take advantage of every opportunity offered by the marketplace.
As a brand owner, you’ll want to protect your trademark with Amazon Brand Registry. Registering for the program will give you more control over how your brand is represented across Amazon. Once enrolled, Amazon uses information about your brand to proactively remove products that are inaccurate or that infringe upon your brand. This helps you protect your business while improving the overall customer experience.
Brand Registry benefits brand owners because it builds and protects your brand by:
To enroll in Brand Registry, brand owners need to provide specific information:
A Brand Store is a custom designed storefront that showcases one specific brand and the products within that brand. Your Brand Store features a unique store URL that can be easily shared on social media, and that has the potential to show up organically in both Amazon and Google search results. Available only to brand owners, a Brand Store allows you to keep your brand identity in the super-competitive Amazon Marketplace. Utilizing a Brand Store can:
A content-rich shopping experience is a major key to building a successful store in Amazon. Brand Owners have the option to create A+ Content in Seller Central or Vendor Central. This customized content offers the ability to use dynamic content and subheadings – in addition to the standard description. As a Brand Owner, you also don’t want others selling your products with inaccurate information. A+ Content offers you the ability to control the appearance and information about your products on other sellers pages. A+ Content can:
As a brand owner, you face a number of challenges that someone who simply wants to open an Amazon store does not. Brand owners have a variety of distinct guidelines to follow, making them more apt to run into potential violations.
You must protect your brand. Other sellers may purchase your product and resell it, which can lead to negative reviews that reflect poorly on your product. However, there are ways to combat this so that you have greater control and your products are not misrepresented among authorized resellers.
A MAP price is the minimum amount that a reseller agrees not to advertise below. MAP agreements exist to promote and maintain fair competition across all distribution channels, including marketplaces. The problem is that violators and counterfeiters still exist, and they can damage a brand. They run rampant in Amazon and it is not Amazon’s responsibility to police or enforce your MAP policy. With Vendor Central Amazon selling agreements, Amazon itself can seem like a MAP violator to your other resellers.
Brand owners may have two selling options on: Amazon Seller Central or Amazon Vendor Central. It’s important to understand the pros and cons of both, based on your products and goals. It’s critical to decide whether you should have a Seller account, a Vendor account – or a hybrid of both.
Determining costs is a major challenge for Brand Owners, who need to consider FBA fees, reimbursements, returns, advertising, shipping, tax, among others. Costs should be considered as part of the overall strategy when determining the business goal. Goals can range from increased visibility to higher sales.
A new product has no history, so the challenge lies in getting it in front of an audience. And that takes patience when you want to do it right the first time. It can take 4 to 6 months for a single new product to get a grip in Amazon – and can take twice that long or more when starting a store from scratch. Timing here is key and should be based on your business goals. A product can be launched successfully using influencers, outside Amazon referrals, and advertising.
Product reviews are powerful and have the potential to affect the way your brand is perceived. There are a variety of ways to garner reviews – legitimate reviews. Studies have shown that customers rely on other reviews when purchasing, and they are suspicious of reviews that seem deceptive or dishonest. There are also nefarious tactics you may need to protect your brand from. Be diligent in brand protection and create a strategy that includes resources to combat potential fake reviews written by competitors that are aimed at suspending your account.
Amazon has gone the way of guaranteeing returns for most cases, and this has made it easy for fraud. While brand owners are busy trying to increase the reputation and credibility of a product, they may find their efforts thwarted by fraudulent returns. For example, a customer orders product, gets the product, returns an item that is not the same product (not even the same brand), and the return is still guaranteed by Amazon. That return increases the return rate and possibly the defective rate or the product. If brand owners don’t have staff and processes in place to audit these returns (which may cost man hours), this is lost money, lost reputation, and – potentially – lost ability to sell that product in the future on Amazon. It does not matter if you were the store listing the ASIN or not.
When you have an authentic brand others want to copy, your listing can be hijacked, meaning others sell a counterfeit or similar version of your product(s). As a Brand Owner, you need to be vigilant so as to not fall victim to product listing hijacking. This tactic can be applied to steal both sales and sales rank position in a given category.
Inventory planning and management is critical to an Amazon store utilizing Fullfillment by Amazon (FBA). If your product isn’t available, your customer has multiple competitors to choose from. If you don’t meet inventory requirements, you also face dropped sales rank and Amazon removing your product listing from its search page. On the flip side, having too much inventory takes up more space in Amazon warehouses, leading to higher costs for you. Finding the balance is crucial. This can be a huge challenge to a first time brand owner when Amazon has no inventory history to fall back on.