Selling on Amazon is an incredible way to build a business and earn income, but with those benefits come competition and the need to protect your Amazon business.
In fact, in a 2020 Jungle Scout study among more than 1,000 Amazon sellers, nearly all said they were confident about continuing to make money selling on Amazon. But, many expressed concerns about risks to their business, including:
- ‘Hijackers’ listing similar or knock-off products on their private label product listings
- Chinese suppliers selling products similar to theirs at a lower cost
- Increased competition driving down prices
The best way sellers can defend themselves against these concerns? Register their brand trademark with Amazon’s Brand Registry.
This article takes a deep dive into Amazon Brand Registry’s features and benefits, how to get started, and how trademarking and other tactics can help you protect your Amazon business.
What is Amazon’s Brand Registry?
Amazon’s Brand Registry is an exclusive program offered by Amazon that legitimizes your brand. It also gives you special advantages over non-registered brands.
“For brand owners, enrolling in the Brand Registry provides access to powerful tools to help protect your trademarks, including proprietary text and image search and predictive automation.”
Note: If you’re still in the beginning stages of setting up a seller account, you might want to read our comprehensive guide to Amazon Seller Central before digging into this.
What can (and can’t) Amazon Brand Registry do?
Before diving into the rest of this article, here’s a quick TL;DR of what the Amazon Brand Registry can and can’t do for you.
Amazon’s Brand Registry will:
- Give you, the brand owner, greater control over your listing content.
- Offer a separate, more efficient, internal team to help with fixing and escalating incorrect listing contributions and variations.
- Offer a dedicated internal team for submitting and escalating IP infringement claims.
- Provide a tool to monitor your brand on Amazon.
- Grant you access to A+ Content to improve the content display on product listings. (More on this below.)
- Increase visibility through alternative advertising routes and interactive media.
Amazon’s Brand Registry will not:
- Gate your brand or limit other sellers from selling it.
- Allow you to whitelist/blacklist other sellers from selling your brand.
- Allow someone other than you, the brand owner, to submit infringement claims against other sellers.
How to protect yourself from brand fraud
While Amazon’s Brand Registry comes with a number of huge benefits to elevate your brand on Amazon, it’s not without risks.
In a recent interview with Amazon suspensions expert Cynthia Stine, she clued us in to a few methods that unethical (‘black hat’) sellers were using the Brand Registry to harm other sellers’ reputations.
She reported that black hat sellers have claimed that they have patents and trademarks they don’t own and register brands under said name.
And because Chinese sellers aren’t accountable for American IP laws, false claims made against reputable sellers do not impact them negatively. That makes it difficult for Amazon to deter them from using these bad-actor strategies.
Meanwhile, sellers who try to reach the businesses that submitted the false claims can’t so because these black hat sellers also give Amazon false emails and contact information.
To prevent these issues and to protect yourself, register your brand as soon as possible. Once the brand is under your name, black hat sellers can’t register the brand and make false claims against you.
Do you need a trademark for Amazon’s Brand Registry?
Yes. As of May, 2017, the program requires you to have a registered trademark for your product in order to apply.
In the US, that means you need to have registered your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
How do I get a trademark?
To get the ball rolling, you’ll need to take these steps:
- Once you have a name and/or logo, ensure it is unique and that no other registered trademarks exist with the same name. Check this on the USPTO website by doing a thorough search using their official database. You can also hire an intellectual property (IP) search specialist on Jungle Scout’s Jungle Market to perform this search for you.
- File within a specific class for your trademark. This is similar to selecting a product category in Amazon, and it will define what type of items will be under your trademarked brand. The cost for the trademark will depend on its class.
- Hire a licensed trademark attorney to file your trademark application. You can find lawyers offering this service in your local area, online, or through the Jungle Scout Market.
How long does it take to get a trademark registered?
Typically, you can expect to wait at least one year before you get an answer from the USPTO.
Fortunately, however, you don’t have to wait a year to get your brand approved by Amazon.
Amazon now offers a service called the IP Accelerator, which connects Amazon business owners to curated Intellectual Property (IP) attorneys who will help you with the trademark process.
By choosing an IP specialist handpicked by Amazon, Amazon will approve your product for the Brand Registry before your trademark application is accepted.
How long does it take for Amazon Brand Registry approval?
Assuming that you already have a trademark, or you’ve submitted a request through the IP Accelerator program, the entire approval process should take about two weeks. Just make sure you submit everything Amazon needs for your brand the first time around.
Also, make sure you review all of the eligibility requirements, and please note that your brand must have an active registered trademark in each country where you would like to enroll.
6 benefits of joining the Amazon Brand Registry
A lot of the registry’s perks and capabilities live right on your Amazon Seller Central dashboard.
As a member of the Brand Registry, you can go to the Performance tab on Seller Central’s main navigation bar, and select Brand Dashboard to gain access.
This screen will give you a holistic view of your brand performance, with additional information and metrics to dig into.
And if you go into the new Brand Benefits section, you should see the information in the screenshot above.
Note: Not all Seller Central views are the same. Any differences may be due to your permissions setting or type of account, so you might need to search around a bit to find the above view.
1. Protect your brand
If you’ve taken the time to apply and pay for a registered trademark, the last thing you want is for someone to mess with your brand. But, thankfully, the brand registry can help with that. It is your best bet for safeguarding your products.
You’ll be able to protect your intellectual property and content on Amazon, with a dedicated internal team on standby to help you with:
- Reporting any marketplace violations, including product review manipulations and ‘not as described’ complaints from customers.
- Reporting any issues with your listing, including incorrect product details and product variation information, as well as blocked listings.
- Submitting or retracting IP infringement claims.
- Reporting any technical issues pertaining to page loading for your product listing, or your Seller Central homepage operations.
- Escalating previously submitted claims.
You’ll be able to monitor all of your ongoing cases related to any of the above, and can escalate when necessary.
Want even more protection?
Transparency is an Amazon program that offers additional security for your brand (and customers) from counterfeiters.
These are the steps involved when using Transparency:
- First, enroll your products in Transparency.
- Next, apply Transparency codes to your products.
- Then Amazon scans your products to ensure only authentic units are shipped to customers
- Finally, customers can use your Transparency code to verify the authenticity of your products no matter where they are.
2. Access A+ content
One of the best features of Amazon’s Brand Registry is its ‘A+ Content Manager‘ formerly called (Enhanced Brand Content). You should be able to find the tool under Brand Benefits, but you can also locate it under the Advertising navigation tab.
Enhancing your brand content allows you to add further text and images to your product listings, over and above the standard plain-text product description.
Ultimately, it gives your listing a MUCH more professional look.
A+ Content might improve your sales.
In early 2020, we split-tested two of our own product listings with and without Enhanced Brand Content. Here is what we learned: our listing using A+ content had nearly double the conversion rate as the listing lacking A+ content.
In other words, people clicked on our A+ listing and purchased twice as often as those who didn’t see the A+ content.
How to use A+ content
As soon as you select the ASIN for which you plan to use A+ content, it’s easy to create your enhanced listing. Amazon’s simple template setup allows you to select different module layouts, and media to upload.
Just make sure you’re focusing on the quality of content and not the quantity. Less is more!
Lastly, you’ll have to submit all enhanced content for review. (Before it goes live, it needs Amazon’s approval.)
Once submitted, you can easily check the status of your EBC submission on your Brand Dashboard, enabling you to stay on top of any requested revisions.
3. Engage customers with your brand
Being brand-registered also means gaining access to features that will set you apart from the crowd.
Storefronts and videos will instantly add value to your brand and legitimize your business:
- Product Video: Unlike sellers whose products aren’t registered, brand-registered sellers can add product videos to their listings. This can be a huge boost to your conversions, as buyers don’t have to guess what your product is or how it works. The video, if done well, could be the difference between a shopper walking away, or pressing the ‘Add to Cart’ button.
- Amazon Storefronts: Stores are often composed of one or more pages, with each page made up of a header and footer surrounded by a number of content tiles. And when you choose to create a store, the step-by-step process is straightforward. You won’t need any special skills to get it done!
Again, Amazon makes creating content like storefronts easy. You can just select one of the templates provided, or you can start from scratch!
If you choose to use a template, simply fill in the appropriate information and media to begin building your store.
And remember, as you build, preview both the desktop AND mobile view to ensure everything is aligned for optimal customer viewing. Don’t hesitate to move the tile blocks around. Add, edit, and delete until you’re satisfied.
Finally, similar to the A+ Content Manager process, you will submit your store (and/or video) for publishing. So, make sure you double check your spelling, punctuation, images, video, and mobile view before submitting, and be prepared to wait a few days for the approval (or their request for revisions).
4. Sponsored Brand Ads
Sponsored Brands are another way to engage with customers, and are the headline ads that appear at the top of the page in your Amazon search results.
You can utilize these ads to help drive discovery of your brand, using custom messaging to help shoppers see your brand the way you want it to be seen. Customers are already searching for your product, so what better way to draw attention to your brand!
When they click on your brand name or logo, they will be taken to your storefront immediately. Or, if they click on your product, they will be taken directly to your product page.
Like normal ads, you pay per each click that Amazon shoppers make on your ads.
5. Amazon Live Creator
If you’ve ever wanted to engage with your customers directly, you can now add interactive, livestream video to your brand strategy.
This feature of Amazon’s Brand Registry allows sellers to share their brand story. This helps them reach more shoppers.
You can use the livestream video to demonstrate how your product works, or you can use it to live chat with potential customers to answer any questions.
How to setup Amazon Live Creator
- First, download the Amazon Live Creator iOS mobile app.
- Then, select the products you want to feature in your livestream.
- When you’re ready, go live. You can use your iPhone camera or connect to an external camera by using a video encoder.
If you want to get an idea of the content out there, you can go to amazon.com/live to sample other sellers’ livestreams.
Shoppers will also be able to discover your livestreams across Amazon.com and the Amazon app — from your product listings, to your Amazon Store, to various placements where shoppers are browsing.
6. Understand your customers
In order to effectively reach your customers using all of the Brand Registry benefits, you need to know who you’re dealing with.
Understanding the metrics of your customer base will ultimately guide your decisions regarding if and how you’ll use each of the tools and services available to you.
Brand Analytics aggregates customer search and purchase behavior data to help you improve your business operations.
You can find this feature by going back to Brand Benefits on the Brand Dashboard. Or, you may find it under Reports on the main navigation bar.
There is a wealth of information here, including:
Amazon Search Terms. Need help with PPC (pay-per-click)? Now, with the registry, you can discover what products are winning the most clicks and conversions on strategic search terms. You’ll see what kind of impact your marketing strategies are having on sales, and you’ll be able to adjust accordingly.
Market Basket Analysis. This invaluable insight shows which of your products customers are purchasing together. With the tool, you can discover cross-selling and bundling opportunities. Or even new products to sell!
Item Comparison and Alternate Purchase Behavior. Improve your competitive intelligence by learning which other product is most frequently compared with yours. You can also see the customer’s final choice, after they view your product.
Demographics. In this section, charts will display customer attributes such as age, household income, level of education, gender, and marital status. You’ll also be able to select reporting range dates and export to CSV.
Are your products already registered with Amazon? Have the registry’s features boosted your sales? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.