Brand Registry is not what you think it is
As a brand owner, selling on Amazon means protecting your brand by whatever means necessary. But this is not usually possible with few tools to help you take control of your brand and listing. When Amazon Brand Registry began, Amazon brand owners were excited. For them, Brand Registry would solve many of the problems they were experiencing. Sellers often thought Brand Registry would:
- Help control listings
- Make listing more attractive with headlines, bullet points, images, and A+ content
- Help keep competitors sell counterfeit products
- Would open doors for great-quality seller support
But as most sellers find out, Brand Registry has its limitations, and there is only so much it can do. While Brand Registry does help brand owners take control of their brands, it benefits Amazon more than the brand owners. This blog outlines why you should not be as excited about Brand Registry when selling on Amazon.
Traditional Benefits of Brand Registry Support
When Amazon rolled out the program, support was excellent. The program helped identify brand owners to Amazon and protected their intellectual property and content. Brand Registry also gave brand owners access to other marketing programs, including Amazon A+ content and Amazon Storefronts.
Because of that, Amazon’s Brand Registry had a dedicated team that brand owners could contact to report issues like property infringement, listing issues, policy violations, technical issues, and case escalation. The support team would go to great lengths to resolve problems promptly and effectively. However, that has changed over the years.
Amazon employees who launched the program either quit or rotated to other areas, and team members from Amazon Seller Support replaced them. If you have ever dealt with Seller Support, you know it is a “hit and miss” and one of the most unhelpful areas of Amazon.
While Seller Support has improved over the years as Amazon strives to create a better experience for sellers on the site, there is still a long way to go. The same issues sellers complained about years ago are still repeated daily.
Why did Amazon create Brand Registry 2.0?
Contrary to popular belief, Amazon did not create Brand Registry 2.0 to help sellers. Instead, the program helped fulfill Amazon’s legal obligations. The e-commerce giant faced lawsuits from brand owners claiming that Amazon was not doing enough to minimize intellectual property violations and counterfeit sales.
Thus, Amazon introduced Brand Registry to help deal with the many counterfeit and IP infringement issues raised by brand owners. The program also moves the burdens of regulating violations from Amazon to the brand owners. With Brand Registry in place, a brand can file an IP violation complaint against a seller. Amazon is legally obliged to act in favor of the brand by removing the listing in question due to copyright, patent, or trademark infringement.
Since Brand Registry identifies the brand owners plus their authorized sellers, Amazon can easily enforce its Standards for Brands Selling in the Amazon Store. Under the policy, brands cannot sell directly to customers through Amazon. Instead, a brand can only sell to Amazon Retailer as a vendor.
In what way does Brand Registry help Amazon more than sellers?
We have established that Amazon did not create a Brand Registry to help sellers. Instead, the platform allows Amazon to manage the work associated with receiving IP complaints, acting on them, and overseeing related appeals. They do this to avoid legal implications and not because they want to give the seller the best experience. In reality, Brand Registry does not provide actual power to brand owners over their listings; it gives “ownership” to them.
When manufacturers, resellers, and distributors sell identical products, listing price, description, and bullet points are often different. As a brand owner, you can apply for Amazon Brand Registry to have control and consistency such that customers view the products the same way across all listings.
When applying for Brand Registry, you officially own that brand if you provide proof of ownership. However, this does not mean that resellers and distributors will stop selling your product on Amazon. Brand Registry means product information across all listings will be consistent. So, while the seller owns the storefront, you control how the brand appears as a brand owner. It helps prevent competition because customers are more comfortable buying from the manufacturer or brand than third-party sellers. But here is the thing; it’s never that simple, and most of the time, it doesn’t work like that. Brand Registry does not help brand owners control who distributes their genuine products. Brand Registry also does not restrict who can and cannot sell your brand, nor does it help you manage product resellers.
Here is how:
- Being a brand owner does not give you complete control of content since Amazon uses content distribution systems. The system makes it easy for any seller to contribute to a listing. You have product contribution rights as a brand owner, but Amazon cannot lock pages.
- Amazon could consider a distributor as the main content contributor if they created the listing, even if you are the brand owner.
- With hybrid accounts (Vendor and Seller Central), content ownership sometimes remains with the vendor account, which gets priority.
- Brand Registry does not stop reselling since any seller who acquires inventory legitimately can still sell products from your brand on Amazon.
As a brand owner, you qualify for Amazon Brand Registry. Brand Registry allows you to enforce your IP right, control your product listings, and access other marketing tools. Brand Registry can help set yourself apart from other sellers and distributors selling your products on Amazon. But as stated above, Brand Registry does not cater to you, the seller. To be eligible for Amazon Brand Registry, you must have a registered trademark. Suppose you are using the IP Accelerator program; in that case, a pending trademark will do since you get faster access to Brand Registry rather than enduring the 6-month waiting period for your trademark approval. But while using Brand Registry, consider its shortcomings and take advantage of the elements that help your brand stand out against your competition.
Do you need help navigating Brand Registry? Riverbend Consulting can help! Contact us to get proper Amazon support.
Lesley is co-founder and co-owner of Riverbend Consulting, where she oversees the firm’s client services team. She has personally helped hundreds of third-party sellers get their accounts and ASINs back up and running. Lesley leverages two decades as a small business consultant to advise clients on profitability and operational performance. She has been an Amazon seller for almost a decade, thanks to her boys (21 and 15) who do most of the heavy lifting.
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