The key to taking down unauthorized Amazon sellers? Take away the golden goose.
One of the most challenging issues facing direct sellers today is the advent of the unauthorized Amazon seller. From former distributors who post their products for sale to larger aggregators who deliberately buy up product and offer them at a discount in their own “Amazon stores”, many direct selling companies struggle daily with this competitive menace.
A few years ago we took on this challenge and helped devise a way to get listings on Amazon, Ebay and other online marketplaces taken down. Since then, our clients who’ve employed the method have seen a substantial reduction in the number of sellers and postings of their products.
Still, Amazon is particularly problematic as it is less likely to work closely with brand owners, take listings down, or even acknowledge the problem. After all, Amazon makes money off those sales.
Time to add another weapon to the armory. We have found that even if a seller is not intimidated by legal threats and cease & desist orders, they are definitely concerned with the ongoing operation of their Amazon store and will go to great lengths to preserve it.
Your job is to get them to worry that their golden goose might fly the coop if they don’t comply.
If a company can identify, target and contact sellers with the right combination of message and timing, it can often reduce listings by 50-70 percent within a few months. In many cases they can get unauthorized sellers to stop offering their products at all.
Why? Because their worst fear is losing their sales platform.
To accomplish this goal of creating a viable threat to the target’s business, a company must do several things.
- Monitor the seller market. Unlike eBay, Amazon purposely keeps its product data to itself, so obtaining usable Amazon data is a gargantuan task. With new listings, images, text, pricing and sellers hopping from one store to the next, it can be impossible to keep up. You need good tech. The goal here is to identify unauthorized sellers, compile seller/product data, and classify it into segments in order to appropriately target them.
- Engage the seller market. Here’s where the true effectiveness of this program comes into play. Being able to communicate directly with sellers, en masse, with precise, finely tuned and stage-specific cognitive messaging can prompt a large number of take-downs. These messages are a series of threats, mild to strong, escalating over time, continually pressing them to drop the offending listings. We call this “mental combat” – our goal is to message sellers in such a way that they simply give up on our clients’ products and move on. Once we’re done, most sellers understand the real risk of losing their income and ultimately comply.
- Engage Amazon. Veterans of the marketplace wars may snicker at the idea of Amazon “helping.” The Amazon Vero program is often mocked as “Amazon Zero” — as in no takedowns. But it is possible to get Amazon to help, it’s just a matter of knowing who and when to contact, isolating the correct policy violations (Amazon’s policies, which they actually do care about), and relentless follow up until they take action.
- Monitor the battlefield. Of course, to properly wage a battle you’ve got to know how you’re doing, so a continuous monitoring of take-downs, emerging trends and risks, and success metrics can guide your decisions.
The method described above may leave a few holdouts or more aggressive sellers who won’t play ball. Fortunately once you’ve created your target list, you can follow through with our Legal Targeting Method to pry off the more defiant ones.
The war can be won, and it won’t break the bank or require the filing of a bunch of lawsuits. It just requires brains, a little moxy and commitment.
For more information on how we can help solve your unauthorized seller problem, feel free to reach out.