With over 200 million Amazon Prime members, Amazon is an excellent platform to grow your business. But the platform also comes with risks, such as Amazon listing hijacking.
If you want to grow a successful Amazon store, you need to know how to protect yourself. Then, you can turn in the counterfeit sellers and get your sales back to normal numbers.
Keep reading to learn more.
What Is an Amazon Listing Hijacking?
An Amazon listing hijacking is what happens when another seller claims to offer the same product as you. The seller adds their product to your listing, so buyers can see there are multiple sellers.
However, the other seller is actually offering a cheap, counterfeit version of your item. That means the seller can undercut your pricing and take away some of your sales.
How to Report an Amazon Listing Hijacking
Whether you use Amazon hijacking monitoring or do it yourself, you'll need to have a trademark. Once you learn someone has hijacked one of your Amazon listings, you can report it to have Amazon remove the counterfeit product.
Make sure you have all of your trademark information ready to help make your case. The trademark should exist in the country where the hijacker is so that you can protect yourself.
You'll want to use Amazon's Report Infringement form to report the incident. Log into your account, and fill out all of the fields to give Amazon as many details as you can to help get rid of the hijacking.
The Consequences of Being Hijacked on Amazon
Amazon listing hijacking may not seem like a huge deal at first. However, if you don't take care of the issue, it may have some negative effects on your business.
Be sure to address an Amazon hijacking alert as soon as you receive one. Then, you'll be able to avoid the following consequences.
Any business will probably receive at least a few negative reviews at some point. However, the negative reviews shouldn't be for the product you sell rather than a counterfeit version.
If a hijacker makes sales and those customers want to leave a review, it will go on your product page. When those reviews are negative, it could keep you from making sales.
The negative reviews may also focus on the quality rather than issues out of your control, such as shipping. As the reviews add up, people may not want to buy from you, even if they're willing to spend more on the real product.
No Buy Box
Another result of Amazon listing hijacking is that you may lose the "Buy Now" button. That button will go to the item with the lowest price, which is usually the hijacker.
Since they're selling a counterfeit item, they can get away with a cheaper price. If your customers want to buy immediately, they will order the cheapest option.
That can cost you a lot in sales, and it may affect your reputation. Customers might not realize the buy button isn't for your product and for the main listing, and that can hurt your future sales.
When someone hijacks any part of your Amazon store, you can expect to lose out on profits. You'll still have to do all the hard work of listing an item and shipping it when you do make a sale.
However, the hijacker may take some or all of your sales without doing the work to list the item. Even if someone only hijacks one of your listings, it can affect your ability to make a profit throughout your business.
As your profits decrease, so will your ability to market your business and get more sales. Then, you may need to go into debt to cover your expenses for ads or to pay yourself and your employees. That cycle can continue if you don't do something to stop the hijacking.
Other metrics may drop, which could put your Amazon seller account at risk of closure. You may not get as many impressions or clicks on your listings if you get a lot of bad reviews.
If you sell something similar to another seller, their listing may take the top spot. As the bad reviews add up, Amazon may stop showing your listings on the first page of search results.
Of course, you will probably experience a slow season in your business at some point. But if the metrics drop significantly and at an unexpected time, you may be suffering from an Amazon listing hijacking.
How to Prevent Getting Your Account Hijacked
Fortunately, you don't have to let your listings sit in waiting for someone to hijack them. Whether you're looking to list a new item or update your current listings or products, you can take a few steps to protect yourself.
Then, it may be harder for someone to hijack your listings, or it will be easier for you to identify an attack. Consider the following ways to keep your listings safe from hijackers.
Monitor Your Listings
The best way to prevent attacks is to implement an Amazon hijacking monitoring strategy. One option is to monitor your listings manually, so you can go through and check for other sellers.
However, that can take a lot of time, especially if you sell a lot of items. Instead, consider using a monitoring service that will send you an Amazon hijacking alert when something happens.
When you receive an alert, you'll know to report the listing to Amazon. And you won't have to worry about another seller stealing your customers and profits.
Make Your Branding Clear
If hijackers have attacked a lot of your listings, it may be time to assess your branding. Make sure your branding is clear in your product photos, on the product itself, and on your packaging.
The clearer and more specific you can make the branding, the easier it will be for consumers to recognize a counterfeit item. If your items have clear branding, the hijacker will have to work harder to try and copy those elements.
You may even want to add a note to your product description about your branding. That will let customers know to look out for something specific when they receive the item, and it can deter potential hijackers.
Join the Amazon Brand Registry
The Amazon Brand Registry lets you join a list of brand owners that have verified control over their brands. When you join the program, you can enjoy a sense of legitimacy, and buyers can trust your listings.
Amazon will help look out for brand infringement and other issues. That way, you will be able to focus on other tasks besides monitoring your account for hijackers.
If you do have issues after joining the program, you can contact Amazon Seller Support for help. Soon enough, you'll be able to get your business back up and running and keep deterring potential hijackers.
Obtain a Trademark
To join the Amazon Brand Registry, you'll need to have a trademark for your business and products. If you don't have a trademark yet, you should obtain one.
Even if you don't plan to join the registry, having a trademark will make it much easier to report fraudulent listings. You'll have a better chance of getting Amazon to side with you and remove the hijacker from your products.
Now, you can become a trademark owner by using the product name. However, it helps to register your trademark to obtain more protection on Amazon.
If it makes sense, you may want to move to selling bundles instead of individual products. When you sell bundles, you make it much more difficult for hijackers to copy your listings exactly.
The hijacker will need to have all of the products that you include in the bundle. If they don't, they won't be able to sell using your existing listing.
Think about similar products that go well together, such as a camera and a tripod. Then, you can decide which products of yours to bundle together to help discourage hijackers from choosing to sell on your listings.
Set Up a Website
While you may not want to close your Amazon store, you should consider selling on your own website. Not only will this help you get more customers, but you won't have to worry about hijackers on your website.
Plus, if a customer initially buys from you on your site and later on Amazon, they'll know what to expect. If they accidentally buy from a hijacker, they may know to return the item and buy from you.
Of course, setting up a website and managing it takes a lot of work. But if hijackers are a common problem for you, it may help to set up a website as a backup in case something happens to your Amazon store.
Steps for Recovering From a Successful Attack
After an Amazon listing hijacking attack, you should take action as soon as you can. Once you receive an Amazon hijacking alert, try not to wait before you do anything.
The faster you work, the more you can minimize the sales you'll lose to the hijacker. And you'll be able to reduce the number of bad reviews to keep your business in good standing.
Here are a few steps to take to help recover from a hijacking.
Purchase the Product
If you have the money to, buy the fraudulent version of your product. When it arrives, take pictures of the item, and compare it to the item you sell. Take any written notes as well to help cover your bases.
Having good, detailed records can help you with your case when you go to report the listing to Amazon. If you don't have proof of what the product looks like, you may not be able to get that much help, especially without a trademark.
Be sure to keep the counterfeit item until Amazon removes it. Then, you can share more photos or videos if necessary to help Amazon delete the item from your listing.
Send a Cease and Desist
Another step you can take is to send a cease and desist letter to the Amazon business owner who hijacked your listing. This can be a good step if the same person hijacked multiple listings of yours.
Be sure to hire a lawyer to help write the letter and make sure it meets all standards. The law office can also act as a return address in case you don't send the letter to the right place.
Some hijackers may remove their listing from your product page, and you won't have to take further action. However, the letter may not be enough to stop future attacks.
Report the Counterfeit Product
You can also report the listing to Amazon to get them to take it down. Whether you buy the counterfeit product or not, you can tell Amazon that you're the seller of the item.
Be sure to take note of the counterfeit listing. If you have pictures, keep track of those in case you need them. You can use the Infringement Report page to start the reporting process.
Keep up with your email and Amazon account, and check for updates regularly. Then, you'll be able to respond to Amazon if they have any questions about your report.
Tips for Protecting Yourself Against Future Attacks
You may not be able to avoid future attacks completely. However, you can do a few things to minimize the chances of someone choosing to hijack your listings.
Before you list your next product, consider how you can protect it from attacks. Then, you'll be able to make your listings search-friendly, and you can avoid hijackers.
Here are some things you can try to protect your Amazon business.
Sell Unique Products
If possible, sell products that other Amazon sellers don't offer. Or if you do sell a similar product, make sure the design and other elements are as unique as possible.
The more unique your item is, the harder it will be for someone to hijack. They'll need to have the same item to be able to get away with hijacking your listing.
While it can take work to source or create a unique product, it will be worth it. You won't have to worry as much about someone taking over your product listing if you develop the product yourself or find some way for it to stand out.
Redo Your Current Listings
If you don't want to add any new listings, go through what you currently sell and fix any problems with them. Add more product photos of different angles, especially angles that may be hard for counterfeiters to copy.
Be sure to include photos of the logo and other identifying features of your product. Then, if someone buys from the hijacker, they can know instantly that they didn't get the real thing.
You can also redo your current listings to include more details about the item's measurements. This may not deter all hijackers, but it can make their job much harder if they want to try and take over your listings.
Purchase 2D UPC Codes
Another great way to protect yourself is to use 2D UPC codes from Amazon. The codes will go on the boxes of the products that you sell, whether you ship them or use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
When Amazon scans the packages, it will look for that specific code. If it finds the code, it will know that the product is genuine and is safe to go to the customer.
However, it won't accept packages from the hijacker since they won't have the unique code. That way, you can keep those items from making it on a delivery truck and getting to a consumer.
Common Misconceptions About Amazon Listing Hijacking
Amazon listing hijacking can have a massive impact on your Amazon store. Whether you've suffered multiple attacks or none, you may have a couple of misconceptions about it.
Be sure to consider some myths about hijacking and how believing those myths may affect your store. Then, you can learn the truth and determine how to protect yourself and your business.
It Only Happens on Super Popular Products
One misconception about Amazon listing hijacking is that it only happens on the most popular items. Hijackers can and do attack popular listings, and that can be a good way for them to make money.
However, if a hijacker has a knockoff of a less-popular product, nothing is stopping them from hijacking that listing as well. If a product is on Amazon, it's vulnerable to attacks from counterfeit sellers.
The popularity doesn't matter, and neither does the price. Be sure to keep that in mind when developing your product descriptions to help deter hijackers.
It Won't Happen to You
Another common misconception is that you can avoid hijackers. You may be able to reduce your risk of hijacking by optimizing your lists, but it can happen to anyone.
Any Amazon seller may be at risk of a hijacking attack. Of course, the more listings you have, the more at risk you are. But that doesn't mean hijackers will only attack people with a big store.
Hijackers may gravitate towards selling certain products. But you may encounter fraudulent versions of everything from electronics to musical instruments.
You Can Track Attacks Manually
It's not a total misconception that you can track attacks yourself. When you only have a few listings, you may be able to monitor them manually and take note of any fraudulent activity.
However, when you have more listings, it will take up a lot of your time. If you want to cut down on hijackers, you should hire an Amazon hijacking monitoring service or use Bindwise for hijacker monitoring so that you can focus on other tasks.
Unless you have a massive team, you probably don't have someone who can spend their time monitoring your listings. A monitoring service can give you peace of mind while you work on your business.
Other Things That Can Cause Your Product's Reviews to Drop
Unfortunately, Amazon hijackers aren't the only thing that can affect your product's reviews. Some other things may be out of your control just like hijackers, but you may have control over other elements.
If you want to maintain a high average rating on your products, you should know what can affect reviews. Then, you'll be able to keep from getting a ton of bad reviews, even on the products you ship out.
Here are a couple of reasons for a drop in reviews and how to deal with them.
Drop in Quality
One of the most common reasons for a dip in reviews is a similar dip in product quality. If you switch manufacturers or use a new drop shipping service, your new products may not be as good.
You can deal with this issue by researching other fulfillment companies and manufacturers. Be sure to review any contracts or terms and conditions before you sign an agreement.
That way, your Amazon store will continue to have the best quality products possible. And you can keep getting more positive reviews than negative ones.
Longer Shipping Times
Another potential cause for a drop in reviews is if your products start taking longer to ship and get to customers. The shipping time is out of your control, but that doesn't stop customers from writing a bad review.
If you want to reduce ship times, consider using a service like FBA. That way, Amazon can be the only company that packages and manages the shipment.
You may also choose to ship products yourself if you hold inventory. If you have room in your profit margin, you might decide to spend more on shipping to expedite the process.
Avoiding Amazon Listing Hijacking Made Easy
Amazon listing hijacking can be detrimental to small and large Amazon business owners. Before you list your next product, consider how to prevent attacks and what to do if someone hijacks your listing.
Then, you won't have to lose out on sales to a counterfeit seller. Instead, you can focus on growing your business and getting more sales of your genuine products.
Do you need help monitoring your Amazon listings? Create a free Bindwise account and get started today.