eCommerce has empowered millions of small and medium-sized enterprises to reach a global audience. Amazon, especially, has become synonymous with online retail, providing a digital marketplace for sellers to target a vast spectrum of industries and niches. Unfortunately, it’s also given rise to a destructive force: counterfeits.
These imposters do more than simply copy legitimate brands and offer substandard products — they tarnish business reputations, compromise the integrity of the marketplace, and damage the overall buyer experience.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates 3.3% of world trade is in counterfeit and pirated goods, producing billions of dollars in lost sales. Amazon isn’t immune to this trend and so has been proactive in countering counterfeits.
Keep reading to learn more about Amazon’s measures to combat fakes and how you can protect your brand against imposters.
Since the company’s inception, Amazon has been at the forefront in the fight against counterfeit products. Recognizing the immense harm they cause to the eCommerce ecosystem, Amazon has initiated numerous programs to mitigate these imposters as much as possible, including:
A new U.S. law designed to protect consumers and small businesses went into effect in June 2023. The Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act, also known as the INFORM Consumers Act, mandates online retailers to collect, verify, and disclose information about high-volume third-party sellers.
Amazon supported this bill before its approval, advocating for a nationally consistent standard to prevent small businesses from grappling with a hodgepodge of state-level regulations.
MyFBAPrep’s co-founder, Tom Wicky, sees the legislation as a positive step forward: “I do find the legislation to be a step in a positive direction, as it will hold sellers accountable for the quality of their product — which ultimately benefits the consumer. It also will help listing quality and benefit brand owners.”
We’ve compiled a list of practical strategies to help you navigate the challenge of protecting your brand from counterfeits. These are aimed at preventing fakes, preserving your brand’s reputation, and maintaining consumer trust.
More than an aesthetically pleasing logo or a catchy slogan, branding serves as a unique identifier that sets your products apart from others.
Implementing unique branding elements on your products and packaging can significantly deter counterfeiters. Consider adopting distinctive markers such as:
QR codes are a powerful weapon in the fight against counterfeiting. They can store a significant amount of data, are easy to use, and add an extra layer of security for your brand. For example, when a shopper scans the code with their smartphone, it can lead them to your official website or a dedicated page that confirms the product’s legitimacy.
The success of QR codes largely depends on educating your customers about their purpose and how to use them. Include instructions on your packaging and website to guide buyers. This not only safeguards your brand against counterfeiters but also provides a better customer experience.
Engage and foster connections with your shoppers through email marketing, social media engagement, and communities. When customers feel a personal connection to your brand, they’re more likely to make repeat purchases from you rather than risk buying counterfeits. They’ll trust your products and appreciate the quality you deliver.
Plus, engaged customers are more inclined to notify you if they come across counterfeit versions of your products. They might spot these fakes on other platforms or in physical stores and alert you, allowing you to take action. Cultivating strong relationships with your customers helps detect counterfeits early so you can promptly investigate and address the issue.
As previously discussed, Amazon developed a series of anti-counterfeit initiatives, so you should harness their power to your benefit.
Register your brand, take part in the Transparency program for product serialization, and employ Project Zero’s AI-powered tools to monitor and manage potential counterfeit listings.
Monitor your brand name and best-selling products on Amazon as well as other platforms consistently. Early detection of counterfeits can save your brand reputation and prevent revenue loss.
You can be proactive in several ways:
Detect and address counterfeiting activities early to minimize their impact on your brand and your customers.
Register your trademarks, patents, and copyrights when applicable. This asserts your legal ownership over your products and your brand. Should counterfeiting issues arise, having your intellectual property rights in order will provide a solid legal footing for you to take action against thieves.
Amazon’s A+ Content (previously known as Enhanced Brand Content) effectively makes your listings stand out from potential counterfeiters.
With A+ Content, you can provide richer product descriptions using high-quality images, text placements, and a unique brand story. Here’s how to leverage it for maximum protection:
To access Amazon’s A+ Content, you must be part of Amazon’s Brand Registry. Once you’re in the program, capitalizing on A+ Content can significantly strengthen your defense against counterfeiters and ensure a superior shopping experience for your customers.
Looking for more ways to upgrade your product listings? Check out MyFBAPrep’s strategies for show-stopping product listings.
Test buying is a practice where a brand owner or representative purchases their products from other sellers who also list those items. The action aims to verify the authenticity of the products being sold under the brand’s name.
When the item arrives, you examine it as well as its packaging to determine whether it’s a genuine or counterfeit product. This helps identify unauthorized sellers or counterfeiters selling fake products under your brand’s name.
If you discover a counterfeit item through a test buy, you can use that evidence to report the issue to Amazon and take legal action against the counterfeit seller, if necessary. It’s an important tool in maintaining brand integrity and customer trust.
Consider taking legal action against counterfeiters when you find them. This is an aggressive approach, but it may be necessary to defend your brand in some cases. Consult with a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property rights to explore your options.
Regularly remind your customers about how to identify genuine products. Encourage them to purchase only from your official Amazon store or authorized resellers.
It might be beneficial to show the difference between a counterfeit item and a genuine product if you can obtain a counterfeit safely. Highlighting the discrepancies in quality, design, or performance can be a powerful deterrent against counterfeit goods.
Educated customers can play a significant role in identifying and reporting counterfeit products, so invest in and leverage your consumer base for greater policing.
The delivery leg of the shopping experience is a subtle yet powerful method of shielding your brand. Working with professional fulfillment partners like MyFBAPrep guarantees your customers a consistent and memorable unboxing experience that’s distinctly yours (and difficult to fake).
When you partner with a trustworthy fulfillment provider, your brand gains access to:
The Amazon marketplace has established itself as the land of opportunity for entrepreneurs both new and old. “When you’re talking about third-party sellers on any marketplace in the U.S., you’re talking about a true American Dream story,” says Tom Wicky. “Many of these sellers are mom-and-pop shops that were selling their goods and services with just a local reach before making it onto a marketplace. Now, having access to millions of customers on a global scale, they’ve been given the opportunity to truly thrive.”
However, that reach comes at a price, in the form of counterfeiters and unauthorized sellers looking to capitalize on your hard work. Protecting your Amazon brand from these scammers is an ongoing battle, but you can equip yourself to fight it. With the right blend of proactive vigilance, strategic measures, and partnerships, you can significantly diminish the impact of counterfeit activity on your brand.
Every stage of your business’s shopping experience reveals opportunities to safeguard your name, from unique branding elements to educational initiatives. As you erect these durable barriers against counterfeiters, you simultaneously elevate your brand’s reputation, boost customer trust, and strengthen the overall shopping experience.