Hilfe, Hijacker Alarm

Hilfe, Hijacker Alarm

Hijacker sind Diebe, die sich an deinem Erfolg bereichern wollen. Sie übernehmen Daten aus deinem Amazon-Listing und verkaufen unter deinem Markennamen ihre eigenen Produkte. Verglichen mit deinen Produkten sind sie in den meisten Fällen qualitativ schlechter, was zu Beanstandungen führt. Der Ruf deiner mühevoll aufgebauten Marke kann stark geschädigt werden und du kannst Verkäufe und das Vertrauen deiner Kunden verlieren. In diesem Gastbeitrag von Alex Borisenko von Bindwise findest du Ratschläge, wie du dich vor Hijackern schützen kannst.


Amazon Hijackers — Threat For Private Label Sellers (And The New Strategy For Combating Them)

Recently, in the community of European sellers on Amazon, the topic of fighting hijackers is becoming increasingly popular. The appearance of a hijacker on the listing is the worst fear of a private label seller.

What does it mean to have your listing “hijacked”?

In short, having a listing hijacked generally means that someone is selling a counterfeit or similar version of your private label product. Hijackers are short-term sellers who find strong selling Amazon product listings and take them over to sell their own products. Imagine that after you have spent months of hard work building your reputation on Amazon, suddenly there will be some competitor with cheap fake, taking advantage of the popularity of your listing and stealing a part or all your sales!

This post will show you a number of actionable tactics and a strategy to protect your listing from hijackers. We will also give you some tips on what to do if your listing has already been hijacked.

Let’s look at a few tactics to curb the actions of hijackers.

Step 1a. Protect your listing from hijacking with unique or unusual configuration of your product

Make a kit. Add to your kit some element that your competitors will be difficult to counterfeit. No need to invent anything complicated. Just add the component purchased from another manufacturer into it. Thus, if someone wants to duplicate your listing, he will have to search for the goods that come with the kit from different manufacturers — and this is much more difficult than forging one single item.

Look, for example, on the two listings below.

 

 

The above listing is fairly easy to copy. Perhaps, for this reason the goods on the same listing are sold by two different sellers. In this listing there is absolutely nothing that would distinguish the goods presented on it from other similar goods (in this case we are talking about ultraviolet lamps).

 

 

The second listing is much less attractive for hijackers. Obviously, in this case, the seller asked his supplier to put in a set of Duracell batteries, and also added inexpensive protective goggles to the kit, designating them as “ultraviolet glasses”. Thus, he complicated the complete set of his goods. And as a result – no other sellers easily can pretend to be the same listing. To further secure the goods, do not order from your supplier a joint packing of all components. In Step 4, we’ll explain why.

So far, so good?

Step 1b: Okay, but what if my listing has already been attacked by hijackers?

Visit this guide 😉*

Then start monitoring your listings. Your best chance of success against hijackers is an immediate and aggressive response.

Private label sellers need to be proactive and respond to hijackers in real time to minimize sales damage and prevent dissatisfied customers from flooding your listings with negative reviews. The problem is that to find out who has hijacked your listings is a very manual and time-consuming task.

There is a tool out there called Bindwise*. It is an Amazon alert tool and offers a solution which would email online sellers when another seller had hijacked onto one of their listings, giving them a link to take action.

Give it a try with FREE 30-day trial*.

Step 2: Brand! Brand! Brand!

If the brand name is displayed on the photo of your product, it will be much more difficult for hijackers to fake it. You noticed on the above examples that in the first case the product is shown without the brand logo, while in the second case it is clearly visible that the goods are branded.

Registering your brand in the “Amazon Brand Registry” is another way to put the sticks in the wheel of potential hijackers. By registering your brand, you can better control the name and description of your listing. And if someone steals your brand or fakes your product, you can complain to Amazon and demand the removal of a fake listing.

Finally, think about registering your trademark in the country in which you are going to make sales. Thus, in addition to combating hijackers under the Amazon User Agreement, you will have the opportunity to prosecute them for copyright infringement. Even if you do not intend to resort to active legal action against hijackers and hire a lawyer for this, you can send them a letter warning that they have violated copyright laws. This can be quite enough for the violators to get scared and leave your listing alone.

Make sense?

Step 3: Build good relationships with suppliers

Have you ever heard of “guanxi”? This Chinese term means “social relations” or “social connections”. If you build good business relationships with your suppliers, they will warn you about any possible hijackers that are lurking in your listing.

Most of the sales agents in China are young people of a little over twenty who have learned English at local Chinese universities and who have had very little to do with foreigners in their lives. After acquainting them with your culture and showing them that you are open to dialogue, you can thus build up a strong business relationship with them without superfluous efforts. Even if you do not get close enough to them, as if you lived next to them and met regularly, it would still give you a trump card in the fight against the hijackers and doing a future business with them.

Building Guanxi

The following is a great example of how building a good relationship in the guanxi spirit can help a supplier …

The Chinese sourcing company Guided Imports works with many sellers in the Amazon, helping them to buy and produce goods in China. One of its clients sent to representatives of this company a sheet with the specification of the goods, which he wanted to produce.

Having received a new order, the company starts with a production opportunity report, which provides estimates of all costs associated with production. To write a report, Guided Imports managers contact various suppliers. And one day, one of the agents of this company received an official warning letter from the “best seller” of the same goods on Amazon. Having consulted with their lawyers, managers came to the conclusion that the warning letter does not carry any legal force, so no one needs to react to it.

However, it is important here that one of the five suppliers contacted by Guided Imports has such close business contacts with the seller on Amazon that this supplier warned his client that some Chinese sourcing company is going to compete with him on Amazon”.

This example shows that the relationship between the supplier and his client is so strong that the supplier is ready to lose the opportunity to sell his product once again just to please his regular customer. You should strive to achieve exactly this level of “guanxi”. Do not expect that you will be able to do this quickly, after several orders. It may take months or years to build such a strong relationship with the supplier, but certainly the result is worth the effort.

Step 4: Make it difficult for your supply phases to be tracked

This is the most important factor preventing the emergence of hijackers, while, for some reason, sellers on Amazon most often forget about it. Usually, when sourcing and communicating with suppliers, most of the Amazon vendors say something like this:

● “We are a growing company in the field of ecommerce, interested in selling this product on Amazon”

● “Hi, we want to re-manufacture this product — link to this product on Amazon — to sell it on Amazon”

● “We want the FNSKU barcode labels to be glued to each product”

● “Do you have the experience of packing goods for Amazon FBA?”

You ask – what’s wrong with all these frequent phrases? The matter of fact is that they fully disclose your supply and marketing channels!

How to protect your supply process

Never tell your manufacturer that you are a seller on Amazon. If you still do not understand, it’s very easy to trade on Amazon. It is for this reason that so many sellers have faced recently with a drop in sales and increased competition. It’s so simple – any person, even a plant worker who works part-time, can open a merchant account on Amazon and start trading, especially if he knows for sure that a certain product manufactured in a certain place is successfully sold.

1. Break the chain between the manufacturer and the end buyer

First, you need to break the chain between the manufacturer and the end customer. In no case do not send your manufacturer a FNSKU barcode, otherwise he will immediately guess the purpose of your product. Let him think better that you have a small family shop serving residents of your area. Next, find a company or individual that you can trust with the packaging and labeling of the product.

2. Organize packaging and preparation of goods for sale outside of China

If your manufacturer sends you the product without seeing its packaging or label, it will be much more difficult for him to identify your final buyer and to forge your listing. Remember that although Amazon is a huge market, it accounts for only a tiny part of Chinese production. So for Chinese manufacturers it’s not obvious at all, that you’re going to sell your goods exactly on Amazon, and not on any other marketplace.

Without a doubt, merchants will save money if they order the packaging and preliminary preparation of their goods in China. However, we believe that for the sake of extra security, it is worth a little overpay and send your goods from China as quickly as possible. Many sourcing companies offer their own packaging and logistics services. Usually, they have special fulfillment-centers, where the goods are consolidated, labeled and packaged away from prying eyes.

Not all merchants use the services of sourcing companies, despite the fact that they can not only save your money, but also protect your brand. Another option is to pay for the packaging and preparation of goods in your own country. By sending goods without packaging to full-service centers in your country and receiving a signed non-disclosure agreement, you thereby further complicate the potential hijackers to track your final buyer. Although many sellers are increasingly resorting to this option, it can turn into a pretty penny. You should understand that in this case you slow down the logistics process and overpay for hiring a Western specialist to perform work that in China could be done at times cheaper. However, for some particularly cautious sellers, it is worth doing that.

In case you managed to find a trustworthy company in China, you can entrust it with packing and marking your goods in accordance with the requirements of Amazon FBA. The advantage of this option is that employees of this company can conduct an individual inspection of all your goods as an additional measure for quality control.

3. Keep your brand confidential

Whichever option you choose, remember one thing: contact the services of only one company that is not only able to maintain the confidentiality of your brand, but it will not become your direct competitor on Amazon. As the sourcing/service industry grows, we see a huge increase in competition among service providers, many of whom are also sellers on Amazon. This creates a strong conflict of interest. If you absolutely want to save your money by ordering logistics services in China, choose at least a company that has a registered office in any western country. Thus, it will be much easier for you to solve legal issues, if they arise. Here are some useful questions that you can ask your potential service providers:

● Is there someone among your employees who trades in the Amazon?

● Who will handle my goods? How can you guarantee me that this employee will not use my confidential information and will not compete with me?

● Where is your company registered? If I have any problems, does your company have representation in my country?

In conclusion

Unfortunately, everyone who trades on Amazon, from time to time, has to deal with hijackers. This is a sad reality. However, applying a strategy aimed at preventing the appearance of hijackers on your listing, and also carrying out an action plan to combat them in case of their attack, you will protect yourself from the risk of loss of profit and all the ensuing inconveniences!

 

Autor: Alex Borisenko von Bindwise*

Dorothea Whitehead

Dorothea Whitehead

Doro ist seit Juni '17 bei PLJ dabei und kümmert sich hier um die Administration, Blogs und Organisatorisches. Mit Ellis zusammen ist sie selbst begeisterte Amazon-Sellerin und natürlich hat der spannenden Weg zum Amazon-Biz über PLJ begonnen. Doro hat zwei Kinder: "Das Beste ist, dass ich mein Muttersein und das Business hervorragend vereinbaren kann."


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