BRAND REGISTRY

Before we discuss Amazon's Brand Registry, it's important to understand how Amazon works.  Every barcode has its own page on Amazon.  Barcodes are universal.  So if I go to WalMart, buy a bunch of Wilson basketballs on sale, and then try to resell them on Amazon, I will be listed on the same product page as everyone else trying to sell Wilson basketballs.  We are all trying to sell the same product (same barcode).  As an Amazon customer, you don't really pay attention to how many sellers are offering the product.  You might've noticed it'll say something like "also sold by 50 other sellers."  We don't really care about who's selling, only the price tag.  And Amazon displays the cheapest price.  So out of those fifty sellers, whoever has the lowest price gets the sale.  This is known as having the Buy Box.  When that seller runs out of inventory, it'll go to the next cheapest seller.  This causes sellers to constantly lower their prices to win the Buy Box.  They don't want to be sitting on inventory hoping their turn will eventually come.  This constant back and forth dropping of the price among sellers is why everything on Amazon is so cheap.  Very smart business model, if you're business is Amazon.

The next thing we need to discuss is an Amazon Seller feature known as commingling.  If I want Amazon to do all the storage and shipping for me, then I'd send in my supply of basketballs to one of their fulfillment centers.  And those other fifty sellers are probably sending in their basketballs too.  Since everyone is technically sending in the same product, Amazon commingles everyone's inventories together.  So when a customer buys a basketball, from whoever has the Buy Box, the nearest basketball is shipped to them.  That basketball probably didn't originate with that seller.  It's probably not one of the specific basketballs that seller sent to a fulfillment center.  It very well could've been one of my basketballs that was shipped to the customer.  That seller's inventory total goes down by one, while mine remains the same, because I haven't had any sales.  This is how Amazon is able to offer free 2-Day shipping.  Amazon is just sending you the closest product regardless of whose inventory it actually is.

However, there is one issue with commingling everyone's inventories.  Let's say as a seller, I take great pride in the basketballs I ship to Amazon's fulfillment center.  I ship them very carefully, with lots of bubble wrap, to make sure there are no scuff marks on the ball and no tears in the original packaging.  But when I have the Buy Box, and I get a sale, Amazon probably isn't sending them one of my clean basketballs.  They're just sending whatever basketball is closest.  What if the seller who submitted that basketball doesn't really care about the product?  When the customer receives the product and finds scuff marks, that bad review goes to my seller's account.  I get the blame for someone else's shitty inventory. 

 

This is amplified when you included counterfeiters.  A counterfeiter sends in fake, cheap, knock-off basketballs but with the same bardcode.  The counterfeiter then lowers their price to win the Buy Box, every sale goes to them, and the nearest inventory (probably my clean basketballs) are shipped to the customers.  So the customers are happy and the counterfeiter is happy, that is until...

If the counterfeiter sent in twenty fake basketballs, then after twenty sales occur the counterfeiter has no registered inventory left to sell.  The knock-off basketballs are still in the fulfillment center, because twenty of my clean basketballs were sent to the customers.  So the counterfeiter takes the profit and leaves.  Now the Buy Box is mine.  And I start getting all the sales.  But all my clean basketballs were used up, so Amazon starts sending whatever basketballs are readily available.  Customers start receiving those damn cheap knock-off basketballs.  And my account gets flooded with complains, returns, and bad reviews.  All because the consumer thinks I'm responsible for this shitty product.

There are two ways to solve this issue.  As a seller you can turn off the commingling feature.  Sounds simple, it's not.  If you want your product separated from the rest, you must cover up your barcode, because the barcode is what says your product is the exact same as all the others.  You cover up this barcode with a new barcode that Amazon generates.  So now you spend hours printing and applying these new barcodes.  If you sell in large quantities this would be really awful.  If you're selling a product that you don't own, like Wilson basketballs, this is the only way to separate your inventory from another seller's.

 

The next method of solving this only applies if you actually own the product.  There’s a program by Amazon called Brand Registry, and you’ll need an official trademark before you enroll.  The program allows you to specifically tell Amazon that you and you alone own this product.  No one else has the right to sell the product on Amazon’s platform unless you give permission.  This stops counterfeiters and unwanted, neglectful resellers. 

If you're the only seller then there's no commingling of inventories, mainly because you're the only inventory.  And if you grant permission to other sellers to carry your product, you shouldn't have to worry, because you'd only grant permission to sellers you trust.

With Brand Registry, you're also the only one who can update the product description page.  Plus another section known as “From The Manufacturer” becomes available to you, which allows you to provide even more information and images.

 

Brand Registry isn’t through the Amazon Seller platform for some reason, it has it’s own website (brandregistry.amazon.com).  You’ll make an account and follow the enroll instructions.  Once you’ve been validated, the rest of the website will become available.  You’ll be able to add additional trademarks to your products and report infringement violations.

 

And if you want to have an Amazon Store page, you would need to have an enrolled brand.