Amazon introduced Brand Gating policy to empower brands and manufacturers to control who sells their Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs). The main purpose of this brand gating policy is to reduce the counterfeiting of goods from unscrupulous sellers, but it arguably has had the largest impact on third-party sellers and retail arbitragers selling genuine products.
What is Amazon Brand Gating? Why is this important? And, how to get your brand gated?
Let’s find out the answers in this post!
What is Brand Gating on Amazon?
In an effort to step in and make the experience on Amazon successful for shoppers, brands, and authorized resellers on the third-party marketplace, Amazon implemented Brand Gating to minimize — and eventually eradicate — the existence of counterfeit goods on Amazon. In short, Brand Gating is a process in which third-party sellers wishing to sell a branded product need to apply and fulfil certain criteria set up by Amazon.
Why is Brand Gating Important?
The first reason is that brand gating helps to protect your brand reputation, prevents counterfeiters and unauthorized resellers to continue selling your products. To prove their legitimacy, Amazon is requiring authorized resellers to provide invoices from manufacturers showing purchase of items within the last 90 days, written permission from the brand to sell their products. By asking Amazon to have your brand gated, you protect your brand not only from the potential loss of sales due to third parties leeching them off your share, but also from the loss of brand trust thanks to sub-par counterfeits reaching your customers.
Moreover, brand gating is single-handedly the most effective way to protect your listings from being hijacked. Hijackers have been a challenge for sellers and in some instances have flooded product categories. Reducing counterfeiting is a huge focus area for Amazon and they have largely simplified the process. Previously, a seller was required to purchase the counterfeit goods to prove to Amazon how it did not match their product exactly. This got expensive for sellers that got flooded by hijackers and many gave up their listing. The policy change provides sellers a proactive option to stop hijacking. Individual sellers can request to have their brands gated on Amazon. The process may take a few weeks, but there are certain steps that you can follow to give your brand the best chance of being approved.
Head to Brand Gate Add-on to remove hijackers from ASIN without trademark
How to Enroll in Brand Gating?
Follow these steps to give your brand the best chance of being gated. Amazon does not guarantee that they will accept the request. Here are the steps you can take to request brand gating.
Trademark your brand
This step is optional, but can only help your case. You can register a trademark through your local intellectual property office, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the USA. Amazon requires either a text-based mark or an image-based mark with words, letters, or numbers. Note that registering trademarks typically incurs fees. The process can be lengthy and annoying and take 8- 12 months to get your brand trademarked.
Join Amazon Brand Registry
By becoming a member of Amazon Brand Registry, you are proactively taking measures to optimize your brand representation on Amazon, equipping the company with the proper information to find and report counterfeit violations. Amazon will not consider you for brand gating if you are not enrolled with the Brand Registry. To become brand-registered, you need an active registered trademark in each country you wish to enroll, and filing with the USPTO will demonstrate that you are serious about compliance.
Provide list of ASINs to be gated
Amazon will need a list of your products that you want to be gated. They may gate your entire brand in some instances, but clearly indicating the listings to be gated will help move along the process.
Highlight Your Counterfeiting Efforts
Amazon does appear to give priority to sellers that are actively fighting counterfeiters on their listings. A history of removing counterfeiters will help you get your request approved. If you do not have a history, discussing the other steps such as registering your brand and trademarking again shows that you take your brand serious.
It can take up to a month or more for a request to be approved. You may or may not receive an email notification from Amazon. To check if you brand gating request was approved, check your listings regularly. Click “Sell on Amazon” on your listing page in the “Other Sellers on Amazon” section. You will know if the request was approved if you are brought to a page saying “You need approval to list in this brand.”
All in all, brand gating is a relatively new way of protecting your brand from unauthorized reselling and counterfeiting. As an Amazon seller, if you have the unfortunate experience of finding a counterfeit of your product eating up on your sales and destroying the trust customers put in your brand, you should register the brand in the Brand Registry and have the items brand gated as soon as possible.