When you generate a new Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) for your products, you’re giving unlicensed merchants, drop shippers, and counterfeiters the opportunity to take advantage of your inventory. These unethical third-party vendors are part of a growing problem in the Amazon Marketplace, and Amazon is doing little to address it.
The protection of your ASIN is a vital component of doing business on Amazon. It’s critical to understand how unlicensed merchants work to understand why this has become such a crucial practice.
Purpose of an ASIN on AMAZON Market
Amazon was already on its way to becoming the giant eCommerce platform it is today when the ASIN system was launched a few years back. Each ASIN is made up of ten alphanumeric characters that are frequently based on the Universal Product Code (UPC) and can be converted into a barcode for scanning on item labels. The ASIN format is similar to the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), but it can be customized for different product categories and markets. A DVD of “Star Wars Episode One: A New Hope” purchased in Germany, for example, may have a different ASIN than one purchased in the United States.
In general, any new ASIN you create will attempt to include all characters from the retail product codes you’ve already obtained for your products, which can be in the UPC, ISBN, EAN, or JAN formats. The ASIN is linked to a variety of Amazon e-commerce features, such as inventory databases, sales figures, and product descriptions.
How Do Unauthorized Sellers Profit from ASINs?
Amazon welcomes third-party sellers in the Marketplace because they can boost sales and create a more competitive retail environment. In essence, marketplace merchants do not need to have their own inventory to register. Checking available ASINs, particularly those operated by a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) center, might help you decide whether to offer smartphone accessories like protective covers. Many ASINs are available to third-party sellers; in fact, when a new ASIN is generated, this is the default setting, which Amazon favors because it matches their business model and ideal of a wide-open online bazaar.
You can use the Amazon Brand Registry option to make your ASIN private or only allow third-party sellers you’ve vetted; however, drop shippers and illegal sellers have been known to get around this limitation using tools like ASIN grabbers and scrapers. Sophisticated drop shippers know how to manipulate the FBA system so that when buyers receive their purchases, the package appears to have come from you; when this happens, the item is usually sold at a higher price so that the dropshipper can profit, which means you’ll have to refund more money than usual on each return request.