Can Your Company Survive Brand Gate 2.0?Scott Margolius
One of the biggest risks we face as Amazon sellers is the way Amazon controls which products we can and can’t sell. We are on the cusp of being impacted by their efforts to drive quality and protect the consumer through their major change, dubbed Brand Gate 2.0. This initiative merges Brand Gating with Brand Registry functions to significantly restrict which sellers can sell which products. We suspect the changes rolling out this month will also impact the way the IP Rights Holder complaints will be handled.
Do you need to learn more about Brand Gating and Brand Registry? Are you wondering if these potential changes will apply to you? Listen to this recent podcast on the subject between Scott Margolius and Robyn Johnson. It provides some background.
NOTE: We realize the rest of this post might be longer than what you have time to consume. If so, don’t spend time reading any further. Listen to the podcast above at 1.5x speed and if you find that information interesting or relevant then it might make sense to circle back and finish reading the rest below.
Are you prepared for Brand Gate 2.0’s impact on your Amazon business?
From our vantage point, regardless of the fallout and how this new initiative plays out, you can still keep your seat at the table.
How to Survive Brand Gate 2.0
If most of the brands you carry or care about (or even just the most lucrative ones in your catalog) suddenly become unavailable to you, your business is not over.
You will almost certainly have to adapt and change your sourcing. You can’t afford missteps because there won’t be much time to learn after Brand Gate 2.0 happens. Now is the time to plan and prepare to change your business model.
You will still be able to recover and succeed if you are the first to pivot and hustle.
Over 75% of the ASIN and Account Suspensions we see arise out of complications associated with RA/OA.
Let that sink in for just a moment.
If your sourcing is predominantly from Retail Arbitrage (RA) and/or Online Arbitrage (OA) your account is under greater pressure than the sellers who acquire product otherwise. We’ve been helping many sellers transition to wholesale and private label. With regard to your account health, it’s a much safer place to be.
For those of you who are reading this and are extremely resistant to abandoning RA/OA, we totally understand. It IS hard to let go.
1) RA/OA is SO easy. BUT, wholesale and other strategies can be just as easy or are even easier in some cases. Replens alone account for some significant advantages. Plus, think of all of the time you’ll save by not running from store to store to store.
2) RA/OA is SO lucrative. BUT, wholesale and PL can be just as profitable and even more so.
3) Sellers often don’t feel they have the skills or knowledge to succeed at other types of sourcing. BUT, this is easy to overcome and sellers who cut their teeth on RA/OA have proven they have grit, hustle, determination, and the ability to make important assessments regarding product selection. All of these assets translate REALLY well into other types of sourcing.
4) There are certainly a number of other legitimate objections to changing from an existing RA/OA sourcing model. We can help you get to safer ground faster than if you were attempting it on your own.
If you find that you are restricted from selling a product or brand, what do you do? You’ll need to quickly find other products to fill the gaps. Accelerate your learning as it pertains to private label and wholesale. To acquire replacement inventory quickly, you’ll have to retrain, learn new sourcing strategies, find new suppliers, etc. All of these changes are VERY straightforward. There is no mystery to it.
It usually takes a while to build relationships with vendors and find new sources of inventory. Since scaling is usually a slower process than you’d like, the best plan is to start now so that you can be best prepared going into Q4.
You should stay optimistic because your experience and your ability to adapt are your biggest advantage in this marketplace. If you couple this with a professional operation you’ll be prepared for these changes. It takes a ton of focus and effort to be able to push into new territory like wholesale and PL while you are still attempting to maintain your existing operation. We understand not everyone has the time or the financial luxury of stopping cold turkey to pursue other sources of inventory. For at least the next six months, you might have to work a lot harder than you really want to. You’ll look back and know it was worth it.
Is your organization ready?
To thrive in the midst of the changes that are coming on Amazon, you’ll need a healthy, nimble, and streamlined organization.
How to prepare for Brand Gate 2.0:
- Get authorization to sell the products that are in your inventory. This is the single best way to protect your account.
- Analyze your existing inventory and eliminate everything with a higher level of risk. That risk can come in many forms. For instance, the review rating of products might not have been one of your standard sourcing criteria. If a product has 3.5 stars or less, you need to examine the cause of the complaints to make sure you have the least likelihood of selling products which will be returned or fail to meet buyer expectations.
- Closely review your inventory. Eliminate everything that is inactive that you aren’t going to replenish. Delete even active items that haven’t sold in the past year. Cleaning up these items is critical because it prevents your receiving performance notifications about them.
- Remove your offending inventory and liquidate it through other channels. Keep a permanent record of the brand and items you won’t replenish so that none of your sourcing staff mistakenly buys anything that you know you shouldn’t sell.
- Require excellent invoices from your suppliers. Be able to provide proof of your chain of custody. Make sure your products are genuine.
- Implement policies and procedures to cover these areas. Set regular team meetings to communicate these changes and initiatives.
- Do your best to successfully resolve every performance notification. One of the most common reasons for account suspensions is because sellers don’t adequately handle every significant performance notification. If a performance notification is not addressed and removed, Amazon counts it against you.
Use the performance notifications and your resulting actions taken to build a better business. It’s an opportunity to develop SOP’s to prevent recurrence. Every notification requires you to address something that’s wrong with your business. Find the root cause. Fix the problem. Avoid a repeat.
Stating that you will no longer sell a product and removing it from your inventory is rarely sufficient. That is only one step toward resolution but doesn’t adequately address the root problem.
Get outside help if you are overwhelmed. Even if yours is a large organization, many times there is no resident Amazon expert on staff. It is always better to get help in advance rather than having to resolve bigger issues later.
EcomSellerTools is your Brand Gating Strategic Partner:
Stay ahead of the curve and thrive by developing a plan that’s ready to execute the moment Brand Gating (or any other) changes go live on Amazon.
Our diverse and knowledgeable team has seen virtually every problem an Amazon account could possibly have (and fixed them).
We treat every case, every client, and every opportunity uniquely.
In over four years of serving Amazon sellers, we have maintained quality and provided the best possible service because we pay attention to your needs. Instead of just resolving issues as they arise, we make sure you increase in your knowledge and understanding of Amazon as well.
Leverage our experience to your advantage. We’re here to help you find a better way forward. We’re ready to help you hone your skills, find your own recipes for success, and get you out of trouble as needed.
We can help you grow and protect every aspect of your Amazon and ecommerce business. We serve brick and mortar businesses, manufacturers, brand owners, Amazon business owners and others.
If you are looking for more information on what is going on with Brand Gate 2.0, this is some great additional detail by our friends at SellerLabs: http://ecomaxiom.com/br2x
If you know you are ready for help or want to learn more about what we can do for you, feel free to reach out via the link below.
Our service offerings include:
- Amazon account reinstatements
- ASIN reinstatements
- resolution for IP rights holder complaints
- safety complaint responses
- account health assessments
- PPC ad spend optimization and management
- AMS, A+ and Enhanced Brand Content
- listing creation and listing optimization
- sourcing and product development
- branding and product photography
- Shopify, WordPress and other web development
- account management and MAP management
- helping with seller feedback
- product reviews / reputation management
- supply chain management
- lean manufacturing six sigma process implementations
- developing systems and processes SOP’s
… we really can do it all.
If onsite consulting is necessary, we offer custom training packages to both individuals and large organizations. Our Amazon coaching and consulting, MAP management, brand protection, marketing campaigns, and life coaching round out additional offerings but if there is any service you don’t see, just ask.
Our network of alliances and strategic partners allows us to help you with legal concerns including patents, business law and IP claims, international currency repatriation, graphic design, traditional print advertising, accounting and more. We have an attorney on staff, so our communications can be attorney-client privileged, if necessary.
We have a combined total of 73 years of Amazon experience and 153 years on eBay.
With multiple businesses owned, operated, and sold, collectively our team** has:
- 122 years of experience in customer service
- 97 years of project management experience
- 64 years of branding
- 85 years of managing teams
- 44 years of lean manufacturing
- 72 years of sourcing
- 61 years of building websites
- 63 years of product development
We have the expertise to meet and exceed your Amazon and ecommerce needs.
**These are actual years of experience of our domestic team members. We have not included any of the valuable and relevant experience of our offshore teams.