Is imitation really the sincerest form of flattery? Not when it’s stealing your profits and diluting your brand integrity.
E-commerce may open your brand up to new audiences and revenue streams, but it also leaves it vulnerable to bad actors who produce knockoffs and unauthorized representations of your products. That’s why Amazon attempts to protect sellers like you with brand gating.
Let’s take a look at Amazon brand gating and how it helps you stay in control of your marketplace presence.
What Is Amazon Brand Gating?
Amazon brand gating is a program designed to help sellers prevent unauthorized sales of counterfeit or knockoff products. Amazon Brand Registry allows sellers to “gate” their marketplace presence, limiting the number of sellers for their products and requiring approval and written permission before resellers may proceed with operations.
Why Is Amazon Brand Gating Important?
Amazon is a hotspot for counterfeit activity. Many well-known brands have long been hesitant to sell direct-to-consumers on the marketplace for this very reason. Birkenstock made national headlines when it quit Amazon back in 2016 over product authenticity issues, and Nike followed suit in 2019 by no longer selling direct. In 2020, Amazon’s Brand Protection Report revealed the company blocked more than 10 billion counterfeit listings and destroyed two million fake goods in its warehouses that same year.
But despite these measures, consumers can still fall prey to counterfeit scams. Sometimes, they simply don’t realize when they purchase a poor-quality counterfeit instead of the real thing. After all, they often focus more on comparing prices than vetting merchants in order to make quick, convenient purchases.
So when a lower-priced listing appears in product search results, consumers trust that Amazon is serving up the best purchase options. This is where problems begin.
Brand gating on Amazon allows authorized sellers to take action against counterfeiters and keep customers from purchasing fakes.
How Does Amazon Brand Gating Work?
Amazon brand gating requires resellers of your products to show proof that you’ve allowed them to sell your product. You can designate which products and listings require proof by linking an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN). If a third-party seller tries to use your ASIN, they will receive a notification, blocking them from selling until they:
- Pay your brand a non-refundable $1,500 fee
- Provide written permission from your brand to sell gated products
- Send three purchase invoices from the manufacturer or distributor dated within the last 90 days
The steep fee and required documentation prevent sellers looking for an easy payout from attempting to counterfeit your products further.
To apply for brand gating on Amazon:
- Get registered. Register your brand with Amazon Brand Services. You must provide an active registered text- or image-based mark with words, letters or numbers.
- Provide a list of ASINs for gating. After Amazon approves your brand registration, compile a list of the ASINs you want gated. Submit an application for brand gating on Amazon and be sure to include relevant information like your seller ID, list of current authorized sellers and any measures you’ve already taken against counterfeiting. Providing this information may help speed the gating process.
- Submit your application. After you apply, Amazon does all the rest. No need to repeatedly check for hijackers or knockoffs across the marketplace.
While not required, it’s also a good idea to develop a strategy for preventing and addressing counterfeits across all marketplaces you sell on. Assess gating procedures on each marketplace and make sure you have documentation at the ready, including:
- Your registered trademark
- Links or images of fake listings
- Documented action you’ve taken against counterfeits (e.g., cease and desist letters)
How Can You Be Sure Your ASINs Are Brand Gated?
After you’ve applied, you can check to see if the correct listings are brand gated (and see what outside sellers will see) by using a different seller account to search for the ASIN(s).
Click on the “Sell On Amazon” button in the account. If the product is gated, a warning message will appear indicating that approval is needed to list products of that brand, alongside a button to request approval.
Who Can Take Advantage of Brand Gating on Amazon?
Brand gating is a great idea for large brands who are vulnerable to counterfeiting (e.g., those in fashion or consumer electronics). While smaller brands may still benefit from Amazon brand gating, household name brands or sole distributors with unique items stand to gain the most benefit.
Because sellers must have a registered trademark to apply for Amazon brand gating, only brands in the following countries may apply:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- European Union
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
What Are the Benefits of Amazon Brand Gating for Retailers?
Brand gating on Amazon benefits sellers and their authorized reseller network in a number of ways, including:
Amazon brand gating is completely automated, meaning once you’re approved, seller services handles the rest. No manual counterfeit hunting. No checking listings religiously. You can win back time and productivity by keeping your team focused on selling instead of worrying about unauthorized sellers and products.
You’ve carefully curated your reseller network, but unauthorized sellers disrupt those plans and cut into your marketplace sales, as well as those of your approved third-party sellers. By stopping fake accounts, consumers will only see legitimate listings, feeding revenue through your approved channels back to your bottom line.
Through no fault of their own, consumers may choose listings from unapproved sellers on the basis of lower cost and stolen images or descriptions they believe to be real. When they receive the counterfeit products, the poor quality may lead them to write bad reviews and stop purchasing your brand’s products in the future. Limiting the selling pool to only authorized sellers guarantees you control the products your customers receive, increasing the likelihood of a positive experience.
What Should Third-Party Sellers Do?
If you’re selling third-party on Amazon, at some point you may be notified that you lack authorization to sell a specific brand and need to obtain approval. This notification may appear in your Amazon Seller Central account or, if you’re using ChannelAdvisor, in your Amazon dashboard within the platform. When that happens, we recommend taking the following actions:
- Visit this Amazon Seller page and input the ASIN in question.
- Go through the approval process for each brand that requires gating.
After you complete those steps, Amazon may tell you it could take up to seven days to receive approval. However, we’ve seen responses in as little as 48 hours in some instances.
How Does ChannelAdvisor Help Manage Amazon Brand Gating?
When your brand is facing unlawful product reproduction or your third-party retailers get undercut by counterfeit products, it sure helps to have a representative on your side. ChannelAdvisor Managed Services go to bat for you, setting up brand gating on every relevant listing and automatically monitoring for potential threats. Thanks to our longstanding relationships with Amazon, you’ll have expert guidance and increased confidence to sell without worry.
Contact us today to learn more about our Managed Services and a demo of the ChannelAdvisor platform.
Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published in January 2019 and was updated in September 2022 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.