It’s happened to me numerous times: you’ve put hours of work into researching, contacting suppliers, building your product, testing it, tweaking it, testing it again, pouring your heart into writing an engaging and interesting product description, taking photos, and shipping off your item to FBA, only to wake up one morning and see someone else has listed under your listing. They did not write the product description, take the photos, or arrange the bullet points in a way that builds off the weakness of competitors. And if they are five cents lower, chances are they will win the buy box and steal all your sales by riding off your hard work.
For this product, the seller who has the buy box is “Hyatt’s All Things Creative.” So anyone who clicks the big “Add to Cart” button at the top of the page will be ordering from them. There are other sellers on the bottom right who are selling under the same listing, but their chance of making sales are minimal to none, because Hyatt’s All Things Creative has the buy box. How do they have it? They have the lowest price and strongest reputation on Amazon. You could be the person who creates the listing, but if someone comes along and lists underneath yours and has a lower price, they can cut you out.
How do you fix this problem? There are three lines of defense you can use.
First Line of Defense - Basic
Your first line of defense is the weakest, but it is a start, especially if you don’t have a lot of money to start with.
Tactic one: Include your logo in your product photos.
If you have a simple logo, all you have to do is add it to the pictures of your Amazon listing. It’s super fast and simple. What does it do? It says “I have a brand and this is the logo. Don’t touch my brand.” It’s a strong statement.
Tactic two: In the title, say “by (your company name)”
At the very end of your title just add on “by (your company name)”. This discourages people from listing under that listing, because they see that the item belongs to a brand. It’s not a 100% guarantee someone won’t sell what you’re selling, but it really helps. If you show this is something you’ve personally invested in and belongs to you, it will discourage a lot of people from trying to undercut you.
Tactic three: Send a cease-and-desist letter
There are still some wannabes out there who are lazy and don’t want to write their own product description and will list under yours. They’re going to try to ride off all the hard work you did and still list under yours. I have a letter written by a lawyer that is extremely intimidating and powerful. You can send it to sellers who list under your listing. You can edit it as you like to include your brand name and product ASIN, I can send it to you if you comment below. It’s never failed to work for me.
Second Line of Defense - Stronger
Tactic one: Print your logo on your product
This is a very strong defense. Maybe you have it screen printed on a strap, or embossed into the side. It doesn’t have to be large. Most suppliers will actually do this for you for free or for a very small fee. If you have your logo printed on your product, if someone comes along and sees your listing, they can’t sell the same product, because they don’t have a logo. They’re not going to go get your logo printed on their product unless they’re a complete idiot.
Most suppliers are able to do this if they are worth their salt. Just ask them if they can print a logo on your item. You usually have to send your logo as a PNG or JPG file. If you don’t have one, you can get ideas from 99 designs or Fiverr, or have a friend whip you up a quick and simple logo. Send it to the supplier, they’ll print it on there, and you’re good to go.
Tactic two: Print your logo on the product packaging
Sometimes an item will be too difficult to put a logo on. For example, it would be crazy to stick a logo on a ring because it’s so tiny and it would stand out! There is another way if you are not able to print your logo on your product. Get your items shipped in boxes, and put your logo on the box. Again, suppliers can normally provide packaging for you. The higher quantity you order, the cheaper the logo will be to add, or completely free.
Third Line of Defense - Strongest
Tactic: Get your brand trademarked.
This is by far the strongest line of defense, but it does cost money. There is a website you need to sign up with, I’ll show you exactly how to do that. But this is the guaranteed way and legal backing, because Amazon will back you up every time on this one. I can not guarantee Amazon’s responses with the other lines of defense. But this one is 100%, because other sellers would be breaking the law. You can get your brand trademarked around the world as well, so you are covered in other countries where you do e-commerce. When you get it trademarked, that logo and company name are yours, and nobody can sell under that name if their product is in the same category.
I used to own a store called MountainVapes. I did not get it trademarked. I was young, dumb, and very ambitious. I was out selling, excited, and running my online store, when one day I get this letter from a lawyer. They were with a company called Smokey Mountain Vapes or something similar. They said they were trademarked, I couldn’t use the name I had, and I had to cease and desist. I’m not easily intimidated, but with this, I was nervous. I called the lawyer, emailed him, called the owner, emailed him, and had no response at all. The letter gave me a deadline by which I had to stop, so I finally changed the name.
I wouldn’t intentionally try to break a law. I didn’t know the name was trademarked. I just thought “Mountain Vapes sounds cool, let’s go with that.” So I changed my store name, and later on my business completely failed and I sold the whole thing for $25. It’s a story for a different day, but it was a great lesson in my life.
Those are the three lines of defense. Start off with the first, and work your way up, especially if you don’t have a lot of money.
A final thought: If you find a product, buy it really cheap, and sell it for a lot of money, that’s only worth getting a bit excited about. If your whole day revolves around buying a product and then selling it and the excitement that follows, you’re probably not going to succeed in growing passive income. Your boss will always be Amazon or eBay. The goal of passive income is to find a product that sells over and over again, that Amazon ships off instead of you, so you can hang out at the pool eating a chicken sandwich while FBA packs up all your orders. Get your money working for you, that’s the key. You’ll never stop if you’re stuck in the retail arbitrage cycle of buying and selling. Scale your business, and you’ll make more and more money and free more and more time. Have an awesome day.