What is an Amazon Listing Hijack? (And What Can You Do About It?)

amazon listing hijack

 

Are you doing everything you can to protect your brand?

 

With over 310 million active customers using Amazon, everybody wants a piece of the pie. For retailers, the Amazon marketplace is a land of opportunity. But competition is rife, and the platform is full of shady sellers using underhand tactics. 

One of those tactics is an Amazon listing hijack. If you don’t know what a listing hijack is, get ready to shake your fists in fury. If you are, you’ll know exactly how frustrating they can be. 

In this article, we give you the lowdown on exactly what an Amazon listing hijack is, how to face one, and what you can do to prevent another.

Let’s jump right in.

What Is a Listing Hijack?

Let’s imagine you launch a new Amazon product. 

You research it; you source it; you ship it; you spend a lot of time (and money) perfecting the finer details of the listing. 
Once it’s live, you kick back and watch the sales tot up.

But one day you notice a sudden drop. You check your listing page and see another seller offering your exact product, using your listing to promote it. 

This seller has counterfeited your product and now competes with you on price. In other words, you’ve been hijacked.

Uh oh.

Why It Matters

An Amazon listing hijack hurts for two main reasons:

Losing the Buy Box & Sales

For every product, Amazon automatically designates one seller as the primary or default. When a consumer clicks ‘add to cart’, Amazon gives the primary seller the purchase, what’s known as the ‘buy box‘. 

In most instances, consumers don’t need to manually select a different seller offering the same product. Because of this, being the buy box owner gives you a huge advantage over the competition.

In fact, a hijacker stealing the buy box from you can drastically reduce sales.

Nobody wants that.

Damaging Your Brand

Listing hijackers often sell an inferior product. If buyers purchase from your listing trying to get your quality product, they’ll be disappointed.

The result? 

Your listing will pick up negative feedback, lowering your ranking position over time. You also won’t get as much repeat custom.

Both factors ultimately lead to negative brand reputation, something not easily shaken off.

How to Deal with a Listing Hijack

So what can you do? Here’s our 3 step process for dealing with an Amazon listing hijack:

1. Lower Your price

Don’t worry, it won’t be permanent. But while you take further action, a temporary price reduction offers two benefits. 

First, you’ll get the buy box back. While your profit margins may be reduced, you won’t lose out on each sale entirely. 

Second, it prevents your competition from gaining sales information for the product. The less they know, the better.

2. Write To the Seller

Your next step is to write a ‘cease & desist’ letter to the hijacker. 

Be firm, but polite, and explain in clear language why you’re contacting them. You need to explicitly mention you’ll pursue further action with Amazon if they fail to stop what they’re doing.

You’d be surprised how often this works. Even in cases where it doesn’t, it gives you extra ammunition for the next stage.

3. File a Complaint with Amazon

Next, you should formally submit a complaint to Amazon.

They have an anti-counterfeit policy. If you can prove the seller is offering a fake version of your product, they will remove it.

When filing an infringement claim, be thorough. Take the time and gather as much information as possible. To help, you can even buy the counterfeit item from the seller, under a separate account.

At a minimum, you’ll want to submit a record of the following:

  • The ASIN/ISBN of the item page

  • Name of the seller account in question

  • The date you started selling

  • The date you noticed the hijackers actions

  • Photos that demonstrate the product doesn’t match listing description

  • List of ways in which product doesn’t match listing description

If your evidence satisfies them, Amazon will remove the hijacked listing. Success!

How to Prevent Future Hijacking

While it might feel good to get sweet revenge on the hijacker, you don’t want to go through the whole process again. Hijacking is one of several common marketplace challenges that become more frustrating with each occurrence. 

Here are 6 tips to prevent an Amazon listing hijack in the future:

1. Take Screenshots

After creating your listing, take dated screenshots. This way, if it’s changed without your authority, it’ll be easier to return the listing back to its original form.

2. Brand Registry

Officially registering your brand with Amazon is simple; all you need is a company website and the time to provide a few details.

Still, brand registry won’t prevent other sellers from selling your branded products altogether. But it does make it less likely for your listing to be changed without your consent.

3. Upload Brand Name Photos

Take new listing photos that clearly display your product branding, including tags and packaging.

4. Offer Unique Value

The more unique and tailored your product is, the harder it will be to imitate. Not only will it deter hijackers, but your product will be more successful in the long-run too.

5. Use Bundling

Bundling two products together into one listing makes hijacking it that much harder. In fact, it’s twice the work! Effective bundling can be difficult, but it helps maintain product superiority and identity.

6. Build Your Own E-Commerce Site

If you can drive traffic to your own e-commerce site, hijacking will have less of an effect. You’ll also be less susceptible to future Amazon policy changes. 

Remember, by using Amazon’s ‘White Label Fulfillment’ you can always have customers check out via your e-commerce store, but with Amazon fulfilling delivery!

Preventing an Amazon Listing Hijack

Dealing with listing hijackers is an inevitable consequence of selling on Amazon. But don’t let these black-hat tactics deter you from making the most of the platform. Follow the tips above and you’ll be well equipped to keep hold of that precious buy box. 

If you’re looking for more help in terms of brand protection, check out our Brand Protection Services. We’ll help you get hijacking sellers removed from Amazon and drive all B2C sales back to your company.

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