It’s time for our weekly Reader’s Question post. For people new to my blog, – in these posts I give an in-depth answer to a question or problem sent in by one of my blog readers. If you would like your question to be featured in future posts, please get in touch via my help desk here.
Even if your question isn’t used for a blog post, I will still personally answer all queries within 24 hours, Mon-Fri.
Ok, with the recent release of the Amazon module for my Easy Auction Business course, I have started to receive more and more Amazon related questions.
Here’s one from Christian:
I hope you’re well.
You’ve been of great help to me in the past and I just wanted to ask a question about selling products on Amazon.
Now I have been selling successfully on eBay for a while and want to go over and introduce my products to Amazon. All my products are non-branded generic items from China, some of which I have very little competition for and sell a lot of.
Looking at Amazon I became slightly confused as I noticed some of my products are on Amazon and have different sellers offering the exact same product, however they all have their own individual listings under a private label. They claim it’s their own brand but I see no evidence of a logo or branded packaging. As far as I know it’s the exact same product and they could even be buying the items from the same supplier I use in China.
My question is how come they all use their own listing and why don’t they piggyback off of each other? Can I not piggyback on their listing given the fact that there is no evidence of it being their own brand? If I do so I can guess they will be sending me email messages to take it off fairly quickly. Should I just do as they did and start my own private label and build up reviews slowly etc.?
Thanks for your question.
The short answer is – YOU CAN! There’s nothing stopping you from listing the product under existing listings on Amazon AS LONG AS the product you sell is exactly the same which means it should look and function exactly the same as the one already for sale.
That’s the whole point of Amazon’s catalog system – to list the same products under one listing, to make the buying process easier for buyers and remove duplicate listings from search results, and that’s the major difference between Amazon and eBay, where each sellers gets a unique listing, even if there are a hundred other sellers with the exact same product.
Now, you ask why other sellers are creating their own listings for the item, under their own brand… Because they don’t want to sell under a listing where other sellers are competing for the Buy Box. With listings like these, you lose ANY advantage over competitors and are basically competing on price alone. No one likes to do this – price wars on Amazon are the last thing you want as unlike on eBay, there is not much else to stand out with.
On eBay you have your own listing, your own description etc. but on Amazon people just see a product and then a list of competing sellers. It’s an easy choice really to go with the lowest price, correct?
The only way you can sometimes create an advantage for yourself is by offering international shipping options to countries that other sellers don’t post to but in general, it all comes down to the lowest price offer “milking” that listing and getting the majority of sales.
So, what’s the solution?
Just like other sellers, you want to list your item under your own listing so that you control the listing and don’t have to compete on price alone.
BUT just like on eBay, Amazon also has a duplicate listing policy which clearly states that you CAN’T create new listings for products that are ALREADY LISTED on Amazon’s catalog.
However, you and I know that many sellers breach this rule as just like in your example – all those sellers are essentially selling the same item, just under a different brand name. With automated systems it’s not that easy to detect such duplicate listings so unless they get reported, many sellers get away with this.
But to be 100% safe and to:
- Avoid the risk of Amazon taking your listing down due to Duplicate Listing policy violations;
- Avoid the risk of OTHER sellers listing items under your listing.
You need to BRAND your item!
This means coming up with a brand name, creating a logo (if you haven’t done so already) and applying your logo to the product itself, or at least the packaging.
This way you’re 100% protected from other people selling under your listing as they WON’T have the exact same item e.g. – their items won’t be branded with your logo.
This strategy really is best for long term success on Amazon, period. You get your own listing and a unique product that no one else is selling and of course further advantages such as increased buyer perception of buying a BRANDED item instead of an un-branded one.
As for the branding process itself – you haven’t mentioned what product you’re selling, but with most products you can ask manufacturers to brand the item directly (put your logo on the product) and ideally brand the packaging too. You won’t have to do anything really – just give your supplier the artwork and you’ll receive branded products straight from China.
If the supplier does not offer such branding services OR your order quantities are too small, you can often find a way around this problem by branding products on your own! I have a very good guide on this process here:
You’ll of course want to take new product pictures which show off your logo and branding.
This way no one else can sell products under your listing.
The moment you create a logo, you own the copyright to it so other sellers can’t use it without your approval BUT to even further secure your IP rights, make sure to register your logo as a trademark so you can easily take legal action in case someone does start copying your products in the future.
Hope this helps Christian!