Amazon Brand Gating Round Table Discussion
by Liz Fickenscher, on February 17, 2017
Brand gating is a hot topic for many Amazon sellers after some recent policy changes. To get some clarity and answers to some questions, we hosted a round table discussion with CJ Rosenbaum from Amazon Sellers’ Lawyer, Liz Adamson from Egility and Dan Meadors from The Wholesale Formula. In this action-packed conversation, we covered:
- What is brand gating?
- Brand gating from an attorney’s perspective
- Brand gating from a consultant’s perspective
- Brand gating from a seller’s perspective
- Answers to many merchant questions on the topic
Here is the recap written by Becky Trowbridge
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.
Amazon Brand Gating Tips for Sellers
Brand gating is a hot topic for many Amazon sellers. What does it mean? How will it affect various business models? What does it take to get your brand gated? How can you get a brand ungated?
The Attorney: What You Need to Know About Intellectual Property
While brand gating may seem like a headache for retail arbitrage sellers, it can help protect private-label sellers. Attorney CJ Rosenbaum of Amazon Sellers Lawyer shared some intellectual property law basics to outline how brand gating works.
He covered trademarks, patents and copyrights, using the following examples. When you see a trademark, such as a company logo on a popular pair of athletic shoes, you know what to expect. A patent is a license that is applied for when a new item is invented or developed; items with a patent may only be sold by the patent holder. Copyright pertains to any type of creative work, from the image on a product detail page to the verbiage of item packaging.
“Gating protects your trademark, because now Amazon is saying that no one else can sell your product with your trademark without permission,” Rosenbaum said. He also noted that brand gating can make it easier to enforce patents and copyrights.
The Consultant: Big Picture Perspective
As lead consultant at Egility, Liz Adamson is no stranger to brand gating questions and other common seller issues. She noted that the brand gating policy protects brands and prevents knockoffs. It also reduces competition for some sellers.
In order to get a brand ungated on the Amazon marketplace, a merchant must submit a letter of authorization from the brand owner/manufacturer, as well as an invoice. In addition, there is typically a fee required in order to get a brand ungated.
Adamson recommends that resellers check the listings before purchasing items. You can do this by simply attempting to create the listing to see if the item has been gated. “Don’t buy if you don’t think you’ll be able to provide that paperwork,” Adamson advises. She also noted that it’s important to only purchase from authorized sources.
The Experienced Seller: How to Create a Successful Invoice
Brand gating helps merchants secure a better relationship with manufacturers. Getting an invoice approved is an essential step for sellers who want to get a brand ungated in order to sell items from that brand. Dan Meadors of The Wholesale Formula shared strategies for submitting an invoice that will get approved. How does he know what to do? Lots of trial and error!
“Amazon is a constantly changing market, but there’s one thing in all of their changes that always happens, and it’s that these changes are always in the benefit of the customer. Like what happened here was they were addressing counterfeits, and that helps to restore customer confidence, which also helps us as retailers,” said Meadors.
Dan says that brand invoices should include the product name or description, as well as the seller’s name and business contact information. Items need to be purchased in commercial quantities. The invoice needs to specify units. To hear more from Dan about getting a brand ungated on the Amazon marketplace, be sure to watch the round table. Dan also offered a free guide to brand ungating on Amazon with a template for a letter of authorization.