What Is “Brand Gating” And How Does It Impact You As An Amazon Seller?
The issue of selling counterfeit products has plagued, and even damaged, the once blemish-free reputation of Amazon as an online selling platform. So, in order to save it’s corporate image, and protect its customers, the company resorted to what they believe is the most sensible solution to the problem. And that is Brand Gating.
What is Amazon “Brand Gating”?
Let’s say I am the owner of a highly successful brand of shoes. Now, in order for me to protect my brand from counterfeit sellers, what I do is to register my brand’s logo and intellectual property with Amazon.
This allows my brand, and it’s representatives, to force Amazon to take down any listing, and even seller accounts, that have been flagged as a seller of counterfeit products of my brand.
Seems logical, yeah? I mean, if you were in their shoes, that’s exactly what you would be doing too, right?
As for Amazon, being the largest online marketplace will definitely attract questionable sellers. And with their somewhat relaxed restrictions in the past, selling of counterfeit goods has become a huge problem that it threatened to destroy the foundation of trust between buyers and sellers using the platform.
So if both Amazon and brands using the platform are just protecting their corporate image, what’s all the fuss about?
Impact On Sellers Like You And I
For third “party sellers” – meaning sellers like you and I who employ retail arbitrage to sell products on Amazon – we now need to get “permission” from “gated” brands in order to sell them on Amazon.
What are these permissions you ask?
Direct approval from wholesaler/manufacturer of gated brands
These approvals can come in the form of a purchase invoice, or a letter from an official distributor or manufacturer stating that you are selling an authentic product of a gated brand.
As for some some brands and categories, Amazon will even go as far as to only allow invoices that were issued to sellers in the last 90 days, prior to the presentation of the invoice to Amazon.
Paying fees to sell gated brands
Not all gated brands require this. But for those that do, fees can range between $500 to a whopping $5,000.
And these gated brands range from small ones with cult following to household names in their industry.
Now if you’re already selling big name brands, and think that some of them might be gated, breathe easy as Amazon has stated that they will not require sellers to pay for listings that are now gated, only if……take note of this….. said listing was made prior to the Amazon Brand Gating roll-out.
Impact On Big Sellers
Bigger sellers on Amazon are actually rejoicing if you ask me. I mean think about it, this means that they no longer need to compete with others selling the same product for the fraction of the cost.
Yeah I know, most likely if the product is selling way below retail, chances are it’s a counterfeit. But you would be surprised as to how many people buy those listings. To a certain extent, it is even safe to assume that they know it is fake and just don’t care.
But with Amazon putting a stop to this option, big and established sellers on the ecosystem automatically cements their foothold, and can again corner the market when it comes to said listings.
Impact On Small Sellers
This is the sad part of the Amazon brand gating policy for me.
Even if you source your items directly from gated brand suppliers and manufacturers, and even if you have the invoices to show as proof that what you are about to list is 100% authentic, you still have to pay the application fee. And that’s per brand.
And it gets even worse for small time retail/online arbitrageurs.
With them having almost no way of getting approval for the products that want to sell, proving to Amazon that they are about to list an authentic product can be somewhat of a futile attempt.
You see, Amazon requires proof that you bought from a direct source of a gated brand. And since arbitrageurs source their products from mere retailers, this means that they have no direct access to the brand’s manufacturers, thus not being able to meet the requirements of Amazon to green light their listings.
I’m not saying that this is going to be the end of retail arbitrage, as people can still sell non-gated brands on Amazon. But then again, it limits any chance for the little guy to sell established brands, as most of them are already gated, on the platform.
Impact On “Private Labels”
What are “private labels” you ask? In a nutshell, it’s you selling a “brand” made by you.
So for example, if you have t-shirt brand that you own, you can still sell your shirts on Amazon without having to worry about paying fees or proving the authenticity of your listing.
As a private label, all you need to do is to register your brand with Amazon’s Brand Registry program. If you want to know more, do read our article about Brand Registry.
Read related article: Is It Time To Start Your Own Amazon Private Label?
So where do you stand in all of this?
Are you in favor of this new system, or do you think that it’s somewhat a ploy to push out not just counterfeiters, but small sellers as well?
We want to know your take on this, so do leave a comment below about how Brand Gating is affecting you as an Amazon seller.
And before we end, let me leave you with a list of Gated Brands.
*This list will be constantly updated to ensure that everyone is in the loop. So if you know of a brand that is gated and is not on our list, please inform other readers about it by posting the brand on the comment section.
List Of Gated Brands
A World Of Deals
Aden & Anais
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Andoer Legal action
Angels Fancy Dress
Art Of Shaving
Babyliss Legal action
Bare Essentials Cosmetics
Bargain Max Decals
Beats By Dre
Biolite Legal action
Bose Legal action
Boston Legal action
Bpro Legal action
Bracoo Legal action
Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
Cane & Austin
Crabtree & Evelyn
Cross Legal action
Dog & Bone
Dolce & Gabbana
Dr. Dennis Gross Skin Care
Excedrin Sinus Headache
Fizz Creations Ltd
Fremantle Home Entertainment
GEFU Spirelli Spiral Slicer
Gerber Baby Food
Ginna Rose Atelelier
Godefroy Eyebrow Tint
Green Mountain Coffee
Guess How Much I Love You
Hape International Inc.
Jezebel And Paramour
Jordan – shoes
Kate Spade Watches
La Bella Donna
La Roche Posay
Marc By Marc Jacobs
Mega Legal action
Melissa & Doug
No More Excess
NuBrilliance Skin Care & Skin Care Systems
Panasonic Electronic Components
Pecute Legal action
Peter Thomas Roth
Philips Consumer Electronics
Ralph Lauren Perfume
Roger & Gallet
Showtime Season Dvds
Skip Hop Zoo
Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine
Spark Cafe Cups
Star Wars Episode Vii
Stuff 4 Multiples
Stuff4 Legal action
The Art Of Shaving
Thomas & Friends (Fisher Price)
T-Mobile Prepaid Phones
Toys Of Wood Oxford
True Religion Brand Jeans
Walkfit Platinum Orthotics
Whitby Legal action
Wilson Sporting Goods
Zoom Chefware Ltd
Zoom Technologies, Inc.
Johann is a Psychology major turned online writer and branding/marketing consultant since 2008. He now happily calls SellerLift home, and is the person behind their blog content.
In his spare time, and to remind himself that there is more to life than his computer monitor, he throws himself down steep country roads on his longboard, takes black and white photos, and produces lounge music for an independent music label.