Are brands stopping you from selling their product because of an exclusivity agreement? Do you have concerns that a brand is not legit? Looking to prevent potential IP complaints? As we navigate these uncertain waters, it’s more important than ever that you’re preventing and pushing through Amazon roadblocks.
A Brand Won’t Let Me Sell
Are you seeing other sellers selling a product but when you reach out to the brand, they shut you down because of an exclusivity agreement? Getting rejected happens for a couple of reasons. One, brands are more protective of their products than distributors and are more likely to say no, regardless if they list exclusivity agreements as their reasoning.
Two, if they claim an exclusivity agreement, but you see multiple sellers selling the product, approach the brand with an intent to add value. If their current seller is not doing everything they can to protect their agreement, emphasize what you would do differently. Also, if their listings or product descriptions or photos aren’t top-notch, add your suggestions and just maybe that exclusivity pendulum will swing in your direction.
However, if a brand simply won’t allow you to sell, Todd recommends remaining cautious and not risking the potential IP complaint. If you’re dying to sell, start with a small test order.
A Plugin Worth The Plug
Speaking of IP complaints, check out this Chrome plugin. Using a user-generated list of brands, IP Alert scans each product to determine the likelihood of a potential IP complaint. It’s only $100 for a lifetime of use but keep checking Amazon Seller School for discounts.
Is This Brand Legitimate?
Worried about the legitimacy of a brand or distributor? It’s not a major risk but definitely important if you’re purchasing a product in large quantities. Start with some online sleuthing. Google them, check for a social presence, or find the company on LinkedIn and message employees. After that, pick up the phone and speak one-on-one with a representative. If you’re still worried, take the advice of CJ Rosenbaum and hire a private investigator.
Hopefully this has been an invaluable business resource for you during this incredibly uncertain time. Have a question of your own? Submit a question here along with where you’re from and remember to check out last week’s episode for more tips to ride out the recession.
And if you’re looking for even more resources, hop on the waitlist for Todd’s small group coaching class. As always, happy selling!
Resources From This Episode
- 9 Ways To Recession Proof Your Business
- Ask questions for future podcasts!
- Check out IP Alert & Get your $20 OFF Here
- EA10: Get Suspended on Amazon? What To Do About It with CJ Rosenbaum
- Get on the waitlist for Todd’s small group coaching class
Outline Of This Episode
[00:45] Todd’s introduction to this episode
[04:19] How to sell products if a brand doesn’t want you to
[11:30] All about IP Alert
[14:30] How to figure out if a brand or distributor is legitimate
[20:40] Todd’s closing thoughts on this episode
Todd Welch (00:00):
What’s up everybody. Welcome to episode number 18 in this episode we’re going to talk about should you sell a product if the brand doesn’t want you to. How do you know if a distributor or a brand is legitimate and a small Chrome plugin that can help predict if you are going to get an intellectual property complaint from Amazon for selling a product.
Welcome fellow entrepreneurs to the Amazon Seller School podcast where we talk about Amazon wholesale and how you can use it to build an eCommerce empire, a side hustle or anything in between and now your host Todd Welch.
Todd Welch (00:45):
First off, before we go ahead and dive into the episode, I just want to say I hope that everyone out there is staying safe and staying well and is not being infected or affected by the Coronavirus Covid-19 I know there’s a lot of people out there that are struggling right now going through really hard times. If you haven’t argued, listened to the previous episode that I recorded about recession proofing your business. There’s a lot of really good tips on there in how to set your business up for success in these hard times. Of course, if we’re struggling personally or family members sick, it can be extremely difficult. But if you are lucky enough to be healthy, there’s lots of things that we can be doing right now to set ourselves up for success now and in the future as we come out of this recession that we’re currently going into.
Todd Welch (01:44):
So make sure you’re staying safe, staying healthy, and take this time, this opportunity, especially if you are laid off from work or ever, things aren’t going well to start learning new experiences, learning new tactics and new ways to build your business. Grow it now while are hard, and when you come out of this, you’ll be even in a better position than when you go in. So with that, let’s go ahead and read a new five star review that we got over on iTunes. This is from Dipplefont and they say very helpful advice. I love listening and learning from this man. He is a good communicator. Selling wholesale online is something I’ve had no experience with, but I feel confident Todd knows the field and can help me get up and going with it. So Dipplefont, I really appreciate you leaving that five star review for us over an iTunes. If you haven’t already, make sure you head over and do so as well. It would really be appreciated if you get anything out of any of the content that I out there. It would really help grow the platform, grow the podcast, and really be appreciated as well. So with that, let’s go ahead and dive in here. So we’ve got some viewer or listener questions that we’re diving into. So this first one is about selling products that the brand may not necessarily want you to. So let’s go ahead and listen to the question
Speaker 3 (03:32):
I have a question regarding a specific brand. I talk with one of the distributors and he offered me a very profitable brand. But when I check, when I tried to open an account with the same brand and he told me that he can’t work with Amazon sellers because there is an exclusive between them, but the semi distributor told me that this is okay to sell their products and they offer a lot of and they have a lot of other sellers and in addition. There is also a lot of sellers on the listings that sell for very long time, so what is your suggests. Thank you.
Todd Welch (04:19):
All right Amir, thank you so much for that question. I really appreciate it. Let me know in the future where you’re from if you’re leaving a question so I can know where everybody’s coming from, but I really appreciate the question. It’s a really good one because it’s definitely something that we can run into. Distributors are companies that sell lots of other brands, so they’re authorized distributors of different brands. They are not as worried about you selling on Amazon as the brand might be themselves. They don’t have that emotional connection to the brand like a brand does to their own products. Because for the brand, it’s like their baby, right? They created those products. They want to make sure they’re being represented well. Where the distributor typically you’re working with a sales agent who’s getting paid to sell more. The more they sell, the more they get paid.
Todd Welch (05:16):
so if you called and talked with the brand and they said they have an exclusive agreement with someone, I would first ask them when they signed that exclusive agreement and if it’s recently, then they may just be trying to get people off the listing. So that’s why there’s lots of other sellers, as you said on the listing. Now, if the exclusive agreement that they’ve had has been in place for quite a long time and there’s still lots of sellers, you could potentially take that opportunity to ask them, you know, do you mind if I ask what the exclusive seller is doing to you get these other sellers off of the listing? Because if they’ve had this exclusive agreement for a long time and there’s lots of other sellers on there, then maybe that exclusive company, the company that has an exclusive agreement is not doing a very good job in policing their agreement and helping this brand on Amazon.
Todd Welch (06:19):
I would also look at the listing. What does the listing look like? Is the listing really nice? It’s got all eight pictures. It’s got some nice infographics. It’s got a video, really nice a plus content. You know the really nice webpage style content for the description. What is the title look like? Does it include key words and is really easy to read and the bullet points, do they have lots of benefits as well as features in them? So overall, how good is the page? If the page is really good and it looks really nice, then the exclusive company is probably doing a pretty decent, good job. But if the listing is not very good, then that is another opportunity to maybe steal that exclusive agreement from whoever currently has it. Because if the listing is bad, they’ve got lots of sellers on there, then whoever has that exclusive agreement is not doing the job that the brand would be expecting.
Todd Welch (07:28):
Or at least what I would expect from an exclusive agreement because these are things that I do with exclusive agreements. Another thing I do is reply to any negative reviews and follow up with them. Try to get the negative reviews off of there, make those customers happy. So that’s another thing you can look at to see if the exclusive company is doing that stuff as well and try to sell yourself to the brand, but as to whether you should sell it or not because you can get the brand, you can get the products, you can send it into Amazon. It’s really a, you have to weigh the risk as to whether you want to do it. How many units is this selling per month? How many would you get? How much would be your profit B? And is that worth the risk to potentially getting an IP complaint from Amazon and possibly getting your account shut down.
Todd Welch (08:24):
Now in the wholesale world, an IP complaint or an intellectual property complaint, if you’re not familiar with what that is, that’s basically a brand saying that this person is not selling legitimate goods. Now usually what they try to go off of is that you are getting your wholesale products without permission from the brand, and so therefore the warranty is not in effect. Now, most brands do not have the proper language in their warranty to actually back that up. So it is typically, now I’m not a lawyer, so talk to a lawyer. I’ll throw that disclaimer in here, but typically the IP complaints are baseless. They’re not legitimate, but Amazon automatically takes them as legitimate. They always side with the brand and you are going to have to jump through hoops, submit paperwork, and cross your fingers that Amazon will remove that IP complaint without closing your account.
Todd Welch (09:26):
Now if you’re a new seller, one IP complaint could potentially get your account shut down until that’s resolved and if Amazon will not take the paperwork that you’re sending, like the invoice from the distributor, then you’re going to have to get the brand to remove that IP complaint and that is going to be very difficult, especially if you already contacted them and they know who you are and you went ahead and sold it anyways. Then it might be rather difficult. So you’re going to have to decide if it’s worth that risk as to whether or not you’re going to go ahead and sell it. If you decide you do want to do it. I would start with a very small amount as small as the distributor would, allow you to do 6 or 10 12 whatever the case may be and see how it goes and what happens and see if you start getting IP complaints or the brand contacts you or something trying to get you off the listing so you’re going to have to be really careful with it.
Todd Welch (10:29):
I would err on the side of caution and not do it because there’s so many products out there that you could potentially sell that are not going to be a problem, so I would probably just move past it myself and find something else, but that’s something you’re going to have to decide and weigh those risks to see if that’s something you want to do or not. All right, Amir, I hope that answered your question. If not, shoot me another email or shoot me another message on SpeakPipe and I can address that on an upcoming podcast as well and if you want to get your questions answered on the podcast, no matter what they are, I want to hear them. Let me know so I can answer them on an upcoming podcast. Just head on over to Amazon Seller School.com/ask, A.S. K All right.
Todd Welch (11:18):
Now that question flows right into the next thing that I want to talk to you about before I answer another user viewer question and that is a tiny little Chrome plugin Google Chrome plugin that I’ve started using that helps you predict if you will get an IP complaint or an intellectual property complaint. If you start selling a product and this little plugin is called IP alert and what this plugin is, is basically a user generated content of brands that issue IP complaints that are known to issue IP complaints. Now the developers behind it, they are not just accepting any brand so that people could try to fake out the system just to get people to not sell a product. So they definitely look into it and you need to provide proof. But if you get say an IP complaint from a brand or you get a cease and desist letter from a lawyer telling you to stop selling a product, you can then submit it to IP alert and they will potentially add it into the directory.
Todd Welch (12:36):
But what’s really nice is it goes right into Google Chrome and when you go to an Amazon listing, then it will pop up a box right in the middle of the page. If it’s a brand that issues IP complaints, it will say this brand is known to issue IP complaints and so then you can decide whether you want to go forward or not with it, but it’s a really nice handy little plugin. It is $100 for the plugin and that is a lifetime payment, so a onetime payment, no monthly, no yearly stuff like that, just a hundred bucks and you get it for good. So it’s a nice little plugin. It’s not going to be foolproof. There’s going to be brands that are not on the list, but if they’re already known and in the database it’s nice just to get that little pop up and then you can decide, have that extra information as to whether you’re going to go forward with that or not.
Todd Welch (13:35):
Now I emailed the developers of IP alert to see if we can potentially get a discount on their product, so we’ll see what they say. Maybe I can get a little bit of money off for you guys. I’m going to try my best, but in either case you’ll be able to see if I did or didn’t and get the plugin. If you head over to amazonseller.school/alert and that information will also be in the show notes down below as well so you can get that there and click over to it. All right, so let’s go ahead and jump into the next question here and this is an email question from Juan and Juan says, I would like to get ungated in supplements. I Googled distributors and there are a ton of them, but it’s very difficult to tell who’s legit or not.
Todd Welch (14:27):
So it’s a very good question. Juan I appreciate you asking and how do you know if a distributor or brand is legitimate? Maybe they are just there. They’re going to say they’re going to send you some product and just take your money and run and that is definitely a worry. It’s a very small worry. It’s a very minimal, but if you’re going to order large amounts, you definitely want to verify that a company is legitimate and there’s a few different ways that you can do that. So let’s say you found a company called X, Y,Z supplements, right? So that’s the distributor. They distribute a whole bunch of different vitamins and stuff like that or whatever the case may be that they carry. What I would do, number one is just do a search on Google for the name of that company, X, Y, Z supplements.
Todd Welch (15:22):
If it’s a really generic name, you might want to put it in quotes or maybe try their website address or something like that to see if you can hone in on that business. But what you’re looking for is links to like the chamber of commerce, which is going to show if the businesses actually registered in an area. You could potentially find links to the better business Bureau and that is going to help you determine if it’s a legitimate business, at least that they’re registered and are actively doing business. You could also look on LinkedIn and see if they are there and they have employees registered on LinkedIn and potentially contact them on there. Look for a Facebook page. Most businesses nowadays have at least a Facebook page. You can check that out as well. Of course, you know, pick up the phone, call them, talk to them and just kind of gauge as to their professionalism and if they’re a real business that way as well.
Todd Welch (16:27):
And now a little more advanced way that’s going to cost you a little bit of money. And we actually talked about it on a previous episode with CJ Rosenbaum, the Amazon sellers lawyer, and he suggested that, before you make a huge order, if you’re worried about it at all, hire a private detective. It might cost you $200 $300 to send a private detective to a company for a few hours. Have them sit outside, watch the semis that are coming and going. The people that are coming and going, maybe have them go inside and introduce themselves and just get a little more information about the business. That would be a really good way to see, to make sure that a business is actually legitimate. It’s going to cost you a few hundred dollars, but if you’re really worried about it and you’re going to make a big purchases from this company, then that may be something you want to do just to hedge your bets and make sure that there’s not going to be any issues with the legitimacy of the business.
Todd Welch (17:35):
Now another way is to go on Google maps, look up the address of the business that should be on their website and hopefully there’s some street view there. You can go right in and like you’re standing in front of the and look at the front of it, see if they have a sign there with the name of the business. That is a pretty good indication that is a legitimate business as well. If they are a big distributor than they probably should have some kind of bigger warehouse or something like that. So if they claim to be a huge distributor and you go to Google maps and it’s just somebody’s house or it’s a small little office, then maybe give them a call and say, Hey, where is your guys’s warehouse actually located that you’re shipping products out of? See if you can get an address so you can look it up on Google maps.
Todd Welch (18:25):
So that is another way that you could do it. Lots of little ways just to verify the legitimacy. If you’re still worried about it, then you have a few options. You can either not order from them and go find another distributor or make a small order. And I always recommend doing small test orders anyways, but just start out with something small place, a hundred dollar order, even if their minimum is 500 get them on the phone and say, Hey, we just want to test the market. Even if I have to pay a higher price, can I get this product? A case of it for the a hundred dollars and just this one time so I can test the market, get my own numbers and then in the future we’ll order bigger quantities and see what they say. They might say no. They might say yes. It’s really hard to say, but that way you can hedge your bets as well.
Todd Welch (19:17):
If they require a $500 minimum and you’re trustworthy enough to make the $500 minimum or a thousand minimum, then give that a shot before you do like a $5,000 $10,000 $20,000 order with them. So just kind of work your way up and get to know them, build that relationship, right. That’s what wholesale is all about is building that relationship. Know, like and trust both ways. Your sales person at the distributor and they need to know like and trust you have some information about their family life, know what kind of pets they have, what their hobbies are and things like that. Make notes of those as well. So now we’re getting a little more into the relationship building and stuff like that. I have never ran into an issue yet with a supplier or a brand, but I’m positive that people have, so it’s definitely something that you have to worry about.
Todd Welch (20:12):
I think it’s a minimal risk, but do those things that we talked about there and you’re going to hedge your bets, you’re going to minimize your risk and hopefully not have any issues going forward. All right Juan, so I hope that answered your question. If you have any other questions make sure to leave us a question over there on SpeakPipe or shoot us an email and again if you want your questions answered, amazonseller.school/ask. I would love to answer it on an upcoming episode here. All right, so that is the end of the episode here. Nice, short and sweet. One other thing I wanted to mention as well, I actually am working on a small group coaching package. As I’ve mentioned on some previous episodes. I’m hoping to release more details on that in the next couple of weeks, but if you want to get on the wait list and be the first to hear more information about it and be the first to have the opportunity to get into that, then make sure you head on over to amazonseller.school/group or click that link down in the show notes and you can get on that, no requirements or anything like that.
Todd Welch (21:25):
Just get on that wait list if you’re interested at all and I will get you more information as soon as possible and then we can work together building your Amazon business, make sure you’re on the right path, teach you all the secrets and tips that I know and I’ve been doing in my business so that you can do it as well. Again, amazonseller.school/group and the show notes for this episode are at amazonseller.school/18 so you can check those out as well, there are transcripts and everything else on this episode. So with that stay healthy, stay well. This is Todd Welch with the Amazon Seller School signing off. Happy selling everybody.
This has been another episode of the Amazon Seller School podcast. Thanks for listening, fellow entrepreneur and always remember success is yours if you take it.