You’ve done it! You’ve developed a product, crafted a brand and sourced reliable manufacturers.
You’re ready to become the next private label marketing millionaire.
Now all that’s left to do it sell. Want some private label business tips?
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1. Follow Marketplace Rules
Websites like Amazon, Etsy, eBay and others maintain platforms through which you can sell wares. Without their infrastructure, the booming online private label industry wouldn’t be possible.
So, what can you, a seller, do to show your appreciation, and get the most out of said platforms? Follow their respective rules. Take time to read the terms of service agreements and operate accordingly. It’ll help you profit in the long run; after all, you very well can’t become the next big success story if your account is suspended.
Don’t trust your ability to interpret legalese? Partner with a private label lawyer who can ensure all your I's are dotted and T's are crossed. A seller’s audit doesn’t cost much, but it could save you from a long suspension over something trivial.
2. Don’t Pretend to Be Somebody You’re Not And Don’t Threaten Legal Consequences if You’re Not 100% Sure You’re Right
Counterfeiting is a threat with which private label sellers must contend. You could call it an epidemic.
So, for a second, let’s take a step back and consider some facts.
- Currently, there are thousands of private label sellers, across the globe.
- Most analysts predict huge gains for the industry over the next several years.
- Globalization has led to increased overseas manufacturing.
What does all this add up to? Swamped seller support departments at nearly every online marketplace. They’re all drowning in complaints and appeals. And sometimes, things take longer than you’d like. Yes, it’s frustrating.
So frustrating that some people, in an attempt to speed things along, contact adversaries under the guise of a staff representative. Don’t do that. Don’t email anyone pretending to be from Amazon, or eBay or anything you’re not.
In the same vain, don’t pretend to be an attorney if you’re not; nor a law enforcement official. Doing so could land you in serious legal trouble. Also, don’t threaten consequences. It could backfire. If you need help fighting an adversary, get an attorney to punch on your behalf. It’s just more effective.
3. Just the Rule Breaking Facts, Ma’am
It happens. You’re hit by a counterfeit hijacker. Do yourself a favor and keep your plea as unemotional as possible. No, you don’t have to go full-droid, but don’t lard your complaint with petty details. Be polite; be precise; instead of waxing poetic about free speech or federal copyright laws, build your argument around rule violations.
Employees at these sites don’t have unlimited time; present them with concise arguments and provide clear evidence.
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4. Vet Your Supply Chain Thoroughly
Every industry comes with a set of risks and challenges; in the private label industry, one of them is counterfeiting. So, how can you avoid becoming a target? Unfortunately, hanging garlic around your neck won’t work; there is no sure cure-all for counterfeiting. But what you can do is vet the sweat out of your supply chain.
Dig deep. Find out if the factory you’re using has a history of leaking product designs to counterfeiters. Ask questions of the community. Because seriously, making sure you have a solid team in place may be a make-or-break decision in the long run. It could be the difference between failing and succeeding.
Yes, you’re excited to get started. But take the time to make sure your foundation is rock solid.
Important Reminder: Sourcing identical products isn’t against Amazon rules or the law – but there is a thin line between healthy product competition and intellectual property infringement or counterfeiting.
5. Create A Brand To Give Yourself More Control
What’s one of the best ways to ward off counterfeiters? First, create a brand; second, create products under that brand and then, third, formally protect that brand. I know, I know, sounds like generic advice, but it’s a proven, effective path to follow.
Intellectual property is a huge area of law. For this guide, we’ll focus on two IP law basics:
- Trademark protection doesn’t cover individual products, works or inventions; instead, it protects brand identity. (i.e., You trademark the logo that goes on a widget.)
- To ensure the fullest breadth of brand protection possible, register your brand (trademark) with Federal (United States Patent and Trademark Office) and State offices.
In the private label world, building a brand is advantageous because it gives you more control over your product listings, especially on the Amazon marketplace, where you can take advantage of the Brand Registry program.
6. Take Advantage of Platform Intellectual Property Programs
People ask: “I’m just starting out in the Ecommerce and online marketing space, do you think I should get my pictures and products copyright or patent protected?” The answer: it depends.
- If you’re the second coming of Galileo, revolutionary invention in hand, sure, get a patent (or copyright ) right away. But be aware, formal registry typically takes between 6 to 10 months.
- If, however, you’re starting out a little more mainstream, it’s not essential that you immediately run to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to make it official. A year or so down the line (or maybe even sooner), when you’re profitable, then consider the extra protection that formal intellectual property protection affords.
- It doesn’t cost much to copyright pictures, and doing so is an effective way to gain some added intellectual property protection.
A Note About Amazon’s Brand Registry Program
Every Fulfillment by Amazon seller with a brand should use the website’s Brand Registry program. Instead of a few months, Amazon’s enrollment only takes a couple of days to complete. No, it’s not the same as registering with the USPTO, but it does confer Amazon Marketplace benefits.
Perhaps most importantly, brand registered members have more control over their product pages, which comes in handy when fending off hijackers and counterfeiters.
Get Help From a Private Label Aficionado (Who Also Happens to Be a Lawyer)
Got E-commerce, FBA or private label legal questions? Need help shaking a persistent hijacker? Assistance with a suspended FBA account? Work with an attorney who understands the online private label niche and can navigate the choppy E-commerce seas.