Hijackers on Amazon: Types of Hijackers
There are a lot of theories out there, a lot of fear and frustration in dealing with hijackers in Amazon sellers community. But there are not a lot of down to earth facts. Today we are going to talk about different types of hijackers on Amazon and how to identify them. In my next article I am planning to write about what to do about each type of hijacker.
There are 3 most common types of hijackers:
Someone who has bought your product and is reselling it. Usually it’s someone who bought your product with a discount during some promotion or giveaway. Believe me, there are a lot of people out there, full-time discovering discounted merchandise and reselling it. Typically, they only have few units, sometimes even one unit. Often, before you even notice it – they are gone, because if your product is selling 20-30 times a day, and they list one – how long do you think it’s going to take for them to sell that unit? Sometimes it’s just a matter of minutes. They are a nuisance, but in terms of long-term damage to your business – they are probably the lowest risk.
Someone who hasn’t bought your product, but is selling it for more than you are. You will often find that these types of hijackers sell your product as FBM sellers. They often go in Seller Central and say that they have 10 or even 100 of your product, they list it at slightly higher price, than you have. What they are hoping is that people will come along and buy their version of your product, they will win the BuyBox, then they will order a unit from you and have it sent to the customer that bought it from them. They are working as a middle man, hoping that someone will but this product from their listing instead of yours, and have you fulfill it.
In this situation, it’s tempting to say: ‘’Why should I care? If they want to sell it for $10 more than I do, and they can get someone to pay for that? They will end up buying it from me anyway!’’ The problem and risk here is that you lose control of your product reaching a customer. Are they really going to place an order with you and send a product to a customer? Or they will send an inferior version of product to the customer. You don’t really know. Long-term, this type of hijacker is risky and does a lot of damage, than a hijacker that is just reselling a one-off.
Someone who has never bought your product and has no intention of buying it in the future. The most dangerous type of hijacker. They are simply an imposter. They are posing as though they are selling your product.
Keep in mind that Amazon platform was designed for multiple sellers to compete with one another selling the same type of product. It was never designed for Private Label. However, Amazon has made some changes over the last few years to help small brands to be able to protect themselves. One of those things is called Amazon Brand Registry, and I highly suggest that, if you haven’t registered your brand in brand registry, you do so. It doesn’t take long at all, and it does help in hijacker situations. It doesn’t protect you completely, but it does help, once you get hijacked. It helps Amazon take you a little bit more seriously. It tells Amazon that you are an authorized representative for your brand.
Typically, this third type of hijacker is an overseas player. It doesn’t have to be but more often than not – that’s what they are. And a lot of times, when they are listing against you it will say things like ‘’Ships from China’’, sometimes estimated delivery dates are 3-4 weeks. This is a guarantee that they will not order your product to resell. They are probably going to send a cheap knock-off, they will not make any attempt to replicate your brand, or your packaging. You see this for those products that have very little, if any, differentiation. If you order something simply off of Alibaba, and make no effort to improve it or change it in any way and send that to Amazon FBA – you are at a greater risk of having this type of hijacker come after you.
Keep in mind that these Chinese hijackers really don’t care about the end game, they are in it for a quick buck, often times using aliases and fake accounts. They don’t care if they get shut down – they will simply open up a new account.
So these are the 3 most common types of hijackers on Amazon. Now, let’s talk about how you can know, that you have been hijacked.
The most common way is that you will see it on your listing. There are couple of places where this may appear: near the BuyBox, or just below your bullet points. So if you click on those it will show you who those hijackers are and who is selling against your listing.
Another way to find out that you have been hijacked is to look through your business reports on Seller Central. They will tell you BuyBox percentage. Ideally you should be at 100%. However, if you start seeing 90% or 80% for your PL product, then there is a good chance that someone else is selling on your listing, and that means that you have been hijacked.
Stay tuned for my next article that will cover things that you can do to handle hijackers on your listings.