HOW TO CHOOSE A BRAND PROTECTION SOLUTION
Updated: May 22, 2022
THREE MAIN BRAND PROTECTION CATEGORIES
Before choosing a brand protection provider, it is important to know that you have three main solution categories. Each solution will focus on monitoring, enforcement, legal, or a mixture of the three—understanding what each option provides will help ensure the right solution for you. In no particular order, let's map (no pun intended 😉) them out!
Law Firms that work in e-commerce brand protection typically handle three things:
Legal document creation (such as MAP Policies, Distribution Agreements, Resale Agreements, and DMCA Subpoenas)
Investigations (who are unauthorized sellers and how can you contact them to serve them cease and desists)
Enforcement (sending said cease and desists to unauthorized sellers and escalating to lawsuits for non-compliance)
We have seen some well-known law firms charge in the tens of thousands for initial strategy meetings and legal document creation. It's also important to note that you will commonly be paying hourly legal rates for these ongoing investigation and enforcement actions, which can wrack up a hefty bill!
There are a few types of monitoring-based solutions. The first is a strictly monitoring approach, while the latter has automated enforcement attached. If they are trying to be a dynamic pricing tool, competitive pricing analysis will be involved in the reports provided. MAP and price monitoring are essentially the same thing with slightly different uses.
This type of protection provider will give brands data on pricing violations, with snapshots of sellers who were selling the brand's products below MAP pricing—when they were selling and for how much. This solution has a singular focus—providing data only on prices, so it is then on brands to do any further investigation or enforcement. As we've talked about before, MAP monitoring is not an unauthorized seller solution but is most effective for managing authorized partners.
Buybox monitors typically report potential sales lost to other sellers through an estimation. They take into account the sales rank of the product in Amazon (which gives them an idea that at a given point the product is potentially doing x amount of revenue), how much they see a seller in the Buybox, the price they're listing, and the estimated number of units they're selling each month. The equation in simpler terms looks something like this:
How often they see a seller (or you) in the Buybox x Number of Units Sold Per Month x Price = Potential Sales (won or lost).
These Buybox reports can also have a sales estimate tool ("we estimate that this seller is doing this many sales on this listing") so that you can keep track of the sellers causing you the most losses and prioritize their removal.
Electronic or Automated Enforcement & DIY
A few of these solutions provide brands a pathway to send electronic communications out via automated emails or Amazon messages. In our guide to removing unauthorized sellers, you can learn more about why physically mailing communications is important for optimal seller removal.
Think of this as a DIY approach. This type of software will help you with monitoring the websites you care about and set up some of the automation, but after that, it's up to you to make it work. You just get the tool, so your team is responsible for all the investigations, interactions and escalations—all the messy stuff that can get overwhelming quickly. This solution works great for brands that want a lot of control over communications/enforcement and have the bandwidth to do so, ideally with an in-house legal team and brand protection specific team member.
MONITORING & ENFORCEMENT
This is where we come in! We combine all the buckets above to be a one-stop-shop for those who haven't been successfully doing it themselves, or who don't have the internal team to take it on. A few ways we differ from other types of brand protection providers:
Legal: We connect you with foundational legal resources (document creation and counsel) without charging you the going lawyer rate. All of the essential documents needed for enforcement are built into our pricing plans and additional legal counsel is provided by our partners for a significantly discounted rate (so you aren't paying inflated fees for tasks that don't require legal personnel). Brand Guarde has rarely found that a lawsuit is necessary, but should it become needed, our legal partners are available to help with that as well.
MAP Monitoring: This is an included element in our Seller Insight dashboards so we can keep an eye on authorized partners who may be violating your MAP policies. Unauthorized sellers don't care if they violate MAP which is why we more closely monitor and report on the share of unauthorized vs. authorized sellers and focus on the material difference when we enforce on them.
BuyBox Monitoring: Our Seller Insight tool also tracks Buybox win rates for you and the other sellers on your listings. Then our team is able to guide you in a more hands-on way, through consulting and using your brand's seller data and Amazon listings to see a truer picture of potential losses and gains. Our goal is to get concrete numbers based on hard data, rather than relying on a fuzzy algorithm to estimate how many sales are lost.
Enforcement: We take this completely off your plate by handling all the investigations and communications to unauthorized sellers. You can learn more about our enforcement strategy here, but it's important to note that we not only have a database of over 500,000 e-commerce sellers (their real information, and not the shell PO Boxes you might see on Amazon seller profiles), but also send them physical mail. We report on this in our dashboards and your brand can see what level of Cease and Desist/enforcement a seller is on at any given time, along with when they have been removed.
Choosing the right brand protection solution can feel like a daunting task—determining what pieces of the puzzle you need and which provider is the best fit. Our team is truly here to make that process less painful for you, whether that's with us or with another protection provider. Set up a call and we'll help get this off of your plate. 🤗