In the vast world of online retail, Amazon stands as a global giant, connecting millions of buyers with an extensive array of products. Third-party sellers play a pivotal role, contributing to the diversity and abundance of offerings. However, with great opportunity comes a unique set of challenges, and one persistent issue is the rise of duplicate listings, a concern for both consumers and sellers.

In fact, Amazon reports that more than 60% of sales on Amazon come from independent sellers. Brands need to regularly assess their third-party presence in the search engine results pages (SERPs) to identify sales threats and potential revenue opportunities.

Understanding Third-Party (3P) Duplicates

When consumers look for items online, they are no longer limited to just the top products or brands in the category. The plethora of options makes the brand landscape a critical aspect to any brand’s marketplace strategy. With the increasing amount of shoppers and sellers on Amazon, the brand landscape must be maintained. Too often, consumers are purchasing from a 3P, thinking they’re purchasing directly from a brand. This can damage a brand’s reputation, a consumers trust in the brand and ultimately, the bottom line of sales.

Identifying third-party (3P) sellers and the number of 3P listings on Amazon is crucial to unveil sales threats and identify distribution leaks. Some 3Ps resort to creating duplicate listings to gain sales from brands by developing a separate listing for products with an existing ASIN. This tactic helps them avoid competing for the Buy Box, eliminate competition, and freely advertise their listings. While Amazon prohibits creating a new ASIN for an existing product, 3P sellers find ways around this through resold UPCs or GTIN exemptions.

Why Brands Should Be Concerned

Duplicate listings pose threats to search ranking, create a confusing shopping experience, and result in an overall loss in sales. Third-party sellers often employ black hat tactics by piggybacking on established branded variations or creating new variations to attach to high-performing branded ASINs, also known as “hijackers.” They may even label their products as "limited" or "premium" editions, providing an unethical edge. Recently, Code3 SEO Strategists uncovered over 1600 3P-created listings associated with a client's brand, with 8% actively generating significant sales, leading to an estimated revenue loss of $204,000.

Additionally, the confusing shopping experience can damage a brand’s reputation and the trust consumers have in that brand. If a consumer unknowingly purchases from a 3P, assuming it’s from the brand itself, and they receive a damaged or not optimal product, they’ll blame the brand, not the 3P seller. When creating duplicate listings, 3Ps may also include information that is not accurate or up to date, further confusing consumers and damaging a brand’s identity.

Taking Action

Discovering duplicate listings prompts action - quickly. Regularly monitoring and auditing search results and product listings is crucial for a brand to stay ahead of emerging 3P reseller activity. Amazon Vendor and Seller Central provide very limited resources to gain insight into listing activity, but Code3 SEO Strategists recommend leveraging outside third party tools to gather a holistic view into your brand’s assortment on Amazon. One of our favorite tools is Jungle Scout’s Chrome Extension which enables the ability to scrape listing data in bulk from the SERPs and PDPs into an exportable file. The data includes ASIN-level insights such as Brand Name, Category, Release Date, Number of Sellers, and Estimated Revenue.This regular practice enables you to implement measures to minimize the impact of 3P sellers.

Once you discover all the duplicate listings, Amazon encourages the merging of exact 1-to-1 duplicate listings. Merging ASINs on Amazon refers to the process of combining or consolidating two or more product listings with different ASINs into a single listing. However, the criteria are strict: the third-party seller's listing must match the exact packaging and attributes of the brand's listing for a successful merge.

Issues may arise if the third party uses a fake UPC to create the duplicate listing, not matching the brand's ASIN. Merging ASINs can help streamline the product information and customer reviews under a single, unified listing. This consolidation benefits both sellers and consumers by reducing confusion, improving the accuracy of product data, and enhancing the overall customer experience.

Aside from decluttering your assortment and maintaining a clean SERP experience, there are other benefits of merging listings. The brand ASIN, which is the target ASIN, gains any existing sales ranks and reviews from the merged third party duplicate ASIN, known as the source ASIN. However, it’s important to keep in mind negative reviews are acquired too, and all third-party offers from the source listing are now added to the target ASIN's Buy Box. In the case of Code3's client, an in-depth analysis identified 108 duplicate listings to merge, presenting an opportunity to not only clean up the SERPs, but also inherit $93,822 in sales.

To learn more about mitigating the impact of third-party listings, download our Guide to Controlling Your Brand Landscape.

Preventive Measures for Long-Term Success

To ensure long-term success, preventive measures play a pivotal role in maintaining a brand's integrity on Amazon. Educating authorized third-party sellers is a proactive approach, emphasizing the significance of offering unique products. Collaborative efforts to build partnerships with sellers not only foster a sense of shared responsibility but also contribute to the upkeep of a clean marketplace.

Additionally, implementing internal processes is crucial. Developing workflows within the company can prevent unintentional duplicate listings, creating a more streamlined and efficient system. Ensuring coordination among various departments within the organization further fortifies the brand against the challenges posed by 3P duplicates, establishing a solid foundation for sustained success in the dynamic landscape of Amazon.

Staying vigilant against third-party duplicate listings is key to preserving your brand's integrity and maximizing revenue potential. Successfully navigating the ever-changing e-commerce landscape requires a strong understanding of marketplace intricacies and proactive brand management. Routine monitoring and auditing of search results and product listings are a critical practice that keeps your brand ahead of emerging 3P reseller activity.

By consistently adopting this approach, you can begin to implement effective measures that mitigate the impact of 3P sellers on both your Amazon presence and overall sales. We know, it can be hard to keep up! If you could use a strategic partner to help with 3P sellers and beyond, contact us today.

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