While Amazon has the potential to be your best-performing sales channel, several challenges and obstacles need to be navigated to maximise performance. One of the most common issues brands face on Amazon is duplicate listings.
When a buyer is presented with the same images, bullet points, and product descriptions for different listings, it can create confusion as to which is the authentic product. Regardless of where you're selling your products, a confused mind never buys. So duplicate listings should be a major concern if you’re a brand selling on Amazon.
So what constitutes a duplicate listing, and how do they happen in the first place?
What Are Duplicate Amazon Listings?
In short, duplicate listings occur when the same product is being sold under different Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) in the Amazon catalogue. They often contain similar/identical pictures, bullet points, and product descriptions, which is why they cause customer confusion and can lead to buyers not proceeding with their purchase.
It's important to mention that usually can be legitimate products. However the most common cause is unauthorised sellers who have got their hands on your stock and have created a new listing page (and thus new ASINs) to compete with your legitimate listings.
What's interesting is, despite the problems associated with duplicate listings, most brands have multiple listings for the same product on Amazon, so how did this happen?
Why Are There So Many Duplicate Listings on Amazon?
There are so many duplicate listings because, years ago, all you had to do was list a product using a generic (unbranded) UPC code, and that was it. There wasn't even a need to affiliate it with a brand (this was before Brand Registry and other similar seller tools existed).
These days duplicate listings caused by these UPC codes are not only a problem for brands but for Amazon itself. Their mission is to connect customers with the products they are looking for as efficiently as possible. With the search results clogged up with duplicate listings for the same products, it's now more important than ever for Amazon to clean up its act.
That means you’ve got to act to ensure your products are listed correctly and in accordance with the ASINs assigned to them.
But how do you go about doing this?
How to Take Control of Your Brand’s Duplicate Listings on Amazon
The only genuine way to regain control of your duplicate listings is to perform an audit. Start by locating all product listings relating to your brand and go through them individually to determine which ones are your authentic listings.
Amazon may have already done some of the heavy lifting for you. Start by opening your Seller Central account, before taking the following steps:
- Navigate to Inventory > Manage Inventory from the Seller Central dashboard.
- At the top of the page, click on the Potential Duplicates tab.
- Here you may find possible duplicate listings flagged by Amazon already.
- Click on the Review Duplicates button for the ASIN you want to evaluate.
It's doubtful that all of your duplicates will appear here. However, it's an excellent starting point before getting into the nitty-gritty process of finding duplicates.
Once you have located and verified all of the legitimate listings, go and acquire GS1 barcodes for each and assign them to the correct listing. With those steps taken, you should have consistent brand information across the board.
The last task is making contact with Amazon and submitting listings you've identified as duplicates, requesting their removal.
What Happens If You Wait to Fix Duplicate Listing Issues?
It can be tempting to let some duplicate listings slide – especially if they aren't causing any significant problems. You might feel you should focus on driving more sales for your brand rather than worrying too much about duplicate listings.
However, there are huge risks associated with this approach.
Firstly, as mentioned, duplicates are at odds with Amazon's mission to connect people and products better than any other online retailer. While their more laid back approach to UPC codes helped fuel the problem, they've (rightly) started to clamp down on duplicate listings, especially those with generic UPC codes.
It’s important to stress that Amazon wants official GS1 GTIN Barcode listings that match your brand name, and no generic listings on Amazon anymore. In fact, having multiple listings for one product is now a seller account violation.
This is particularly crucial for bundles and multipacks, which are often listed using generic UPC codes.
You, as a brand, can create official multipack GS1 GTIN barcodes and assign them to your listing. Gaining and assigning these specific multipack barcodes is a challenging and arduous process (one that might require outside expertise), however the protection against duplicate listing issues is more than worth the trouble.
The obvious risk is (if you don't clean up your listings) Amazon could flag and take down your genuine listings, leaving unauthorised 3P sellers in control of your product and wiping out all future sales associated with the product listing. Worse, you could have your vendor/seller account suspended (in some cases, permanently).
That's clearly a worst-case scenario. But it can (and does) happen.
Additional problems with waiting to tackle duplicate listing issues include the lost or diluted sales we've already mentioned and having those all-powerful customer reviews spread across multiple listings (rather than being funnelled into your authentic one).
Lastly, you regain control of your brand on Amazon. Investing in brand protection activities is a smart move, and it's something you should take seriously if you want to stay ahead of competitors selling on this fiercely competitive platform.
How Can Brands Get Help with Tackling Duplicate Listing Issues?
Tracking down duplicate listings isn't always straightforward, and you have to trust Amazon to process and validate your duplicate listing removal request(s). Depending on the size of your brand and the number of requests made to Amazon, it can take considerable time and effort to clean up duplicates.
Then, of course, you have to hope that Amazon approves your requests. If they don't approve your request, you will have to contact an account representative to discuss specific issues and make your case for why the duplicate listing should be removed from the marketplace.
The effort involved in cleaning up duplicates can seem daunting, especially when your finite time should be spent on more critical aspects, such as driving traffic to your listings and increasing sales.
But there is help at hand.
At World Products, we help brands with a broad spectrum of Amazon brand protection services, including removing duplicates.
Not only can we go through your account and identify all the duplicates you need to take action on, but we can also handle the process from start to finish. With our own dedicated Amazon account representatives, we can work directly with Amazon staff members behind the scenes to clean up your listings and regain control of the buy box for your products.
Finally, we possess unrivalled expertise in the arena of acquiring and assigning the GS1 GTIN barcodes for non-standard product listings, such as multipacks and bundles, which are often a target for unauthorised sellers.
So don’t hesitate to book an Amazon Growth Audit with a member of our expert team today to learn more about how our best-in-class brand protection services can help you scale and succeed on Amazon.