Getting a trademark is more important to your business than ever. A trademark protects your products and your brand. Without it, you have no recourse to another person or company ripping off your stuff.
Today it’s never been easier to order something off Alibaba Express and start selling an item. We live in the Amazon private label age. If you spend time and money investing in a new idea and don’t get a trademark or patent in place, someone can start selling your exact product and piggy back off your success.
Sometimes even on your own Amazon listings they’ll show up with knockoffs. That not only damages your brand and product, but it could put pressure on your pricing and hurt your margins.
Trademark leads to Brand Registry on Amazon
Having a trademark allows you to get brand registry on Amazon, and you can report products and the sellers of those products for infringing on your trademark. The Amazon brand registry also allows you to build enhanced content, advertise headline ads, open a storefront with a vanity url of www.amazon.com/(your_brand_name_here), and better control your data.
It’s easier to get a trademark than a patent, so at bare minimum get a trademark in place for your brand. Trademarks currently heavily impact success on Amazon. In the near future they could impact other marketplaces and websites as well.
This video walks through how to look up a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Which is a starting point for figuring out whether a trademark is in place for your brand name.
Go to https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/search-trademark-database
Click “Search Trademarks” (lands you at http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4810:tt6qdr.1.1)
Click “Basic Word Mark Search (New User)”
Type the name of the brand or trademark in, it is case sensitive.
Find the live trademark in question to find the needed information.
You will need to do this if you’re trying to figure out if a brand has a trademark, whether you want to create a trademark, of if you have an Amazon account and want to file for Brand Registry but are unsure if a trademark exists.
This video walks you through how to add a user to a Seller Central account.
Invitation process from Seller Central Guide
Seller Central uses an invitation model to manage user accounts. First, you, as the account manager or administrator, send an email or SMS to other users, inviting them to create an account on Seller Central. Next, you need to configure the permissions for each user.
When you invite users into the system and then configure their permissions, you can be sure that the appropriate user accounts are linked to the right owners, and that the correct permissions apply to the intended users. The invitation model also helps you to fully manage user accounts without assistance from Amazon Seller Support.
Step 1: The account manager (you) invites new users
Follow these steps to establish accounts for additional users:
On the Settings menu, click User Permissions.
Enter the contact information of someone you would like to send an invitation to, and click Send invitation.Do this for all other people you want to invite.
Step 2: The new user accepts the invitation
The person follows the link in the invitation. He or she will be asked to sign in or create an Amazon account.
Note: As a security measure, if the email or phone number associated with the user account is different than the one the invitation was sent to, there will be an additional approval step before the new user can start using Amazon Seller Central.
A webpage opens that will display a message confirming that the user has been invited and must accept the invitation.
After the user accepts the invitation, the account manager can assign additional permissions to that user.
Edit a user account
Under Settingsclick User Permissions.
Click Editnext to the account you want to change.
Click the button next to each tool you want to allow the user to access.
I sit down with Tyler Jefcoat, CEO of Seller Accountant, which does ecommerce bookkeeping. As both an Amazon business owner and Amazon consultant I ask Tyler about several important areas that impact Amazon sellers and business owners.
1. How to calculate profit
2. When you should you start paying yourself, take profits?
a. Is it pie in the sky? Can you do both?
3. Importance of quality books
4. What is the best way to manage cash?
5. How to make investment decisions? Weather storms vs investing in growth and automation efficiency and profitability of business.
6. Sales tax properly
Important accounting questions to ask yourself: Will it increase my sales/save me time?/speed velocity to collect money/improve quality of life?
Measure every quarter with every expense for each of those questions.
It recently dawned on me after setting up a couple dozen seller central accounts that not every seller really needs their own account. And while there are pros and cons to both options, starting your own account, vs leveraging another seller central account, many first time sellers may want to consider using someone else’s. What I mean by using someone else’s seller account is – sell your products at wholesale to another retailer on Amazon. Or give them a rev share. They handle keeping stuff in stock, all the customer service messages, reviews, marketing etc.
If you are a manufacturer or wholeseller and have never sold on Amazon before, you should at the very least hire a consultant (such as myself…). Whether you launch your own account, or leverage another seller’s depends on your mission and resolve.
Pros of using your own seller account:
Visibility into daily sales
Everything is tied to single tax id
You can spend more marketing dollars out of your own pocket
Pros of leveraging another’s account:
Save $40 per month in Amazon seller account fee
Less time required and far less setup
Customer service messages, shipments, and other items are more easily handled for me as a consultant (less $ you have to pay me)
Faster sales velocity due to prior account history
Marketer likely knows how to better spend dollars to get sales
How many skus do you have?
If you have 10 or less skus and sales under 50k a year – you should use someone else’s account.
If you have 10+ skus and sales over 50k a year – you should be on your own seller central account.
Distribution control and MAP can also impact which direction makes the most sense.
Problems that can come up when you open a Seller Central Account:
Identity documents Amazon requests don’t match and you can’t finish setup
Multiple accounts. If your email or phone number are attached to another seller account you may get flagged and unable to sell.