Category Archives: Seller Central

How to look up a trademark with United States Patent and Trademark Office

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.

  1. Go to https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/search-trademark-database
  2. Click “Search Trademarks” (lands you at http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4810:tt6qdr.1.1)
  3. Click “Basic Word Mark Search (New User)”
  4. Type the name of the brand or trademark in, it is case sensitive.
  5. 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.

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Amazon Accounting – Interview with Tyler Jefcoat CEO of Seller Accountant – Profit, Taxes, Books

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.

https://www.taxjar.com/ – automatically file tax quarterly/monthly. Where are the states you have nexus in?

You can reach Tyler for a free ecommerce accounting consultation at http://selleraccountant.com/

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Pros and Cons of Starting Your Own Amazon Account vs Leveraging Another’s

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.

You can open a Seller Central account here.

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:

  1. Visibility into daily sales
  2. Control
  3. Everything is tied to single tax id
  4. You can spend more marketing dollars out of your own pocket

Pros of leveraging another’s account:

  1. Save $40 per month in Amazon seller account fee
  2. Less time required and far less setup
  3. Customer service messages, shipments, and other items are more easily handled for me as a consultant (less $ you have to pay me)
  4. Faster sales velocity due to prior account history
  5. Marketer likely knows how to better spend dollars to get sales

How many skus do you have?

  1. If you have 10 or less skus and sales under 50k a year – you should use someone else’s account.
  2. 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:

  1. Identity documents Amazon requests don’t match and you can’t finish setup
  2. Multiple accounts. If your email or phone number are attached to another seller account you may get flagged and unable to sell.
  3. Bad bank account information
  4. Tax ID issues

If you run into any of these issues I can help you sort them out steven@myamazonguy.com

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