Unauthorized sellers are one of the most pervasive challenges in online retail. These rogue sellers are often the cause of pricing violations, which can disrupt a brand’s relationships with brick and mortar accounts as well as their direct website retailers.  Unauthorized sellers can also erode brand integrity by not upholding your brand’s quality standards, not honoring product warranties, and providing subpar customer service. 

That bears the question:  How can brands protect their pricing policy and brand integrity in online marketplaces?  

There are many software-as-a-service (SaaS) programs out there designed to help with online brand protection, but we found them to be lacking in key areas; so we built our own.  

Perispect – Empowered Insights, Actionable Data 

Kaspien launched Perispect in 2015, and we’ve continued expanding and improving its capabilities ever since.  

At its core, Perispect™ is a price monitoring software. It provides insight into who is selling your product, and at what price, empowering manufacturers to take control of their brands’ online presence. By identifying who is selling your product and alerting you when your price policy has been violated, Perispect gives you the power to take action. 

By identifying who is selling your product and alerting you when your price policy has been violated, Perispect™ gives you the power to take action.

 

Key Features 

Price Monitoring 
Stay aware of the prices at which your products are being offered on marketplaces. 

Seller Tracking 
Gain complete visibility into unauthorized and counterfeit sellers so you can protect your brand. 

Historical Tracking 
Track key events regarding pricing and violation history, so you can see the full picture. 

Customized Reporting 
Access easy-to-use reports to gain actionable insights. 

Push Alerts 
Receive emailed alerts for important seller and price updates. 

Dedicated Account Manager 
Enjoy direct access to a subject matter expert for onboarding, on-going training, and SaaS product knowledge. 

Key Benefits 

Operated by Ecommerce Experts 
Perispect was designed, developed, and is operated by Kaspien, the industry leader in marketplace sales and expertise. It’s not just a SaaS product being offered by yet another software company; it’s a valuable tool operated by industry experts. 

Save Time 
Perispect saves you time by presenting data in an easytofollow format on a single screen view. You won’t have to manually audit your listings to monitor sellers and pricing.  

Know Your Sellers 
Perispect has a robust database of sellers that includes actual business name, address, phone number, email addresses, and websites. You will be notified when a seller changes their name on Amazon and when new sellers enter your listings. 

MAP Enforcement Aids 
Perispect will alert you when a MAP violation occurs. It also comes with email tools and templates designed to help you enforce your pricing policy, including Cease & Desist notices and MAP Policy Violation notices. 

Perispect is currently available in Amazon (US, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan), Google Shopping (US, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan), and eBay.  

Get Perispect 

If you want to use Perispect to safeguard your brand’s online representation, you can sign up for a free trial. If you’re a current Kaspien partner, contact your account manager to discuss using Perispect 

You can also contact our Perispect team directly at  or call 509.928.0344.  

Recently, vendors using our proprietary software application Perispect to track sellers and pricing across online marketplaces have been spotting Amazon sellers advertising their products below MAP pricing. Many vendors do not realize that some of these sellers may be “scam sellers” who have many products in their Amazon inventory but do not ship anything to customers when they order and pay for products.

Here are 3 ways to spot a likely scam seller on the Amazon Marketplace:

  1. “Just Launched” sellers with more than 200 products in their inventory

Sellers who have “just launched” in their profiles are starting out on Amazon with some inventory and are looking to be a part of the growing ecommerce market. However, some scam sellers will open up fake accounts on a daily basis with a huge amount of items in their inventory. If these items are not Fulfilled by Amazon (in other words, not an Amazon FBA Seller), then the seller oversees shipping the products to the customer. Customers and vendors should look out for these kinds of sellers, as they may never ship the products they say they have on Amazon.

  1. Amazon 3rd Party Sellers with “shady” names

Perispect (our proprietary SaaS offering for channel monitoring) combs through a large number of sellers looking for contact and shipping information. Sometimes, the seller name can set off red flags. For example:

“!NOTE: Contact us prior to ordering>> SmartBuyPoint[at]GMAIL.COM!!”

“%BRAND NEW!!!%Mesmeric Fair% Please Contact me before buy → claudia66@reaagan.com”

“.BEFORE ORDER CONTACT: CLAYTON. 14D (at)GMAIL COM”

These are some examples of fraudulent sellers. The seller name contains contact information, like an email address, that is poorly formatted. The seller asks that the customer contact the seller prior to ordering. Customers and vendors should not contact these sellers because they will most likely attempt to scam them.

  1. Sellers with poor customer reviews

Scam sellers can be identified simply by looking at what other customers have written on the seller review portion of the information page on Amazon. Scam sellers will most likely have all negative reviews noting that products have not been delivered, and they are unable to contact the seller for further comment.

>>Best practiceKnow your sellers.

When you know who is authorized to sell your products on Amazon, it’s easy to spot rogue and scammer sellers and avoid being the victim of an Amazon Scam. This is more manageable when you have a limited number of authorized sellers.

 

If you are planning on selling your own products on the Amazon marketplace, then you better have a system in place for tracking Amazon merchants. Having an unknown merchant or seller pop up in your Amazon product listing is a common frustration that most brand owners will experience. These one-off Amazon sellers can negatively impact your product by altering the content of the listing, undercutting prices of authorized sellers and providing poor customer service that can lead to negative reviews on the listing. So what can be done to keep these unwanted merchants away? The solution is simple: communicate regularly and practice vigilance.

Manually Track Amazon Merchants

Let your distributors and authorized sellers know who is permitted to sell your products online. Authorized sellers want to maintain a good listing as much as you do, so they can be a great lookout for anything unusual and will let you know if anyone uninvited shows up to the party. Being vigilant of your brand is also very important. By monitoring your product listings, you will know if your product information is up-to-date as well as to help you keep track of any duplicate listings and counterfeit products that sometimes show up with unwanted sellers. Having a reliable merchant tracking software can save you time by scouring Amazon to see who is selling your products and at what price.

While it may be difficult to gather and maintain up-to-date information on your sellers without a seller tracking tool, there is a way to manually check Amazon for sellers.

  • Navigate to your brand storefront page and scroll down until you find the refined search box on the left side of the page. Here you will see all departments that your brand is listed under.
  • Clicking into any department will redirect you to a new page with additional search refinements.
  • Looking through the options, you will find a seller section function towards the bottom of the search bar. You can click on “See more” to view the full list of Amazon sellers that are currently selling your products. (Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of sellers but rather a list specific to one category.)
  • To gather a list of all sellers you must perform a refined search for all departments that your product is listed under. This process is worthwhile but also time-consuming.

Amazon Merchant Tracking Software

For brands that don’t have the time or resources to track sellers manually, utilizing seller and price monitoring software can be very helpful. Software like Perispect tracks sellers, monitors pricing, and provides actionable data in easy-to-digest formats. Whether you decide to monitor your listings manually or utilize a tool to do it for you, tracking merchants and pricing is a vital part of your brand strategy.

 

Creating and enforcing a Minimum Advertising Price (MAP) Policy helps protect brand image and ensure that authorized retailers are able to compete fairly.

Here are 5 steps to successfully implement a new MAP policy:

1. Determine your threshold

What is the lowest price that you would like your products to be advertised at? This might be a percentage under your MSRP or it could vary among your products. This is NOT the lowest price that your product can be sold at. This still allows retailers to offer discounts once products are “in the cart.”

2. Develop your policy

Draft a MAP policy that outlines your new policy and the actions you will take if authorized retailers violate it. Make your expectations clear. To play it safe, have a lawyer review your policy to ensure that is compliant with state and federal law.

3. Distribute your policy

Send your new policy and MAP pricing to your authorized sellers.

4. Monitor your pricing

Identify which sellers uphold your MAP policy and which sellers drop their prices first. Pro tip: Perispect can help with price monitoring and case management.

5. Notify violators

Let sellers know that you’re aware of the price violation and follow any actions outlined in your policy. Keep track of violations so you can identify repeat violators.

 

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, or “MSRP”

The price a product should be sold for, recommended by the manufacturer.

The price is supposed to reflect all the costs that happened during the manufacturing process, including retailer markup. MSRP is not necessarily the price that retailers use or that consumers pay for. Some retailers sell below MSRP to reasonably reduce their inventory.

 

Minimum Advertised Price, or “MAP”

The lowest price a reseller can advertise a partner’s products.

It is a way to protect brand image, and it levels the playing field between online sellers and brick and mortar stores. A MAP policy can reduce consumers going to a brick and mortar store to find a product but ultimately purchase the product online – a practice known as “showrooming.”

 

Maintaining a MAP policy is a great way for companies to maintain their brand integrity online. If you are interested in learning more about the prices your products are being sold at, get started with a free trial with Perispect today! Contact .

 

You spend a lot of time creating your brand. After all, your brand tells your company story. Through your logo, website, social media and advertising strategies, you craft the vision for customers and provide added value to your products. A significant component of your branding is product pricing. Your MSRP conveys product value to customers. A high price can indicate quality, exclusivity, and craftsmanship. A low price may indicate a bargain and accessibility. Whatever factors go into determining product price, you expect that price to be honored by retailers.

Often, traditional brick and mortar retailers do honor your pricing. But online, it’s a different story. Many product manufacturers discover that their products are being significantly underpriced on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. This poses a threat to traditional retailers, whose customers are checking out the product in the store but making the purchase online, a practice called showrooming.

Additionally and perhaps more importantly, the under-pricing of your products online can lead to customers devaluing your products. If the MSRP is $50 but on Amazon, the product is $35, why would the customer pay more? Soon, the customer starts to believe that the product is worth $35, and not the MSRP value assigned.

The product price, which once demonstrated product worth, now devalues your brand.

How does this happen? Usually, this occurs when unauthorized or “rogue” sellers obtain your product, often from distributors. The Amazon marketplace is competitive. To gain sales, sellers will often start a “race to the bottom” with price. One seller drops and the rest soon follow.

To understand why a seller would lower price and decrease their margin, check out our next blog post Demystifying the Buy Box.