Brands selling on marketplaces like Walmart and Amazon can get so focused on marketing their products and optimizing their listings that they don’t devote as much time as they should to one crucial aspect of ecommerce: brand safety.
For example, it’s not uncommon for unscrupulous businesses to steal the image and name of a different brand’s product to use to sell their own low-quality counterfeits. This horrific reality can lead to a drop in your brand reputation, higher customer dissatisfaction, and fewer profits, even though you did nothing wrong.
We’ve already covered Amazon’s Brand Registry program, which allows stores on its platform to gain access to advanced brand protection features and prevent this sort of fraud, but it’s time to talk about Walmart. Walmart has recently decided to release a similar ‘brand registry’ program with its own Brand Portal feature to defend the interests of merchants on the platforms. Introducing: Walmart Brand Portal.
It’s a significant milestone for this top retailer and will have a massive impact on merchants using Walmart to sell their products. Sellers will be able to defend themselves in counterfeit cases, while customers will be guaranteed to buy the best, high-quality product.
Let’s see what Walmart’s Brand Registry answer is precisely, the benefits of the new portal program, and what stores can do to enroll in it officially.
What is Walmart Brand Portal?
Similar to Amazon Brand Registry, Walmart’s Brand Registry, or Brand Portal, allows businesses to manage their property rights on products and protect themselves against improper representation. Walmart’s Brand Portal is a dashboard that keeps track of all a seller’s brands, authorized representatives, and property claims in one place.
“The Walmart Brand Portal has been designed from the ground up to be a single, unified experience where you will manage your brands and claims,” says Walmart in one of their official announcements.
According to Walmart, online sellers can register as many brands as they’d like, but similar to Amazon each brand will require an active trademark registration with the USPTO. Brands representatives will also be able to submit and track intellectual property claims, manage authorized representatives, and get up-to-date reporting. Every feature a seller needs to manage the protection of their brand is combined in one convenient place.
Before Brand Portal, protecting your walmart product listings from Intellectual Property (IP) violations was a much more challenging process. When a brand suspected fraud was occurring on the platform, they had to contact Walmart Support, prove that suspicious activity was going on, and file a case with Walmart support to request the removal of the incorrect product listing.
Walmart Brand Portal will make the process of managing an ecommerce brand effortless with access to Intellectual Property claims, authorized representatives, and up-to-date reporting all in one place. Merchants can oversee trademark, copyright, counterfeit, and patent claims in a much more straightforward way and save time–and back and forth with Walmart’s support team–on the resolution.
How Walmart Brand Portal protects your brand
There are many reasons why Walmart wants to adopt new preventive measures to protect its marketplace brands. Here are the negative consequences that unauthorized sellers have on your business:
Maintain strong brand reputation
Maintaining a solid brand reputation is one key pillar of customer loyalty and building confidence in your market. And with the rise of technology and social media, even a tiny mistake could plunge your brand reputation in an instant.
There are various ways that unauthorized sellers on Walmart can cause your brand reputation to take a hit. For example, if they’re selling counterfeit versions of your products, it’s likely going to be low-quality, and customers will have a negative perception of your brand.
As a result, customers may decide to drop a negative review about your brand and discourage other shoppers from buying from you. By protecting your brand from intellectual property infringement, you can better hold your hard-earned reputation.
Grow Sales and Profitability
The rise of the internet has made it easier than ever to sell across marketplaces, even if your product information, pricing, and content isn’t up to snuff. Unauthorized sellers could be selling under your same product names, but with low-quality images, incomplete descriptions, and poor customer service.
If customers find an unappealing version of your product from unauthorized sellers first, they may be turned off to your product altogether. This leads to a decrease in your brand’s sales, profitability, and customer retention. By stopping unauthorized product listings and sellers with Walmart’s Brand Portal, you can continue to attract sellers to your legitimate, helpful information and will be more likely to continue converting customers.
Keep strong relationships with with authorized retailers
Beyond lost business and a poor brand reputation, unauthorized sellers on Walmart can make it harder for you to work with other retailers and sellers. No seller wants to sign up to promote products that have low conversion rates, poor market reputation, and unhelpful information. By providing strong listings, and protecting your listing with Walmart Brand Portal, your brand and products will be better ready for other authorized sellers to come in and piggy back on your success.
3 key benefits of Walmart Brand Portal
Brands selling on Walmart have a lot to gain out of signing up for Brand Portal, Walmart’s version of Brand Registry. Here are some of the main benefits that should convince you:
1. Provide your brands with advanced protection
As your business starts to scale, you must look out for any signs of fraud that could put your brand in danger. Walmart Brand Registry offers businesses high-level protection on their brand and products to reduce risk and give peace of mind.
Brands will be able to file a claim for the following factors: trademark, counterfeit, copyright, and patent. After filing a claim, Walmart will then proceed to investigate the suspicious activity and take action to solve the issue and defend your brand.
2. Manage multiple brands at once
Walmart Brand Registry allows you to add as many brands as you want to the platform, as long as they each have an active trademark registration with the USPTO. In addition, businesses can perform various actions for their brands, such as submitting intellectual property claims, running reporting, and managing authorized representatives.
3. Track claims in one dashboard
Walmart Brand Portal makes life easier for sellers by allowing them to keep track of all their claims in one place. That way, they can monitor their progress and status over time without having to reach back directly to Walmart’s customer service team for updates on their claims.
As a bonus, Walmart Brand Portal comes with an option to allow third-party representatives to submit claims for your brand. Thus, it facilitates the process of managing your claims.
Walmart Brand Portal vs. Amazon Brand Registry: are they the same thing?
While they share the similar goal of protecting brands from brand-compromising activity, Walmart Brand Portal and Amazon Brand Registry do have their differences.
Level of protection
Even though both programs are intended to allow the brand’s IP to be used as the brand intended, the programs differ when it comes to the level of protection capabilities they offer. While Walmart’s version of Brand Registry does a great job allowing businesses to easily submit claims and monitor claim status, Amazon Brand Registry goes further with extra preventive measures.
For example, Amazon Brand Registry allows you to protect other brands from altering your description or title, which can protect brand reputation, sales, and relationships with authorized sellers. Customers on Amazon can also authenticate your product with a QR code that they scan through their app.
Time in the market
Another thing to keep in mind is that Amazon Brand Registry has been available for a much longer time. In other words, it’s had more time to include new features within its platform and adapt to the changing needs of users.
However, it’s only a matter of time before Walmart catches up and starts including more updates. We can see the platform including more preventive measures within its Brand Portal and tools to facilitate the job of its merchants.
Enrolling requirements for joining Walmart Brand Registry
As mentioned earlier, only brands with active trademarks registered in the United States can benefit from Brand Portal. Unfortunately, the platform doesn’t currently accept WIPO or EUIPO trademarks.
If you’re not currently eligible for Walmart’s Brand Portal program, don’t worry: the platform also comes with file claim assistance to report any IP infringement via its webform. You’ll just have to select the claim type and enter all of the relevant details.
How to sign up for Walmart Brand Registry
Once you meet the requirements and have a Walmart marketplace account, getting started with Walmart Brand Registry is a simple process. Here’s how your business can sign up for the program:
- Provide your company and contact information. Make sure that your company name matches the name of your USPTO registration.
- Provide Walmart with your active trademark registration number (only USPTO is accepted).
- Include a verifiable email address to receive your confirmation.
Walmart will then review your application and follow up to let you know whether you’re accepted into the Brand Portal program. It’s worth noting, however, that Walmart has a very selective process for businesses that want to gain access to Brand Portal.
Best practices for keeping your brand safe on Walmart
Aside from signing up for the Brand Portal program, there are extra ways that you can protect your brand on Walmart’s marketplace.
To start, being on Walmart is the best way to ensure your brand’s reputation on Walmart. Unfortunately, if you aren’t on marketplaces, someone else will be with your brand, and they’ll likely do a worse job than you would like. By being the creator of your brand’s listings, images, warranty, customer support, shipping and pricing, you control the narrative consumers receive about your brand.
Also, make sure to have a trademark for your products to differentiate your listings from others in the marketplace legally. Your trademark could take the form of a logo, symbols, templates, a phrase, design or more. It gives you legal rights to defend your brand anytime someone else tries to copy it and profit from it.
Start protecting your Walmart brand today
Walmart businesses should be using all the tools at their disposal to protect their brand. Walmart’s new Brand Portal offers new ways for sellers to defend themselves from fraud, which in return, will boost their reputation and drive sales.
If you need help enrolling in Walmart’s Brand Portal program and driving the best results for your platform, Pattern can help. Contact us today to learn more about our services.