Birkenstock, makers of premium shoes since 1774, and mostly known for their sandals has pulled the plug on directly supplying Amazon in Europe.
The long-standing family operation claims that they have made numerous attempts to solve problems with counterfeit products on Amazon’s third-party Marketplace in Europe and that the company failed to prevent these sales from continuing.
While it may still seek legal remedies, the company has decided that its name is worth more than the sales on Amazon.com and effective January 1, 2018, will no longer supply Amazon EU S.à.r.l. with its products.
Amazon would, of its own accord, do everything within its power to prevent this type of and similar infringements. To this day, no binding statement has been made to the effect that no more counterfeit BIRKENSTOCK products would be offered for sale through the platform. Instead, there were further legal violations of a different nature in recent months which Amazon failed to proactively prevent.
BIRKENSTOCK GmbH & Co. KG Statement
This decision is not the first for Birkenstock which has taken an aggressive stance with Amazon about counterfeit products and already had terminated its relationship with Amazon.com in the United States.
The iconic shoe brand even discourages retail partners from selling on the U.S. Amazon Marketplace, but it is still possible to find Birkenstock products on Amazon.com
In the United States, there are many third-party Marketplace sellers still selling Birkenstock products on Amazon, but styles and variety are reduced due to Birkenstock’s stance on this issue.
EU law may play a role in such distribution agreements as well, so it will be interesting to see how much Birkenstock will remain on the European Amazon Marketplace platform that is sold by third-party sellers.
Amazon.com in the U.S. still has a significant number of third party Marketplace sellers selling Birkenstock products on the platform, but styles and variety are reduced due to Birkenstocks dealer policies on this issue.
The Battle Between Amazon and Brands Usually Isn’t This Public
Amazon and major lifestyle brands with lots of pricing and counterfeiting issues have been at loggerheads for many years.
It mostly started out that Amazon would just violate pricing agreements by purchasing products through distribution channels and then offering those products on its site below MAP or UMRP pricing.
Of course, counterfeits are a huge problem for any lifestyle brand and marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, etc. have been criticized by the industry of not doing enough to stop them from the very beginning of eCommerce.
And some brands, such as Nike, even have warmed up to Amazon as the giant retailer is mostly following MAP and UMRP pricing policies in the United States.
These companies hope that the “Ships from and sold by Amazon” tagline on listings helps root out fake products as shoppers search for genuine articles.
On the other hand, Birkenstock has been opening country specific online stores to reach its customers in addition to working with local specialty retailers to further the brand’s exposure.
The examples of Birkenstock and Nike show that companies that used to rely on physical store sales to build their brands are using different paths to come to grips with Amazon and other eCommerce platforms.
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