What you need to know about 3P sellers.

What is a 'third-party seller'?

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Also commonly known as 3P sellers and resellers, third-party sellers are independent sellers who roam the online marketplace. These sellers can be identified as authorized or unauthorized to sell branded products online that are new, used and sometimes refurbished. Unfortunately, unauthorized sellers buy products that are intended for consumption and instead resell them online for profit. This causes issues with brand protection when 3P sellers list used and refurbished items as 'New' on the online marketplace.

What are the consequences of a 3P seller?

Since 3P seller products do not come directly from the manufacturer, often times they are not approved to be sold and therefore may be inauthentic. When a customer makes an online purchase, the expectation is to receive an item in perfect condition that aligns with what is promised from the brand. Whether purchasing an item from a reseller is known or unknown, it is important to be aware of the possible dangers.

When browsing online marketplaces, such as Amazon, the intent is to find a desired product for the best-advertised price. Many times, customers may be blinded by a low price, without observing that the product itself is coming from an unauthorized source. Depending on the type of item a consumer is purchasing, paying close attention to specific attributes of the product is crucial for safety. For items that fall under the health and beauty category, it’s important to glance at the ingredients or take note if they’ve been scraped from the product completely. Since customers rely heavily on FDA approved formulas, third-party sellers are putting products up on marketplaces that can be dangerous. Therefore, consumers should be aware of the expectation of the item, along with making sure the product they receive aligns accordingly to brand policies.

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Aside from the possible harm that third-party sellers may cause to customers, unauthorized sellers also do damage to brands by weakening brand value. If a customer buys a package with a specific brand’s label on it from a third-party seller and the product turns out inauthentic, the consumer will most likely think the brand is at fault. In many circumstances, the customer will want to warn other shoppers by leaving poor reviews. The downward cycle of brand value continues to spiral as more shoppers become aware of bad experiences, unaware these experiences were directly caused by inauthentic products and not the brand itself.