Amazon's Transparency Program: Protect Your Brand and Customers from Counterfeit
As Amazon continues to grow, so does the issue of counterfeit products.
To understand how counterfeiting became such a problem on Amazon, it's important to understand how Amazon works which is by mixing and selling products acquired through third-party sellers with products that come directly from manufacturers. This strategy, unfortunately, has left the door wide open for counterfeiters who make a living off of making cheap copies of products and selling them through the Amazon marketplace....something that we hear our vendors complain about frequently.
However, despite the growing number of complaints by manufacturers about the counterfeit problem, because of the amount of products they deal with, it has been impossible for Amazon to keep track of the problem until the recent launch of their Transparency program.
What is Transparency?
Although the program was developed in 2017, Amazon had only been enrolling and testing it on a few brands to ensure that there were no glitches. The ultimate goal of the program is to protect your brand and consumers from counterfeit products.
How Does Transparency Work Overall?
Essentially, how Transparency works is the brand owner enrolls in the program and pays for unique codes for the products they sell on Amazon. The owner will, then, print bar code labels with unique alphanumeric, non-sequential code and apply them to their products. Transparency keeps a record of every code generated along with the product for which it was generated and uses the information to authenticate products.
How Does Transparency Benefit Customers?
According to Amazon, "Transparency allows any customer to authenticate any Transparency-enabled product, regardless of where they purchase the product (Amazon, other e-commerce sites, brick and mortar stores, etc.)."
Customers can use the Amazon shopping app or the Transparency app for their iOS or Android phone to scan Transparency codes on products. Upon scanning, the app will show a green check mark if the code is valid and a red X mark otherwise. Brands may choose to share additional unit-level product information such as manufacturing date, manufacturing place, and enhanced product information (e.g., ingredients).
How Does Transparency Work with Amazon Fulfillment Centers?
According to Amazon, "After a brand starts applying unique Transparency codes for a product, Amazon will begin to look for and scan these codes within its Fulfillment Centers to ensure that only authentic products are shipped out to customers. Units that fail Transparency authentication checks are investigated for potential counterfeits. Suspected counterfeits will be handled as per Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting policies."
How does transparency work if you fill your own orders?
If you fill your own orders, you can still benefit from Transparency. Selling partners are required to provide a Transparency code for every unit of Transparency-enabled products they fulfill in order for Amazon to verify that only authentic units are shipped to customers.
Do you have to enroll all of your products in Transparency?
No, you don't. You may choose to only apply it to some of your products. To save on time and cost, we recommend trying it with some of your higher-ticket items, to start.
What do you need to enroll in Transparency?
To enroll in Amazon's Transparency, you will need:
Be a registered brand with Amazon Brand Registry.
A Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), such as UPC barcode, on your products.
The ability to apply unique Transparency codes on every unit you manufacture.
Meet quality control and other requirements.
The process for Transparency may be time consuming and expensive for some. However, for those who truly want to protect their brand integrity from counterfeiters, the process is well worth the time and expense.
For more information about Amazon's Transparency Program, visit https://brandservices.amazon.com/transparency