As counterfeiting continues to be a problem in eCommerce, Amazon has announced several measures in recent years to combat it. Last year, the marketplace blocked 10 billion — yes, billion —listings for suspected counterfeiting, as the pandemic seemed to spur a new wave of crooks hoping to cash in on the online shopping boom. However, when progress is being made, there is still much more to be done.
Brand security must be a primary priority for today's Amazon retailers. The consequences of a hijacked listing and a low-cost counterfeit of your best-selling item are just too costly to your bottom line and brand reputation. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution at the moment, Amazon's Brand Registry, particularly its Amazon Transparency program, is an excellent place to start.
What Is The Amazon Transparency Program, And How Does It Work?
Transparency is a product serialization solution that allows Amazon to validate each item before sending it to consumers. In 2017, Amazon launched the Transparency Program to address the growing problem of counterfeit goods.
To reach the delivery step of Amazon fulfillment, protected products must pass the Transparency authentication check. This is true whether they're offered directly by the brand owner or through a third-party vendor. If another seller "hijacks" a listing and tries to sell counterfeit goods, Amazon will identify the fakes, and they will not be delivered to the consumer. This service assures that the final customer receives the genuine item they requested rather than a cheap knock-off.
Transparency by Amazon is now accessible in the following Amazon marketplaces: the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, and India, among others.
How Does It Work?
The way huge brands assign serial numbers to every unit of every product they sell is an example of transparency by amazon (i.e., every iPhone has a unique serial number).
When you ship products into the Fulfillment Center with Transparency, Amazon will search for this transparency code to verify the authenticity and will not accept units without it. When you make a sale, Amazon will also validate the code shortly before the device comes out.
Customers can scan the amazon transparency code to verify the authenticity and check additional information when a purchase arrives at their doorstep. For example, a green checkmark shows that the item is genuine, whereas a Red Cross mark indicates counterfeit. After that, customers can contact the Transparency team to report a possible fake.
As long as the format is followed, other identifiers and unit-level information can still be displayed on the print label. For example, you can display the UPC, FNSKU, and information such as the manufacturing date, ingredients, and materials used on the print label. As of this writing, many merchants hoped that Amazon would allow them to link to a brand website or an Amazon storefront.
How Does Amazon Transparency Work For FBM Sellers?
You have two alternatives for order fulfillment when selling on Amazon: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). You can keep your inventory at Amazon's warehouses if you use FBA. When a consumer places a purchase, Amazon handles the packing and shipping.
If you go with FBM, you'll have to give Amazon a Transparency Code for each Transparency-enabled item you ship. As a result, Amazon can ensure that only genuine products are sent to buyers. Although Amazon will produce the Amazon transparency codes for you, you must still inform them which ones you use for your FBM orders.
The Transparency Program's Advantages
Keep Your At-Risk Products Safe
If you offer a high-value item or have a best-selling product, a black hat vendor may try to market a counterfeit version. Electronics, clothes, watches, and even popular toys are all at risk of being counterfeited. However, it can occur in any category. Because hijackers won't have Amazon's unique codes for your products, transparency stops them from selling on your listing. If a merchant tries to sell your goods without providing a valid transparency code, it will be marked as counterfeit.
Minimize The Risk Of Counterfeits Causing Harm
If you don't defend yourself, counterfeiters and black hat vendors can do a lot of damage to your Amazon business. One danger is that a fake vendor will undercut you on price, taking hundreds or even thousands of dollars from your listing. Also, another possibility is that a customer complains about obtaining an illegitimate product, and Amazon suspends your listing while investigating. The more time your listing is inactive, the more money you lose.
Keep Your Brand's Reputation Safe
Customers sometimes become dissatisfied if they order and receive counterfeit goods. And they can complain about obtaining a fake. This could damage your brand's reputation, deter potential customers from making purchases, and degrade the performance of your listing.
Amazon Transparency Program FAQs
Is The Transparency Code A Substitute For The UPC?
No. GTINs, also known as Universal Product Codes (UPCs) or European Article Numbers (EANs), are used to identify a specific product on the market. On the other hand, Amazon Transparency Codes are used to identify every unit of a particular product.
So if you sell five pieces of Product X, you'll have five different Transparency Codes but only one UPC.
What Is The Price Of Amazon Transparency?
The cost of Amazon transparency varies from 1 to 5 cents per code.
You're undoubtedly asking yourself, "Why are the sellers being forced to pay?" Isn't Amazon dealing with its counterfeiting issues? (Do you recall when they stole Peak Design's sling bag?)
My estimate is as good as yours. It's not exactly inexpensive to implement at 5 cents per code as writing, especially considering the fees might add quickly. In any event, a few cents per unit per code is a tiny thing to pay to avoid the stress of having counterfeiters put your business out of business or have you suspended.
Amazon offers volume discounts to avoid these costs building up. The rates were as follows at the time of writing:
- 5 cents per code;
- 3 cents/code if you order at least 1 million codes at a time;
- 1 cent/code if you call over 10 million codes at a time;
The costs of printing and putting labels on your package is another factor to consider. You can print the labels yourself or purchase them from a program-approved Transparency Service Provider (TSP).
TSPs are third-party companies that have been approved by Amazon and are already familiar with the program's ins and outs, ensuring that your codes and labels are more secure.
How Can I Become A Member Of Amazon Transparency?
Many sellers claim that signing up for transparency is a painless procedure, which we don't frequently hear about Amazon.
The capacity to prove that you are the owner of the brand for your items
This entails registering your product with Amazon's Brand Registry or obtaining a trademark for your goods. But, of course, protecting your products against counterfeiters is pointless if you don't own the rights to them in the first place.
Check out the Amazon IP Accelerator Program, which allows you to process an application for IP while also getting enrolled in Brand Registry considerably faster by working with Amazon-accredited organizations.
A Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) on your products includes a UPC or EAN barcode
You must obtain a valid GTIN for your goods. Valid implies Amazon will be able to check it against the GS1 database. As a result, get your GTINs from reputable suppliers.
The ability to apply different Transparency codes to each unit you produce
You can do so in one of these ways:
1. Collaborating with a TSP (Transparency Service Provider);
2. Using the design-in packaging process;
3. Printing labels yourself and pasting them on your goods.
Although applying the labels yourself will save you money, the design-in method (which involves integrating the codes into your artwork and packaging) streamlines the procedure and improves marketing effectiveness.
Once you've figured out those fundamental prerequisites, go to the Transparency website's 'Get started' gateway to join up. Amazon will need your contact information as well as information about your brand.
After some verification, an onboarding consultant will contact you to set you up for the program within a few weeks. Many vendors claim that the process is relatively painless and that Amazon was beneficial throughout.
After you've finished setting up your account, you can start registering your products and ordering transparency codes. You can choose which product you want transparency codes for and how many you generate on the Transparency service platform. Transparency code files and transparency reports are also available here.
Is The Amazon Transparency Program A Good Choice For Me?
Transparency, like most Amazon services, is better suited to some sellers than others.
If you're already on Brand Registry and have a trademark on your product, it's worth thinking about. In other words, whether your product is in the middle of its life cycle and deserves to be protected. It's also a no-brainer if you're selling a high-value item that's prone to forgeries, such as electronics or one-of-a-kind widgets.
By the way, Amazon only allows you to enroll certain ASINs in Transparency, not your complete product line, as of this writing. This will make you test the waters or focus on your most fantastic seller. Each product you enroll in will require a unique Transparency code to every unit created for that product.
Final Thought- Begin Securing Your Brand
Counterfeit products can severely harm consumer trust in your brand. However, you can take proactive measures to assure that your consumers are satisfied by ensuring they receive the genuine goods they anticipate. The Transparency program provides a platform for brands registered with Amazon FBA to share detailed information about their business practices and supply chain on an extensive product page.
If you're interested in joining the Transparency Program but don't yet qualify as a brand-registered vendor, there's no need to worry! We offer comprehensive solutions tailored specifically for selling on Amazon FBA and we would be happy to answer any questions or provide further details about our services. Get started safeguarding your brand now - contact us today!