an imitation intended to be passed off fraudulently or deceptively as genuine; forgery.
Unfortunately, a vast number of Amazon sellers are all too familiar with this word because they have at one time or another fallen prey to unscrupulous ‘product predators’.
These individuals produce fake products copied from a seller’s legitimate inventory that are unlicensed, cheap, not regulated, and in some cases, potentially dangerous to use.
Counterfeit products can severely damage a seller’s business and reputation, while seriously disillusioning customers about the merits of shopping online.
The problem is so prevalent within the marketplace that Amazon has created the Amazon Transparency Program to give sellers a means by which they can proactively protect their brands from counterfeiters and to help ensure that buyers have a shopping experience that meets their expectations.
The Amazon Transparency program protects a seller’s brand and shoppers by ensuring that every single product shipped is authentic. Sellers can enroll some or all of their products into the Amazon Transparency program.
Transparency is a service available to brands enrolled in Brand Registry, that provides a unique ‘transparency code’ that is attached to each product’s packaging that counterfeiters cannot generate.
With Transparency, when a seller ships products to a Fulfillment Center, Amazon will scan for this unique code to confirm authenticity and will not accept units without any transparency code. Also, if the seller can’t provide a valid Transparency code to Amazon, the purchased item will not be sent to the buyer.
FBM sellers must give Amazon-provided codes for every transparency-enabled item that is sold. This will help reduce the possibility of third-party sellers circumventing FBA warehouses by selling counterfeits via FBM.
Transparency-enabled products can be identified on customer orders in two ways:
Once complete, the Transparency field will automatically display when a seller downloads their report.
If the value in this field (“is-Transparency”) is set to “True” in the order report, the seller must upload Transparency codes for these ASINs when confirming the shipment.
Pro Tip: The number of Transparency codes a seller uploads must match the number of Transparency-enabled items in their order. For example, if the quantity of Transparency-enabled products is 4, 4 unique Transparency codes must be uploaded.
Transparency uses secure, unique codes that identify individual units that prevent fakes from reaching buyers. Also, products enrolled in Transparency without these codes can’t be listed on Amazon stores. These codes differ from UPC codes or an EAN, which can be duplicated and are public knowledge.
In addition to serial numbers, each product unit carries a scannable QR code.
Any unit without the barcode or a failed authenticity test will be scrutinized and be marked as a potential counterfeit. Suspected counterfeits will be handled as per Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting policies.
Identifying Transparency 2D Barcodes on a Product
Transparency 2D barcodes are affixed to the outer packaging of each individual unit of the product. Generally, it is square and printed in black and white.
Sellers can also show other important identifiers and unit-level information on the printed label such as manufacturing date, manufacturing place, and other detailed product information (e.g., ingredients and materials used) with customers through the Transparency app.
Transparency Brand Reports
Sellers enrolled in Transparency have access to Brand Reports that provide useful insights into Transparency’s effectiveness and provide access to key metrics like…
Also, Transparency keeps track of every code generated along with the products, so that the codes can be easily cross-referenced and verified for later use.
Sellers who wish to participate in Amazon Transparency must meet certain eligibility requirements and follow specific guidelines.
To be eligible for Transparency, sellers must:
** Additional costs for sellers to consider are the costs of printing the labels for their packaging, the cost of labor (time/paid hourly wage), to apply them to every unit, or the cost of buying them from a TSP approved under the program. TSPs are third-company companies that are vetted by Amazon and are well-versed in the specific details of the Transparency program.
Once set up, sellers can begin registering their products and ordering transparency codes. On the Transparency service portal, sellers can select the products they wish to have transparency codes and indicate how many codes they wish to generate.
Transparency is currently available in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, and India.
Shoppers can verify the authenticity of products enrolled in Transparency with the Transparency app everywhere Transparency has launched and with the Amazon Shopping app in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia.
Although Amazon does not disclose its pricing policy for the Amazon Transparency program, sellers should expect to pay between $0.01 to $0.05 per barcode, depending on the number of transparency-enabled units they create.
Amazon offers volume discounts. The present volume pricing structure is 5 cents per code, 3 cents/code if a seller orders a minimum of 1 million codes at a time, or 1 cent/code if the seller orders over 10 million codes at a time.
Follow the steps below to confirm, upload, and ship products with Transparency codes:
Transparency can be used across ecommerce platforms and retail locations. It works anywhere a seller’s products are sold (Amazon Store, eBay, Etsy, Shopify, any other ecommerce platform, or physical retail location), allowing buyers to scan for the seller’s unique barcode and serial number.
Without a Transparency label, counterfeiters attempting to sell knockoffs of a seller’s products face disciplinary actions from Amazon, that may include unlicensed sellers having their accounts suspended and/or their counterfeit inventory being destroyed.
Shoppers are able to use the Amazon Shopping app or the Transparency app for their iOS or Android phone to easily cross-reference and verify Transparency-protected products purchased online. Upon scanning, the app will show a green check mark if the code is valid and a red X mark otherwise.
Like most Amazon programs, Transparency is a better fit for some sellers more than others. However, it’s certainly worth giving serious consideration to if a seller already has Brand Registry, owns trademarks on their products, or may be selling highly priced, luxury items.
The Amazon Transparency Program may not be the ultimate solution for safeguarding against counterfeiting given the sheer magnitude of the problem both on and off of Amazon, but it is a good protective measure, that can provide shoppers with peace of mind by giving them the ability to verify the authenticity of products they purchase from the seller’s brand.
Entourage: Software to Scale Amazon Ads and Results Driven Management.
He is the owner and founder of PPC Entourage, one of the original amazon ad software and management companies. Mike started off as a physical therapist in 2015 and just knew there had to be a better way so he started his ecommerce journey. Using the power of Amazon Ads, he built a 7 figure brand in less than one year. Now he helps other sellers do the same with free valuable education, PPC Entourage software and the ad agency. He is also the author of the Amazon Ads Playbook series.
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