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What is the Amazon Transparency program?

Counterfeiting poses a significant threat to the reputation of both marketplaces and brands. It involves the sale of inferior copycats of merchandise, diminishing the perceived quality and credibility of your brand while eroding your hard-earned reputation and profits.

For as long as brands and marketplaces have existed, counterfeits have been a problem. On Amazon, counterfeit products result in substantial financial losses, estimated at around $323 billion annually. These low-quality knock-offs lead to negative customer feedback and experiences, tarnishing the reputation of both Amazon and the brands involved.

Launched in 2017, the Transparency Program aims to detect and prevent counterfeit products from reaching Amazon customers. Initially, Amazon tested the program with its own product line. Over time, as the program proved successful, it was extended to third-party sellers.

Currently, the Amazon Transparency Program is available in select regions across North America, Europe, and Oceania, with plans for further expansion.

The program targets third-party sellers and brand owners. For example, if a third-party seller attempts to “hijack” a listing with counterfeit products, their listings will be blacklisted and removed from customer search results.

How does the Amazon Transparency Program work?

The Transparency Program employs a sophisticated product labeling system to prevent counterfeit products from reaching customers.

Brands enrolled in the program receive unique 2D barcodes for each product unit. These codes, distinct from standard UPCs or GTINs, are affixed to the product packaging or alongside the original barcode.

Amazon verifies each item’s authenticity by scanning the barcode before shipment. Items without a barcode or those failing the authenticity test are flagged as potential counterfeits.

Additionally, Amazon offers a Transparency mobile app, allowing customers to verify the authenticity of purchased products. By scanning the product QR code, the app confirms the product’s authenticity, providing peace of mind to consumers.

Brands can also share detailed product information, such as manufacturing date and location, through the Transparency app.

According to the official FAQ, Transparency ensures the complete centralization of unique barcode generation, allowing customers to scan these barcodes to verify the authenticity of the product. This process prevents the manipulation of codes by dishonest third parties.

Additionally, the Transparency program tracks every code generated alongside the products, enabling these codes to be easily checked and verified for future use.

How does the Amazon Transparency Program work for FBM sellers?

As an FBM seller participating in the Amazon Transparency program, you’ll be required to provide a unique Transparency code for each item enabled for Transparency that you wish to sell. You have the flexibility to assign specific Transparency codes to individual units of your products. This process ensures that only genuine products are shipped to customers. While Amazon generates these codes, it’s your responsibility to submit the codes associated with your FBM products via the Transparency portal.

Remember, every FBM product you ship must have its own unique Transparency code affixed to the product’s packaging, guaranteeing the authenticity of each item sent to customers.

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How much does the Amazon Transparency program cost?

Brands participating in the Amazon Transparency program can expect costs ranging from $0.01 to $0.05 per barcode, varying with the number of Transparency-enabled units. The program has a tiered pricing structure that offers discounts once sellers reach certain thresholds of purchased barcodes.

For example, if you need barcodes for 1,000 units of your product, the maximum amount you would pay for authentication could be around $50.

It is highly recommended to join this program, especially if you sell high-value, luxury items, to mitigate losses from counterfeit products. Over time, you may choose to enroll other products or brands in the Transparency program, depending on your budget and needs.

Another cost to consider when using the Transparency program is labeling. Transparency codes can be applied to products using sticker labels. While Amazon encourages integrating these codes into your packaging design during the manufacturing phase, this method is typically more expensive.

How to enroll in the Amazon Transparency Program?

To enroll in the Amazon Transparency program, sellers must satisfy specific requirements established by Amazon. These prerequisites include:

  • Being the brand’s rights owner.
  • Possessing a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), such as a UPC or EAN barcode, for your products.
  • Having the capability to affix unique Transparency codes to every item produced.
  • If you meet all the specified criteria, navigate to Amazon’s Transparency webpage and click on the “Get Started” button to initiate the enrollment process.

Here, you need to fill out a short form. Once completed, click on “Request more information” to obtain more details about your enrollment from Amazon.

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If your application is accepted, you can select the products you’d like to authenticate using Transparency codes.

It is recommended to start with your high-priced products first, rather than enrolling all your items at once.

Benefits of the Amazon Transparency Program

The Amazon Transparency program offers significant advantages for both brands and customers, presenting compelling reasons for its consideration:

Enhanced Profits

Counterfeit goods, often of subpar quality and masquerading under reputable brands, pose a substantial issue, particularly in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security reports that federal authorities seized counterfeit goods valued at over $2.41 billion in 2023. For businesses in the fashion and technology sectors, this is a critical challenge as counterfeiters not only siphon sales from legitimate entities but also compete directly by infringing on intellectual property.

The Transparency program mitigates this risk by barring unauthorized sellers from listing your products without the unique Amazon-generated codes for transparency-enabled items. Should a seller fail to provide the requisite transparency code, the product is flagged as counterfeit and withheld from customer delivery. This initiative directly curtails the operations of counterfeit sellers, funneling potential shoppers exclusively to you, thereby bolstering your sales.

Minimized Counterfeiter Damage

Counterfeiters, by listing and selling unauthentic products, directly threaten online business integrity. These entities profit by undercutting legitimate prices, diverting your prospective customers and tarnishing your brand’s reputation with the assumption of complicity in these fraudulent activities. This scenario not only risks customer trust but could potentially lead to a temporary business suspension pending investigation.

Protection Against Negative Reviews

Receiving counterfeit items invariably frustrates customers, prompting negative feedback on social media platforms or product pages, which can severely damage your brand image. Given that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, safeguarding your brand’s reputation is paramount.

The Transparency program acts as a bulwark against such incidents, ensuring customers receive genuine products and maintain a positive perception of your brand, essential for a flourishing Amazon business.

The Amazon Transparency program, by addressing these key areas, provides a robust framework for protecting both your revenue and reputation in the competitive online marketplace.

 

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Final Thoughts: Protect your Brand 

Counterfeiters are a significant menace in the e-commerce industry, undermining your brand’s reputation, offering lower prices, and leading to revenue loss with every counterfeit sale.

Enrolling your products in the Amazon Transparency program is one of the most effective strategies to safeguard against the pitfalls of counterfeit activities. This ensures your customers always receive the genuine products they expect, maintaining their satisfaction and trust.

If you’re a brand-registered seller, review the requirements to join the Transparency program and begin shielding your brand reputation from counterfeiters.

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