The sale of counterfeit goods on Amazon’s platform poses a significant threat to the legitimacy of the world’s largest online retailer. Fake goods ending up in the hands of consumers can also erode consumer confidence for honest brands and resellers to sell genuine merchandise using the site. Attempts by fraudulent sellers to peddle counterfeit goods on Amazon’s platform are increasing quickly. According to a May 2021 report, Amazon seized and destroyed over 2 million fake products before they were sent to customers. In 2020, it invested over $700 million and employed 10,000 people in efforts aimed at combating fraud.
For brands seeking to establish consumer confidence in their products, the Amazon Transparency Program is worth exploring. In this post, we’ll discuss how Transparency by Amazon helps brands combat fraud and provides end consumers with a way to self-verify the legitimacy of the products they receive. To do this, we’ll explain what the Amazon Transparency Program is, the benefits it offers to brands seeking to sell on Amazon’s platform, and how to get started using it.
What Is the Amazon Transparency Program?
Amazon Transparency is a product serialization service Amazon uses to identify fake products before they’re shipped to consumers. Brands that opt into the program are provided with a scannable 2D barcode label to place on the product packaging. Prior to shipping, Amazon fulfillment personnel scan the Transparency label to ensure the product is genuine. If it’s not, the product is destroyed. This prevents fakes from ever reaching the end consumer.
For additional peace of mind, consumers can download the Amazon Transparency mobile app and scan the product themselves when it arrives. If it’s legit, the app displays a green checkmark. If it’s not, a red X is displayed. Since each Transparency label Amazon provides is unique to each individual unit manufactured, scanning the label can also provide additional product details like the date and place of manufacture and the product’s ingredients. In this way, Amazon Transparency codes empower consumers to verify the legitimacy of the products they receive from Amazon and to review other important product details like how old the product is and what ingredients were used to make it. Introduced in 2017, this service is now available in the US and a handful of other countries, including Canada, India, Australia, the UK, and Germany.
Pros and cons of the Amazon Transparency Program
The only significant downside of Amazon Transparency is its cost. Prices range from $.01 to $.05 per label. Pricing depends on volume, so the higher your manufacturing volumes are, the cheaper each label will be. Amazon requires brands to place Transparency codes on every unit manufactured, not just those sold directly through Amazon. This is meant to ensure that products sold by resellers are held to the same standards as those sold by the brand manufacturer. Adding these Transparency labels to each unit manufactured may increase your overall product labeling costs.
Another minor inconvenience is figuring out how to incorporate the Transparency code into your existing product labeling. Since every unit will need to carry the code no matter where it’s sold, this step will need to be added to your product labeling workflow.
On the other hand, the Amazon Transparency program comes with plenty of perks. The largest of these is that Amazon’s fulfillment process will automatically catch and eliminate fakes before they ever make it into an Amazon box. Authenticating each unit before it’s shipped to consumers creates a formidable barrier against dubious resellers seeking to pass off fakes. Amazon also requires that all resellers who handle their own fulfillment follow the same process, eliminating a potential gap in the program’s effectiveness.
The Transparency mobile app also empowers consumers to do their own due diligence by rescanning the product when they receive it. With information on manufacturer date, place, and ingredients at their fingertips, the Transparency app can boost consumer confidence in your brand.
Should you enroll in the Amazon Transparency Program?
The answer to this question depends on the type of products you’re selling. Amazon Transparency is arguably more important for brands with high-value products that are more likely to be counterfeited. Think high-end consumer electronics, clothing, watches, beauty products, and the like. The program may also be worth considering if your brand uses Amazon as a primary channel to sell directly to consumers, or if your products are popular with resellers.
Additionally, the program can be used to enhance any brand’s standing with consumers. Today’s consumers are well aware that counterfeit goods are a major problem. Transparency-coded products provide added peace of mind.
How to Enroll in the Amazon Transparency Program
Joining the Amazon Transparency Program is a pretty straightforward process. Amazon’s Transparency Program page will help you get started. In the meantime, here are the prerequisites you must meet in order to join:
- You must be the brand owner, and you must verify that fact by enrolling in the Amazon Brand Registry using a registered trademark.
- Your products must include either a UPC or EAN code.
- You must be able to apply an Amazon Transparency code to every product unit you manufacture.
Where to Add the Amazon Transparency Code
Each product participating in Transparency will be scanned before fulfillment, so be sure to place the code on the exterior layer of the product packaging. The Transparency label features the program’s logo and a 2D barcode. If you outsource your product labeling, ask your vendor about adding the Transparency label at the same time your own label is applied.
Transparency Creates Confidence in Your Brand
The Transparency Program by Amazon offers brand owners strong protection against counterfeiters seeing to resell fake products. Fraudulent products that make it into the hands of consumers can do significant damage to a brand’s reputation. Products carrying the Amazon Transparency code help reduce the chances that a bad actor will flood the market with cheap knockoffs and help increase consumer confidence that your products are genuine.
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