Why the Transparency program and do you need it?
Amazon launched its Transparency program in 2017 in response to growing complaints from companies and consumers about the increased selling of counterfeit goods on Amazon. The Amazon Marketplace helps an increasing number of small businesses due to its massive reach, spot-on logistics systems, and huge fulfillment centers. The company allows third parties to legally sell trademarked products from other manufacturers on its site. So it’s a route many small businesses take to get started and grow their sales and exposure.
The problem for Amazon was that the marketplace became too difficult to monitor inventory with hundreds of millions of SKUs being sold. And this led to a growing number of crooked companies selling counterfeit products on Amazon, as well as other e-commerce sites.
“Our goal is to rightly shift the burden of trafficking to the supply chain and third-party online marketplaces and intermediaries that right now are blanketing this country with dangerous products that cheat consumers out of billions of dollars a year,” Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
This is where Amazon hopes the Transparency program will help sellers and consumers. The goal of Transparency, and several other programs Amazon has implemented, is to stop the sale of counterfeits. The program is also designed to reassure Amazon customers that they aren’t buying fake products.
How does Transparency work?
In short, the Transparency program is a way for Amazon to track products and make sure fake products aren’t getting shipped into or out of its warehouses.
If your company enrolls in the Transparency program, Amazon will supply you with unique barcodes or Transparency codes for every unit you sell, whether it’s on Amazon or another e-commerce site. Amazon tracks the codes and if it receives a shipment of your products without the Transparency codes, an investigation will be launched.
If Amazon finds the third-party seller is violating its anti-counterfeiting policy, the seller could lose their selling privileges. They could also have their funds withheld and their inventory at Amazon fulfillment centers destroyed. Not to mention possible legal consequences.
Transparency codes should be placed on the front of packaging when possible so they are visible and easy to scan. The back, side, and top are the next preferred locations, in that order. The company will scan the products when they come into the warehouses and again before they ship to customers.
After customers receive their product, a Transparency app is available on Apple and Android. By scanning the Transparency code, end-users can confirm the product’s authenticity, as well as see detailed information about the item. They can also instantly report something wrong using the Transparency app.
How do you enroll in Transparency?
To sign up for Transparency by Amazon, you first have to register with them as a manufacturer. To enroll in the program you must:
- Be able to verify yourself as the brand owner of your products
- Have a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) such as a UPC or EAN barcode number on your products
- Have the ability to apply Transparency codes on every unit you manufacture.
Once you’re approved, you can request Transparency codes for your products. The Transparency codes are unique to each item. They use a 26-digit encryption code that includes the manufacturing date, location, materials, and ingredients.
Once you receive your codes from Amazon, you can order preprinted over-labels featuring your Transparency codes. Or you can order design-in labels which add the Transparency codes directly on your product labels. Amazon will provide you with a small list of preferred Transparency Service Providers, like Avery WePrint, where you can order your labels.
For more details about the Transparency program visit Amazon. If you have any questions about ordering Transparency labels, please feel free to contact our WePrint reps at (800) 942-8379. They’ll be happy to help you not only pick the right Transparency labels for your products, but they can also walk you through creating your labels.