Why the Transparency program and do you need it?
Amazon launched a slow rollout of 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 is helping an increasing number of small businesses due to its massive reach, spot-on logistics systems and huge fulfillment centers. Since the company allows third-parties to legally sell trademarked products from other manufacturers on its site, it’s a route many small businesses take to get started and grow their sales and exposure.
The problem for Amazon is, the marketplace has become too difficult to monitor inventory with hundreds of millions of SKUs being sold. And this is leading to a growing number of crooked companies selling counterfeit products on Amazon, as well as other e-commerce sites.
The problem has become increasingly widespread. President Trump signed a memorandum in April to curb online sales of counterfeit items. And more recently, the first phase of the new U.S. trade deal with China includes specific provisions to combat the sale of counterfeit goods on e-commerce platforms.
“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 new programs Amazon is implementing, 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 warehouses. Amazon has been enrolling brands in the program slowly for the last two years.
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 from Apple and Android. By scanning the Transparency code, they 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 for 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 unique barcodes, your Transparency codes, for your products. The Transparency codes are unique to each item. They use a 26-digit encryption code that includes the product’s 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 your product labels with the Transparency codes printed directly on them. Amazon will provide you a small list of preferred Transparency Service Providers, like Avery WePrint, where you can order your labels.
Transparency is currently available in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and India. Amazon is hoping to continue its expansion, as well as growing it across other e-commerce platforms.
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.
Are you thinking about enrolling in Amazon Transparency? Do you have questions or comments about the program? Let us know in the comments below.