Store closures amid the global COVID-19 pandemic forced most shopping to occur online, contributing to a surge in global eCommerce. That trend seems here to stay, as forecasts signal a continued 8% growth for all worldwide retail eCommerce sector sales through 2024. To better position themselves in the eye of the growing eCommerce storm, brands must harness eCommerce avenues, like Amazon.
A critical aspect of selling on Amazon involves brands focusing on customer reviews, a buyer resource made instantly available with a mere click of a mouse. These reviews, coloring the perspectives of potential customers who read them and impacting their resultant willingness to buy, are critical for brands. This makes one problem with selling on Amazon potentially catastrophic: the prevalence of counterfeiting. Luckily, brands need not fear because Amazon’s Transparency program provides a solution to this emerging pain point. This option is especially worthwhile for sellers with reputable brand names worth protecting, such as Gatorade or Nike.
Harnessing the Amazon Transparency program can streamline your company’s integration into the ever-apparent world of eCommerce, while still conserving your brand’s reputation and relationship with consumers. Given that brand strategies are never one-size-fits-all solutions, Premiere Creative’s Amazon advertising experts explore whether the Amazon Transparency program provides companies with a productive way to safeguard their Amazon health.
What is the Amazon Transparency Program?
Amazon’s Transparency program establishes a system of law and order against counterfeits in its corner of the eCommerce world. By “bringing bad actors to justice,” Amazon’s product serialization service identifies individual units via transparency codes. The process effectively ensures only authentic products under your brand name will reach consumers.
Phony products will no longer have a platform to contaminate your brand’s image! Increased product unit verification enhances your brand reputation and reinforces consumer trust. Profit-wise, removing counterfeiters from your market will boost your sales and strengthen your bottom line. Thus, leveraging the Amazon Transparency program and offshoring authenticity concerns to Amazon allows brands to enjoy both benefits.
How the Amazon Transparency Program Works
Unlike publicly available Universal Product Codes (UPC), every single Amazon transparency code is unique and identifies an individual product unit. Aside from verification, transparency codes also equip consumers with enhanced product information. These added tidbits, for instance, may include the manufacturing date and place, product ingredients, or expiration date for the unit they receive.
When initially received (before the final shipment), Amazon scans these codes at their fulfillment center for verification. Looped into this program, buyers also become authenticators. On the consumer’s end, he or she can confirm the purchase authenticity once they receive it through the Amazon mobile app. Pay attention because a green mark upon scanning identifies a verified unit while red crosses signal a counterfeit. If they receive a knockoff, consumers can contact Amazon via the “Contact Us” section on both the Transparency and Amazon Shopping mobile apps.
Further Considerations for the Amazon Transparency Program
1. Additional Steps
Applying transparency codes to your product units adds an extra step to your production process. Since each code applied to every unit is unique, this additional step is also difficult to automate.
2. Amazon Transparency Verification is Not Free
Sadly, these labels also come at a price. With individual label prices varying by order volume, costs typically range between 1 to 5 cents per code. Individual codes cost 5 cents each, but Amazon offers bulk pricing options. For example, if you order 1 million codes at a time, you will pay 3 cents per code. If you order over 10 million at once, each code will cost just 1 cent.
3. Amazon Transparency Eligibility Requirements
As a pre-requisite, this program requires you to have a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), such as a UPC, on your product units. You also must register to Amazon’s Brand Registry or secure a trademark over your product to deter Amazon ASIN hijackers. So, not every brand can apply for the Amazon Transparency program; lacking any of these requirements will disqualify them from enrollment.
4. Protection is Limited to Your ASINS
It is important to note that Amazon’s transparency protection is not fully comprehensive. The program’s protective benefits only extend to your listings. So, Amazon Transparency does not safeguard your brand against counterfeits on other listings. Facing those other listing issues requires raising separate concerns with Amazon’s IP.
How You Can Join Amazon’s Transparency Program
1. Getting Started
Once you satisfy Amazon’s eligibility requirements, you must register at the “Get Started” portal on the Transparency website. From there, you enter contact information and required details about your brand, including your company’s location, name, Brand Registry, and trademark status. After Amazon verifies your brand’s sign-up, an onboarding assistant will contact you within a few weeks to initiate your program participation.
2. Program Onboarding
Once you have access to your new portal, you must then register your products with Amazon and provide order transparency codes for your individual units. For code applications, your brand has several options. You can utilize a Transparency Service Provider. Alternatively, you can apply the labels yourself, which might be more cost-effective. If you opt for this method, you can also consider the design-in approach, which incorporates codes into your product’s design and packaging.
Your brand’s transparency code files and reports will live in your portal where you can access them. In these brand reports, Amazon offers insight into how effective the program has been in protecting your product. This data includes the number of counterfeit units prevented from reaching customers, as well as notices of suspected counterfeit infringement.
Should Your Brand Get Proactive with This Safeguarding?
Choosing this avenue might be the best way to protect your brand name in an increasingly eCommerce world where anyone can become a seller. By doing so, you will follow the path of enormous brands like Brita, Tetra, and Cards Against Humanity. Among program members, FlipBelt, a brand selling one of the most popular accessories in the sports and outdoors market, specifically reported increased revenue of more than 20% since using the program, with customers feeling more satisfied and willing to make subsequent purchases.
When examining whether the Amazon Transparency program would be worthwhile for your brand, remember to consider costs. Since Amazon only allows you to enroll individual ASINs in the Transparency program, starting smaller and expanding program use based on your company’s changing needs may be your best bet. Contact Premiere Creative at (973) 346-8100 to weigh your options and embark on your brand-specific transparency path on Amazon!