Amazon is a well-trusted e-commerce platform. The platform takes care of its customers and enforces safeguards to its policies to protect them from any forms of scam or fraud. Last 2018, Amazon was reported to have a counterfeiting issue which led to several lawsuit cases filed against the company for its alleged complacency in dealing with these concerns.
Just recently this year, Amazon put up a separate crime unit to handle counterfeiting cases on the platform. The new investigative team will perform regular check-ups, constantly on the lookout for counterfeiters lurking in the shadows on the site. The company changed its defensive and curative measures to offensive and preventive to clear the platform of any more of these cybercriminals and protect their users.
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Counterfeit products have managed to remain hidden from view because of the leniency of Amazon’s policies that allows relisting of trademarked products by third-party sellers. Some sellers on Amazon managed to pull this scheme off due to this First Sale Doctrine, a patent-related law that allows reselling of products even without permission from the manufacturer. But it has turned into the selling of fake product knockoffs with poor quality, and as a result, besmirches a reputable brand.
Sellers under the Brand Registry can now defend themselves with the new safety program that Amazon has launched.
Amazon Transparency Program
Initially unveiled way back in 2017, the Transparency program by Amazon involves a special item authentication service that products undergo before shipment. This was the platform’s way of controlling and preventing the increasing threats in counterfeit selling.
Products under protection have to pass the standards on the Transparency check to move forward through delivery and then shipment. Regardless if it was sold by the official brand seller or a third-party seller, it would still go through that process. It would then be detected and flagged by Amazon if another seller takes over a listing and then sells counterfeit versions of a product, and it wouldn’t get sent out to the customer. Amazon guarantees the authenticity of products that will be shipped out to buyers.
The service is now applicable in multiple global marketplaces of Amazon aside from the United States and Canada. Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Japan, Australia, and India have employed this service as well.
How will this benefit you?
A product that is valued at a high price by a popular brand is most prone to counterfeits. Take Louis Vuitton products, Chanel, Gucci, and Dior for example. These world-renowned names have been the subjects of fake, cheap knockoffs for years now. Even smartphones are being copied. Any product category is not entirely safe from having copies produced of them. Fortunately, the selling of those products can be effectively prevented by a set of unique codes generated only for authentic products, provided to registered sellers. A seller that cannot present a valid code is automatically tagged counterfeit.
Secure your business
These illegitimate sellers, if their activity continues, it can impact your business gradually and then all at once if you don’t take measures to defend yourself. Counterfeiters can overtake your listings and then sell your products at a low price, taking away what could have been huge sales meant for you. Another scenario that could jeopardize your business is that a customer complains about having received a counterfeit product, then your store gets the blame for it. You cannot operate properly if your store is under investigation and your listing is taken down – it could cost you income.
Maintain a good reputation
An incident about counterfeit is more likely to stain your track record. Customers tend to get discouraged after a bad experience from a store and may not want to order again out of fear of experiencing the same thing twice. You also risk getting bad reviews, which is something you definitely do not want for your store. Customer reviews play a huge role in garnering new customers and you need it to be squeaky clean and free from negativity.
The Mechanism of the Amazon Transparency Program
Product labeling is the root of the program. This is where the whole concept revolves around. It is basically a complex system of assigning barcodes indicating the product’s authenticity. These codes are provided only to the registered sellers that are then attached to the product listing. They must be applied by the seller to every product unit under protection.
The codes are not brand or product-specific. They are specially unique for every single unit of an item. So the number of units you have, that’s also the amount of codes that Amazon will provide you. Before shipment, Amazon will require that code. The product will not be shipped unless that code is presented. If a seller fails to provide it, the item will be marked counterfeit and put under investigation.
There is also a mobile application developed by Amazon that allows customers to conduct authenticity checks themselves. When they have received the item, they can scan the code and then either a green check or red X will indicate whether or not the product is legit. Brands can also provide more details ensuring the originality of a product such as manufacturing information, specific materials, and other essential details via the mobile app.
It goes the same for FBM orders. While FBA orders are easier to monitor by Amazon because items actually go through them for packaging and labeling before they are sent for shipment, FBM orders are only handled by the seller themselves. In this case, sellers should inform Amazon about the authenticity code of the item they shipped out. This code should be on the packaging of the product.
Take note that all these conditions only work for sellers that are enrolled in the program.
The Enrollment Process to Amazon Transparency
What are the requirements for eligibility?
- Brand- is registered with verification proof as brand owner
- Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) e.g., UPC or EAN barcode
- Be able to assign unique codes for every single manufactured unit of a particular item
Have you ticked off all three boxes? Then you are ready to Get Started.
There will be a form that a seller needs to fill out. After that, click on the “Request More Information” button then there will be details indicating the enrollment process. When you have been officially enrolled in the program, you are free to select which of your products you want to place under the Transparency program and have codes generated for them. We recommend to have the products at high risk of being counterfeited be the ones you place under protection first.
Security comes at a price. Placing a product under the protection of the Transparency program will cost around $0.01 to $0.05 for every generated barcode, which means the number of units of the item. So you do the math. It is a fair investment, we can say, when you compare it to the risk you face without that protection. Your products are vulnerable, your business faces constant danger.
There are many resellers out there just waiting for the opportunity to get ahead. They would go to great lengths just to gain profits even in an illegal way without regard for the consequences. The Transparency Program of Amazon protects your business from their antics and ensures that you keep your credibility and not suffer the consequences of their crimes.