What is Amazon Transparency, and when is it coming to the UK?

Amazon describes Transparency as:

“…an item-level tracing service that helps brands proactively identify and prevent counterfeits from reaching customers. Transparency enables brands to assign a secure, unique, alphanumeric code to every product unit that a brand manufactures. The information is then used to authenticate the products. Amazon looks for and scans these codes within its fulfilment centres to ensure that only authentic products are shipped out to customers.”

How does it work?

  • As a manufacturer or a brand, you enrol your products into the Transparency
  • Transparency codes are applied to every one of your products.
  • When your products reach a fulfilment centre (FC), they are scanned to ensure that only authentic items are sent out to customers.
  • End users (i.e customers) can also scan their items to ensure that they are genuine and authentic products, using the Transparency app – available on both GooglePlay and the AppStore.

The first six months on the program are entirely free – after this, it’s thought that each Transparency code costs somewhere in between 1 and 5 cents. If a brand uses authorised sellers, they must ensure that these sellers are not deemed to be selling counterfeits. For third party sellers, you must ensure that you are an authorised seller for any of the brands you work with/sell their products.

Who can use it?

At the moment, transparency is only available in the US, with brands such as Bang & Olufsen, 3M, Naturewise and Corkcicle already enrolled. Rumours suggested that Transparency would be available to UK sellers by the end of 2018, but we are yet to hear a roll-out date.

In order for brands to be eligible for the Transparency program, they must produce documentation to prove that they are the brand owner; they must also have a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) for each product; and crucially – they must have the ability to add unique Transparency codes on every unit they manufacture.

What will it change?

Counterfeit goods are every brands worst nightmare. For companies like Hairgenics, fraudulent products can cost hundreds of thousands in lost revenue – not to mention the detrimental effect on a brand’s reputation. Since being invited to join Amazon’s Transparency program, Hairgenics has been able to maintain a 100% counterfeit free status.

Amazon’s mission, via Transparency, is to clean out the platform of inauthentic items and to give customers better control over what they are ordering. They are also offering more detailed product information to customers, such as manufacturing dates, manufacturing place and detailed product information.

Advice from Molzi

Although Transparency is only currently available in the US, brands selling anywhere can apply for Brand Registry. This gives you greater control over your product listings and helps Amazon detect and remove counterfeit listings more easily. Registering your logo, trademarks and other intellectual property with Amazon means unauthorised sellers can’t hijack your listings; and you can reduce matching errors that often occur during the listing process.