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Amazon Transparency Program Guide in 2024

Amazon Transparency Program Guide in 2023
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Counterfeiting has always been an issue when it comes to selling online; especially on the Amazon marketplace. Thanks to the first-sale doctrine – a policy that allows third-party sellers to resell a branded item in an unchanged state legally – on Amazon, manufacturers were able to ship fake products under the radar. These low-quality and fake products have not only resulted in a poor customer experience but have also tarnished Amazon and the brand’s reputation. Therefore, the marketplace has established the Amazon Transparency program to ensure that customers receive real products.
Keep reading this article to find out everything you need to know about the Transparency program, including its cost, pros and cons, and how to enroll.

What is the Amazon Transparency Program?

Amazon introduced the Transparency program in 2017. It’s a product serialization service that was created to detect and prevent counterfeit products from being delivered to customers. Using Transparency codes, Amazon can verify products before they are shipped to the buyers. 

Back in 2017, Amazon tried the program on its line of products to test it out. When they saw that it was a success, they made it available for third-party sellers gradually. Currently, sellers who are located in the US, Canada, Germany, France, India, Australia, Spain, Italy, and the UK can enroll in the Transparency program. Amazon is planning to introduce this program in other countries in the future. 

If you’re a third-party seller or brand owner on Amazon, this program can be very beneficial for you. For example, if a third-party seller tries to hijack your product and sell a counterfeit version of it, their product will be blacklisted and won’t be delivered to the buyer. 

How Does the Amazon Transparency Program Work?

So, how does the Amazon Transparency program work? By using a complex product labeling system to prevent counterfeit products from reaching customers. After signing up for this program, you will receive a series of unique T-shaped 2D barcodes. You must attach these codes to the product’s packaging. Unlike UPCs or GTINs (brand-specific codes that are usually not very effective), Transparency codes are unique to each individual item. 

So, if you are an FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) seller, you will attach the code to your product’s packaging before sending it to a fulfillment center. Amazon will scan the barcode before shipping it to make sure it’s authentic. If the product doesn’t have the Transparency barcode or fails the authenticity test, it will be marked as a potential counterfeit. 

Amazon will scan the barcode before shipping it to make sure it’s authentic.

If you are an FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) seller, you can still use the Transparency codes, but in a different way. For every Transparency-enabled item you sell, you must provide a unique Transparency code to prove its authenticity. Amazon will generate the Transparency codes, and you must provide them with the codes that you are using for your FBM products. Note that each FBM item must have a unique Transparency code attached to its packaging. 

Amazon also provides a Transparency app for buyers, which they can use to verify and cross-reference Transparency-enabled products. After scanning the QR code, the app will display a green checkmark if the code is valid and a red cross if it’s not. You can use this app to provide important information about the product – such as manufacturing date, manufacturing place, etc. – to the buyer.


Read More: Amazon Product Listing Optimization Guide!


How Much Does the Amazon Transparency Program Cost?

Depending on the number of your units, the Amazon Transparency program can cost anywhere from $0.01 to $0.05 per barcode. For example, if you have 1,000 units of the same product, you must pay a maximum of $50 to get Transparency codes for all of them. This is a small price to pay, especially when compared to the expenses of having your products counterfeited. 

However, you must also consider your labeling cost when implementing Transparency codes. You can apply the barcodes yourself, or streamline the process by asking the manufacturer or supplier to do it for you. 

How to Sign Up & Enroll in the Amazon Transparency Program? 

Before applying for the Amazon Transparency program, you must make sure you have the requirements. You must have: 

  • The ability to verify yourself as the brand owner of your products.
  • A Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), such as an EAN or UPC barcode on your products.
  • The ability to include unique Transparency codes on each unit you make.

The brand itself must:

  • Be registered in the Amazon Brand Registry.
  • Be registered in the Transparency program.
  • Comply with quality control and other requirements.

Now, let’s find out how you can enroll in the Transparency program.

1) Sign Up for Amazon Brand Registry

To enroll in the Transparency program, you must first sign up for Amazon Brand Registry

To enroll in the Transparency program, you must first sign up for Amazon Brand Registry (if you haven’t done it already). However, the Transparency program also allows enrollment based on a pending trademark application. In this case, you can use an Amazon IP Accelerator program – which allows sellers to file a trademark application through Amazon-accredited firms – and get enrolled in Brand Registry much quicker. 

2) Have a Valid GTIN Code

You need a valid GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) such as a UPC or EAN to be eligible for the Transparency program. Amazon can confirm your code on the GS1 registry. UPC (Universal Product Code) and EAN (European Article Number) are both part of GS1’s international standard, and they are accepted globally. The former is a 12-digit code for identifying products in North America, while the latter is a 13-digit code that is used for identifying products in Europe and across the globe. 

3) Consider the Methods for Applying the Codes

There are several methods you can use for attaching the Transparency codes to your products:

  • You can hire a Transparency Service Provider (TSP) 
  • You can print labels on your own and stick them to the product packages 
  • You can use a design-in-packaging method

4) Consider the Costs 

As mentioned earlier, getting the Transparency codes is not free, but it’s not expensive either. Brand owners have to pay $0.01 to $0.05 per Transparency code, and they should also consider other costs such as labels and printing. So, make sure you have the budget to enroll in the Amazon Transparency program. 

5) Enroll in the Transparency Program! 

Once you have made sure that you have all the requirements, go to https://brandservices.amazon.com/transparency, click on the “Get Started” button, and fill out the form. Once you’re done, click “Request more information”. Amazon will contact you about enrollment and once accepted into the program, you can choose which products you’d like to protect with Transparency codes. It’s better to start with high-risk listings first, instead of enrolling all of your ASINs at once. 


Read More: How to Start an Amazon FBA Business in 2024?


Pros & Cons of Amazon Transparency Program

The Transparency program can be beneficial for both brands and buyers.

The Transparency program can be beneficial for both brands and buyers. However, it also comes with a set of challenges. Let’s find out the pros and cons of this program: 

Pros: 

  • Increased profits: counterfeited products are often of inferior quality, made under other companies’ brands, and sold to unsuspecting customers. Counterfeiting is a big problem, especially in the US. By enrolling in the Transparency program, you will prevent hijackers from selling counterfeit products under your brand’s name. Since they can’t provide the unique Transparency code, their items will be marked as fake and will not be delivered to the customers.
  • Prevents negative reviews: If customers receive low-quality, fake products under your brand’s name, they will be unhappy. There is a high chance that these unhappy customers will write a negative review on your social media or listing page, which can highly damage your brand image and prevent potential customers from buying your products. By enrolling in the Transparency program, you can prevent this from happening and protect the integrity of your brand. 
  • Reduce damage caused by counterfeiters: counterfeiters are scammers who create fake listings for products they do not manufacture, and try to get money by selling these fake products to customers. They usually earn profits by selling the counterfeited products at a reduced price, or by selling them to distributors who then sell the fake products to end customers. These counterfeiters not only undercut you on your price and steal your potential customers, but they also damage your reputation as the brand behind these low-quality products. So, you must find a way to deal with them, and enrolling in the Transparency program is the best way to do so. 

Cons: 

  • Transparency only covers your listings: if a counterfeiter tries to sell your product outside of your listing, you must raise an IP concern. 
  • You must apply Transparency codes even on units sold outside of Amazon: This is self-explanatory, and it could be a red flag if you’re concerned about Amazon tracking seller data. 
  • Requires extra steps in the shipping process: After enrolling in the Amazon Transparency program, you must apply the codes to each of your products, and the codes are unique for each item. This can be quite tricky to automate.

Final Thoughts

Counterfeiting is a big problem for Amazon, as it accounts for a loss of about $323 billion every year for the eCommerce giant. But Amazon is not the only one getting hurt by counterfeits; brands’ reputations and the customer experience is also at risk here. So, to combat this, Amazon introduced the Transparency program which protects brands from getting counterfeited. By enrolling in the Transparency program, you can make sure your customers are always happy because they receive the authentic products they expect.

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