Former Amazon Employee Peter Kearns talks with us about the new Amazon Program Transparency. It’s a way for Amazon to try to prevent counterfeit products from being sold on the marketplace. It’s another tool for Brand Owners.
Amazon Elements- A New Level of Transparency
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Ep. 034 Keyword Podcast: What is Transparency?
Description: Former Amazon Employee Peter Kearns talks with us about the new Amazon Program Transparency. It’s a way for Amazon to try to prevent counterfeit products from being sold on the marketplace. It’s another tool for Brand Owners.
Several years ago I noticed signs going up in my local grocery store near the meat section. The signs explained how I could trace where the chicken I was buying came from. That’s the kind of information Amazon wants you to able to have about every product you buy on Amazon, so they created Transparency.
“It’s a very customer facing program. The whole point of it is to show customers that they have the right product; that it is real and that it is safe,” says former Amazonian, Peter Kearns.
Peter used to work at Amazon. His job was to find the holes in the Amazon Catalogue and then find sellers to find those gaps. Now Peter helps third-party merchants grow on the Amazon platform. Peter’s the Vice President of Client Solutions for 180Commerce. You can find them at www.180commerce.com.
Amazon hasn’t done a massive launch with Transparency yet but Peter’s been given a lot of information about this program early on.
Transparency is a new way Amazon is trying to prevent counterfeits from being sold on the marketplace.
There’s three things you need to know about Transparency.
- Transparency starts at the manufacturer level. Manufacturers place a 2D barcode on the product that allows the product to be traced back to the manufacturer.
- Transparency is non-branded. Products in the Transparency program won’t have any Amazon logo or association on it. That makes it possible for products to be sold on multiple channels like Walmart or Target.
- Manufacturers can also use the code to track where their products are going.
So if you are a manufacturer selling sleep-inducing pillows, you first register in the Transparency program, then your products will be given a unique 26 digit alphanumeric code.That code can be scanned by the customers and they can see exactly where the product came from – ensuring that they are getting your product and not a counterfeit.
“It’s a really great program especially since Amazon is rolling this out in a non-branded, non-Amazon branded fashion and so manufacturers can really utilize this to control their product in every aspect in terms of the channels that they’re selling through,” Peter says.
Here’s how Amazon is preventing counterfeits from being sold by using this program. If you’re a third-party seller and you’re getting products from a distributor, you should make sure to know if your products are in the Transparency program. If products are in the program and they show up without a barcode, then it would be considered a counterfeit. Amazon won’t accept products that are in the Transparency program if they don’t have the barcode.
As an example, let’s go back to the sleep-inducing pillow. Let’s say you buy the sleep-inducing pillow from Sleepytime Manufacturers and Sleepytime Manufacturers has registered the product with Transparency. If the pillows you send to Amazon aren’t marked with the Transparency code, then they’ll be considered counterfeit and Amazon won’t accept them to sell.
Amazon has also built out sections in detail pages for products that are in Transparency. As an example you can look at the Amazon Elements Baby Wipes detail page. You can find it by clicking here.
Now put yourself in the shoes of a parent and you’re trying to give your child the best of everything.Isn’t this the kind of information you’d want to have about your baby wipes?
That’s why Amazon created Transparency. They want shoppers to have this kind of information about all their products.
If you own your own brand, you want customers to be able to have this kind of information too.
“I think Amazon’s recognizing, ‘Hey we have so many brands that are coming and launching their products on Amazon, let’s make sure we’re giving them the tools to protect the brand and that we’re also doing it to protect the customer experience,’” Peter says.
Amazon wants brands to get involved with Transparency. Right now, when you’re first growing your brand is the time you want to implement Transparency, before you start having counterfeit problems or when the problems are minimal.
Remember, the first thing we said about Transparency, it starts at the manufacturer level. So if you are a brand owner, you need to talk with your factories, they are the ones that need to enroll in the program. We’ve talked several times about building relationships with your factories, this is one of those times where it becomes very important.
As a quick review, Transparency is set up and run at the manufacturer level. It puts a 2D alphanumeric code on products. Products enrolled in Transparency will only be accepted to sell on Amazon if they have the alphanumeric code. Amazon created Transparency to give shoppers more information about their products. Finally, Transparency is non-branded, so it can be used for products sold in Walmart, Target, eBay, Best Buy and any other third-party marketplace. Nothing with Transparency is branded by Amazon.
“Good job, Amazon, I think this is a great response to a problem that is happening,” Peter says.
Amazon does have spot on Amazon.com for Transparency, but there’s little information for sellers about Transparency on that site. We looked and we couldn’t find anything in Seller Central about Transparency.
Transparency is in its early stages, you’ll likely start seeing and hearing more about it in 2018. If you’re interested in getting in early though, reach out to Peter. You can find him at www.180commerce.com.