Amazon Transparency Program

I just got back from the Resonate Conference in Atlanta Georgia and one of the presenters brought up an interesting new program that Amazon is in the process of implementing. It’s aimed at helping Amazon ensure that all inventory that is being sent to their warehouses is authentic.

For a brand to get involved in the program they have to agree to add the Transparency 2-D barcode to the outer packaging of ALL of their inventory, to include any inventory sold via non-Amazon channels. Once they make this change Amazon will refuse to accept any inventory that doesn’t include a valid Transparency barcode. These barcodes are each unique (Think of them as digital serial numbers) and will have to be purchased from Amazon.

This is an interesting change that has a few different implications moving forward, especially for resellers. If this takes off and is implemented by brands resellers like us may find ourselves with older legitimate inventory that Amazon will refuse to accept because it is missing the “Transparency” barcode. While this will create an issue with some inventory it is my understanding that Amazon will be providing some sort of a “grace period”. When a product is added to the program they will be sending an email to anyone that has ever sold the item to alert them that the item will start requiring the 2D barcode for future shipments.

The program is currently free for the rest of 2017, but Amazon will start charging fees for the barcodes starting in 2018. Once they start charging in it looks like pricing will be $0.04-$0.05 per barcode for less than 1 million barcodes, $0.03/code for 1 million to 10 million, and about $0.01 per barcode above 10 million.

This is an interesting option for people who have their own product and are struggling with counterfeiters. I personally am looking into creating some private label products this year and will likely take advantage of this program when I do.

According to the good folks over at the Prosper Conference, if you are interested in implementing Transparency into your products you can reach out to Amazon for more details at transparency-busdev@amazon.com

Go Ship Some Stuff!

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Matt Colvin

4 Comments

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  • Thank you for this post!

    For Amazon sellers who are PL their products – to implement this – is no problem (one label more/ one label less, whatever). But what about other brands that are heavily counterfeited including licensed products? I have doubts manufacturers will like to start following Amazon’s rules and be purchasing the codes…

    2) Another point – perhaps it will be a good time to stack up for such codes while they are free? Is this price is per barcode/per each item? Or per listing/ASIN?

    3) This barcode is a physical stickered barcode, right? Then what about Chinese sellers who are listing as MFN. How would that help in kicking them off the listings?

    So far I see more flaws than benefits.
    What are your thoughts Matt?

    • 1. I have my doubts that this will take off with larger brands as well but only time will tell.
      2. Pretty sure the barcodes are tied to a specific ASIN but I’ve not used this myself yet so I can’t say for sure.
      3. Yes it is. Not really going to help with the MFN folks, have a feeling if this takes off then that will become even more of an issue.

      Totally agree with you when you say more flaws than benefits but the program is young and I’m in “wait and see” mode – no telling if this will have an impact or not thus far.

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