Amazon Transparency Program
Strategy and Tactics
Reverse Engineering & Thinking Outside The Box

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!

Strategy and Tactics

Recently, in a private group I’m in someone asked this question.

Is your company a strategy or tactics driven company?

…and why?

With my military background I have a problem with the question, it’s fundamentally flawed because to be successful you have to have both Strategy AND Tactics.


Strategy is the overall “plan of attack” for your business. Tactics are the method you use implement said strategy. You can’t really have one without the other.

I really like the following quote about the difference between the two. It comes at it from a military point of view but the same concepts work when it comes to business.

“Military strategy and tactics are essential to the conduct of warfare. Broadly stated, strategy is the planning, coordination, and general direction of military operations to meet overall political and military objectives. Tactics implement strategy by short-term decisions on the movement of troops and employment of weapons on the field of battle.” Source

My attempt to translate that from Military-speak into Amazon-speak is below.

“Strategy and tactics are both essential to how your ecommerce business operates. Broadly stated, strategy is the planning, coordination and general direction your business is headed in while pursuing the goals you have set for your business.

Tactics are the real-time/Short Term actions that you take\decisions you make in regards to how you use your resources to attain profitability.”


While this is probably an imperfect translation I feel like it’s something worth sharing.
Go Ship Some Stuff!

Reverse Engineering & Thinking Outside The Box

I’m freshly returned from ASD (blog post about that escapade coming soon!) and taking a couple low-key days to recover from a cold that just won’t go away.

At ASD I made several new contacts and placed some orders. Some of the most promising booths that I visited did NOT offer me immediate access to their price list. While getting a spreadsheet price list that we can run through tools like Tactical Arbitrage or Price Checker 2 is akin to the “golden ticket” that we are looking for it doesn’t happen often.

While I was wasting time on facebook yesterday I came across a great example of how to use outside the box thinking to your advantage with FBA that I wanted to share with you. (Thanks to Jessica for agreeing to let me share this!)


Personally I think that she is selling herself short by saying that this is elementary, this is actually something that many people wouldn’t think of doing because they are stuck in the “Must.. Get.. Pricelist..” mindset.

Here is a checklist based off her post in my own words.

  1. Get approved wholesale account with a brand.
  2. Compile list of sellers that are also selling said brand.
  3. Compile list of brands that above sellers are also selling.
  4. Reach out to that list of brands to open accounts.
  5. When you get a wholesale account approved run a search for the brand name on AZ and filter down to only see the well reviewed/popular products.
  6. Run ASINspector or Jungle Scout to find the hot items inside that search and estimate sales velocity.
  7. See if you can buy those hot items at a price where you can make a profit.
  8. Take a bath in all the money you made, then start over again from step 1.

Okay, so step eight is my own idea but I think it’s a good addition 😉

This process is something that you can do very easily once you get a couple of wholesale accounts up and running. Most of this could be outsourced to a VA as well!

Go Ship Some Stuff!

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