We’ve heard it before so many times: money is the root of all problems. While we don’t subscribe to this adage so deeply as to negate the value of a hard-earned dollar, we do recognize that where there’s success, vultures await in the shadows to take advantage. As we work with the powerful revenue-generating Amazon platform, there are bound to be opportunistic folks threatening our success and ruining our customer trust factor with counterfeit products, fake reviews, or both. At Wizards of Ecom, we’ve seen it all. In fact, our supportive network was formed to take your business to the next level by sharing our experience and learnings with other Amazon sellers, so they don’t have to learn the hard way. That’s why today, we’re reminding our members that Amazon has created two programs to help combat the bogus fakes lurking in e-commerce and waiting to steal their success: the Transparency Program and Project Zero. Each brings its pros and cons for Amazon sellers and program subscribers, so you’ll want to carefully weigh out the benefits of each according your own needs.
Amazon’s Transparency Program
Designed by Amazon for next-level protection from counterfeit e-commerce actions, the Transparency Program tracks products so Amazon sellers and customers can trace all the details they desire on any given product. From where a product came from to when and where it was produced, including all the materials it’s made from, this unit-level labeling model and barcoding system is available to any eligible Amazon seller seeking to prove their validity to their buyers. How does it work? Well, when a product is shipped, should that barcode not match delivery is stopped and the package is investigated.
To enroll in the Transparency Program, a seller must have their product registered with the Amazon Brand Registry, provide proof of brand ownership through a registered trademark, obtain a global trade item number, and apply their own transparency codes on all their products.
Pros: Subscribers of the Transparency Program guarantee their customers an authentic product with a protected brand shoppers can trust.
Cons: The Transparency Program comes with added costs including the program’s fee and the costs to individually label each product unit.
Amazon’s Project Zero Program
The Project Zero Program is Amazon’s answer to increasingly concerning counterfeit products infiltrating their online shopping platform. Essentially, this program gives sellers more control in removing counterfeit sellers off their listings. Compared to the Transparency Program, Project Zero is an amped up program version that provides sellers unique codes for every product unit they sell, along with the ability to self-remove their products from listings they believe to be counterfeit. This program brings consumer trust through three main features: automated protections using Amazon’s machine learning scanning that removes counterfeit products; self-serviced removal of flagged counterfeit products that do not require Amazon’s approval; and, a product serialization feature that detects a product’s authenticity and verifies it through its barcoding system. So long as you’re the legal trademarked owner of the product, are registered with Amazon’s brand registry, have submitted a potential infringement to Amazon in the past six months, and have a 90 percent-plus acceptance rate, you qualify for Project Zero.
Pros: Brand protection, serialization, and monitoring, as well as lack of Amazon approval requirements to take action against counterfeit listings make Project Zero a great choice for sellers seeking customer trust.
Cons: The eligibility criteria for Project Zero is high, serialization costs impact a business’s budget, brand owners must complete their own listing reviews to identify counterfeits, and Amazon doesn’t take action until several seller complaints have been filed.
Counterfeit actions and products can cause serious damage to your business and they’re tough to navigate. That’s why at Wizards of Ecom, we’re honored to be your trusted source of information. We provide an experienced and supportive network that helps make the path to success easier to navigate. If you have questions about the Transparency Program, Project Zero, or anything else Amazon-related, we’re here and waiting to help. Click here to learn more.