First there was Amazon, the online bookseller. Then Amazon started selling lots of other different products. It had the Vendor Program and the Seller Program. At first, brands were vendors and retailers/wholesalers were sellers. And all was well. Amazon grew. And grew. It became the largest eRetailer in the world. But then it began to encounter challenges such as counterfeit goods. So it designed the Brand Registry program, where a brand can protect its own products. But that was not enough. So it introduced Transparency, a program to protect brands and customers from counterfeit goods. So the key question is: will Transparency put an end to counterfeits?
Brand registration: the first step to protect your brand on Amazon
Amazon’s first step in fighting the scourge of fake goods on its platform was to build the Amazon Brand Registry. On this system, you can register your brand’s trademarks. Once they’re registered, you can report any infringement you have noticed. You need to purchase the product, take a picture, open a case on Brand Registry and report it.
Brand registration is a must-do for any brand on Amazon. It enables you to protect your brand against counterfeits and patent infringements and to ensure no one else, be it a retailer, a subsidiary or a licensee, is able to register your brand on Amazon without your authorisation.
Product gating: an additional proactive step to protect your brand
In some specific cases, when a significant number of infringements are reported, Amazon may accept to “gate” your product or brand. What this means is that anybody wanting to sell the gated product will need to prove they have bought it from a legitimate source. While this is very effective, Amazon is reluctant to put it in place and does not want to interfere in any distribution issue brands may be having with their retailers.
Amazon Transparency: one step further in brand protection
Amazon’s latest response to tackling the problem of counterfeit goods on its platform has been its launch of Transparency in the US, Europe, India and Canada.
The principle is simple: you register your brand’s product on the program and you are then given a T-shaped QR code which provides every stakeholder (Amazon, customers, etc.) with the assurance that the product is genuine. Consumers are subsequently able to check the authenticity of the product thanks to the Transparency app.
Handling counterfeits and rogue sellers can be a very awkward, time-consuming and litigious business. The Transparency program will make this process much simpler and is a welcome innovation, especially for the luxury goods industry where counterfeiting is rife.
For any brand, the very first step is to register the brand globally and locally on Amazon. At the eBusiness Institute, we are acutely aware of the negative impact counterfeit goods have on brands. Our experts can provide you with practical and effective advice on how to protect your brand from counterfeiting.
This article was written by Jérôme de Guigné, eBusiness Institute collaborator & Amazon expert.
The eBusiness Institute was founded in 2013 and has worked with numerous brands on all aspects of their digital transformation. We understand the importance of an optimised consumer experience to drive your brand’s sales online and offline. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.