What is Authorized Store?

Authorized Store is an online store & brand vetting service. We confirm the authenticity and legitimacy of a store/retailer by verifying their dealer status with the manufacturers/brands that they post and sell in their online stores. We ensure that a store represents a brand officially, so that consumers don’t have to.

Why should a consumer buy from an Authorized Store?

Unfortunately, every business area, online or off, has it’s share of unscrupulous competitors. The Internet, in particular, is loaded with merchants/retailers that sell illegitimate or “Gray Market” products through numerous distribution channels. These channels include their own online e-commerce stores/websites and/or through well recognized online sites like amazon.com, overstock.com, ebay.com, rakuten.com and other popular e-commerce websites. Some of these popular websites allow many merchants, authorized or not, to sell products through their official/accessible merchant programs and via 3rd party advertising or links to other websites. Sales and referrals occur even if the origination of the product/products are not known. Most consumers assume that products purchased through these popular sites are always authentic, but in many cases they are not.

Approved Authorized Stores follow our store/retailer Code of Ethics & Standards This policy states that an Authorized Store must only post/sell brands where they are fully authorized to do so.

What are Grey Market products?

When a consumer purchases products from an illegitimate/unauthorized merchant or store, they run the risk of buying inferior, outdated or even fake products. Illegitimate merchants obtain products in numerous ways, including by buying/redistributing new, used, stolen or fake products. Fake products are usually manufactured overseas, where rules against product piracy and product/brand infringement laws are lax. Many of these products are duplicated and produced as carbon copies of their originals, so in most cases, it’s hard to tell the difference between the copy and the original. When the products are not original, components and/or product ingredients may be different, so quality, usability and durability issues are likely to arise, over time. For consumable products, like fragrances or skincare, a great deal of cost and effort may be spent on packaging, but the actual contents may be diluted or full of ineffective, unvaluable or potentially harmful product. (Some ingredients may even be hazardous to your health)

Most illegitimate products are obtained through “Grey Market” channels. Grey Market means that the products are obtained in ways outside of the normal manufacturer to dealer/retailer “Authorized” relationship. Typically, large U.S. based consortiums work out illegitimate, unauthorized “arrangements” with product distributors located somewhere overseas. These consortiums access the products by any means possible, then they divert the products to the United States for resale. This process is technically called “product diversion.” Product diversion harms our legal and authentic system of product distribution, by undermining the product manufacturer and legitimate small business stores/retailers. For the consumer, buying diverted products means they run the risk of buying improperly obtained, possibly tampered with, possibly stolen, inferior, non-warranted and/or outdated products.

Authorized Store Seal of Integrity?

Website authentication/certification seals & certificates are prevalent on the Internet. Many business website seals provide users/visitors of websites with important information related to the safe use and/or credibility of a website. Some seals let consumers know if a website is secure from viruses and malware. These include well known sites/businesses like Norton and McAffee. Some seals let consumers know if an online stores checkout process is secured by encryption technology. (otherwise know as SSL secured) These include sites/businesses like Verisign or GeoTrust. Many seals provide consumers with online store consumer reviews/ratings. These include review services like Bizrate, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Google Trusted Stores. Unfortunately, non of these seals tell consumers if they are buying authentic products from a legitimate, authorized store/retailer. They simply tell them… that they probably won’t get a virus, their data isn’t likely to be stolen and they may or may not get great customer service!

Only an Authorized Store seal/certificate can ensure consumers that they are buying products from an authorized store/retailer.

Store/Retailer Code of Ethics & Standards

  • An Authorized Store must be an approved/authorized retailer for each and every brand that they post/sell on their website.
  • An Authorized Store must be forthright and very clear about who they are. This means that their "About Us" section must include:  A thorough business description stating exactly who they are, an accurate business address, a business phone number and owner or management description/contact information. Actual pictures and descriptions of key business personnel is a plus, but only (1) one owner or partner name/e-mail contact information must be disclosed. Keep in mind that most legitimate businesses are proud to say who they are.
  • An Authorized Store must use todays common technology advancements to ensure that their visitors transactions are safe and secure. This means that their business website must be managed by a verifiable, PCI compliant hosting service and their login/shopping cart checkout process must utilize "secure server" HTTPS over SSL encrypted communications. Note: Authorized Store does not guarantee or ensure customer privacy and security. We only verify the approved Authorized Stores use of these important "safe shopping" security components.
  • An Authorized Store must hold and maintain excellent levels of customer satisfaction. Most customer service review companies like Google Trusted Stores, Bizrate and others use a 5 star rating system to gauge customer service/satisfaction. An Authorized Store must hold/maintain a minimum star rating of (4) with one or more of these rating services.
  • An Authorized Store must practice business in an ethical business manner. Deceptive advertising and or illegal business practices of any sort are not tolerated. Our store feedback form allows users/visitors to "Report a Store" for any improper business practices. Authorized Store management reviews and determines the authenticity and severity of any complaints. Note: Many complaint resolution decisions are subjective, therefore, Authorized Stores management holds the exclusive right to determine the outcome and/or penalty associated with an infraction.

Our Commitments

If you’re the owner/manager of an online store/retail enterprise and you’ve built your business legitimately, utilizing strong ethics and practices, you understand what it takes to be successful. It’s a long hard road, full of difficult decisions, challenges and hard earned dollars. Shortcuts and/or temptations to cheat can be tempting, but you've always chosen the ethical, honest path.

If you’ve been around a while, it’s a daily fight to maintain the differentiators between you and the competition. Margins get tighter and tighter, so differentiators that might allow you to hold on to those margins are critical to your survival and long term success.

Authorized Store allows you to separate yourself from the competition, by providing you with a service seal and certificate that assures customers of your authenticity and legitimacy. Our independent vetting/verification service gives consumers the knowledge and confidence to choose your store over any unauthorized choices.

Many potential customers actively search the Internet for “Authorized” representation of a brand or product they are interested in. Most people don’t think about visiting a manufacturers online dealer/store search tool or calling them directly. Many resort to trusting big name retailers like Amazon, when alternate choices don’t provide enough credible persuasion to convince them, otherwise. More often than not, the “Big Store” refund guarantee wins them over. Now, consumers have a real, easy way of identifying authenticity, without visiting a manufacturers website. Can you think of any other seal/certificate that can provide your store with this level of consumer trust and confidence building value?

Our existence grew out of the need for this kind of vetting service to exist. We believe that strong ethics, which include a high level of integrity, are essential for any business to succeed, prosper and endure. With the advent of the Internet, too many hucksters and frauds have the ability to displace or harm businesses that try to “do things right”. That’s why Authorized Stores provides business owners and consumers with a way to fight back! We provide the vehicle for honest business owners to separate themselves from the pack.

Our Commitment to consumers: We help consumers find authorized, legitimate, high integrity businesses to buy products from. We combat deceitful business practices, by providing consumers with a way to tell the good guys from the bad, so that their online product purchase authenticity is assured. The benefits resulting from our service are a win/win for consumers, legitimate businesses and society as a whole. Consumers get the right goods and Authorized Stores get the business they deserve.

Our Commitment to our Authorized Stores:We commit to the active promotion and maintenance of business Integrity. To be an Authorized Store means you must meet and maintain our Code of Ethics Standards No exceptions!

Why should you choose our Service/Seal?

  • Separate your business from the illegitimate, unauthorized stores.
  • Provide consumers with a seal/certificate that gives them what they really want to know. Only our seal verifies your online store/brand authenticity.
  • Customer satisfaction surveys/seals are great to have, but anyone can get them. The Authorized Store Seal is exclusive! An approved store must meet and maintain our Code of Ethics & Standards
  • Get a merchant dashboard that tells you how many people click through to your certificate and to your complete merchant description located on our Authorized Store website. (Includes time and frequency data)
  • We manage our members (Authorized Stores) tightly. If they don't follow our guidelines, they don't remain a member.
  • Improve bounce rates, conversion rates and improve your ROI. Everyone tells you that, but this seal/certificate will have a real, measurable impact.

The Retailer Seal of Integrity…Are you Authorized?

Apply for your seal now!

Retailer Seal of Integrity