Tackling the counterfeit products online

Online Brand Protection
Online Brand Protection

Tackling the counterfeit products online

E-commerce is the buying and selling of products and services, or the transmitting of funds or associated data, over the Internet. These business transactions occur either business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer, or consumer-to-business.

It is estimated that there are about 20 million e-commerce stores selling products on the internet around the world today, and generating more than one trillion US dollars in revenue. The world’s largest markets for e-commerce are the United States of America, China, and the United Kingdom with electronics, fashion, services, books, and tickets being the top categories for e-commerce. The details, however, do vary greatly by country and by product category.

The primary advantages of ecommerce revolve around the fact that it eliminates limitations of time and geographical distance. In the process, ecommerce usually streamlines operations and helps to achieve lower costs.

E-commerce is simply huge and it is projected that e-commerce spending will grow at double digit rates for the foreseeable future.

Brands and consumers have embraced the online world

Consumers increasingly rely on e-commerce, irrespective of how they make the actual purchase: via clicks, bricks, or a mix. Retailers and brand-builders cannot overlook this phenomenon and clearly many brands have now embraced this online world in one way or another. More and more brands are working to optimize their online presence, protect their brand equity and drive protable e-commerce sales growth.

With only a few days to go before the shopping frenzy of Black Friday 2015, new research suggests retailers could expect spending to double this year compared to last year. Here in the UK, experts are predicting that Black Friday 2015 could be the UK’s rst ever £1bn online shopping day. Mobile transactions are also set to soar, as nearly one in three shoppers are now making their purchases on mobile devices.

Counterfeit products

Counterfeit goods can include fake designer clothes, bags, watches, accessories and perfumes as well as pirate DVDs, CDs, smartphones and computer games. They can also include medicines and components of automobiles and aircraft.

Counterfeit products online

The counterfeiters have also taken note of the growth of the online world and have adapted their approach accordingly. Many counterfeit goods are now sold online.

Counterfeiters create fake websites that mimic the ‘look and feel’ of the genuine brand’s own web site. Some fake websites can be used by scammers to trick consumers into paying for goods that will never arrive, and also to harvest the consumer’s credit card and bank details. These fake sites can look very convincing, and it may be difcult to spot any differences between them and the real thing.

The growth of e-marketplaces has also helped the counterfeiters as many sell their counterfeit good using these platforms. An e-marketplace is a type of e-commerce site where product or service information is provided by multiple third parties, whereas transactions are processed by the marketplace operator. In an e-marketplace, consumer transactions are processed by the marketplace operator and then delivered and fullled by the participating retailers or wholesalers. Other capabilities might include auctioning (forward or reverse), catalogs, ordering, wanted advertisement, trading exchange functionality and capabilities like RFQ, RFI or RFP . In general, because e-marketplaces aggregate products from a wide array of providers, selection is usually wider, availability is higher, and prices are more competitive than in vendor-specic online retail stores.

The Challenge for Brand Protection Managers

The scourge of counterfeiters utilizing this online world needs to be tackled but that is easier said than done. Brand Protection Managers or those tasked to help and support such Brand Protection Managers face a challenge tackling this scourge.

Some Brand Protection Managers are in denial, believing that counterfeit products are not an issue for their particular companies, rather it is a problem which adversely impacts only others. Some Brand Protection Managers acknowledge that counterfeit products exist, but believe that only an incognisant percentage of their products are counterfeit and that such type products in the marketplace may actually enhance their brand to some degree.

Not a Victimless Crime

Counterfeiting is not a victimless crime. While such products they may look like the genuine article the can often be dangerous. Over the past 12 months, Trading Standards ofcers in Birmingham in the UK seized nearly 15,000 fake items worth more than £111,200, ranging exploding phone chargers, fake UGG boots, poor quality designer clothes and fake cigarettes and alcohol. Produced cheaply, counterfeit goods often fail to meet safety standards and have shorter lifespans than legitimate products.

Missing and poor quality components in counterfeit electrical goods, such as phone chargers, can lead to electric shocks, res and explosions, while fake children’s toys and clothes can pose hazards through dangerous small parts, long cords or from toxic materials.

Counterfeit cosmetics may contain toxic ingredients like arsenic, lead and mercury which can lead to rashes, swelling or poisoning, while fake alcohol may be mixed with substances like methanol or antifreeze which can also cause health problems.

Conclusion

Online brand protection against the scourge of counterfeiters is a major challenge for many Brand Protection Managers, but it is not impossible. By understanding best practices in this area, by putting a robust t for purpose process in place, by underpinning that process with a creative and innovative technology platform, by establishing a network of contacts in the industry, with the Police, with Customs and Trading Standards, and by appreciating how the counterfeiters are themselves embracing the online world, then Brand Protection Managers give themselves a getting chance of winning. The counterfeiters are using the amazing technology of the online world. Brand Protection Managers would be foolish not to do likewise and leverage the power of the internet.

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