The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) has warned consumers of a spike in counterfeit products this holiday season. In Fiscal Year 2020, the agency estimates the total value of seized counterfeit goods to be nearly $1.3 billion. Experts have predicted that the present supply-chain problems and the resulting shortages will lead to fake goods circulating in the market.
The Covid 19 pandemic changed buying behaviors with an increasing number of buyers now shopping online. Kasie Brill, Vice President of Brand Protection & Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), noted that in 2020, of all consumer goods purchased, 80% were bought online.
Brands are also making it easier for customers to buy from online marketplaces, eCommerce stores and websites. While online shopping is convenient, it also increases opportunities for counterfeiters to sell fake goods.
While no one wants to spend good money and end up with a knockoff, counterfeit children’s toys, electrical equipment, cosmetics, consumables, pet supplies, etc., pose health and safety risks.
Genuine products are tested for multiple parameters and certified to prevent harm from choking, burns, electrical shock, fire, injury, and accidents of all sorts. Counterfeit products bypass these strict health and safety checks and may not meet safety standards and requirements.
Counterfeiters are typically known to take advantage of parents during the holiday shopping season. According to this Trouble in Toyland report by Calprig, 52 percent of toys and games brands reported an increase of counterfeits online. The revenue generated from counterfeit toys in 2019 reached $32.3 billion in the United States and $44.6 billion in Europe.
The economic hardships induced by the Covid 19 pandemic have made consumers more budget-conscious and on the lookout for bargains and deals. A scenario apt for counterfeiters to entice buyers with fake goods.
Counterfeit products hurt brands too, not just the consumers. Customers who have unknowingly purchased a fake product may post negative reviews online, damaging the brand’s image. Consumers are also less likely to buy from a brand again after purchasing a counterfeit product. Especially now, when businesses are looking to recoup losses due to Covid, protecting the brand reputation is of paramount importance. Few brands can afford to lose sales, profits, and reputation due to counterfeit products.
Monitor the Market
Teams beyond the legal and fraud detection department also have vested interests in the fight against counterfeit products. For example, digital marketing teams have ownership in protecting the brand image, customer trust and revenue. Allocate resources to monitor online stores or marketplaces, like Amazon, for unauthorized sellers and report counterfeit goods.
Monitor Social Media
Counterfeiters have now flocked to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to market and sell fake goods. The audience and potential reach on popular platforms are humongous. Social media platforms also have various marketing tools that sellers can use to segment their audience and target potential buyers. Typically, the fraudulent products are marketed on social media, and once a user clicks on the link, they are taken to an eCommerce site to complete the purchase. It is a good idea to keep an eye on social media and monitor product reviews and conversations around your brand.
Make it Easy for Your Customers
Buyers are often tricked into buying a counterfeit product, believing it to be original. While this affects your revenue and brand value, certain counterfeit goods can harm their health and well-being. Therefore, it is important that you make it easy for your customers to identify a genuine product. Include information on your website on signs to look for to identify fake products. Use social media to put out posts addressing this problem and urging customers to verify the authenticity of your products.
Enlist the Help of your Customers
While law enforcement agencies and businesses are tirelessly fighting this menace, customers can help too. Consumers are far more likely to come across a fake product than the brand itself. Hence, educate them on how to differentiate an authentic product from a knockoff. Include an email address or a phone number on your website where buyers can alert you about counterfeit products.
Modern problems require modern solutions. It is impossible to win the fight against counterfeit goods without the help of technology. Brands that use anti-counterfeit technologies make it easier for their customers to identify and stop counterfeiters.
High-tech and AI-driven solutions, like Cypheme, protect brands, products, and businesses with anti-counterfeit labels that buyers can scan with their phones to either authenticate the product or uncover fakes.
Counterfeiters are continuously adapting to beat detection, and so should brands. Building a brand identity and reputation takes years, but it takes only a few minutes to cause a sizable dent. With this year’s expected boom in online shopping, brands should be vigilant and get an anti-counterfeit solution before the holiday season.
Cypheme’s AI-powered anti-counterfeit technology runs on an artificial neural network and provides brands with immutable labels they can put on their product and packaging. The labels contain chemicals to ensure that they are tamperproof. Our solution makes use of a chemically unique fingerprint label on the product which our A.I. can recognise. It allows anyone with just a normal smartphone to check and the authenticity of the product, within seconds and with certainty. Cypheme also implements solutions that allow brands to display additional product information like ingredients, discounts, and brand information when a customer scans a Cypheme label.
We are committed to being strong allies to brands in the fight against counterfeit products. Our solutions work across many markets. We have provided solutions to various industries including wine and spirits, fashion and accessories, cosmetics and perfumes, jewel and horology, food beverages, medicine, and pharmacy, and many more.
Contact us today to know how you can protect your brand from counterfeiters and minimize revenue loss with Cypheme’s anti-counterfeit technology.