Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce is booming. Social distancing and other restrictions have limited shopping options for consumers the world over.
For many, e-commerce is the most feasible, if not the only, shopping alternative as physical stores and other establishments struggle to keep their doors open despite limited offerings and store hours.
Coinciding with the rise of online transactions, there have also been issues with regard to the products being sold online. Because shoppers can no longer scrutinize products first-hand before purchasing, there has also been a rise in counterfeit products being sold by third parties even on reputable online shops like Amazon. This is a major problem for legitimate brands on the same platform, especially when you consider howthe business of counterfeit products is becoming a trillion-dollar economy.
The counterfeit products problem is a serious one, and Amazon has not taken it lying down. Setting up a Counterfeit Crimes Unit in 2020, the online store has invested over $500 million in the fight against counterfeiting and blocked over 2.5 million suspected bad players even before they could post a single product.
One of your best allies against counterfeiters is the customer, but customers can't help you if they are not informed about the counterfeit products problem plaguing a number of online stores today.
Invest in educating your customers about key identifiers that can help them distinguish counterfeits from the real thing. Inform them about the dangers of unauthorized sellers and provide a platform where they can easily report suspicious products and sellers.
Track where your products appear online
Brands should monitor where counterfeit versions of their products appear online through the use of Al and machine learning solutions. Points of promotion should also be tracked because counterfeiters mimic the promotion techniques of legitimate businesses to dupe unsuspecting shoppers.
Protect your intellectual assets
Vigilance goes a long way in protecting your business from counterfeiters, but vigilance alone is not enough. Registering your intellectual property rights or assets provides you legal recourse if these rights are violated. It also helps protect your market credibility and brand name.
Battling Counterfeiters on All Fronts
The problem of counterfeit products has grown rapidly as businesses and economies struggle against the repercussions of COVID-19. Counterfeiters are doubling their efforts to take advantage of the situation and have invaded the realm of social media.
Some social media influencers have already been called out for actively promoting counterfeit products. As such, brands and online stores should combine their efforts to fight counterfeiters on all fronts. The counterfeit products problem is one that can't be fought individually, and addressing this dilemma will benefit the entire e-commerce industry.