Few things are more precious than protecting your brand’s reputation with discerning consumers, and that includes doing everything possible to prevent counterfeiters from deceiving shoppers with fake versions of your products.New digital tools mean modern scammers are shockingly good at imitating the digital presence of desirable brands and hijacking sales from consumers who think they’re purchasing authentic goods. It’s gotten so bad that today brands like Coach employ full-time teams to tackle imitation websites and generally do everything possible to maintain the integrity and authenticity of products sold with their logo.
Here are four reasons protecting product authenticity is critical for protecting consumers — and in turn, protecting your brand:
1) Stop Fraud
There was a time when a brand logo was all a consumer needed to confirm a product was genuine and would meet safety and quality expectations––after all, that’s what logos were invented to do. Sadly that’s no longer the case. The ever-expanding counterfeit market is riding the internet wave and targeting more consumers than ever before with Instagram and other social media. Buyers tired of worrying over whether products for sale online are authentic are pushing the industry to innovate its methods of fighting counterfeiters. Today a new generation of smartphone and artificial intelligence technologies allow consumers to scan the label on products from participating brands and discover in seconds if they’re truly authentic.
2) Protect Health and Safety
Another reason responsible brands combat the sale of fakes is to protect consumers from phony products that are manufactured and sold without regulation. While it’s true that fake products may be less effective than the original, or have minor defects, they can also be a danger to the health and safety of people who buy them. In order to produce a cheaper version of a product, counterfeiters are known to construct their goods with hazardous or undesirable ingredients like heavy aluminum in cosmetics, or even urine in fragrances. Apparel is not exempt. In addition to diligent and expensive efforts to track down and stop criminals producing fakes, popular brands like Canada Goose are making efforts to warn consumers about counterfeit versions of their products created with substandard materials — in Canada Goose’s case, feather fillers contaminated with bacteria and fungus.
3) Support Sustainability
Beyond the health and safety of individuals, brands with a commitment to authenticity protect consumers on a much larger scale. As the fashion world continues to expand its efforts to be green and sustainable, manufacturers producing fakes have no incentive to do better. Even the seemingly simple act of confiscating and destroying fake products means putting thousands of tons of additional products in landfills or incinerators, contributing to pollution of the air and groundwater. Today brands that invest in sustainable manufacturing and stopping counterfeits are creating the new gold standard for 360-degree social responsibility.
4) Prevent Identity Theft
When you shop on an authentic brand site, or supply personal information in a store, you can be reasonably confident that they comply with laws to protect your identity and personal information. And with the scammers? At best, they’re unlikely to invest in protective systems and technology to safeguard transactions and prevent data breaches. At worst, the products they advertise and sell online are simply bait used to harvest sensitive personal and financial data from consumers who don’t realize they’re being played… until it’s too late. A shocking 52% of victims never recover the money they lost to cybercriminals.
Ultimately, consumers who invest in premium and luxury brands want quality products that are distinctive, safe to use, and exceptionally well made. But they also want a first-class customer experience with a brand that understands and respects them.
Today a critical first step to ensuring that customers have an exceptional experience with your products is ensuring that they’re protected from counterfeits — and that the product they buy is actually one of yours.