It's estimated that the total value of fakes sold worldwide each year numbers as high as $1.8 trillion, with watches, bags, clothing, jewelry and perfume making up the bulk of goods seized at borders. Welcome to the life of countless luxury brands, now an appealing target for online counterfeiters who lure consumers to rogue sites under the guise of their prestigious names.
International fashion leader Valentino SpA discovered this firsthand when unauthorized website and marketplace sales, along with misrepresentation on social media, began plaguing the business. It soon became obvious that the problem was too large for an in-house legal team to tackle alone — so finding a solution would prove critical to the company, which boasts a presence in more than 90 countries.
How it happens
Sophisticated counterfeiters employ savvy marketing tactics, including illicit promotions in search and social media, to confuse consumers and intercept web traffic. This is especially the case with luxury good spamming, which siphons traffic away from a genuine brand and directs customers to sites selling counterfeit goods.
Legitimate brands pay a heavy price: lost revenue, flagging demand, angry channel partners, skyrocketing warranty and service costs and increased product liability, all while their consumers are duped into buying substandard goods. As counterfeiting in digital channels proliferates, fashion and luxury brands find themselves in a seemingly never-ending battle to shut down rogue websites.
Counterfeiters might seem a formidable threat, but there's plenty of action you can take to stay proactive and prevent these threats from becoming a reality.
First, protect your customers
Counterfeiting detracts revenue from your brand by siphoning shoppers to fake products. Fighting them increases revenue - and lowers costs - by recovering the traffic of those who intended on buying legitimate products. This also damages your hard-earned reputation, which can mean fewer sales as customers begin to view your brand in a negative light. Lastly, fighting counterfeiters reduces false warranty claims and customer service costs that result from imposter and substandard goods.
Learn best practices
Instead of taking down rogue sites one-by-one, get more efficient with a wider lens that takes down entire networks. Taking on counterfeiters at scale results in massive, timely and cost-effective shutdowns and boosts the effectiveness of litigation for greater return on your investment.
Valentino SpA used advanced technology to streamline both data collection and legal enforcement. Leveraging high-value targeting, the company removed more than 83,000 phony listings and deactivated 500+ abusive websites, along with more than a thousand imitator social media pages. (Download the Valentino case study here.)
Take a comprehensive approach covering all channels
Partner with a brand protection expert to help your company detect, analyze, act and report across every path your consumer might take to find you, including websites, marketplaces, search engines, social media, mobile apps and paid search. Leverage machine learning and big data analytics to quickly identify infringements across millions of product listings. Image clustering and threat level analytics can also help you identify and prioritize infringements.
So when you find out some copycat is carving out a piece of your hard-earned revenue and coveted reputation, or you just want to prevent it in the first place, remember that you can step up and take action. With plenty of tools at your disposal, you'll keep loyal customers happy - and bad actors - in check.