Mobile commerce: A battle cry for brand protection

Smartphone usage today extends far beyond the basics of texts and calls. 

More than 80 percent of surveyed consumers now say they prefer these devices over computers when it comes to buying goods and services. This includes product searches, price comparisons and locating stores. Global mobile commerce (or m-commerce), meanwhile, is expected to reach new heights in revenue, with a projected $669 billion spent in 2018 alone.

However, as m-commerce makes online shopping easier and simpler, especially for busy, on-the-go consumers, it also opens up new channels for counterfeiters to promote fake goods and dupe consumers.

The problem is that some brands are still catching up to this mobile-first shift, and counterfeiters are exploiting this fact to fool people on a large scale. It’s a difficult and unfamiliar landscape for any business to traverse and presents several obstacles for effective brand protection.

The introduction of mobile-only apps and marketplaces is a particular challenge. Some items may only be available on mobile-specific marketplaces and vice-versa, which means that a brand needs to scour even more channels and touchpoints to remain protected against counterfeiting threats.

We are also seeing a distinct merging of social and mobile commerce in the form of local marketplaces used to sell products/services within extremely small proximities. They are therefore difficult for large organizations to police. These types of marketplace also encourage direct messaging between the buyer and seller, which makes it nearly impossible for brands to monitor and identify counterfeiters.

Limiting the challenges to those specified above would be to ignore several other long-standing issues that cannot be ignored. For example, just trying to stay on top of the huge influx of new apps being made available each day can be incredibly time- and resource-intensive.

With so many channels and touchpoints to consider, and many of them overlapping within the digital ecosystem to facilitate and promote the online shopping experience, it’s never been more important for brand owners to take a comprehensive approach to brand protection. We no longer live in a world where simply monitoring across web-based marketplaces and/or websites is enough â all brands require a strategy that encompasses all digital channels across all devices and systems.   

As a best practice when it comes to protection within the mobile commerce environment, be sure to proactively monitor, identify and enforce where necessary, and leverage technology to do this. Identify the highest-value targets and prioritize those causing the most harm to your brand. You should also educate your consumers to make them aware of the issue and direct them to where they can purchase legitimate products.