Keep cybercriminals from celebrating at your expense this season.
Given the exponential shift toward ecommerce spending, chances are your consumer will be clicking away at endless Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. While these holidays are no match (yet) for their Chinese counterpart, Singles’ Day (garnering a massive $25.4 billion this year), they nevertheless prove a force to be reckoned with.
Here’s what Thanksgiving shopping looked like in 2016:
- $1.9+ billion spent on Thanksgiving day alone, an 11.5 percent year-over-year increase
- $3.3+ billion on Black Friday, a 21.6 percent year-over-year increase
- $3.4+ billion on Cyber Monday, a 12.1 percent year-over-year increase
- $12.8 billion in total from Thanksgiving weekend through Cyber Monday, a 15.2 percent year-over-year increase
- 47 percent — projected spending growth rate for this year
Meanwhile, your other fan club has taken notice.
Four-fifths of consumers are looking for genuine goods online, but about 20 percent have at one point or another ended up with counterfeits. Our 2017 Consumer Goods Online Barometer showed that counterfeits now put shopper health and well-being at stake, which becomes twice as unfortunate when statistics appear to reflect your brand. What’s more — studies show that many of your shoppers count on you as a first line of defense against cybercrime, from fake products to fraud.
MarkMonitor spoke with Yang, 29, a frequent online shopper who says she tries to purchase products from “legitimate online channels” and official websites to avoid scams. Safety and security, she explained, can’t always be top of mind.
“I don’t actively think about it,” she said, adding that she wasn’t sure if she had ever purchased a counterfeit product. “I don’t think I have, but I wouldn’t really know.”
So this holiday season, look out for expanding threats to your brand and your consumers. There are number of proactive measures you can take:
The pressure is on to sell. Distributors, whether a partner to your company or not, will sometimes breach brand standards or intellectual property rights with incorrect logos or content. Consequences of these actions range from diminishing your brand equity all the way to placing your products on unauthorized channels.
Make sure you are continuously monitoring online channels to ensure that your brand standards and intellectual property rights are being protected. For those unauthorized sellers and brand infringers, make sure you are enforcing on a continuous basis so that you do not become an easy mark. Through high-value targeting, identify egregious repeat offenders that are causing significant damage to your business, and work with law enforcement to take action against them.
If a partner is misrepresenting your brand and is not in compliance with your partner agreement, make sure you contact them so they can correct and maintain your brand standards. Also, be sure that a list of authorized sellers is clearly visible on your website so that consumers know where to shop.
A more malicious, and unfortunately common, form of abuse occurs when criminals purposely redirect would-be customers to sites or social pages with an intent to steal your traffic. In the absence of a counterattack on this type of impersonation or false association will leave a dent in your bottom line.
Infringements at the domain-level, such as typo-squatting and domain hijacking, are also tactics brand owners should be aware of. For example, infringers who practice typo-squatting will locate an available domain appearing like yours (perhaps replacing a character or tacking on a catchy top-level name) and use it to siphon traffic and sales from your sites.
Look out for impersonating sites and false associations – consumers may not be paying close attention and are counting on you to ensure that they are getting directed to the legitimate sites. Make sure that your brand protection strategy is also looking for brand abuse at the domain-level. Moreover, a comprehensive brand protection program should also include a proactive approach to managing your domain portfolio. Are your URLs susceptible to mistaken identity, character transposing or hijacking via a brand gTLD?
Online criminals sometimes try to make it harder for brand owners to detect activity using unindexed pages within the deep web. They’ll leverage email, social media, paid search or other channels to promote their illegitimate site and directly target consumers, but because the coding has been tweaked, these pages won’t appear in searches.
Phishing and malware are especially prevalent around the holidays. Watch out for schemes to swindle customer credentials through phony promotional campaigns or contact information update requests. With upwards of 85 percent of consumers getting holiday shopping done on smartphones, illegitimate mobile apps have also become a popular way to steal information.
Be proactive and ensure your approach is thorough. Know that you can’t conquer online threats alone. Today, technology is on your side, especially given the recent developments in consumer-focused brand protection. These solutions can now multiply your impact potential.
If you’re not paying attention to imminent online threats, consequences can include declining sales, a negative association with your brand name, risks to shopper health and stunted web traffic. Just remember that there’s a solution for every threat out there.