When you think of counterfeits, you may think of bootleg DVDs or jewelry sold on New York City streets. You may also think of Catch Me If You Can and fake checks. Whatever you imagine, you may not think of counterfeiting as an immediate threat to your business.
Unfortunately, the realm of counterfeiting is larger and more complicated than most would imagine — and is threatening businesses large and small on a daily basis.
According to the International Chamber of Commerce, counterfeiting and intellectual property (IP) infringement is costing companies trillions of dollars a year. The damages will reach an estimated $4.2 trillion in 2022.
“There is a real problem with counterfeiting,” says LocatorX Founder Billy Meadow. “It’s surprising how many companies have fake products out there. Manufacturers have no way to measure how much they are being counterfeited.”
With the rise of e-commerce, it has become far too easy for underhanded dealings to take place. Criminals the world over can pass off cheap imitations of branded products and, in the process, take advantage of the loyalty and trust across an established customer base. Luxury brands are losing around $30 billion a year in income due to fake goods sold online alone.
And the problem extends far beyond basement-dwelling individuals looking for easy money; many independent vendors and wholesalers are ripping off more popular products in order to get ahead. This isn’t just inflicting harm on the brands being counterfeited … in some cases, it can put the customers at a serious risk.
“The scariest scenarios we’re seeing are fake foods, fake medicine — these counterfeit items injected into the supply chain,” says Billy.
The current White House administration recently issued a memorandum that calls attention to the issue, specifically on major online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. To best address the problem, it infers, will require tracking down these fraudulent sellers more aggressively and holding sites more accountable.
Amazon itself announced its “Project Zero” initiative earlier this year, which aims to drive down counterfeit product sales through increased auditing measures. It has its work cut out for it, but addressing the problem head-on is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. Still, any progress made on Amazon will not be a fix-all for the problem at large. It will take a communal effort to reverse this trend altogether.
LocatorX is eager to contribute to the effort, and we are confident that our technology will help. Among our many value propositions is an unprecedented advancement in tracking individual items, such as consumer products created on an assembly line.
If you utilize LocatorX technology in your product labels, you can monitor the lifecycle of every item, no matter the number or their whereabouts in the world. When a product is scanned for the first time, it will create a “digital birth certificate” — a unique number that is easily logged and searchable in your systems. Whenever someone scans this item — from the initial shipper, to the in-store transaction, to a customer redeeming a coupon — these transactions can be logged en route to complete audit trails of individualized products.
If these assets are ever mishandled, or imposter products are released into the market, our technology makes it possible to flag these moments and respond accordingly — in ways never before possible. As adoption increases, it will mean a significant step in the fight against counterfeiting.
The health, safety, and satisfaction of your customers is our key priority at LocatorX, along with the integrity and success of your brand. Our hope is to stop counterfeiting in its tracks, while simultaneously optimizing your operation from all angles.