The much-awaited online shopping festivals are here.
E-commerce giants Amazon, Myntra and Flipkart celebrate a week-long grand festive season every year. Customers can get every product on the platform at incredible discounts and with other offers. Creating an unforgettable shopping experience.
Smartphones, laptops and accessories often see significant discounts during these sales. Shoes, apparel and accessories are also popular choices during these events. In fact, Flipkart made a revenue of a whopping INR 511 billion during the 2022 Big Billion Days sales.
But, do you know who else is looking forward to the festive season? Scammers and counterfeiters!
They come up with brilliant plans that can expertly deceive an unaware customer and scam them of their money.
So, should these refrain you from shopping during this time?
Excitement should not outweigh your caution while shopping online. You need to get yourself equipped with proper knowledge and we are here to deliver it.
Look Out For These Scams.
Here are some tried and tested scams that you may face during the season.
1. Fake Websites:
Phishing is the most dangerous form of scam present in the digital world. During the festive season, it is possible that you will come across links or ads that will redirect you to a website similar to the original.
Last week, a customer took to Twitter about the fake Flipkart website she discovered.
To avoid such mishaps, make sure you are browsing on the original platform. Double-check the URL and see if other links on the site are working properly.
Brands have started to use WhatsApp to get in direct touch with their customers. Amazon and Flipkart utilise WhatsApp messages to communicate new offers and updates. Scammers have also taken up the task of using messages and calls to lure innocent customers into their trap.
These messages will contain links to fake websites or applications. So, be cautious while receiving messages from such sources. Either ignore them or report them to the platform by clicking the report option.
3. Online Games and Contests:
Amazon and Flipkart have their contest where customers can win exciting prizes. Online fraudsters utilise the same technique to scam customers.
Messages like "Play to win the latest iPhone 15" along with a link have an extreme possibility of being a scam.
Recently, Chinese scammers targeted shoppers with a "Spin the Lucky Wheel" contest on the internet during Flipkart's big billion sale. The prize of the contest was an Oppo F17 Pro. This could've become detrimental if not for the ready actions of the authorities.
4. Counterfeit Traders.
The most irritating part of online shopping is the presence of counterfeit products. Unlike offline markets, the inability of the customer to get in direct contact with the trader and product becomes a disadvantage.
Such product listings will have product descriptions, images and even seller names similar to the original ones. But they are not the real ones. During festive seasons, their numbers will rise leaving the customer unable to distinguish the fake and original.
But How to Identify The Fake Sellers?
Although it seems impossible, there are countless ways you can spot a fake seller online:
1. Check Seller Ratings:
Always start by examining the seller's ratings and reading customer reviews. Genuine sellers have a history of positive feedback, while shady sellers may have low ratings and negative reviews. Also, pay attention to the recency of reviews. If there are recent complaints about products, it's a red flag.
2. Verify Seller Information:
Look for information such as their business name, location and contact details. Reputable sellers often provide clear and accurate contact information. Be cautious of sellers with incomplete or suspicious profiles.
3. Scrutinize Product Details:
Compare the product listing for inconsistencies with the official product specifications provided by the brand. Any typos, grammatical errors and low-quality images in the product description can be a fake listing.
4. Watch for Mindblowing Discounts:
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Counterfeit sellers often use extremely low prices to attract unsuspecting buyers. Compare the listed price with the average market price for the product to assess its authenticity.
5. Check Return and Refund Policies:
Familiarize yourself with the return and refund policies of Amazon and Flipkart. This will help you in case you receive a counterfeit or unsatisfactory product.
While purchasing look for Fulfilled by Amazon or Flipkart Assured labelling on the title or the product. Such products undergo rigorous quality control and inventory management processes ensuring extra security and quality assurance.
How To Check If The Product You Bought Is Fake?
If you think you are safe after clicking the order now button, you may be wrong. Counterfeiters are evolving and you need to stay on alert till you verify it.
There are easy ways you can do it.
Record the unboxing process. This can act as evidence if you get a fake or a wrong product. Keep the camera rolling throughout the time. It ensures that the product was tampered with even before it reached your hands and acts as a strong support while reporting to the platform.
Make sure the product is properly packaged. If the product or packaging is physically damaged, report it to the seller immediately, with photos or videos as proof.
How to verify if a product is fake or not?
1. Verify the model number and details of the watch against the manufacturer's official website or catalogue.
2. Inspect the logo and branding for any discrepancies in the watch's logo, branding, or engravings. Rolex watches will have their serial numbers deeply engraved, not something that is scratched at the surface.
3. Examine the movement used in the watch model and ensure that it matches the one you are purchasing.
1. Ensure the product quality, size and build is similar to what is mentioned by the brand. Even slight differences are cause for red flags.
2. Genuine electronic products usually come with a manufacturer's warranty. Verify that the product you are buying includes a valid warranty card or information on warranty coverage. Apple products have warranty details that can be verified through their website.
3. Examine the packaging for any signs of tampering or unusual markings. Genuine electronics typically have high-quality, professionally printed packaging.
1. Check labels and logos for inconsistencies. Authentic shoes have clear and accurate branding.
2. Inspect the stitching and craftsmanship. Uneven stitching and the absence of proper consistency throughout the design are an indication of a fake product.
3. Ensure that the size and fit of the shoes match your expectations. Counterfeit shoes delivered will often be of different sizing than you ordered.
4. Verify if serial numbers are present for the product on the packaging and labels. Use this to authenticate the product on their official websites. Adidas shoes will have different serial numbers for the left and right shoes, whereas the fake product will have the same serial number.
5. Examine the soles, materials and overall build quality. Authentic shoes are made with quality materials
How Brands Can Keep Track of Their Products
It is not only the customers who get affected but also the brands who look forward to the festive season. Protecting their presence on e-commerce platforms is not only an option but should be a priority for brands.
Here are some techniques your brand can employ:
1. Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement:
Brands should actively monitor their intellectual property rights and report counterfeit listings to the e-commerce platforms for removal. This helps in maintaining the integrity of their products.
2. Partner with Authorized Sellers:
Partnering with authorized sellers will ensure that their products are only sold by trusted sources. This minimizes the chances of counterfeit products entering the market.
3. Brand Verification Programs:
It is always advantageous to collaborate with a brand protection agency while entering the e-commerce marketplaces to create brand verification processes. Brand protection solutions provided by Acviss allow customers to verify the authenticity of a product by scanning a unique QR code integrated into the product or the package.
4. Supply Chain Traceability:
Implementing a transparent supply chain can help brands track their products from manufacturing to the end consumer. Employing blockchain technology boosts product traceability and prevents tampering.
Origin by Acviss uses blockchain to enhance supply chain visibility and to track and trace the product throughout its life cycle.
Amazon and Flipkart sales offer fantastic opportunities to snag great deals. Yet, they are also a great avenue for scammers to loot innocent customers. The only measure that can save you money and day is the knowledge to identify a scam before it happens.
But if you still are not able to say if it's real or fake, don’t jump to conclusions. It is always best to contact the manufacturer or the seller for verification before making a purchase.