How can one mistake cost you your customers and business?
Have you heard of the 15-second rule? The rule defines the fast pace of our lives today. It says that a website has less than 15 seconds to capture the attention of the browsers. Brands spend years together to get their customer's 15 seconds attention. But what does the short attention span mean in the space of counterfeit products? Also, what is the implication for offline purchases? If your customers do not have time to waste, they certainly do not have time to tolerate your mistakes.
Knowing your buyer's behavior:
Time is the ultimate essence: Smartphones and high-speed internet connections have changed the browsing experience. People have too much content to look at in a short period. So, your customers do not have the time for lengthy authenticity verification processes. Has someone created a lookalike website for your brand? Are there fake business pages of your brand on social media? Chances are that your buyers will not pay attention to the minute details that will give away a replica of your product.
Most customers indeed value online reviews. A lot of buying decision is based on customer reviews. But fake reviews are a real problem.
Luring effect of discounts and undercutting prices: Offers and discounts are essential for customer engagement and marketing. But one of the appealing features of counterfeit products is that they are sold for very cheap. As a result, fake products and replicas may lure unsuspecting customers with suspicious offers and discounts. People get carried away with such offers and ignore the quality and authenticity of the products.
Ignorance: Even if buyers want to purchase original products, they may not know how to identify a fake. Today, counterfeit products look almost like the original ones. The differences are too subtle to be identified easily.
But what is the mistake that brands are committing? What is the cost of that mistake?
A brand is an emotion. Its value and image have a direct impact on revenue. No doubt, the brand loses revenue when the sale of counterfeit products increases. But fake products have a much more profound effect. Counterfeit products put a dent in the brand's reputation.
But is acknowledging counterfeit also a threat to the brand?
Brands try to hush up the issue of counterfeiting. They do not want people to know that the brand's counterfeit products are floating in the market. However, this method of dealing with counterfeit products is myopic. Customers value authenticity. A brand that acknowledges its shortcoming, builds trust in its customers. In turn, buyers reward the brand with loyalty. On the other hand, the issue of counterfeit products cannot remain hidden forever.
Brands cannot put an end to counterfeit products. But whether they are proactive or reactive about the problem defines their brand image. So, there is no doubt that ignoring the issue of fakes is a big mistake.
But what is the cost of counterfeits to brands?
Loss of customer trust and brand reputation: The fastest technique of marketing is word of mouth. In the era of eCommerce, it can be online customer reviews. Counterfeit products compromise quality and customer safety.
An angry customer will likely leave a scathing brand review even if they buy a product from a fake listing.
Online brand abuse: Who else will if you don't protect your brand? Without automated tools to take down fakes, lookalike products may appear on provocative and unwanted websites. The unwanted association can tarnish the brand's image. Customers may click on fake domains and links that look like your brand, only to be scammed. After being cheated, why would customers risk buying your product? They may end up ignoring your legitimate marketing and email campaigns as well.
Counterfeit may go unnoticed by the brand without track and trace technology: Bad reviews may not be your only problem. Many customers may not be able to identify a fake. They may end up believing that the brand sells substandard products. So many brands struggle to understand why they are losing their loyal customers.
Customers can be unforgiving: You may spend a lot of time on your product's quality and safety checks. Advertising and marketing campaigns are a hefty cost. But if anti-counterfeiting technology is not a part of your business strategy, you will lose out on customers. Buyers do not blame counterfeit manufacturers who dupe them. Instead, they blame the brand for not acting against counterfeiting. Also, the brand ends up compensating and refunding customers who end up with fakes. Why let your customer service deal with an angry buyer? Returns, refunds, and grievance redressal are costly and time-consuming for a brand.
Trust issues with stakeholders across the supply chain: Counterfeit products damage relationships that go beyond customers. Your distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and other vendors are closely invested in your brand. If counterfeit sellers undercut prices, your stakeholders may feel cheated. Your partners will blame you for violating the price agreement.
A reputed brand should focus its energy on building its market share and brand presence. Fighting counterfeits as an afterthought can push the brakes on other important projects. But when counterfeit prevention and detection is a part of the business strategy, brands gain an extra edge. Anti-counterfeit tools can help brands secure their supply chain and ensure their customers are safe. Such anti-counterfeit technology also helps gain loyal customers in a volatile market.