How can your brand fight first-copy products in online and offline markets

How would you react if you saw the first copies of your products being sold in the market? Certainly, you won’t be happy. Neither will any other brands. The terrifying fact is that first-copy products are everywhere. It swarms the online and offline marketplaces, making it hard for genuine brands like yours to avoid them. But this is not without a solution. We’ll dive into the strategies and technological solutions your brand can adopt to secure brand safety and help in the fight against the first copy products.

Before we jump into solutions, let's first understand what we're dealing with.

What Are First Copy Products?

First-copy products are counterfeits that closely mimic the original intending to deceive innocent customers. They are highly cheap compared to the original, ranging anywhere from 50%-3% of the actual price. But they come at a significant cost to the original brand.

Why is it important to avoid first-copy products? Learn more.

First Copy Products and Online Shopping

Online marketplaces are a great avenue for brands to market their products to a global audience. But the same platforms provide a playground for scammers and counterfeiters. The rising popularity of digital shopping places and social media has made it easier for counterfeiters to sell first-copy products to unsuspecting customers.

Modus Operandi

The first-copy products are largely advertised as original sold at discounted prices deceiving consumers into believing they are genuine. The Internet provides a huge advantage for counterfeiters. Customers cannot touch or view the product as it is but have to verify solely on the picture provided leaving them vulnerable to fraud.

Apart from online marketplace giants like Amazon or Flipkart, these scammers use independent websites to sell their products, leveraging social media marketing techniques. This allows the counterfeiter's freedom to create a new website even if a brand flags and removes the old one.

The Impact of First Copy Products on Your Brand

Impact of first-copy products on your brand

The sale of first-copy products is at large. The global market value of the counterfeit market is estimated at $4 trillion. Certainly, the illicit market will have a huge impact on your brand, most of them long-lasting and even causing the end of you like:

  1. Revenue Losses: When a customer chooses a first-copy product over the original, your brand loses sales. These recurring losses will substantially affect your bottom line and business growth.
  2. Damage to Brand Reputation: Whenever a fake product fails to meet expectations, the blame falls on the actual brand. This will result in a damaged brand image and reputation among the public, leading to a loss of trust in the market.
  3. Customer Trust and Loyalty: Gaining customer loyalty is the building block of your brand’s success. First-copy products can damage that loyalty, encouraging them to choose the competitor over yours, losing your footing in the market and eventually failing.

Strategies for Combatting First Copy Products

Putting an end to the first copy worries is not a single-button-push easy. It takes carefully planned measures implemented to result in 100% efficiency. Yes, the strategies and end goals may differ from one brand to another. However, the major tactics remain the same for everyone. Here are three major brand protection strategies for preventing first copies.

1. Educating Customers / Spreading Brand Awareness

An unaware customer can cause irreversible damage to your brand. From lost sales to reputation damage and revenue losses, this will be detrimental to you.

  1. Educate them about your brand: Let your customers know your brand and product inside out. Teach them how to identify your products and make the most recognisable parts of your products; design, logo, slogan or name easily memorable. Everyone knows the Apple logo and the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle, helping customers identify even the slightest differences than usual. Use multi-channel advertising to execute and gain wider reach.
  2. Awareness about the adversities of fake: Teach your customers about the negative effects of fake and first-copy products. First-copy products use low-quality products that are dangerous for human usage and have a long-lasting impact on the environment. Make them aware of the organised crime that is supporting the manufacturing of fake products.

2. Engaging Customers Through Loyalty Programs

Encouraging customers to take the extra step of verifying products can be difficult. Even more to choose a product, ditching its cheap alternative. That is why customer engagement is key to building a loyal customer base.

  1. Custom-Branded Applications: Mobile verification is one of the most sought-after product authentication methods. The applications provide customers with an easy way to verify genuineness, access product information and report counterfeit products. This will also give you an advantage in attaining customer data for bettering the marketing and product strategies.
  2. Rewarding Customer Interactions Customers love to get rewards for sticking with a brand. Customers tend to repeat purchases when they feel they are valued. Rewards for purchasing your products motivate them to stay loyal to your brand. Incentivising their verification action also encourages them to do the same for other products and brands too, cultivating a healthy authentication practice in the market.

The first and Foremost step your brand must take is to get backed by the legal framework of your country. Why? All your effort in identifying the first copy and counterfeits won’t matter if you haven’t registered your IP.

  1. Intellectual Property Protection Register your IP; trademarks, patents and copyrights. This gives your brand coverage from IP abuses and infringements. The legal basis will help you win suits in the fight against counterfeiters. Registering your IP globally can prevent infringements and the grey market of your products. 
  2. Working with Law Enforcement Collaborate with law enforcement to track down IP infringements. Send out cease and desist letters to the counterfeiters to warn them about their actions. This sends a strong message that your brand will not tolerate counterfeits.

Learn everything about IP and your legal advantage

Strategies and anti counterfeiting solutions to fight first-copy products in online and offline markets

Technological Solutions For Brand Protection

The popularity of first-copy products is on the rise. Over 31% of the customers willingly purchased counterfeit products in India. Price and easy accessibility contributed to their sudden interest in the fakes. To prevent them from taking over your market, you must invest in anti-counterfeiting solutions that leverage technology to weed out any products infringing on your IP.

1. Labeling Systems:

A widely used and one of the most effective ways to combat first copy is the implementation of labelling solutions in your products.

  1. Non-Cloneable Security Codes: Implementing QR codes and security labels gives your products a unique identity. Imagine them as digital fingerprints that are impossible to replicate. Your customers can easily scan and verify the non-cloneable to ensure product genuineness.
  2. Hologram Labels: Hologram labels allow visual verification of a product. Acviss provides hologram labels that are tamper-evident providing an extra layer of security. This helps in identifying counterfeits and first-copy products quickly.

2. AI and Machine Learning

It is not just the offline market, but the online markets are plagued with first-copy products too. It is essential for you to impose online brand protection measures to secure your digital space in order to fight first copies.

  1. Identifying and Removing Counterfeit Listings: AI tools monitor online marketplaces to find fake listings, once identified can notify the brand and remove them, ensuring that customers are less likely to encounter fake products.
  2. Scanning the Digital Landscape: AI machine learning algorithms can scan websites and social media for any brand IP infringements and flag them. Acviss AI solution can takedown websites and social media impersonations that abuse brand IP rights.

3. Strengthening Supply Chain Security

It's not just the supermarket shelf your brand must worry about, it's the whole supply chain. A safe and secured supply chain is vital in preventing counterfeits and first copies from entering the market.

  1. Blockchain for Tracking: Create a transparent and immutable record of your product’s journey using Blockchain. Gain thorough visibility from manufacturer to consumer. This helps to track and verify the authenticity of each product.
  2. Real-Time Analytics: Tracking your product allows you to get real-time analytics presenting insights into potential vulnerabilities in the supply chain. Acviss’s track-and-trace solution allows you to pinpoint flaws and initiate prompt action to prevent counterfeit products from reaching the customer.

Future Proofing Your Brand

You may not be aware of your IP infringements happening now, but it is essential to keep everything secured before it's too late. Chances are your first copies are already in the market, looting your profits and customers. Ascertain your threats and your brand, understand your requirements and implement a proper strategy that leverages technology ASAP. Remember, trust takes years to build, losing it only takes seconds. Take action before it's too late and gain sustained growth in the market.

If you are wondering how to implement a solution or what technology to choose from, feel free to get in touch with us. We, at Acviss have protected over 2 billion products, catering to over 80 brands globally. Our advanced anti-counterfeiting and brand protection solutions are always at your disposal. Reach out to us here to meet our experts and take your first step towards counterfeit-free market growth.

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