Counterfeits can hurt your business even if you don’t know they’re out there. A shocking two in five name brand products sold online turns out to be counterfeit, and many counterfeits are so convincing consumers don’t know they aren’t real until they have been injured or the product malfunctions. Small businesses especially can be hurt by the prevalence of counterfeit merchandise on the market, and it’s up to those same small businesses to fight back.
Counterfeits cost the global economy $323 billion in 2018, and they can be used to perpetuate other crimes such as identity theft, human trafficking, and child labor violations. It’s also easier than ever to produce counterfeit items thanks to technological advances such as 3D printing, and getting those counterfeit items to market is as easy as opening an account on a large marketplace site.
Counterfeits are a major factor in the trade war with China, as well. American businesses have long complained of intellectual property theft from the very manufacturers they had contracted with to produce their goods. The tariffs have only complicated this problem, however. Tariffs drive the price of genuine merchandise up, which ironically drives up demand for counterfeits.
Small businesses must remain vigilant when it comes to preventing counterfeits from reaching consumers. Many counterfeit items are very convincing—watch any unboxing video of a counterfeit iPhone X sold at 10% of the regular cost—and consumers don’t always know right away they are in possession of a counterfeit item. Counterfeit iPhone chargers almost always fail critical safety tests, leaving consumers exposed to electrical shocks and fires, while counterfeit medications and supplements can cause adverse reactions. If consumers don’t know they’re fake, the real business will suffer reputational damage.
Ensure your company is represented accurately in the marketplace by cracking down on counterfeits. Browse sites known to sell counterfeit merchandise and file complaints whenever you find your own items counterfeited. Enforce takedowns of any manufacturers, sites, or listings of counterfeit merchandise to prevent them from ever making it into the hands of the consumers.
Counterfeit products are bad for businesses and consumers alike. Prevent loss of intellectual property, profits, and reputation by recognizing and stopping counterfeits before they harm consumers. Brands matter because they adhere to the established rules of safety and quality instead of skirting them for a quick buck. Learn more about the problem of counterfeiting from the infographic below.
Source: Best Choice Reviews