Digital commerce poses both immense opportunities and serious threats to brands, consumers and whole economies. With 4.7 billion online consumers predicted by 2020 , it will become easier than ever for counterfeiters to exploit brands through e-commerce. Rogue websites, online auctions and the darknet provide a global, anonymous and lucrative channel for counterfeiters – one that has become difficult to control.
The risk of lost revenue, market share and consumer trust makes it essential for brands to invest in anti-counterfeiting methods. Thankfully there are arsenal of anti-counterfeiting technology to combat counterfeiters.
Oftentimes, cybercriminals will exploit popular brand domain names by using slight misspellings in the web address. This diverts customers unknowingly to rogue sites selling counterfeit goods. Fortunately, brands who use gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains), essentially a ‘.BRAND’ domain name, can safeguard customers from being diverted to fraudulent sites. By adopting a .BRAND domain name, companies create a trusted environment for their customers and make it easier for customers to find them.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID), often referred to as ‘track and trace’ technology, uses adhesive tags or chips that contain electronically stored information. The technology uses radio waves to wirelessly identify and track tags attached to objects. RFID tracking chips are often used in supply and distribution chains to help identify diversion or product tampering. However, only when they include a unique identifier, are consumers able to verify the authenticity of a product.
All too often, brands use outdated methods like authentication cards or holograms that are easily duplicated. The average customer can’t discern a fake card or hologram, so what use is that to the consumer? A better solution is an app or scanning technology that can identify counterfeit goods at the point of purchase – either through online verification via serial number, like Trusted.com, or by ciphered QR codes on the products themselves.
Advances in nanotechnology are the newest offerings to prevent illicit copying. Nanotechnology deals with things on a molecular scale – less than one nanometer (nm), or one billionth of a meter, in size (scale of hemoglobin and DNA).
Nanotechnology anti-counterfeiting methods create a totally unique, virtually unreproducible signature or “fingerprint” for each item. The irregularities of nano-devices make it nearly impossible to replicate and present what may be the most effective anti-counterfeit methods yet.