According to the latest analysis, counterfeiters are targeting shopping events such as Black Friday to systematically dupe consumers. Experts explain how cunning the criminals are in their approach – and discuss concrete solutions.
Black Friday is enjoying a boom among consumers – and among counterfeiters too. Here’s how you can protect your business against fake goods and product piracy.
Author: Stephanie Flügge, International Product & Market Manager at tesa scribos
Every year, retailers boost Christmas sales with promotions like Black Friday. But it’s not just consumers who need to be wary of fraudsters in their quest for the ultimate bargain: Increasingly sophisticated counterfeit products are also doing enormous damage to the brands themselves. Find out how to get the best product protection for your business.
Whether it’s the latest smartphone, a child’s toy, a popular perfume or a designer bag: In recent years, sales promotions that originated in the US – such as Black Friday – have been very popular with European consumers as well. A staggering 94%1 of German consumers were familiar with the term Black Friday in 2019 – around a third of those polled were planning to spend between €100 and €200. A quick look at the sales figures confirms this trend: German customers spent some 3.1 billion euros2 on Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone – and this trend is rising dramatically in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. So it’s hardly surprising that counterfeiters are keen to profit from Christmas sales too.
When it comes to Black Friday scams, many consumers initially think of online scams such as Trojans, phishing emails and fake gift vouchers. Yet consumers face the risk of buying counterfeit goods even in the ‘real world’. Criminals prey on customers’ frenzied pursuit of bargains to make their money: Driven by a desire to save as much money as possible, most purchases are made on impulse. Red flags such as spelling mistakes or unrealistically low prices are overlooked. Instead of comparing products or checking them over with a healthy dose of scepticism, customers whip out their wallets in anticipation of the money they will save. Armed with this knowledge, fraudsters are able to make huge profits on a single day like Black Friday.
The problem for consumers is that many fake goods have improved considerably in recent years and look deceptively similar to the original. Consumers often cannot spot the difference with the naked eye. Disastrously, the inferior quality and lack of any guarantee ultimately have a detrimental effect on the reputation of the brands. This is compounded by the financial damage inflicted on businesses – while counterfeiters pocket record sums year after year. They are well organised, with numerous middlemen and figures behind the scenes making prosecution difficult.
One effective way of combating the fraudsters' criminal dealings is therefore to focus on product authentication. After all, if your customers can identify an original product correctly and authenticate it easily, even the most sophisticated methods used by counterfeiters will be ineffective. Many companies opt for tamper-proof markings on the packaging or the products themselves. When coupled with intuitively designed online authentication tools, this enables consumers to help expose scams easily – and provides a host of other applications for marketing or track and trace purposes. The many additional benefits mean that there is often a rapid return on investment.
It is important for product protection that the markings are based on proprietary technology that is not freely available on the market. If not, counterfeiters will have an easy job – and be able to reproduce holograms, for example. That’s why we have developed a range of unique, market-leading security technologies to assist our customers with their product protection. By using an ingenious combination of product marking and identification techniques together with digital verification, we have succeeded in tackling counterfeiting in the market by working closely with customers such as PSA Group, Meelunie and Bosch Power Tools. The markings can be scanned using a QR code, like a kind of ‘counterfeit scanner’. A digital certificate of authenticity is used for authentication and offers further possibilities to reach out to customers in a particular way – e.g. for surveys or competitions. Sales promotions such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday are therefore easy to integrate and subsequently evaluate.
Due to the increase in the quality of counterfeit products, it is more important than ever to prevent the damage caused by product piracy using intelligent product identification solutions alongside digital verification. In order to achieve this, an ever-growing number of customers rely on our proprietary, tamper-proof and market-leading security technologies and innovative web and app solutions. It is only by using this combination that your original products can be provided with a secure and unique identity.
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