Counterfeit fears have been growing alongside the growth of the internet. The online space is becoming the key outlet for distributing fake consumer goods as those counterfeits are difficult to track and cease. In correlation, there is also an increase in fear of brand reputation damage for the brand owner and online retailer as well as any potential harm to the consumer.
“Consumers are the prime target of companies selling fake products online under the guise of legitimate brands,” says Alexander Rüegg, Chief Executive Officer for U-NICA.
For several years, industry experts have recommended that the onus is on retailers to double-check their supply chains to stop the flow of illegal goods. This is especially true when it comes to ‘Fast Moving Consumer Goods’ (FMCG), or companies that have short shelf-life products.
Benefits of Smartphone Verification
However, this fight against counterfeit goods could also be aided greatly by helping consumers to ‘help themselves’ by performing their own verification via apps on their smartphones.
Companies, especially those in the FMCG industry, might be hesitant to incorporate smartphones and their consumers in their anti-counterfeit strategy, but here are five reasons why this is an important piece.
- The company gains the ability to track gray market activity and get real-time insight into the extent of this market activity.
- An easy-to-use smartphone app can be incorporated that can verify products on and offline.
- Anti-Counterfeit strategists get real-time reporting and insights to track the movement of authentic and counterfeit goods.
- It allows further customer engagement with promotional activity and marketing campaigns used in conjunction with the app.
- It let's the company uncover actionable insights over how to adapt the brand protection initiative and use resources more effectively.
The U-NICA Perspective and Smartphone App
With U-NICA’s scryptoTRACE® app, it is now possible for consumers to verify products themselves with their own device, rather than relying on a staff member or enforcement official with a specialized reader. There are no costs for the user and the products can be verified from anywhere in the world and at anytime, even where and when there is no internet connectivity available.
“The knock-on effect throughout the supply chain could be huge,” says Rüegg. “If consumers have the power to identify counterfeit goods at the point of sale, then pressure is applied backwards through the distribution chain. Now companies can be supported by a global enforcement team of 1.9 billion consumers armed with smartphones. The customers needn’t even know they are involved – they could be taking photos of products as part of a loyalty campaign or competition, for example. Soon, this could become the biggest deterrent against counterfeiters worldwide.”
The Smarter Way to Verify Products
scryptoTRACE® is a breakthrough product-verification app that enables businesses working with consumer goods to empower anyone with a smartphone to check the authenticity of products, even if their device is offline.
The app scans for unique product markers, invisible to the naked eye, and enables instant verification anywhere around the world. Researchers, inspectors, or consumers can verify products and collect vital data including user, date, time, and location (GEO-tag).
All this allows consumer goods companies to enable people to quickly identify fake products. Companies can also carry out detailed analyses and evaluations of their brand protection and anti-counterfeit programs because all data gathered are transmitted automatically to the central scryptoTRACE® server.
With powerful new insights into the movement of products and key hot-spot areas, companies can take appropriate mitigative steps, share information with enforcement agencies, and gain greater control over brand protection measures.