In recent years, there has been a migration to online shopping. In the second quarter of 2019, the United States saw an increase of e-commerce retail sales of 13.3% while regular stores only increased by 3.2%. The online sales percentage has increased even further after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as people stayed home rather than go to brick-and-mortar stores.
Online shopping has brought many advantages including the fact that brands can reach a huge audience with relatively little effort. The disadvantage, however, is that this also applies to counterfeiters who can now use all kinds of methods to reach many people at once to sell their fake products. In 2017, 39% of those who purchased counterfeit goods unknowingly were from online stores.
Counterfeit Products in the Global Market
The World Trademark Review reports that 3.3% of the world trade in 2016 consisted of counterfeit products, an increase of almost 1% compared to 2013 and it doesn't look like this percentage is going to go down in the next few years.
All these counterfeit products in circulation can have serious consequences for public safety. Counterfeit goods threaten the health and safety of consumers as they do not have to comply with the same regulations as legitimate brands. The IPR Center (National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center) has been given the task of reducing the amount of fake products in the United States. They list several examples of counterfeit products that can cause serious damage to one’s health such as fake pharmaceuticals or counterfeit automotive parts.
Accessing Your Products’ Fingerprints via surTRACE
To avoid these risks and replications of your products, it is important to protect your brand from counterfeiters. U-NICA's newest tool, surTRACE, helps in this battle to preserve the value of your brand. surTRACE makes it possible to check the authenticity of your products anywhere in the world.
This is done by recording micro features on any surface by taking a macro photo. Think of these features like human fingerprints since they are just as unique and are very difficult to imitate, if not impossible.
Once the images are taken, the “fingerprints” of the product, are stored in a database as a numeric string. When the authenticity needs to be checked, another picture is taken of the product’s surface and its numeric string is compared with the one in the database.
surTRACE vs Counterfeiters
The biggest benefits of surTRACE is that the actual product is protected, which makes it a highly effective form of digital brand protection. In addition, it is also very accessible to use as you no longer need expensive cameras to be able to take the necessary macro pictures. A modern smartphone that contains a camera with macro capabilities can fulfill this task effectively.
This allows anyone in the supply chain to authenticate the products, which includes your customers, the end-user, as well. They can verify the authenticity of the product they have received in a matter of seconds through their smartphone.
U-NICA’s Anti-Counterfeit Solution
Each member of the chain doesn’t just take a picture and authenticate, but this action also sends important data back to the company. If anything seems out of place or a customer tries authenticating a counterfeit, the company will receive notice.
With U-NICA’s surTRACE, companies will be able to take the data and improve their anti-counterfeit strategy. U-NICA recommends an anti-counterfeit solution that incorporates a multi-layered approach while using multiple brand protection solutions. Further, this anti-counterfeit solution should also be scalable allowing companies to keep evolving and combating counterfeit threats.
Just like a game of cat and mouse, counterfeiters will keep upgrading their techniques, but the U-NICA team is with you to make sure you have the best anti-counterfeit solution available. Contact a representative today to learn more about surTRACE and strengthening your brand and products with the proper anti-counterfeit measures.