There are many reasons to invest in a track and trace system: supply chain tracking, inventory control, SQF traceability to compliance, data collection for scrap and waste, automatically tallying items, diversion control, or counterfeiting. For this article, I will be focusing on counterfeiting. As a business owner, you work hard to grow and establish your brand in the marketplace. Unfortunately, there are opportunistic individuals who want to take advantage and make easy money off your brand— piggy backing on your presence in the marketplace.

Opportunists are constantly monitoring the market for popular, trending brands to target. One of them may be yours! In my 30 years in the packing industry, I ask, “Do you know if your product is being counterfeited?” Many times, I hear “no!”. After conducting research on an organization, I am prepared by placing their product on the conference table. Shortly after that I produce a second product with the same packaging, with zero flaws in the printing. However, it is what is inside where the problem arises— a lesser quality counterfeit. These counterfeit products can be purchased many ways; retail outlets, budget stores, swap meets, farmers markets— but most importantly, popular websites.

As a consumer, you may think you found a great deal on a major brand. However, if it seems too good to be true, it most likely is. My wife just recently found this out the hard way. For a quarter of the recommended retail price, she thought she found a great deal on a popular shoe brand on a widespread website we have all shopped on. Until the product arrived at our front door. She opened the shoe box smiling and proud of her purchase, but then she placed them on her feet. Having already owned and worn the brand she immediately noticed a significant difference in the fit and feel of the shoe. Upon further research of the product, in the reviews, she found multiple complaints stating, “Do not purchase this product, it is a counterfeit.” Moral of that story, caveat emptor, buyer beware.

Any product brand can be counterfeited, but the opportunists tend to target the following products most heavily.

Counterfeit Products Seized in 2020

  1. Clothing/Accessories: 18%
  2. Footwear: 14%
  3. Watches/Jewelry: 13%
  4. Handbags/Wallets: 11%
  5. Consumer Electronics: 10%
  6. Consumer Products: 8%
  7. Pharmaceuticals/Personal Care: 7%
  8. Optical Media: 2%
  9. Toys: 1%
  10. Computers/Accessories: 1%

There are many solutions available to help protect your brand from counterfeiting. You will never eliminate the problem; however, you can take steps from a single to multi-layer solution. This assures your customers that they are receiving an original product from your factory. At Apis Wise, we create unique codes to specific items and give you, the manufacturer, complete transparency. As your market expands, you can accurately identify any product, at anytime, anywhere in the world.

Author Michael J. Mantia