The global counterfeiting industry has broken all records as it has grown to become $1.2 trillion industry. That’s a terrifying figure for global brands and consumers who suffer in the hands of counterfeiters. What’s scarier is that the size of this market is increasing with time-based on the fact it made up only 1.9% of the global trade in 2008 but climbed up to 2.5% of the entire international trade in 2013. Brands in the fashion and sportswear industries are one of the most counterfeited products. Seizure data from customs shows Louis Vuitton, Ray-Ban, Nike and Rolex as the toppers on the list of the most counterfeited brands.
Amazon and Counterfeits
Several cases of counterfeit products selling on Amazon have appeared in the past few years. The sale of these counterfeit products has hurt customers, sellers, and Amazon. Let’s take a look.
- Daimler AG sues Amazon in 2016 for profiting from wheel sales that infringed on Daimler AG’s patent. (The Atlantic)
- Helena Steele, the owner of Jessie Steele, claims new kitchen items with her company’s brand are being sold on Amazon even though she stopped selling on Amazon in 2014. (The Atlantic)
- Milo and Gabby filed a lawsuit against Amazon in 2015 for letting counterfeiters sell rip-offs of their animal-shaped pillows with their child’s pictures on them. (The Atlantic)
- David Rifkin, the owner of MPO Global, saw counterfeits of his product called Critter Catcher on Amazon and notified the retail giant that someone was selling his product’s knock-off at $1. (The Atlantic)
- Casey Hopkins, the founder of Elevation Lab, went on social media to criticize Amazon for letting a counterfeiter sell a knock-off of its product called Anchor, an accessory to hang headphones under the table. (CNET)
- A Tennessee family filed a lawsuit against Amazon in 2016 when they ordered and received a hoverboard from Amazon that set their house on fire. The family claims the product was a counterfeit. (The Atlantic)
All of this could stop with a solution that is designed from the ground up for the sole purpose of overcoming counterfeiters.
Putting an End to the Reign of the Counterfeit with Bonafi
If there is a solution that seems to have any potential to block the roads for the counterfeiters, it is Bonafi with its NFC enabled Crypto-Tag™ solution. This technology is ingenious, yet simple. A Crypto-Tag will attach with products and record the whole supply chain data in the blockchain. Brands, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers will use a smartphone application to scan the tag at any given moment to know the validity of the product. The app will retrieve information from the blockchain where it resides safely, intact and untouched.
It is a failsafe solution that empowers brands, consumers and every stakeholder in the supply chain to know the authenticity of the product with a simple scan using an NFC enabled device. Such a robust system can prove to be a game changer for the world’s largest online retailers like Amazon that are currently facing issues and lawsuits for allowing counterfeiters to sell on their websites.
How Bonafi Resolves the Counterfeiting Problem
Use Case # 1
- A seller registers on Amazon.
- The seller receives an order where Amazon takes responsibility to ship the order.
- Amazon workers use the Bonafi app on their smartphones to check the authenticity of the product to-be-shipped.
- They find the product is a fake and the seller is not an authorized reseller of the brand.
- They report counterfeit product to the authorities.
- The counterfeit account gets blocked, and customer’s money is saved.
Use Case # 2
- A seller chooses to drop ship through Amazon.
- Somehow Amazon forgets to follow the policy and stores the products without charges without checking their authenticity.
- The product gets shipped to the customer.
- The customer uses the Bonafi app on his/her smartphone to scan the product.
- The product scans as fake.
- Customer sends the product back and informs Amazon about the counterfeiter.
- Amazon blocks the counterfeit account.
Use Case # 3
- Amazon sets policy for sellers to send their items to its warehouse before being able to sell online.
- Amazon scans every arriving product for authenticity.
- Amazon lets authentic products pass into its warehouse and blocks the fake ones.
- Subsequently, Amazon blocks the counterfeit account as well as their merchandise.
- Eventually, there are only authentic products and brands on Amazon.
Use Case # 4
- A seller XYZ registers on Amazon.
- XYZ does not make counterfeit products, but sells stolen, but authentic branded products.
- Seller cuts down the price of the items to half compared to original products.
- Customers place an order after seeing low price of a branded item.
- Amazon’s warehouse auditing team scans all the stored items.
- They scan XYZ’s products, they are real, but XYZ does not appear in the supply chain as the authorized reseller for the brand.
- Amazon holds the products, sends information to the brand for verification.
- Brand verifies XYZ as an unauthorized reseller.
- Amazon blocks XYZ’s account.
You can notice that in any of the above scenarios that every entity in the supply chain has the power to verify the authenticity of the product with Bonafi. And that’s what makes this solution unique, practical and useful. More importantly, when companies know how (simply) Bonafi works, they can set their quality, inspection and auditing around one standard, the Bonafi standard. Once such a standard is global, brands can regain their lost profits whereas the customers can get back their right to buy only the authentic and real branded products.