E-Commerce Sites and Counterfeiting
The correlation between e-commerce sites and counterfeiting has become more pronounced in more recent times. Big name websites like Alibaba.com are constantly looking for creative ways to eliminate counterfeiting from their platform. While this is a step in the right direction, it is also proving difficult for other smaller e-commerce sites that do not have adequate resources to fight counterfeiting.
Counterfeiters have also taken things to a new level to create products that do not exist within a company's brand portfolio but they use the company name anyway. Majority of FMCG brands suffer this fate. Due to their diverse portfolio of products in different countries, Counterfeiters take advantage of FMCG brands by creating a new product line which they can argue is not necessarily a substandard product after all they are expanding their service offering. This is however counterfeiting nonetheless as this is using a brand name to market their product.
How can E-commerce sites tackle this issue?
Strong partnership with brand owners
A partnership with brand owners enables e-commerce sites identify their official distribution channels. This enables the e-commerce sites weed out any unauthorized re-seller so they would not be allowed to upload their listings on the website. It would be advisable for anyone willing to sell another company's products on the e-commerce websites to obtain permission from the brand owner and the signed document should be uploaded to the platform to verify the authenticity of the seller.
E-Commerce sites have a responsibility to constantly educate consumers about being conscious of their purchases from the website. There needs to be effective follow-up strategy for consumers who purchase a product from the site that is counterfeit. The e-commerce website can partner with authorities to track the seller and hold them accountable.
Partnership with regulatory and law enforcement authorities will go a long way in enabling e-commerce sites put an end to distribution of counterfeit products on their site. Once an example is made of a few counterfeiters, the rest would be discouraged from using the platform. Once a counterfeiter is identified, they should be traced with the information provided during their registration and punished according to the law of the jurisdiction they are part of.
It is important for e-commerce business both existing and future to remain accountable and socially responsible even within the business realm as the lives of individuals are at the mercy of the their websites.