While most people associate Christmas shopping with the month of December, these days, it all starts to kick off as early as the beginning of November with Singles Day or “double 11” starting the ball rolling on the 11th of November. This is quickly followed by a succession of other “one off” sale opportunities such “Black Friday”, “Small Business Saturday” “Amazon Prime Day” and “Cyber Monday”.
With online shopping booming around the world following the pandemic, online retailers, e‑commerce and social media platforms are all inviting brand and store owners to join in on the action by offering discounts and gifts during these sale periods.
However, it is equally a time of caution for both brand owners and consumers as bad actors are also using the selling frenzy to take advantage of unaware buyers desperate to grab a deal and overwhelmed retailers who find it difficult to monitor the sheer scale of abuse. So how can brand protection solutions help companies maintain their brand reputation during this exciting period?
Sale days: how do they work?
The most anticipated shopping days in the run up to the holiday season are when almost all stores/online platforms come out with “doorbuster” sales with the early bird special to attract consumers to their shop/platform. Traditionally, people would stand in line hours before the stores are opened in order to grab the bargains of the year. However, in last few years, we have witnessed a trend towards the biggest sales being online and no longer for just the one day.
Multiple platforms participate in these days and discounts are given on products from all industries, including, cosmetics, clothing, furniture, electronics, traveling, and even food & beverage.
While there has been a steady growth in sales since inception, figures from last year couple of years showed dramatic increases for all shopping days. For example:
- During the two-week shopping events until 11th of November 2021 (Singles’ Day shopping festival), Chinese consumer spending on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms amounted to 84.54 billion U.S. dollars (8% increase from 2020)1)
- American consumers spent $8.9 billion online during Black Friday 2021, less than the average spend in 2020 when the average spend surpassed all previous records, by hitting $9bn, up from $7.4bn in 2019 and $6.2bn in 2018.2)
- Shoppers spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday 2021, which is about $100 million shy of the record set in 2020 when sales reached $10.8bn, but up from 2019 sales volume of $9.2bn.2)
- Globally, the social-commerce market is expected to grow to more than $2 trillion by 2025.3)
How bad actors take advantage of shopping days?
Since so many sellers participate in these shopping days, infringers easily slip in and take advantage of the opportunity. Some claim they represent a legitimate brand owner’s store, but sell counterfeits, exploiting the brand’s reputation with attractively low prices. The volume of sales during this shopping season is so huge, it is inevitable that the opportunities for IP infringement also considerably increases.
Nothing is safe – they target everything from low-end consumer goods to luxury items to medications and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). In addition, new online trends, such as live-streaming shopping and the use of influencers on social media channels has opened up new possibilities for abuse and make it harder for brand owners to monitor infringements and/or counterfeit products thanks to the multi-channel opportunities and the ease of setting up a website or seller account.
How can brands protect themselves during this important season?
Brands need to look out for themselves and their customers to avoid a triple blow to their revenue, brand reputation and customer satisfaction/loyalty. In such an online focused environment, traditional brand protection strategies are of limited use since they are often short-sighted, inflexible, and not sustainable. By contrast, more modern brand protection approaches use keyword matching, image recognition, machine learning, paid search monitoring, platform risk assessment and other automated data analysis technology to map abuse networks, allowing brand owners to better assess the nature and severity of the abuse, and establish how best strategically tackle it.
When thinking about how seeking help with a brand protection solution can support your brand during the seasonal sales period, it is important to consider the following elements:
- Technology: what elements can the technology help with and alleviate the pressure on your in-house team? What detection capabilities does it have, and can it bring together and match data from several sources?
- Business expertise and strategic support: Brands can end up spending a large portion of their budget on monitoring tactics that are not bringing efficient results. By using an expert that deeply understands a brand’s unique business problems and requirements, they are able to combine technology with their legal expertise and transform how brands tackle this growing problem. This allows brands to focus on what matters to make a difference in the long-term and deliver a meaningful impact to your organisation’s bottom line.
- Approach: tactical and business-minded when solving your problems with support throughout the whole cycle, including analysis, prioritisation, and enforcement of the data.
- Forward thinking: brand owners often run specific promotional campaigns during these seasonal sales that can include new taglines, new brands and new product names – all of which must be trademarked before the campaign launch to avoid the potential risk of infringing on other brands. Protecting seasonal brands and taglines, which can often be overlooked due to tight deadlines or budgets, it is still important to maintaining the overall strength of a brand.
No matter the size of your business or scale of brand protection needed, there is definitely a need for brands to adopt modern brand protection tools, develop new approaches and provide a safe online experience for their customers. Only then can you stay resilient and ahead of the game of the ever-evolving tactics of infringers and bad actors.
How to Implement a Strong Brand Protection Strategy?
It is important to note here that not every brand deals with the same level of abuse, so brand protection strategies need to be tailored to a brand’s unique requirements.
Sometimes, these pesky infringers are typically persistent, so you have to look at brand protection as an ongoing process that doesn’t end when you manage to take down one fake reseller. To safeguard your content, products, and services, it is advisable to work with a professional to create a multi-layered approach to combat all the different tactics counterfeiters will employ to stay in business.
BRANDIT’s wide range of online brand protection services starts with a “Light” package that caters for those just starting with online brand protection and interested in learning more and how to tackle infringements within a restricted budget. It aims to support companies in building a simple online brand protection programme in order to achieve an effective clean-up on pre-selected marketplaces.
You can also read about the importance of brand protection and download our e-book with a handy checklist to assess how vulnerable your brand is to abuse or misuse here