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Brand Protection Through Mystery Shopping

Brand protection and anti-counterfeiting are necessary for luxury brands that often fall prey to fakes and knockoffs being sold by street vendors, illegal websites, and from boxes that mysteriously “fell off a truck.”

The problem is, these knockoffs are being sold as the real deal, which ultimately dilutes the value of the luxury brand. Brand protection is something these companies — Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, and many others — take very seriously. They pride themselves on the quality and relative scarcity of the product, which is how they can demand higher prices.

Counterfeit designer shirts on display. This is where brand protection can help brands protect their intellectual property and designs, as well as their brand name.

English: Counterfeit designer shirts on display at a flea market. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But if counterfeit versions of their products are being sold at a fraction of the price, and are shoddily made, this can also ruin the reputation and image of the real brands, since counterfeiters are often trying to pass their knockoffs as the real thing.

While it’s illegal to sell counterfeit products, some of the knockoff products are becoming so good and convincing, some stores are even convinced of their authenticity. Rather than being sold at a fraction of the price, these goods are being sold to stores as the real thing. The problem is, they discover the products weren’t real in the first place.

Other times, there may be less-than-reputable store owners who are knowingly selling knockoffs — a recent case in Illinois saw the arrest of two women selling knockoff purses on a website.

Many luxury good manufacturers are hiring mystery shopping agencies like Measure CP for brand protection. They hire us to send mystery shoppers to the various stores and websites to check out the products and make sure they’re the real ones. The brand protection efforts help them identify counterfeiters and companies that sell them. It helps them keep the counterfeit goods from cutting into their sales margins and diluting their brand.

Brand protection is necessary for manufacturers whose products are sold all over the world, where it’s difficult to keep track of where they end up. By using mystery shoppers for brand protection, they can better control their reputation and their image.

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