Written By Lauren Campbell
A look into how the latest use of digital technology may help global brands tackle the problem of counterfeit goods.
The latest introduction of digital technology in the fashion industry comes in the form of digital product ID’s. Trail-blazed by Ralph Lauren, these are set to change the way in which consumers products are authenticated. Wave goodbye to counterfeit market sellers giving us a bad deal on Depop!
Counterfeit products have always been an issue for global fashion houses, with their items failing authentication standards as fake products slip into the supply chain. Aside from authentication issues, which brands try hard to reduce already, fake counterfeit products can also damage a brands reputation.
If we think back to these problems in the early noughties, we can almost picture ourselves back on the streets amongst the horde of trouble-making Burberry check cladded youths who were terrorising council estates up and down the country. The tarnished brand of Burberry saw a drastic decrease of sales in the UK, by up to 40% in some retailers during this time. This was due to the growing negative image synonymous with the classic Burberry check.
Cleary, Burberry survived the hard hit but by doing so it had to undergo a total re-brand and reconnect with the amazing story-telling skills of it’s history, heritage and craftsmanship. Burberry capitalised on these to create a more “fashion-forward, upscale and glamorous brand that epitomised contemporary Britain”, this secured a specific and up-market clientele once more and rescued Burberry from the streets it became lost on.
However, another global retailer who has long suffered under the wrath of counterfeit products is Ralph Lauren. For years Ralph Lauren has had to tackle its counterfeit and Chinese trade-war problems head on by cementing themselves at the source of the problem. It has done so by making massive investments in its digital marketing and e-commerce platforms throughout Greater China and Hong Kong. This has since paid off as Asia currently remains Ralph Lauren’s fastest growing division, with an aim of reaching five hundred dollars in revenue by 2025.
Despite it’s success in Asia, Ralph Lauren still suffers from fake products on the market. Therefore, the brand has taken a new approach to tackling counterfeit and fake products by utilising the technology of QR codes for digital identification of their products. From now on all legit items from Ralph Lauren, starting with its Polo range, will contain a QR code on the products label. Consumers can scan these labels to check authenticity of their purchased garments or accessories, access styling tips and view product information. The digital identification also allows Ralph Lauren to track products throughout the supply chain.
Hopefully this utilization of technology will increase brand loyalty for Ralph Lauren and decrease the amount of fake products that are so readily available through the counterfeit markets.
Here at Spoiled Nation, we’ll be keeping a close eye on which global retailers will be next to follow in the footsteps of Ralph Lauren.