Prom season is the time when excitable teenagers and their parents visit businesses - both local and online - in search of showy, expensive gowns and tuxedos for the end-of-the-year celebration with their friends. This time of year can be a major boon for businesses in need of a little extra profit, but many teens' dollars are going elsewhere as they seek more affordable options, though often, they end up getting a lot less than what they hoped for.
It’s MAGIC time again, and many brands are putting their best foot forward at Platform in Vegas this week. Whether it’s with the latest updates in footwear designs, styles and color trends, or being the first to market with the latest interactive wearable technology. Everyone is out to impress the masses, and step out on the runway in high fashion.
This year MAGIC is taking an exciting new approach, hoping to help everyone and every brand customize their experience and make the most of their time in Vegas. It’s a unique opportunity to take a standard trade show and turn it into your own customized business network.They’ve designed the conference in such a way to allow attendees to become more actively involved, created more thoughtful meeting area and tools to encourage more opportunity for face to face communication, and allow for local inspiration.
Last year brought a hefty haul for the U.S. agencies tasked with finding and seizing counterfeit items before they seep too deeply into product pipelines.
Though protecting brands from criminals and their knock-off goods is quite the job, the groups tasked with finding the counterfeits have been making progress. Last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations - two groups tasked with seizing knock-offs, along with the Department of Homeland Security - announced results for the 2014 fiscal year.
A group of guys on the sidewalk yelling out to passersby, a table buckling under the weight of the mountain of handbags towering on top of them - this is the typical image of knock-off products being sold on the streets, but fake handbag sales aren't limited to the streets.
The counterfeit threat to athletic footwear brands are enormous: loss of market share, lower profits for diverted goods, loss of brand integrity, growing market appeal for poor quality imitations, and potential warranty issues for low quality fakes. Brand owners must put their best foot forward in the fight against counterfeiting, but first, it’s important to understand the source of this growing issue.
Why Athletic Footwear is Counterfeited
The more market visibility a brand gains, the more susceptible they are to counterfeiting. And with the global athletic apparel industry in total set to reach $125 billion by 2017, which includes athletic shoes, the market potential is vast. Fast paced trends and technologies
I’ve always had a passion for fashion and, being based in Italy, I’m afforded the opportunity see firsthand the creations of the greatest designers in the world on a regular basis. However, every new color, form, design and fashion show inspires not only the fashion world at-large, but also the underground world of counterfeits. Walk around in any major city and you’ll see stalls upon stalls of knock-off designs created to mirror the real thing – and the problem is even greater online.
While August weather means primetime for beach-goers, it’s also primetime for online scammers and counterfeiters, who prey on unsuspecting buyers attracted to deeply discounted items.
If we polled consumers on which counterfeit goods had the highest seizures in the United States, the likely response would be luxury handbags, apparel, or maybe electronics. These items represent a significant number of counterfeit seizures. However, footwear topped the list of seizures by U.S. Customs and Border Control in 2009, with more than $99 million dollars in goods and 38% of all seizures.
A recent article in the Sunday section of The New York Times featured a counterfeit shoe factory in China and introduced us to some of the key players in the counterfeit shoe supply chain. Interestingly, we learned that counterfeiters can no longer rely on espionage or bribes to corral the latest product blueprint or model because the security in factories has been ramped up. Instead, counterfeiters have taken a simplified approach to production – they buy a pair of shoes and reverse engineer it as a knock-off, a tactic which has proven fruitful.
By far, the most salient development in the world of counterfeiting over the past years is that counterfeit products are now almost indistinguishable in quality to the legitimate goods. This means there is now a range of knock-off goods, from low to high end, which target different buyers and have fueled the growth of the counterfeiting business.
What consumers now see in the marketplace is a mix of genuine goods, knock-offs of differing quality, and grey market goods infiltrating the supply chain. Even as new legislative measures such as the ACTA trade agreement and the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) bill are in discussion, brand owners need to implement a brand protection strategy to secure their products and ensure consumers are offered authentic goods.
The most effective way for footwear brand owners to combat counterfeiting and product diversion is to deploy the following three-component strategy.
1) Protect Your Product – Best practice footwear and apparel companies apply a multi-layered solution to enable the authentication of fake versus real.
- Authentication – A key requirement for product authentication is incorporating the security device as an integral component of the product during the manufacturing process. For maximum protection, the security device should be permanently affixed to garments and shoes to prevent attempts at removal.