consumer trust e-commerce

The Second Generation of E-commerce: A New Era of Trust and Authenticity

If counterfeiting were a country, it would rank as the world’s tenth-largest economy, even surpassing Canada’s GDP.  According to a report by the Federal Research Division of the US Library of Congress, it is estimated that fake products represent annual sales between $1.7 trillion and $4.5 trillion. American shoppers are particularly ensnared in this web of deception, purchasing 60% to 80% of all counterfeit goods sold. The good news: in the face of an ever-growing counterfeiting crisis, the advent of second-generation e-commerce platforms offers a beacon of hope.

by Justin Floyd

The impact of these illegal products on the e-commerce ecosystem is profound and far-reaching. In 2022, research from Michigan State University revealed that nearly seven in ten people were deceived into buying counterfeit products online, with 39% of these purchases occurring through e-commerce websites. 

Major platforms have struggled to address this issue effectively. Studies have concluded that up to 60% of products sold on Amazon may be counterfeit, a problem so severe that it prompted huge brands like Nike to cease selling their products on this website.

Unfair Competition and Loss of Consumer Trust: Struggles for SMBs

From a financial perspective, counterfeiting represents a formidable source of competition on a global scale. Brands not only contend with legitimate competitors but also face the detrimental effects of counterfeiters who erode consumer trust.

A study by Markmonitor reports that 47% of brands are losing revenue due to counterfeit products, with one-third experiencing a drop of 10% or more. The sector is forecasted to deteriorate even further, as 58% of companies believe the problem will intensify largely due to counterfeiters becoming more sophisticated. This escalating issue underscores the critical need for more effective measures.

Beyond lost revenue, counterfeiting severely damages consumer confidence in their ability to purchase genuine goods in an open marketplace. The absence of proper security and tracking measures leads to a rapid decline in trust. According to IP and brand protection company IncoPro, 52% of consumers lost trust in a brand after purchasing a fake good online, while 64% lost trust in online marketplaces.

Another recent study examined 33.5 million reviews for bestselling products on Amazon and found that 43% of them were fake. The study, carried out by a London-based delivery software, revealed that Amazon-branded products had the most fake reviews, numbering 1.5 million, followed by Apple, at 1 million. Factors like third-party sellers attempting to manipulate ratings may have contributed to the high number of unreliable reviews. 

Counterfeiting severely impacts small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in two crucial ways. First, they face unfair competition from sellers of counterfeit products, who can undercut prices, making it tough for legitimate businesses to compete on value. Second, the prevalence of fake reviews on major e-commerce platforms heightens consumer suspicion of all sellers. 

Reputation is one of the most valuable assets for any company, especially small firms striving to build their brand in a competitive world. SMBs often spend years establishing trust, which can be destroyed instantly by counterfeit goods. This double-edged sword of unfair competition and eroded consumer trust highlights the severe impact of counterfeiting on SMBs, underscoring the urgent need for effective solutions to protect their market position and reputation. 

Open Commerce: Paving the Path to a More Reliable and Competitive e-commerce 

The good news is that the second generation of e-commerce is here to help put an end to counterfeiting. Open Commerce platforms can validate parties involved in transactions by performing extensive diligence on their business entities, leveraging AI to tackle this issue head-on and help prevent fraud. By tracing and pinpointing business relationships, reviews, and payment data to spot counterfeit products or suppliers, this technology assists brands, distributors, and local retailers in connecting with trusted trading partners along the supply chain.

This innovative approach identifies where products are coming from, providing transparency and trust throughout the supply chain. Managing relationships among these entities allows the platform to trace product origins and monitor seller behaviors. Its reporting and anomaly detection AI capabilities enable the system to spot irregularities in product flow, safeguarding consumers and maintaining trust in online marketplaces.

The fundamental challenge in this new era is that traditional technology and platforms were never designed for such open-source thinking. The second generation of e-commerce platforms, however, is built for this very purpose, enabling anyone to connect in a trusted environment and trade more effectively and efficiently. Today, many businesses still operate offline, relying on an antiquated system where retailers buy from distributors, distributors buy from wholesalers, and wholesalers buy from manufacturers. 

Open Commerce disrupts established e-commerce norms to enhance fairness and efficiency, democratizing emerging markets with trusted technology that connects trading partners who have never done business with each other before. Companies can confidently engage with new partners, knowing that every distributor, manufacturer, and wholesaler has been vetted by the technology. 

This ensures that businesses can buy authentic, quality products at low prices through a trusted supply chain, fostering a robust ecosystem of small businesses. This also reduces the cost of consumer products by enabling companies to make good-value products. It allows diverse businesses to trade electronically and efficiently using a platform that helps them find the latest inventory for their stores or shops at the best possible price and with the confidence that they are getting high-quality products from trusted suppliers. 

In the face of an ever-growing counterfeiting crisis, the advent of second-generation e-commerce platforms offers a beacon of hope. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and fostering transparent, trustworthy trade relationships, Open Commerce helps decrease the number of counterfeit products that get into consumers’ hands and revitalizes consumer trust, and promotes a fairer, more efficient marketplace. As businesses and consumers alike embrace these innovative solutions, the vision of a counterfeit-free e-commerce ecosystem moves closer to reality, paving the way for a more reliable and competitive future in online trade.

About RedCloud    

RedCloud Technology, founded in 2012, stands as a “Rebel Alliance,” leading a bold, second-generation e-commerce transformation. Rejecting the high fees of tech giants, RedCloud leverages AI-driven supply chain solutions to empower smaller businesses, giving them the tools to compete with major corporations. Their democratized, cloud-based platform provides real-time financial visibility, offering a level playing field that breaks free from the dominance of conventional marketplaces. RedCloud embodies a fairer, more inclusive digital commerce future where Davids can stand tall against Goliaths. For more about RedCloud Technology visit their website at https://redcloudtechnology.com/.  

Justin Floyd, Founder and CEO, RedCloud Technologies, is an award-winning entrepreneur with a 25-year track record of founding and investing in pioneering technology companies solving the world’s biggest economic and social challenges. He founded RedCloud to address fundamental issues with the global supply of consumer goods that prevent brands, distributors and retailers in fast-growth economies from trading efficiently, transparently and cost-effectively with one another. Floyd’s previous experience includes founding and running cloud intelligence company Vecta and co-founding transatlantic fintech company CC. He is twice a regional Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, four times a Red Herring 100 winner, a Finalist Codie award winner, and a Fast Track 100 finalist

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