Counterfeiting is a growing issue for the fashion industry, with increased global trade providing ever greater opportunities for counterfeiters to infiltrate the supply chain and create cut-price versions of branded goods. In 2016 alone, European Union border officials seized more than 41 million counterfeit and fake goods, and it’s been estimated that counterfeit goods currently account for 2.5% of trade worldwide and 5% of EU trade.
Increasing levels of international trade have also spurred on a thriving grey market for unauthorized dealers who sell goods on to customers in grey markets. When it comes to luxury fashion labels and products like designer watches, this trend is particularly pernicious: well-known branded products can often end up listed on unauthorized dealerships, who drastically undercut original pricing and undermine brand value and strategy.
Within this complicated global trading environment, grey-market distributors have typically been able to operate under a protective cloak of obscurity. With RFID, however, these operations can be uncovered at their very source. Uniquely for RFID, the SGTIN associated with a particular tag can be linked to an intended customer, and retailers have an unprecedented ability to track goods from source to destination. If the items then emerge in an unauthorized market, the original seller has crucial information about the dealer and shipment of the item.
It is perhaps for this reason that global fashion retailers have started to employ RFID as part of major anti-grey market campaigns: it constitutes a particularly powerful tracking tool that has so far been unanticipated by these unofficial dealers.
In the fight against counterfeiting, RFID contains another unique feature: the TID, or ‘Tag Identifier’, which is encoded into the tag chip and represents a forceful weapon against would-be counterfeiters.
- Grey market and counterfeit goods are on the rise, and represent a serious threat to brand value and trust
- If RFID-tagged products end up in unintended markets, unauthorized dealers can be identified and tracked down
- RFID tags feature a Tag Identifier that is impossible to counterfeit, making it a powerful tool in the fight against fake goods