The fate of small-medium business during the holidays
As the holiday season approaches, small and medium businesses (SMBs) gear up for what is often the most crucial time of the year for their sales. For consumers, the holidays represent a significant portion of their yearly spending, particularly in December. However, with the surge in online shopping during this period, there's a disturbing trend that threatens SMBs – an increase in counterfeit websites and fake products. This blog will shed light on the problems faced by SMBs, which often lack the resources, plans, and budgets dedicated to brand protection, and how these online attacks can cause havoc with their distributors and customers.
The SMB Holiday Rush
Many SMBs eagerly anticipate the holiday season as it can make or break their annual earnings. With an increasing number of consumers opting to shop online during the holidays in search of unique and meaningful gifts, the significance of this shift is evident. According to Adobe Analytics, consumers spent a staggering $211.7 billion online from November 1 to December 31, marking a 3.5% year-over-year growth and setting a new record for e-commerce sales. However, this significant surge in online sales has opened up a Pandora's box of challenges for SMBs, particularly in terms of brand protection. As online sales continue to dominate the holiday season, the need for effective brand protection strategies has never been more crucial.
Challenges SMBs Face
A recent survey conducted among SMBs unveiled a startling statistic a staggering 70% of these businesses admitted to the lack of dedicated resources specifically allocated to safeguarding their brand. To illustrate the potential impact of such a shortfall, consider the case of Rollink, a leading manufacturer of high-end collapsible rolling luggage. Despite being a leading name in their industry, the company was completely overwhelmed by the volume of fraudulent products flooding online marketplaces.
This significant gap in brand protection infrastructure leaves them susceptible to the ominous specter of brand infringement during a time when consumers are actively seeking products and gifts for their loved ones. One of the primary challenges SMBs face during the holiday season is that they often lack a network of monitoring, a clear plan, or a budget dedicated to brand protection. This vulnerability makes them an easy target for counterfeiters and online scammers.
The absence of a comprehensive monitoring system means that SMBs may struggle to detect and address instances of counterfeiting or unauthorized use of their brand identity. As consumers flock to online platforms to fulfill their holiday shopping needs, opportunistic scammers exploit the digital landscape to produce imitation products, often indistinguishable from genuine articles. The consequences of such brand infringement extend beyond immediate financial losses; they erode consumer trust and tarnish the hard-earned reputation of SMBs.
Not having a clear plan tailored to the unique challenges posed by the holiday rush might add another problem. SMBs may find themselves overwhelmed by the sudden surge in demand, leading to logistical bottlenecks, delayed deliveries, and, in some cases, an inability to meet customer expectations. Without a well-defined strategy in place, these businesses risk not only losing potential sales but also damaging customer relationships crucial for long-term success.
Finally, the absence of a dedicated budget for brand protection exacerbates the difficulties faced by SMBs. In an environment where cyber threats and online scams are increasingly sophisticated, allocating financial resources to safeguarding the brand becomes a necessity.
Protecting SMBs During the Holidays:
It is clear that SMBs need a proactive approach to safeguard their brands during the holiday season. Here are some steps they can take, informed by data and expert insights:
- Invest in Brand Protection tools: SMBs can invest in monitoring tools and services that help identify and report counterfeit products. These tools can help detect infringements and protect their brand's reputation.
Once Rollink turned to BrandShield, the AI-based platform provided a tailored and proactive strategy. The results speak for them, an astonishing 99% counterfeit removal rate!
Allocate a Dedicated Brand Protection Budget: SMBs should allocate a specific budget for brand protection during the holiday season. Financial commitment is key to effective brand protection. SMBs should consider allocating a specific budget exclusively for brand protection during the holiday season. According to industry experts, dedicating a modest percentage, such as 1-2% of annual revenue, can go a long way in mitigating the risks associated with counterfeiting. This investment ensures that businesses have the necessary resources to combat evolving threats and maintain consumer trust.
- Collaborate with E-commerce Platforms: Actively collaborating with e-commerce platforms is a proactive step SMBs can take to combat counterfeit activities. Establishing direct lines of communication with these platforms allows businesses to efficiently report counterfeit listings, leading to swift takedowns.
- Stay Informed and Adapt: The digital landscape is ever-evolving, and so are the tactics of counterfeiters. Stay informed about the latest trends and threats in the online space. Regularly reassess your brand protection strategies and adapt them to address emerging challenges effectively.
The holiday season is a crucial time for SMBs, and the surge in online shopping presents both opportunities and challenges. The reality of online scam surges during this period is a serious concern for SMBs, particularly due to their limited resources and lack of preparedness. By investing in brand protection measures, educating their teams, and collaborating with e-commerce platforms, SMBs can protect their brands and ensure that customers continue to trust and purchase their products, not counterfeit imitations. As the holiday season approaches, vigilance and proactivity are key to a successful and secure holiday shopping experience for all.