As we’re interested in all things that advance brand protection, we wanted to highlight one of the innovative ways that brands are fighting the increase in knock-off merchandise.
The same radio frequency identification (RFID) chips that are used by many retailers like Wal-Mart and Zara at fulfillment centers to track and manage inventory and fight against theft are being used more and more by brands to authenticate their products in the fight against counterfeits. Salvatore Ferragamo first embedded RFID chips in the soles of its women’s shoes during its pre- fall 2014 season, and more recently extended their usage into small leather goods, bags/luggage, and men's shoes. Marks & Spencer first used RFID technology for inventory tracking in 2003 and, according to RFID Journal, last year announced plans to tag all of its merchandise by 2017.
Luxury brand Moncler recently announced that all of its products will contain RFID chips, which users can scan on their smartphones or through the company website to authenticate the products they have purchased/or are about to purchase. The company has set up a website — code.moncler.com — where purchasers can register and verify that their merchandise is authentic.
RFID chips employ the same technology that allows you to follow a friend’s progress as they run a marathon or find your lost pet. (You can read all about RFID technology on How Stuff Works.) The growth in its use can be attributed to declining production costs, along with the ever-shrinking size of the chips, making them physically unobtrusive. While they might be tiny in size, as a recent Fashionista post points out, they come with a large amount of privacy concerns, particularly in Europe where stricter privacy laws exist. In fact, some U.S. states already prohibit the scanning of RFID chips in identification cards, as a way to protect personal information.
Do you think more legislation will follow?