The exponential growth of the Internet retail world is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, in 2015 e-commerce sales were up 11 per cent year-on-year, equating to an approximate £114bn expenditure, according to reports based on the “IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index“. By any standard, that is a lot of money, and with so much activity, inevitably there will be other people trying to exploit it. So it’s imperative that businesses investing in online channels understand the importance of protecting both themselves, and their brand.Brand impersonation runs rampant online, and no industry is immune. From pirated music and films, to travel scams, fake pharmaceuticals, car parts, apparel and accessories, anything and everything can be exploited. Brandjackers can leverage content and imagery, use URLs that appear authentic and employ other techniques that aim to siphon away traffic from its intended destination. In these ways, imposters can easily hijack a brand, and the businesses being duped are losing both customers and profits. If we think about how customers use the Internet to find a particular product, the vast majority of online sales begin with search, not brand websites or on official mobile apps. Some 81 per cent of consumers research online before making big purchases. Over 40 per cent of consumers consider mobile an important resource for a purchase decision. Most find brand websites through search engines, email, social media and mobile or online ads, rather than by typing a specific URL directly into their browser. As search continues to be the centrepiece of consumer activity across mobile, online and social media, it is crucial to ensure every brand protection strategy addresses the risk of lost traffic which can affect the success of a companys digital marketing investments. In fact, with the prolific growth of the Internet, the need for the most robust and effective brand protection strategy has never been greater. A strategy that can protect the negative effects that occur when someone else exploits a brand for their own gain.
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