In order to effectively fight counterfeit products in China, global luxury brands should have an online presence there, according to Angie Au-Yeung, Senior e-commerce Manager of Swiss luxury goods company Richemont.
“The first and most important step is always to have the official presence, a clear anchorage for brands to differentiate and further educate consumers against fakes.” Otherwise, Chinese customers will be forced to seek products and information from third-party channels, which usually sell fake products.
“Many [brands] still think e-commerce equates opening a Tmall store on Alibaba, while social media equates hiring a digital person to tweet a few times a day on Sina weibo and now on WeChat.”
However, aside from making projections on their annual profits and losses, brands should also look into their organisational structure, human resource management and the readiness of their business to cope with growth as well as China’s different culture.
For example, many Chinese still rely on COD (cash on delivery). Although this is acceptable for small items, it poses a security risk for high-end products. That is why those who wish to compete in this market should have an open mind as “global best practices do not always apply in this market.”
Finally, she advises online retailers to learn to work under pressure because if they can operate calmly, they can avoid bad situations like offering huge discounts at the expense of profit.
Named as one of the movers and shakers in China by Ad Age, Au-Yeung is tasked with building the internet sales platform of luxury brands like Cartier, Piaget, Montblanc and Jaeger-LeCoultre.