One in a Billion
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May 30, 2019

One in a Billion

Answering the Big Questions About Product Security

By Joe Schutte

There are roughly 329 million people in the United States of America, the third most populated country in the world. And yet, the total U.S. population is eclipsed by the number of unique product SKUs sold by retail giant Amazon, estimated at a whopping 353 million. That’s right. Amazon could assign a unique product SKU to every member of the U.S. population, and still have nearly enough left over to cover Canada’s population too.

This enormous selection of products from a massive number of sellers is driven in no small part by today’s consumers, who demand variety, value, and convenience on a scale never before seen. With Amazon’s monumental marketplace, however, has come a monumental counterfeiting problem, which Amazon identified as a potential liability in its February 10-K. In fact, Apple has claimed that 90% of Apple products sold on Amazon are counterfeit.

The proliferation of counterfeit goods is dangerous business for brands, and is even more difficult to control in an online forum where the barriers to entry for retailers are strikingly low. In response, it is of paramount importance that good manufacturers and sellers across sectors adopt a product security and traceability solution that is capable of serving up insights on a single-product basis, even when a single product is one in a billion.

By pairing serialization with scalable, Blockchain-enabled technology, a future-forward product security and traceability solution makes it possible for manufacturers to build data-rich genealogies for any given product throughout its entire useful life. With a product security solution comes the ability to not only validate authenticity and eliminate counterfeits, but also reveal a myriad of targeted insights about any item in the marketplace.

What product insights do today’s businesses and consumers require? Let’s take a closer look:

1. Is it the real, bona fide thing?

First and most fundamental is the question of authenticity, which thankfully has a very simple answer for brands that implement an all-in-one product security solution. By embedding serialized, tamper-proof security labels into each and every product, then leveraging RFID technology to make those labels readily scannable in the market, brands can make it possible for both retailers and consumers to quickly differentiate a fake from the real thing. Plus, with the help of geo-location, brands are empowered to take swift action against counterfeiters.

2. How is the product made?

The next is increasingly important to the modern consumer, and that is the question of how a product was made. Historically, end users steered clear of the process behind the product, but today’s consumers are different. Instead, they seek granular insight into manufacturing methods, animal testing, treatment of human workers, exposure to potential allergens or contaminants, quality and safety of ingredients, and more. Through product security technology, critical details like these are recorded to form a comprehensive genealogy that spans a product’s entire manufacturing process, distribution, and sale.

3. Where has this product been?

When a product leaves the factory floor, its journey is far from over as it encounters distributors, retailers, and consumers in the market. A third critical product security question is the question of a product’s previous whereabouts—from the factory, through the distribution network, and to the current seller. Understanding a product’s journey through the marketplace provides consumers valuable insight into whether it has been handled by reputable parties, used, sold, resold, modified, or refurbished in any way.

4. Are there any active recalls that affect this product?

As recalls continue to grow in number across product categories, isolating affected goods is often easier said than done. Thus, a fourth pivotal question is the question of safety—that is, whether or not a specific product is deemed unsafe for use or has been affected by an active recall effort. Through serialization and universal traceability, brands can not only isolate affected SKUs and batches rapidly and effectively; they can also empower consumers to do the same.

A One in a Billion Solution

These are big questions that can make or break brand equity and consumer trust. And yet, despite the magnitude of these questions and the scale at which manufacturers must address them, their answers are quite simple. ProLinc, by Ashton Potter, is a best-in-class product security and traceability solution that makes it possible for manufacturers to achieve granular, product-level insights on a global scale. By pairing high security labels with Blockchain-enabled technology and expert integration, ProLinc answers the question of product authenticity and safety once and for all.

Do you have big questions when it comes to product security? Discover how Ashton Potter can provide the answers.

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