What Does the Future of E-Commerce Mean for Brand Protection teams?

What Does the Future of E-Commerce Mean for Brand Protection teams?

Online Counterfeiting • Social Media

Brand Protection is intrinsically linked to e-commerce success. And as the online environment evolves, so too must Brand Protection strategy.

This blog analyses the future of e-commerce and the implications for your Brand Protection team, with insights taken from a recent INSYNC roundtable discussion involving leading brands and industry experts.

1. Alignment between Brand Protection and E-Commerce teams is critical

Roundtable participants agreed that alignment with e-commerce strategy is critical to ensure that key marketplace channels are prioritized to reduce customer confusion. Take a platform-by-platform approach to clearing channels, rather than tackling a few issues on each one. And as new platforms continue to emerge, you may find it necessary to regularly re-evaluate your strategy.

You’ll need to carefully consider whether your brand is ‘working with platforms or against them’. And you’ll need to bear in mind that the more marketplaces you sell on, the more complex your Brand Protection strategy will need to be.

There should be engagement at a senior level between teams responsible for Brand Protection and e-commerce to foster this alignment.

2. Consider the whole consumer experience

Consumers are turning to social media to research brands and, increasingly, to make purchases.

Key stats on ‘social commerce’:

  • Consumers now spend an average of 3 hours per day on social networks and messaging apps (Globalwebindex, 2019[1])
  • 70% of consumers use Instagram for product discovery (Facebook for Business, 2021[2])
  • 48% of US internet users aged between 18-to-34 made a purchase on social media in 2019 (Statista, 2019[3])

There was a consensus among participants that social media has seen growing threats and needs to be seen as a critical part of the e-commerce journey.

Consider how you can protect all digital touchpoints, including social media, to provide a consistent, authentic consumer experience wherever they interact with your brand. This approach requires interlinking with marketing as well as e-commerce teams.

The link between content and e-commerce was also focused on by participants. Brands increasingly want to ensure their content experience is consistent with the consumer experience of buying from them. This was viewed as a lever to drive collaboration with marketing.

Digital ecosystems

Brands such as Nike are starting to build closed digital ecosystems to retain customers. Nikes ecosystem is made up of a collection of workout and retail apps that are connected by rewards and exclusive memberships.

Two key stats on Nike’s success:

  • ‘SNKRS’, Nike’s shoewear app, has been downloaded nearly 500 million times globally (Born Digital, 2021[4])
  • Nike’s digital membership grew by 70% during the pandemic (Born Digital, 2021[5])

If your brand is focused on building a digital ecosystem like Nike, you also need to be aware of what’s outside it on third-party channels and not concede control to bad actors.

3. Keep a close eye on the evolution of existing platforms and emergence of new players

You’re likely to be actively monitoring either Amazon or Alibaba (or both). They are the e-commerce behemoths in their respective regions – and are only moving from strength to strength as they continue to expand into new sectors. At least one of these platforms is likely to make up a significant part of your marketplace strategy.

However, other platforms continue to emerge and should be factored into your monitoring strategy. Walmart and Target were pointed to by participants as being ‘ones to watch’ in the next couple of years, as well as platforms like Shopee, Pinduoduo and Mercado Libre.

  • Walmart is now no. 3 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000[6]. And in Q3 of 2021, e-commerce sales for the retailer grew by 79%[7].
  • Pinduoduo is a social commerce mobile app in China that has seen huge growth since its inception in 2015 – it now boasts over 731 million users (KRasia, 2021[8]).

These successes have been fueled by platforms’ building digital ecosystems of their own – they are now payment providers, offer digital media & entertainment, serve vast swathes of ad space, and much more.

It is key to build relationships with such platforms to facilitate data sharing and facilitate higher compliance rates.

See further roundtable insights from INSYNC

The INSYNC Virtual Summit: January 2021 brought together expert speakers and 100s of brands to meet, share and collaborate in an exclusive online event. Attendees learnt first-hand from Brand Protection experts in other leading brands and gained actionable insights to help drive real change in the fight against infringers.

See the key takeaways, recording of the panel session, and further roundtable insights at the link below.

Become an INSYNC Member

Join a growing network of Brand Protection practitioners and help us build a united front against bad actors. Together, we can protect consumers from online harm.

Alongside the opportunity to contribute to our research and lend your weight to lobbying efforts, you’ll get exclusive access to all INSYNC content including surveys, newsletters, and webinars. You’ll also receive early-bird invites to all virtual and in-person INSYNC Summits.


[1] https://www.oberlo.co.uk/blog/social-media-marketing-statistics

[2] https://www.facebook.com/business/instagram/shopping

[3] https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-commerce/

[4] https://www.borndigital.com/2021/02/23/nikes-digital-ecosystem-paved-the-way-for-d2c-transformation

[5] https://www.borndigital.com/2021/02/23/nikes-digital-ecosystem-paved-the-way-for-d2c-transformation

[6] https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2020/11/17/walmarts-ecommerce-sales-jump-79-in-fiscal-q3/

[7] https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2020/11/17/walmarts-ecommerce-sales-jump-79-in-fiscal-q3/

[8] https://kr-asia.com/pinduoduo-unveils-payment-service-duoduo-pay-for-its-731-million-users

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