I would like to hear how other companies have handled the knockoff/copycat product. This is one way we handle it.
With success comes the copycats! If you are a company with a unique and successful product, you will probably be experiencing the issue of copycat and knockoff products.
Competitor/Copycat Exchange Policy
As our company grew, we began to get calls to our customer service from confused consumers. They called us about problems with products which we quickly realized were not our products at all but were copycat products. We also got calls from people who had terrible customer experiences with other companies.
With customer service, you always want to give the customer a good outcome. We were turning people away because hey, the customer was confused and it wasn’t even our product. As business grew, so did these types of calls, and so finally, we created this new policy. It has been a very positive policy for us.
Our policy is very simple. The customer sends us the copycat product and tells us who they purchased it from, and we send them our superior product in exchange. Of course, there is a dialog and usually, a photo of the competitor product sent to us before we offer this to make sure it is similar enough to our product.
The Results of this Policy
This policy has worked great for us as a company and for our customers.
Through our dialog with the customer, we get to find out the problems that consumers had with competitors. We have found out for example that most of our competitors have terrible customer service and that they have an F rating with the Better Business Bureau compared to our A+ rating.
We also find out who is selling knockoffs and we can then find out if they are using our registered trademarks. This is how we found out about one company that was calling their Chinese-made knockoffs by our trademarked name, so our lawyer was able to stop that.
We get to educate the customer about copycat products. This eliminates the confusion they had.
The customer has a great resolution to their problem, whatever it is. They have now had excellent customer service from us, and they got the product replaced with a higher quality product from our company. They also will often purchase other products immediately. We have earned their trust and they will be a repeat customer. Win/Win.
This has not been a revenue issue at all. The rate of competitor exchange is very low. I don't have the hard numbers, but it isn't an issue. Our return rate is overall extremely low anyway, but of course, it might be different for other organizations. I consider any expense from this as marketing.
If you start a policy like this, then you can advertise that you have this great exchange policy. It shows customers you have above and beyond customer service and it also points out to the customer that there are copycat products without making you look bad. It is also something that a competitor company selling an inferior product cannot do!
I hope this helps. Fighting copycat products is certainly an issue. I would like to hear from others how they fight copycat and knockoff products.