An additional form of competition facing many businesses in the Middle East and North Africa is posed by smugglers and forgers, who distribute fake or illegal substitutes for the legitimate products.
Contraband, smuggled in by land, sea and air, is endemic in many commercial and retail sectors throughout the region. Forgeries are also widespread, often produced outside the region and then smuggled in, but increasingly being manufactured in situ.
These illegal and un-authorized distribution networks drain revenue from the legal owners and franchisees of luxury brands, computer software and hardware, food and beverage, etc.
Info-Prod helps businesses protect their brand and their revenues by providing information on the nature, extent, and inner workings of the “alternative distributers”. We help companies understand the nature of the challenge, evaluate the best means of meeting it with a variety of counter-moves: working with local authorities, employing smart marketing moves, and other methods.
Smuggling and Forgery Case Study
A major manufacturer of tobacco products sought assistance in its struggle with contraband in a North African country.
Info-Prod provided a report that surprised the manufacturer with the extent of lost revenue it identified due to a combination of forged products and smuggled products. These findings were then independently confirmed by the manufacturer’s local partners and by on-site inspection. The manufacturer also learnt of the alternate distribution chain employed by its 'competitors' in order to move their products from the beaches to the consumers on the streets.
Info-Prod also gave the manufacturer tools with which to fight back. Tax authorities were naturally involved in direct efforts against illicit profiteers, but the main axis of action involved co-opting the on-the-street distribution networks by the legitimate franchisees through an innovative sales structure, and a public awareness 'below the belt' marketing campaign whcih convinced local buyers that the legitimate products had a number of culturally significant attributes that fake copies did not posses.