Ralph Lauren launches QR-based digital IDs for Polo clothing

Fashion brand Ralph Lauren has started adding QR codes onto the labels of its products to try to prevent counterfeiting and engage with customers.

The roll-out of the labels (pictured) will start with its iconic Polo clothing range, and will eventually cover tens of millions of products across its catalogue, says the company.

The labels will give each item a unique digital identity – accessed by scanning the QR with a smartphone – that can be used by purchasers to determine that the product is authentic, as well as to provide information and styling advice.

The authentication process will help to tackle “counterfeits, grey market items and trademark infringement that can confuse the market,” said the company.

Ralph Lauren says it also intends to use the data generated by scans to make its supply chain more efficient around orders and inventory, and claims to be “the first global retail brand to apply this technology at this scale and in unprecedented ways.”

It will enable real-time visibility to track product from the point of manufacture and improve inventory management, according to the company, which says the first products bearing the labels are already available for certain products in select global retail stores and on its website.

FREE ebook - 10 insights about brand protection

A strong brand is an extremely valuable asset and it makes sense to protect it. If left vulnerable, a company’s supply chain becomes an easy target for illicit activities like diversion, counterfeiting and tampering, which can have severe consequences. This free ebook features 10 things you need to know about protecting your brand against counterfeiters and providing legitimate products to your consumers. Read more here.

The technology behind the label comes from Evrythng and Avery Dennison, which set up a partnership in 2016 to develop smart labels for the apparel and footwear sectors.

Their approach has been put through its paces by small fashion label 1017 ALYX 9SM in a pilot which also included blockchain security provided by Iota. Another clothing company adopting this type of approach include Emporio Armani/EA7 and Stone Island, which use a coding platform developed by Certilogo.

“The launch of digital product IDs demonstrates how we continue to use technology to deliver more for our consumers and ensure the integrity of our products throughout their lifecycle,” commented Ralph Lauren's chief innovation officer David Lauren.

“The application of this technology means every Polo product will be 'born-digital,' which represents a new milestone in data intelligence innovation in our sector.”

QR and other 2d bar codes have been quite widely adopted to protect products from counterfeiting at scale because they are low-cost and can also be used to provide additional customer engagement functions. However, while they can be a good start, they are not considered a watertight defence unless used as part of a layered system with additional authentication features.

For example, as QR codes are open-source it is fairly easy to add a label and fake QR code to a counterfeit product that when scanned directs the consumer to a fraudulent website.

Cloned codes can sometimes also be deployed that direct to the genuine authentication system, unless it has the capability to keep track of the number of times a code is scanned.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top