4 Tips to Differentiate Authentic VS Knockoff Products Online

Knockoffs are so common that they can be found in almost every product line. It’s not just luxury items, but cosmetics, computer accessories and even Kickstarter products!

As technology becomes more advanced, those who make these knockoffs are getting more sophisticated with their methods, making it difficult for consumers to spot the difference.

With an overwhelming number of products sold by third-party sellers on popular online platforms, how do you differentiate between an authentic product and a knockoff?

Here are 4 tips to guard against buying a knockoff.

Examine the quality of the packaging

Often, brands spend a lot of money on packaging because well-designed and sturdy packaging makes their product stand out and protects it from damage during the shipping process.

However, those who make cheap knockoffs can’t afford to spend that much on the packaging. Hence, the quality of the packaging used for a knockoff is usually much lower than the authentic product.

Search for pictures of authentic product packaging and compare the following elements

  • Details of the brand logo and its placement
  • Font size (or even the type of font!)
  • Sharpness of the printing

Everything should match with the packaging of the authentic product – the packaging for knockoffs are likely to have inaccuracies and the printing won’t be as sharp.

A huge warning sign that the item is a knockoff is if the product listing states that the item comes without a box. If you encounter such a product, think twice before placing an order.

Look for differences in colour and the materials used

Those who make knockoffs try to cut their production costs by using cheaper materials, and the colour of the material used might not match the product from the original retailer. Take the DAX wallet from the Allocacoc brand as an example:

Picture of DAX wallet from third-party seller

Picture of authentic DAX wallet from retailer

The product from the third-party seller is described to be made of PU leather; however, the authentic product is made of microfiber material.

Also, from the product photo, the knockoff appears to be of a different colour; the colour of the authentic product is darker. From these differences, it is very likely that the DAX wallet from the third-party seller does not come from the original manufacturer.

Calculate the percentage discount

Everyone loves a good bargain. However, if the bargain seems too good to be true, you might want to think twice before placing an order. A super-low price could be one sign that an item is a knockoff, even if it’s on a ‘flash sale’.

Picture of MOFT stand from a third-party seller

Picture of authentic MOFT stand from the retailer

The product from the third-party seller is selling at about $6, while the authentic product is selling at more than $30.

How does the third-party seller afford to sell the product at a discount of more than 80%? A closer look at the product photo from the third-party seller reveals a missing logo on the stand. 

Try to verify the seller’s contact details

Sometimes, the manufacturer’s website will have a list of authorised third-party distributors.

If you can’t find the seller’s name on it, err on the side of caution by taking an extra step to verify the seller’s contact details. Look for details of the seller’s physical address, email address and phone number.

If the email is invalid or the phone number is out of service, it means that you have no way of contacting anyone to resolve your issue in the event that the product is defective.

Unless you are willing to take a risk, it’s best not to go ahead with your purchase.

It’s always tempting to roll the dice and purchase a product that doesn’t come from the original manufacturer, in exchange for a significant discount. However, even if the product is cheaper, there is no guarantee of quality and hence the product might not last long.

Products made from the original manufacturer go through rigorous testing procedures – for example, the authentic TIC Travel Bottles V2 have passed drop and pressure tests to ensure they will not break, bend or leak in transit.

In contrast, a knockoff might leak or crack when it is dropped as they do not go through the same testing procedures. In this scenario, purchasing the knockoff is likely to cost you more as you have to replace the product and deal with the inconvenience.

The next time you spot a great deal, be sure to use these 4 tips to ensure that you’re buying an authentic product!