China luxury platform Secoo uses authentication technology to fight counterfeits

Checking luxury authenticity might be a good way to generate new traffics or increase customer engagement to your independent e-commerce. At least that is what Secoo (China’s integrated online and offline luxury shopping platform & experience center) is trying to do. BTW today its main revenues come from the online mobile channel.  

It recently launched a new feature called “luxury authentication” embedded into its own app.

Whether you acquire the luxury product via Daigou (Surrogate shopping), Taobao marketplace, friends, any lingering doubts now can be dispelled by the judgment from the experts. Secoo said whoever registers an account on its app is allowed to use the service for free for the first item evaluation.

It is said more than 500,000 items have already been examined. So here is how it works.

You just submit the photos of your product, including the images of the tiny details such as logo, zip, metal accessory, serial number, package bag etc…then a team of appraisers would take a look and give you the final conclusion either “Fake” or “Genuine”.

Secoo even gives out some basic statistics: such as the weekly fake rate detected through its app is about 28%.

The puzzling thing is all the authentication work seems to be fully relied on human eyes, at least that is what users might perceive from the front end. Because 

  • In July 2018, Secoo announced its blockchain project to achieve anti-counterfeiting traceability.
  • In June, this year, Secoo jointly established “AI Laboratory” with China Academy of Sciences (CAS), in order to co-develop the system of intelligent authentication and smart content tagging.

We do wonder whether  AI image recognition technology is already in play to automate and assist the whole process. We also wonder about the accuracy rate behind this new authentication mechanism.

Today more luxury companies would need to up the ante on the newest technology to fight counterfeit. In May LVMH proclaimed the partnership with a blockchain startup ConsenSys and Microsoft, to roll out AURA, the blockchain-based service platform which will make it possible for consumers to trace the product history and proof of authenticity of luxury goods — from raw materials to the point of sale, all the way to second-hand markets. Nevertheless, the progress is slow and it stays as a piece of PR news at this stage.

On the other hand, it is a very interesting move from Secoo, even though it probably will take a while to fully unleash its AI capability.  Some might speculate that Secoo is actually leveraging this service to collect abundant images and then use them to train the authentication algorithm more properly.

By: Cecilia Wu