DEVTOME.COM HOSTING COSTS HAVE BEGUN TO EXCEED 115$ MONTHLY. THE ADMINISTRATION IS NO LONGER ABLE TO HANDLE THE COST WITHOUT ASSISTANCE DUE TO THE RISING COST. THIS HAS BEEN OCCURRING FOR ALMOST A YEAR, BUT WE HAVE BEEN HANDLING IT FROM OUR OWN POCKETS. HOWEVER, WITH LITERALLY NO DONATIONS FOR THE PAST 2+ YEARS IT HAS DEPLETED THE BUDGET IN SHORT ORDER WITH THE INCREASE IN ACTIVITY ON THE SITE IN THE PAST 6 MONTHS. OUR CPU USAGE HAS BECOME TOO HIGH TO REMAIN ON A REASONABLE COSTING PLAN THAT WE COULD MAINTAIN. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT THE DEVTOME PROJECT AND KEEP THE SITE UP/ALIVE PLEASE DONATE (EVEN IF ITS A SATOSHI) TO OUR DEVCOIN 1M4PCuMXvpWX6LHPkBEf3LJ2z1boZv4EQa OR OUR BTC WALLET 16eqEcqfw4zHUh2znvMcmRzGVwCn7CJLxR TO ALLOW US TO AFFORD THE HOSTING.

THE DEVCOIN AND DEVTOME PROJECTS ARE BOTH VERY IMPORTANT TO THE COMMUNITY. PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO ITS FURTHER SUCCESS FOR ANOTHER 5 OR MORE YEARS!

Copycat Products

Any product which has been made to look the same as an original product in all aspects is known as a copycat product. This could also mean a product which has been recreated by a competitor for a certain type of consumable. There are no laws in any country which prevent copycat packaging. In some countries, copycat packaging is referred to as ‘unnecessarily similar packaging’ or ‘parasitic packaging.’ Attempts at patenting or branding the product have been unsuccessful especially in the United Kingdom. By putting a trademark on the product, consumers know which product is original and which one is copied, but with both products having the same packaging, the consumer will most likely assume that there is a negligible difference in quality. Copycat products may look superior in terms of packaging, but in reality the quality of the product is inferior to the original product. This is because while making a copycat product, the manufacturer wants the cost to be as low as possible and uses materials which are cheaper. A private label brand or product is one which is owned by a manufacturer or retailer rather than a company. Due to the lower prices and similar quality, label products are more in demand, and studies show that fifteen percent of consumers buy label products.

reverse_engineering.jpg

Above, an example of reverse engineering.

Manufacture of Copycat Products

Many times copycat products are the result of external factors affecting the economic progress of a country. These could be political and environmental factors, socio- economic factors, or technological and legal factors, which may cause the advent of the copycat product market. Political factors constitute the stability and general state of well being in a certain region or country. A country may turn to the manufacture of copycat products for a number of reasons. It may be because the original material is not easily available and the demand for the product is huge, or that they simply want to give the original brand competition by luring customers into buying their product at cheaper prices. A copycat product could also be manufactured keeping the environmental well being in mind. Materials like cardboard, plastic and paper are biodegradable but take a long time to break down and add to pollution. By making ‘eco friendly’ copycat products, the manufacturer has a competitive advantage. People living below the income bracket are at a disadvantage since they may not be able to afford certain necessities. This in turn may lead them to buy products which have similar packaging and quality to be able to accommodate their basic living needs and maintain living standards. With increasing innovation in the field of technology, it is possible to manufacture products similar to the original in large numbers to meet the growing demand. Sometimes it is also a company’s reputation that determines the success of a copycat product. For example, the demand for the Iphone 5 led to the manufacture of the Iphone 5C which had similar features. Although sold at affordable rates, people still opted for the real product rather than a copycat one because of Apple’s past reputation. Many developing countries have underground markets or black markets in which they sell copycat products. Unless the government decides to make laws and regulations against it, the market for copycat products will continue to increase.

Consumer Economics and Copycat Products

Sometimes there is an excess demand for a certain product which can only be produced in small amounts. Consumers need to understand that one raw material can be made into a number of products to suit different needs. For example, rubber is a raw material which can be made into tires as well as stationery. However since rubber is a limited resource, there is only so much of each product that can be made. To resolve this issue, a manufacturer can study consumer behavior to judge the best time to make a certain product. In economic terms, this is called the demand and supply curve. Supply is the amount of units of a product which a certain manufacturer is capable of making. For example an increased demand in cars will affect the demand for tires in turn increasing the supply of rubber. However, one must be careful not to over- supply. Over supplying means producing too much of one good negatively affecting the price, resulting in a decrease of value. Another popular concept which lures customers into buying copycat products is the way companies market their goods. A customer who feels he is getting value for his money, is more likely to go for a fake product rather than the actual one. Many strategies like multiple product purchases, deals, free shipping, coupons and reward programs make the customer believe that not only is he getting more at a lower price, but also the same quality. One should be willing to risk acquiring an inferior quality product in a bid to save one’s money. Making a copycat product is not easy, as the manufacturer needs to think about how to introduce his goods into a market, and generate demand for it. This is known as new product development. It is a major chunk of the promotion process and how the manufacturer will adapt his product to fit current demand trends. New product development is also used to improve trusted goods which have been in the market for a long time.

Competition for Copycat Products

Copycat products may have a huge market but they are not a brand companies worst competitor. Copycat products lack creativity and are just an emulation of the original product. Companies producing these goods rely on making them as close to the original as possible without even considering their segmentation, targeting and positioning strategy. They make the product fit to serve the same market and customers, but they have no scope for creativity. When a copycat competitor steals business, the original manufacturer is at an advantage because generally the goods sold by the original manufacturer are superior in quality. A consumer is far more likely to continue buying a product if he gets maximum utility and satisfaction out of it. Satisfaction and Utility are two concepts which are extremely important if one wants to gain market dominance. The ability to differentiate between the two is imperative to understanding the consumer. Satisfaction is an intangible aspect of purchasing in which the consumer anticipates a certain amount of happiness he will get out of using the product. The utility is a measure of the actual amount of satisfaction gained by the consumer after usage of a certain product. If the satisfaction is more than the utility, then the manufacturer should consider revamping his product. One of the advantages copycat products have over their competitors is the price factor. Another advantage copycat products have is that the goods are produced in bulk in order to meet increasing demand and therefore companies producing them never need to worry about running short of supply. Although copycat products are popular in the market, they do not have the assurance of safety and may be made of hazardous materials that are capable of harming the environment and one’s personal health. This is especially true of local liquors and water brands where one can never be sure as to whether the product has gone through a thorough distillation process. There are many places where copycat products can thrive such as the black market, pirated stores and other such places. However, companies producing them must be mindful of governmental laws which land them in legal trouble, which often leads to bankruptcy and closure.

Types of Products

There are many types of products from which copycat products get their inspiration. These can range from physical products like cereals, sweets and cell phones to electronic products like softwares and mobile applications. To understand copycat products, one must know what types of consumables are available in the market. The customer can then judge whether a copycat product or the original will better fit his needs. Convenience goods are those which depend on a person’s daily use and have a large consumer base in terms of sales. They can range from household items to hair care products. Most of these are bought in bulk, even though it means spending more money. It is the long term saving which the consumer is concerned with. Since they are produced and sold in bulk, the profit on each individual item will not be much. However it is up to the marketing team of the corporation to revitalize the product and generate marketing strategies which will in turn yield more profit.

In classic economic theory, there are two main types of consumers. Brand conscious consumers are those customers who prefer to pay a higher price for a premium product so that it can be used as a status symbol. This means that not everyone can afford to buy that particular commodity and those who can, are willing to splurge a little bit extra to obtain it. These consumer goods are not manufactured in bulk and the customer market towards which it is targeted is not likely to use these products on a regular basis. The second consumer group is the price conscious customer. Generally people who earn below the national income bracket fall under this group. They view shopping products as luxury products and do not feel the need to spend money on them. Such consumers look for the same consumable at a lower price. Specialty products are similar to shopping products, but are priced relatively higher. They comprise of commodities such as luxury automobiles, cell phones and computers. Although the customer may be willing to pay, he will rely on bargains and offers and find the best price for the commodity in the market. Emergency and unsought products are terms used for products which the customer relies on requirement based purchases or impulsive purchases. This is also called needs based consumerism.

Piracy

Many companies are dependent on branding for various functions like marketing, sales and profit generation. Branding can be defined a stamp of reliability, quality and satisfaction for certain goods. Branding prevents the manufacture of copycat or counterfeit products which can harm the reputation of large corporations. Copycat products not only ape the name, packaging and type of products made but also the campaigns and strategy employed by the original product in order to generate sales and profits. Most times this crime is considered incidental and the copycat manufacturer is let off easily. Pirated products also pose a health hazard to the consumer, especially with food items. The market for piracy is not limited to consumer goods alone. It is prevalent in the electronics market in which many software and compact discs of movies are sold before the release of the actual one. In developing countries, black markets where goods are traded without governmental consent are a huge part of the economy, and known as an 'informal economy'. Trade can range from trading physical commodities like weapons and drugs to selling people for prostitution. Another term for the black market is organized crime. Pharmaceutical drugs comprise most of the black market, whereas the market for copycat software and illegal movie piracy follows in at fifty eight billion dollars globally.

Prevention of Manufacture of Copycat Products

Many companies fall prey to copycat products because they do not take the correct precautions to prevent competitors from copying them, and making similar goods. However, to gain market dominance, many large multinationals rely on branding, patenting and data protection to ensure that their product remains unique. Branding is an important procedure through which a product’s prestige is established. It ensures that the product is recognized by a large chunk of consumers. For example, the brand Microsoft is a worldwide corporation known for trustworthy software development. Creating this image in the consumer’s mind is a long process. In addition to creating a name in the market, it is important to maintain quality. A person who is a loyal user of any product or service expects the same quality every time he purchases it. Even a slight decrease in quality may result in the loss of the customer who might switch to using another product. One can infer that branding is an important company asset by which the reputation is created, upheld and improved. Many counterfeit products rely on the price factor and give little attention to branding. Patenting is often confused with branding and although the two are closely related, they are not the same. A patent is a right to the protection of intellectual property such as sales and marketing strategies, customer bases and manufacturing processes. There are many advantages to patenting a product. With a patent, the company gets the right to experiment with the product for a long time, and this can lead to the company coming up with innovative products and strengthening its market position. Competitors without a patent are at a slight disadvantage. A stronger product leads to a larger consumer base and therefore it is natural to think that the company will generate more profits. However, even if the profit does not increase the patent provides a higher return on investment. This could be in the form of increased brand value and company reputation.

Conclusion

One can infer that copycat products lack integrity, innovation and originality. Although they may not cause direct harm to the consumer, it is much better to buy and original products. In the long run, an authentic product will last longer and have a much better utility value than a copycat one. Many laws have been passed against the use of copycat products but none have been strong enough to eradicate them completely. Patenting and branding rights can easily be disputed and result in law suits. Counterfeit products are easy to acquire online, as well as physically, and the black market thrives on such consumers. Many studies have been carried out to determine whether copycat products thrive in the market, and the results show that in the long run, they do not. Brand loyalty is a concept in which a consumer favors a particular brand or product but even this does not prevent the manufacture of copycat products. Sometimes circumstances force people into manufacturing copycat products. This could be due to various reasons like a desire for market dominance, lack of resources and general political instability. Consumers buy these products because sometimes regular consumables are hard to find. Purchasing ability is also a major factor which contributes to the amount of black market and illegal goods persisting in current markets.

References


QR Code
QR Code copycat_products (generated for current page)
 

Advertise with Anonymous Ads