This public-sourced case set in early 2021 examines the role counterfeiting has come to play in e-commerce, specifically at Amazon, which represents over one-third of the US online market. The case's protagonist is Amy Vega, who, along with Jason Larson, has cofounded a humidity-detection-device company with a product called the Hygro. Vega and Larson hope to sell the Hygro on leading e-commerce sites such as Amazon.
But should they? Vega's research shows that counterfeiting on e-commerce sites is a growing problem that can result in poor product reviews, lower prices, and squeezed margins.
The case allows for a rich discussion about the process of selling a product on Amazon: the process, the cost, and the risks. Students can put themselves in Vega's shoes to weigh the different stakeholders' pros and cons when it comes to selling their product directly on their own website versus offering the product on Amazon, where copycats might impact profitability.