It’s been a busy holiday season for Overland Sheepskin Co., which generates about 40% of its sales online and is growing web sales between 25-50% annually. But it hasn’t been a season full of cheer for Gabriel Openshaw, vice president of ecommerce for the retailer of fine sheepskin and leather clothing.
The family-owned merchant, which was founded 1973 and operates 16 stores in addition to selling online, stumbled upon an unnerving discovery last month while analyzing its Google Shopping advertising performance, Openshaw says.
When his staff typed a product Overland sells into Google Shopping—a Google portal where retailers can advertise items that link to product pages on their ecommerce sites—they immediately uncovered sites illegally using Overland’s product images and advertising its products for far less than the legit ticket price. For example, sheepskin jackets were listed for $60 rather than Overland’s price of nearly $3,400.
“We typed in ‘sheepskin bomber jackets’ and immediately found two fraudulent scam websites,” Openshaw says.
A widespread problem
Within days of the discovery, Overland began receiving phone calls…
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