Goodwill sells a lot of items on a daily basis and yes, many of the prices are a steal - but they’re also selling expensive purses and handbags. Now, they’re using artificial intelligence to weed out counterfeits.
You know Goodwill as the place to donate your used stuff and shop for second-hand items, too.
But the organization also sees more unique things sent their way.
We are getting designer handbags every day through our donations," explained Nicole Suydam, who runs Goodwill of Orange County.
"Everybody knows Goodwill as the retail stores... but most people aren’t aware that we also have an e-commerce platform called shopgoodwill.com," explained Suydam.
The website is sort of an eBay, but for the most unique Goodwill inventory nationwide. It did 115 million dollars in sales last year.
Now, in an effort to weed out counterfeits, they’re using technology from a company named Entrupy.
"Really we’ve created the only technology to authenticate luxury goods anywhere, anytime," said Deanna Thompson of Entrupy.
The process is pretty simple: workers use a modified iPod Touch outfitted with special software and a close-up lens to take various pictures of the item.
This includes microscopic shots of the outer and inner materials, the stitching, logos, embossed text, zippers, buttons and more. The process only takes a minute.
"We took about 4 years collecting data and we have taught algorithms to determine whether an item is authentic or counterfeit," explained Thompson.
One an associate has taken the pictures, the data is sent to the cloud for verification. Results are returned in seconds.
"Data is authenticating it. It’s removing the human emotion, so it either is or it isn’t," said Thompson.
We tested several designer purses at the shopgoodwill.com warehouse in Orange County. Some of the items came back as authentic, others were deemed "not verified." This means that the system couldn't say for sure that they were the real thing, and Goodwill won't sell them.
The other side of this is that Entrupy backs each authenticated purse with a certificate of authenticity that can be supplied along with the item.
"We want to make sure we give the customer confidence when they’re bidding on this item and winning the item that it’s authentic," concluded Suydam.
Right now, the counterfeit detection process works with designer bags from high-end brands and next up, the system will be able to authenticate collectible sneakers too.
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