Today’s consumer is more informed and more demanding than ever. With unlimited information, exposure to the opinions of a vast network of contacts, and the ability to quickly place, change and cancel orders with the push of a button, we are in an unprecedented world of customer expectations. consumers on demand.
Coupled with the ongoing âenvironmental, social and governanceâ (ESG) revolution, consumers are focusing more than ever on brand values ââand seeking to align with their own values. Modern consumers are increasingly buyingalonecompanies that they believe match their values, and the digital identities of products have therefore had to evolve to keep pace with changing consumer values.
In the past, a brand would convey its values ââthrough advertising, but as costs increase and advertising effectiveness decreases, companies are spending more and more money while gaining less visibility. and brand loyalty. While nearly all premium and private label brands make promises of inclusiveness and sustainability, consumers are demanding evidence – specifically supported by data – around these claims. They want easy access to information on health, the CO2 footprint and the promises of fair trade, among others.
This new frontier of brand visibility requires supply chain transparency, showing real progress against the brand’s goal using rich media.
Transparency, traceability, authenticity
The main challenge in the consumer industry has been to collect information data along the journey of each product item. With a frequently fragmented supply chain, brands may not manufacture, distribute or sell products directly, so data is scattered across points both inside and outside the company. .
Until now, true visibility and full transparency throughout the supply chain has been an elusive goal. But societal, economic and legislative pressures such as sustainability, health and inclusiveness have put enormous pressure on this area to mature. With 99% of consumers saying transparency is important in fresh food, and 75% of consumers saying they would switch to brands offering more comprehensive information, this demand for data is too big to ignore.
Regulators are also exerting pressure – demanding increased transparency and precision around the achievement of ESG objectives to ensure compliance. This level of end-to-end visibility has, until now, been elusive, but with advancements in technology it is not only becoming realistic, but necessary.
An important step in data intelligence in digital identities
3.5 billion people own smartphones, which are essentially handheld devices that generate data and user interface tools. This not only gives consumers access to the data they need, allowing them to verify a brand’s values, but also opens up huge opportunities for gathering information on consumer behavior. Never before has it been possible to gather so much rich data on the âwho, where, whenâ of a purchase, which can then be used to refine business strategies.
This direct engagement with consumers also enables a more personalized relationship to be established between a business and its consumers, by promoting an increased level of engagement (recipes, style tips, even suggested products to complete the initial purchase) and building brand loyalty through reward schemes.
The ability to mass serialize products, digitally print unique digital identities on large-scale goods at a scalable cost, and then share that data across the supply chain has also generated a data explosion – and with the computing power and capacity of the cloud to process and store these enormous amounts of data from each product, the potential to gather valuable information from these interactions is enormous.
For example, a product can be authenticated as being truly produced – providing visibility of production – but a consumer can interact with the same digital identity – either by considering the purchase in store or by interacting with the product after purchase. . Even beyond that, for some products, the traceability provided will give valuable insight into the entire product lifecycle, and even recycling and re-commerce, all key factors in the ESG movement.
Brands must act now to stay ahead of the game
It’s no secret that competitiveness depends on agility and resilience, and it’s really all about data. Consumer pressure and regulatory requirements make end-to-end visibility a must – and the companies that mine and use this data to their best advantage will gain market share and growth.
Several companies are already leading the charge and realizing the benefits of this new world of transparency. Almond.io are already digitizing their products, offering supply chain transparency and crypto rewards to their consumers; Mowi, the world’s largest producer of Atlantic salmon, lets consumers know where their salmon was hatched, raised and processed at harvest; and Ralph laurendeploys a digital transformation program in a mobile world for the garment industry, dramatically reducing their counterfeiting problem.
It is essential that all FMCG companies understand how digital product identities and data collection can contribute to their goals, and take action now to implement these strategies, or risk being left behind.
Article written by Cyrus Gilbert-Rolf, relationship manager at ALL