Blogthng

Frederik Armbrust,

Consumer loyalty is proving harder than ever to earn and keep. According to Accenture, more than half of consumers say the number of brands they consider has increased significantly over the past decade, and nearly half believe they’re currently more likely to switch brands compared to ten years ago. It’s therefore now imperative that brands invent more novel ways of engaging consumers to thrive in today’s competitive market.

When a brand engages its customers, it draws them in, persuades them of its ideologies, leading them down a pathway to everything that a business could ever want: customer loyalty, customer purchases, customer-based profits and customer ambassadorship.

There is perhaps no better example of engagement, advocacy and loyalty than sports fans. While a consumer might not wear a t-shirt with the logo of his preferred toothpaste brand, he will advertise the logo of his favorite sports team. He won’t likely seek out content from that toothpaste brand either, but he’ll devour content from his favorite sports team. And he might one day switch toothpaste brands, but there’s no way he’s ever switching sports teams.

By connecting with these sports fans through strategic partnerships and advanced technology, brands can leverage new opportunities for engagement, advocacy and loyalty.

Turning Engagement into Advocacy and Loyalty

Puma is an apparel and footwear brand that has proven successful at engaging sports fans. Over the past decade, the brand has kept consumers hooked via campaigns using technology and social media, and by offering something unique over rival sports brands.

Ahead of the 2014 World Cup, Puma launched a global football hub where fans could interact with their favorite players, including Chelsea and Manchester City players Cesc Fabregas and Yaya Toure, in a move to compete against apparel and footwear brands Nike and Adidas. The portal invited fans to complete in a series of monthly challenges to win prizes, while also giving them a chance to preview the brand’s upcoming boot and kit launches. More recently, the brand used a similar social strategy when it signed a whopping £150m five-year deal to provide the kit for Arsenal football club. Called “Powered By Fans,” the campaign celebrated this partnership by unveiling the new 2015/2016 away kit via a live event in Singapore, where an audience sang iconic Arsenal songs. The louder they sang, the faster a projection transformed a five meter-high 3D torso into the new away shirt. As the projection finished, some of Arsenal’s first team players were introduced to fans in the full kit.

Innovative Engagement

By leveraging next-generation technology, brands like Puma can take this sports fan engagement to new heights. Right now, billions of apparel products are #BornDigital™, meaning that they’re manufactured with unique digital identities in the cloud. This allows brands to make their physical products part of the digital ecosystem—driving greater engagement, advocacy and loyalty through digital experiences, content and rewards.

For example, if Puma “switched on” their merchandise, the brand could offer Arsenal fans a discount at the Armoury store at Emirates Stadium or the chance to meet the “man of the match” in an exclusive VIP experience. These smart products allow brands to connect with sports fans outside of the stadium as well. Arsenal fans in Singapore, for example, who aren’t able to get to the stadium can wear their connected jersey on game day and interact with it to access “behind-the-scenes” bonus content such as videos from the locker room.

Through the use of Internet of Things technology and smart products, apparel and footwear brands can deliver unique in-store and post-purchase content, offers and experiences throughout the lifetime of a product—and gain the lifetime loyalty of a die-hard sports fan.

To learn more about how IoT smart products and packaging technology can drive fan engagement and consumer loyalty, please get in touch.

Frederik Armbrust is VP, Enterprise Solutions, Apparel and Footwear at EVRYTHNG.

Bill Simcox,

Now, more than ever, consumers are paying attention to their food.

According to a survey from Boston-based consultancy C Space, 76 percent of consumers are checking ingredients, 51 percent of consumers are checking where food comes from and 42 percent of consumers are looking for specific trustworthy claims. In fact, 43 percent of consumers say that labels on food can help brands win their trust. And brands could use some help. A recent study from global advertising agency Havas reveals that only 25 percent of consumers trust food brands to provide them with healthful products.

Better Regulation Isn’t Enough

In what is good news for consumers, food regulators are forcing consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to provide more detailed nutritional information about the foods they are eating. For example, in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced a new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to make it easier for consumers to make more informed food choices by highlighting important information such as calorie count reflecting new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. Food manufacturers will have until July 26, 2018 to comply with this new regulation. However, simply adapting to these types of changes in the industry isn’t enough. If food and beverage brands want to truly earn consumer trust, they can’t just keep up with regulation—they need to get ahead of it.

Giving Food and Beverages a Digital Identity

Through strategic partnerships with packaging leaders such as Crown and WestRock, EVRYTHNG is currently enabling billions of physical food and beverage products to be manufactured with a digital identity in the cloud. Using a smartphone, consumers are able to interact with these #BornDigital™ food and beverages to trigger real-time applications and content, including a wealth of nutritional information far beyond the details provided by a standard, regulation compliant label in the limited amount of label real estate allocated to house such large amounts of information.

According to a Nielsen study, less than two-thirds (63%) of global respondents trust health claims on food packages, and the percentage is only lower in North America (56%). In order to earn back consumer trust, brands can back up these health claims by delivering additional product information. Instead of labeling a product as “organic” brands can let potential buyers know exactly how a product was made and how it lives up to the label.

Today’s food shoppers are empowered consumers, equipped with a secret weapon: a smartphone. At any given time, they’re using this tool to understand nutrition labels, learn about individual ingredients and make the right decisions for their diet. Why not hand over all of that information on a silver platter? Why not turn this smartphone interaction into a force for greater brand transparency—and an avenue for building up consumer trust?

If food and beverage brands want to earn back consumer trust, they can’t just comply to new industry regulations as they arise. They need to make it incredibly easy for consumers to find all of the product information they need to make the healthy choices they deserve.

To learn more about how IoT smart products and packaging technology is helping food and beverage brands regain consumer trust, please get in touch.

Bill Simcox is SVP, CPG and Supply Chain at EVRYTHNG.

Bill Simcox,

When Amazon’s wireless one-touch reordering device it calls “Dash” was announced three years ago, it received mixed reactions. Some considered it genius, others figured it would never take off, and then there were those who thought it was an April Fool’s joke. But since then, the Dash Button—which purchases a specific branded home product on Amazon’s online store when pushed—has launched in the US and the UK with much success.

The total number of branded Dash Buttons recently hit the 250 mark after the e-commerce giant added 50 more of them from brands like Colgate, KY and Rogaine to an already impressive pedigree including Ariel, Durex and Gillette. Dash is by no means still an experimental service; it’s been warmly embraced by consumers—so much so that Amazon says some brands are now receiving more than half of their orders from Dash Buttons. That’s more for the brands to claim than Amazon, but clearly there has been a lot of Dash Button use.

Frictionless Success

The key driving force behind Dash’s success is a lack of friction. Crowned as the company that invented and patented one-click buying, Amazon is the master of friction reduction, removing as many obstacles as possible between the customer and the checkout process during their shopping experience. Dash Buttons are a perfect example of how Amazon has excelled at this, because they make it possible to take advantage of one-click ordering without having to go online. In fact, consumers don’t even need to be near a screen. If they run out of detergent, they can simply hit a button by their washing machine, and an order will arrive on their doorstep the next day. Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service relieves all potential burdens from the customer—by default it won’t allow multiple orders of a product until the first product is delivered, ensuring protection against any unintentional pushes.

But while this frictionless customer experience is an effective driver of sales, it’s also merely a short-term gain for brands.

Brand Challenges

Despite the obvious perks for brands part of the Dash community, the reality for is that there’s a long-term risk involved.

The brands leveraging Dash Buttons lose visibility of their products once Amazon starts selling them, so they become immediately disintermediated from their customers. And because Amazon buys at high volume and is much a big player in the market, it has the power to drive down prices, essentially squeezing margins of all of these brands and manufacturers, who ultimately end up with a smaller share of the pie.

Brands are also losing their power as influencers over buyers decisions. The Dash Button’s ultimate goal is to generate data. By understanding the shopping habits of a brand’s most loyal customers, Amazon has a better chance to create the shopping business of the future. But the problem for brands is that Amazon owns that data, and the Dash Button encourages consumers to buy more things from Amazon, not from the brands themselves, which can have a compounding effect. Even worse news for brands in the future: Amazon is using shopping habit data of these big brands to make their own competing products.

Finally, by investing in the creation of Dash Buttons, Amazon is making money from the sales of the buttons themselves, too. And as more and more brands use Dash Buttons, and it becomes mandatory to keep up, there’s also risk that Amazon will just drive prices up.

Brands need to fight back and avoid the slippery slope that is Amazon Dash.

Fighting Back

Brands don’t need to play by Amazon’s rules to deliver frictionless buying experiences. By using a combination of connected devices and smart consumer products, brands can create a replenishment service that drives sales, while simultaneously keeping (and leveraging) their data, forming direct relationships with consumers and while still using Amazon, among others, as a fulfilment service if they choose.

  • Connected devices: The Dash Button is very manual; it doesn’t prompt you to reorder, so you have to do it yourself. In a way, it’s not much of an evolution from one-click ordering (especially when you consider the virtual version). A connected device, on the other hand, can proactively ping you with a helpful reminder. A connected coffee maker could have a light that lets you know when your coffee pod supply has run low (or automatically reorder for you). Or imagine if your toothbrush warned you that you’ve used the head too many times, and it’s time to replace it.
  • #BornDigital products: Through EVRYTHNG’s packaging partnerships, products can now be manufactured with embedded digital identities in the cloud, which use IoT data to drive applications, including product replenishment. These #BornDigital™ products make reordering quite simple: At the bottom of a box of coffee pods, there could be a call to action asking the consumer to scan one of the last few pods. This would then trigger a pre-approved supply of replacements to be shipped immediately.

By merging both connected devices and smart consumer products, brands can build an even better reordering method: Each time a detergent pod is used, it’s registered by the connected washing machine, which in turn knows how many pods have been used and when it’s time to order more.

With this IoT-enabled solution, brands can essentially turn their individual products into Dash Buttons. They get all of the benefits Amazon can provide—without having to compromise by giving up their money, data, market share or customers.

A smarter frictionless replenishment service is at your fingertips. You just have to switch it on.

 

To learn more about how IoT smart products and packaging technology can create a frictionless replenishment service, please get in touch.

Bill Simcox is SVP, CPG and Supply Chain at EVRYTHNG.

Andy Perrin,

We’re really excited to tell you about some new features and improvements we’ve added
to the EVRYTHNG IoT Smart Products Platform.

Our R&D has a relentless focus on three areas: Innovation, Usability and Robustness. This means we’re making sure we continuously leverage the latest technologies in our platform, and do this in a way that makes it as accessible and usable by our enterprise customers, while at the same time ensuring high performance and reliability.

So, what’s new?

Customizable Data Visualizations

First, from the usability perspective, we wanted to make it faster and simpler for our customers to access the critical KPIs for their smart products. We’ve re-engineered our administration and analytics dashboard, given it a new look and feel and made it fully customizable. Now any user, say Business Analysts or Brand Manager, can set up the data visualizations they want and filter on only the products or events they care about. For example, you can see the number of replenishment orders from customers scanning your product and how that compares to last week. Or check out the top performing stores or cities where your product is most popular.

Enhanced Product Recognition

Now onto the innovation.  How do apparel and CPG products like bottles, jackets or boxes of cereal get connected to the Web? The answer is SCANTHNG, our mobile product recognition toolkit.  It’s software that can be run in the mobile browser (so no app or download required), to scan and identify any physical product, powered by our powerful digital trigger and image recognition engine.

The range of on-pack technology is broad and evolving fast, with anything from proprietary codes to invisible inks to printed electronics. Crucially, it also differs depending on the type of products, packaging material and industry. Responding to this complexity, we’ve enhanced SCANTHNG to offer the industry’s widest possible range of identification technologies, including Image Recognition, Optical Character Recognition, 1D and 2D barcodes and Watermarking, giving brands the most flexible mobile capabilities for interacting with digitized products.

Continued Platform Expansion

And finally, robustness. With over half a billion smart products now being managed by the EVRYTHNG platform, and our enterprise customer deployments continuing to ramp up, we’ve introduced platform architecture changes to handle bigger and bigger loads. We’ve also rolled out a new platform in Europe to cater for growing global demand.  Our infrastructure team runs frequent scalability load tests to ensure the platform is optimized for predicted future growth, vital to support recent packaging partnerships (Avery Dennison, WestRock and Crown), where scale to hundreds of billions of items is needed.

Among the other enhancements, we’ve added:

  • Single Sign-On (SSO): Improved security with out-of-the-box support for SSO integration with Active Directory using SAML 2.0.
  • Physical Web and Eddystone Support: This allows, for example, brands to create contextual consumer experiences in-store, even customized per unique product.
  • New Developer Hub: This includes a developer blog, simpler API documentation and many more real world use case examples.

There have been many other improvements, and there’s plenty more in the pipeline. This week’s announcement of a new round of investment in the company signals we’re moving into a new exciting phase of growth. Expect the platform to do the same!

Niall Murphy,

We’re very proud to today announce a $24.8 million Series B investment round for EVRYTHNG. Led by San Francisco-based Sway Ventures, the round includes Toronto-based Generation Ventures and London-based Bloc Ventures, who participated alongside existing investors. The new investors join BHLP, Atomico, Cisco, Samsung, Dawn Capital and Advance Vixeid Partners as major investors in EVRYTHNG.

Digital transformation is driving consumer product manufacturers to evolve their business and operating models at increasing pace and scale. The digitization of the billions of products these organizations make and sell is a central pillar to digital transformation—enabling the gathering of data and insight throughout product lifecycle, opening new channels to market, building direct consumer relationships and supporting new business models.

EVRYTHNG was founded with a vision of “Every Thing Connected”— every product in the world with a digital identity on the Web, integrated with the digital ecosystem and driving applications, services and business processes in real-time. Over the past twelve months, we’ve announced and launched partnerships with leading global packaging companies Avery Dennison, Crown and WestRock—enabling up to 300 billion consumer products to be #BornDigital™ each year—each product item with a digital identity in the cloud embedded at its point of manufacture. This massive scale is an important step toward realizing our vision, making it possible for brands to access the benefits of digitized products rapidly and at a global scale, and building the ecosystem of applications and service providers.

With this Series B investment, EVRYTHNG is responding to the rapid maturing and scalability of the market opportunity for the Internet of Things applied to the digital lifecycle of consumer products. We will be applying the new capital to accelerate our growth and capacity to meet the needs of our customers, both in our platform and with our partners, continue the innovation and development of applications driving intelligence with billions of active products, build connectivity across the digital ecosystem and expand our team.

The journey continues. Onwards and upwards.

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