Blogthng

Author Andy Perrin (Director Product Marketing)
Published

Since last week’s launch, the buzz surrounding Rebecca Minkoff’s new smart bags has been pretty phenomenal. Not just the coverage across the media (articles in Forbes, Women’s Wear Daily and a host of other publications) but the interest spurred among other apparel brands who are now also recognizing the massive potential of connected smart apparel and accessories – made possible thanks to our #BornDigtal partnership with Avery Dennison.

What makes this significant for the industry is the scale. It’s way beyond the limited prototypes unveiled in market over the last couple of years.  This is mainstream stuff, with hundreds of thousands handbags given a unique digital identity at point of manufacture, and then sent out into the big wide digital world.

Adding Digital Value to Physical Products 

These days it takes more than just great products to stand out.  So Rebecca Minkoff – an industry leader in luxury handbags and accessories – wanted to add a new digital layer to their latest range and transform the way consumers engage with the brand.   The value exchange is clear: Consumers get personalized experiences after scanning their bag, and the brand acquire new, direct customer relationships.

How Does it Work?

Boosting Digital Emotional Intelligence

This also opens up the ability for Rebecca Minkoff to create a closer emotional connection with consumers too, as highlighted in a new academic report we released last week on “Digital Emotional Intelligence” (DEQ).  Led by Dr. Philip Powell from the University of Sheffield, the research found that real-time digital interactions with smart products are crucial in unlocking the power of personalization. Put simply, it means brands can get to know consumers better, amplifying and responding to their emotions. In turn consumers feel more connected to the brand and feel a greater affinity.

CRM Data and Insights

Thousands of consumers interacting with products via their smartphones is a super-effective and low-cost way to acquire new customer data for CRM initiatives.

It also generates a wealth of new insights into consumer patterns and behaviors, informing future production and marketing campaigns. With visibility across all retail channels, and even after the consumer leaves the store, Rebecca Minkoff can blend the physical and digital worlds in a way their competitors can’t.

And there’s plenty more to come.  Next year, the brand will be leveraging geo-targeting in the platform to incorporate additional partners within the lifestyle, wellness and beauty realms.  Making smart bags even smarter!

 

Author Matt Shorts (VP Product)
Published

Last week, we kicked off our GS1 blog series on and the IoT with a ‘beginners guide’.  Here we’re going to address some key questions we’ve had from brand owners and retailers about what ‘web-enabling’ GS1 identifiers actually means to them.

More than two million organizations globally use GS1 identifiers across a broad portfolio of use cases, from identifying physical locations to streamlining the physical retail checkout process to improving product information search and online commerce applications. GS1 identifiers are truly “The Global Language of Business.”

However, when implemented on a limited basis, their value proposition of providing a cohesive, cross-enterprise view is not realized, especially when the product in question moves beyond retail.  So for example; post-purchase, how do brands ensure continued consumer engagement with their brand and products using the same GS1 identifier? If a consumer scans a barcode once they leave the store, who controls the experience and the data presented about their products? The app owner? Amazon? (We’ve already talked about the challenges that Amazon presents and how it disintermediates brands from their customers.)

The answer is that brands can provide their own product information through web standards.  In communicating directly to consumers via the physical product, they can avoid disintermediation and can control the messaging about their products so it’s consistent and aligned with their brand.

While this may sound complex, brands actually already have everything they need to start the execution. GS1 identifiers are already the primary global product identification standard and are in broad use throughout supply chains and products. Internet of Things technologies and communication standards help the digital economy move faster than it ever has before. Combine those two things with the scalable platform from EVRYTHNG, and brands now have the foundation for a digital transformation strategy.

Let’s look at a product’s full lifecycle

Products are typically born analog, and don’t live connected lives like people or devices. They may have a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), a unique numbering sequence, encoded in a data carrier that is often attached to them through a barcode at manufacturing facility that is identified with a Global Location Number (GLN). They can then be shipped off through the distribution network with various Serial Shipping Container Codes (SSCC), passing through many different distributors and distribution center locations identified with more GLNs. Finally, they arrive at the store (with yet another GLN) and are purchased by consumers enabled by the GTIN encoded in the data carrier attached at the beginning of the journey. Products and their associated data change hands multiple times, resulting in unintended transformations or outright data loss. Brands may often be stuck playing “telephone” trying to make head or tail of the full supply chain and the product data itself even though their identifiers have been consistent the whole journey.

There are point-to-point solutions that address pieces of the data supply chain along the way, but most don’t easily unify or share data. However, if the identity of the product was digitally enabled as a web resource, using the Web of Things model, following physical products through their entire journey and layering on value-added data with each stop could be possible. This would give brands complete transparency in their supply chains and distribution networks, which means they can optimize, evaluate and react to events as they happen in near-real time.

Figure 1: A product with an Active Digital Identity on the EVRYTHNG platform can interact over the Web, making it linkable, discoverable, searchable and usable.

Extend your identifier’s life

It doesn’t stop there. When GTINs are web-enabled, consumers can more easily engage with them since brand-provided product information is made more available, and brands now completely control the experience. It’s not about someone looking up potentially inaccurate product information scraped from the web by a random product information app, but going to the expert that knows the most about your product: you. 

This unlocks all kinds of new opportunities:

  • Identifying and reducing counterfeit products
  • Locating and controlling gray market products
  • Sharing product, provenance and manufacturing information
  • Efficiently identifying and executing product recalls
  • Optimizing inventory positions
  • Delivering personalized consumer experiences
  • Enabling direct-to-consumer replenishment and purchasing
  • Rewarding loyalty or engagement
  • Helping support eco-conscious recycling/re-use

More to come!

We’ve only just waded into the shallow end at this point.  Next week, we’ll explore using GS1 Identifiers & SmartSearch with EVRYTHNG’s IoT Smart Products Platform.

Author Ryan McManus (SVP Partnerships)
Published

Photograph of shelves with promotions in a supermarket

Increasing Sales, Compliance and Real-time Data Management with End-to-End Traceability of In-Store Shopper Marketing Displays

The store remains a critical touch point for brands to reach and influence consumers, with 76 percent of all purchase decisions made in-store, and 68 percent of all in-store purchases driven by impulse. This is precisely why brands have found point of sale marketing (POSM) campaigns to be so effective—accounting for sales increases ranging from 121 percent (unplanned displays) to 193 percent (planned displays). However, due to the currently limited visibility into POSM distribution, many brands are leaving money on the table.

While thousands of displays are produced each year, less than 40 percent of global POSM campaigns are compliant, meaning the promotions are not displayed in-store as planned. And for every display not properly set up, brands are wasting money and losing sales.

It doesn’t take much to solve this problem. A new solution is available right now that uses existing technology and doesn’t require any hardware or network infrastructure to be implemented at retail locations or within a brand’s IT infrastructure. It’s as simple as using a smartphone to scan a QR code that’s connected to an IoT cloud platform.

Here’s how it works

Display units (and pallets) are manufactured with QR codes, each associated with their own unique digital identity stored in EVRYTHNG’s data management platform. At each point in its journey, the display’s QR code is scanned with a smartphone to verify its location and status. (The scan takes just a fraction of a second and can be done through either the iOS Camera app or a QR code scanner on the phone.) This simple process allows brands to track and trace the entire lifecycle of a unit—from manufacturing to warehouse receipt, distribution, setup, takedown and recycling—to ensure proper compliance. This end-to-end traceability provides visibility and accountability like never before. Marketers can also associate individual merchandisers or retailers responsible for each display, thereby understanding why campaign deadlines are being missed and being able to trigger compliance actions in real time.  Furthermore, this same approach can be complimented by more sensor-based solutions, as retail infrastructure continues to evolve.

This solution offers additional consumer capabilities as well. The same code on the display unit that enables traceability can also be scanned by the shoppers themselves, powering direct-to-consumer experiences that drive engagement, loyalty and further sales.

Going further, brands can not only connect displays to enable traceability and offer consumer engagement experiences, but they can also tag the individual items in the unit, turning their physical products into digital assets that power these same end-to-end digital product lifecycle applications—making supply chains smarter and customer relationships stronger.

POSM campaigns can be incredibly effective at influencing behavior and driving sales—but only if they’re active. Using readily accessible smart product technology, brands and marketers can implement a simple solution for gaining end-to-end traceability of their in-store displays—decreasing losses, increasing revenue, and generating real-time insights and consumer engagement.

 

Author Dominique Guinard
Published
 
There are very few domains that blockchains and generally distributed ledger technologies (DLT) have left untouched in the past few month. In particular, blockchains have made a lot of noise as potential solutions to a number of trust issues in the IoT and in particular in the supply chain. As a consequence, the Innovation team at EVRYTHNG has been at the forefront of experimenting with IoT and blockchains. For instance we delivered a report and a decision framework for our customers thinking about using blockchains, as well as several PoCs looking at the integration of blockchains with the EVRYTHNG platform.
Today, we are proud to announce that EVRYTHNG is joining the Blockchain Research Institute as a Blockchain Pioneer. This is a great opportunity for use to work alongside a number of big key players such as IBM, Microsoft and SAP as well as pioneering blockchain startups.
Our role within the Blockchain Research Institute is to evaluate decentralized technologies focusing on what they can bring to the Internet of Things. Furthermore, we look at piloting blockchain integrations with our customers to seek improvements in various areas such product provenance and authenticity, smart contracts to reduce inefficiencies in supply chains as well as immutable transactions and improved security for connected devices. However, as we previously discussed, blockchains and DLT also bring their share of significant challenges and hence our role is also to scratch the surface of the blockchain hype and report on what works today and what simply does not.
We thank the Blockchain Research Institute for inviting EVRYTHNG to join the effort and look forward to reporting on our results.

 

Author Andy Hobsbawm (Co-Founder & CMO)
Published

In 2015, 90 percent of consumer products companies lost market share, and 62 percent suffered declining sales, much of it to agile, digitally native companies like Amazon, a company that has long been focused on using data to build personalized experiences and customer loyalty innovations (from Wish Lists to Prime shopping). The imperative for brands to innovate with IoT smart product technologies and access proprietary sources of 1st party data from their owned physical assets to drive greater customer engagement, sales and loyalty couldn’t be more urgent.

The key question raised by a new academic report launched today, “Digital Emotional Intelligence” (DEQ), commissioned by EVRYTHNG and Avery Dennison and led by Dr. Philip Powell from the University of Sheffield, is what role emotion plays in all this? One answer lies in unlocking the power of Personalization which always been at the heart of the value exchange promised by the Web.

Better personalization is essential for emotional brand connection. By understanding our preferences and behaviors – with our permission – brands can deliver things that are uniquely appropriate, relevant and timely because they know us. Research has shown this leads to: “more meaningful consumer attention (Malheiros, 2012), more effective brand recognition/recall (Koster et al., 2015), and a stronger impact on consumer behaviors, leading to higher engagement rates and producing higher sales (Bragge et al., 2013).” In short: the greater the personalization, the greater the emotional connection.

Only a few companies like platform giants Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and Google have successfully used personalized engagement at scale, but now product manufacturers can use a more powerful form of personalization tied to their physical products as a key way to competitively differentiate their brands. Once products can ‘talk’ directly with consumers and brands, the data from these interactions and other connected sensor and physical environments can be analyzed to deliver more personal content, services and experiences, by having a more empathetic understanding and real-time anticipation of a shopper’s emotional response.

Leading brands are already responding to these shifts. The majority of the apparel industry, for instance, has either implemented or is in the process of implementing RFID, while 30 of the largest CPG manufacturers, from Mondelez to Unilever, are enrolled in the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association’s ‘SmartLabel™’ initiative (which EVRYTHNG is also partnered with), and Nike has just launched their ‘smart’ NBA jersey with an NFC chip in every tag.

ALWAYSON# handbags from Rebecca Minkoff

We’re super excited that our smart product partnership with designer Rebecca Minkoff has resulted in the launch this week of a new range of handbags containing digitized smart labels, incentivizing owners to scan it with their phones and unlock exclusive partner experiences, and highly personalized offers, complimentary accessories and style recommendations from Rebecca herself.

The new “Digital Emotional Intelligence” (DEQ) study outlines a framework for building more personalized, ampathetic connections with buyers by orchestrating rich, real-time brand experiences across merged physical and digital channels. Understanding DEQ can help power this new personalization imperative with data collected from smart product interactions, plus connected devices and environments. The data is activated and automated using rules-based software and machine learning in the cloud to trigger emotion responses that drive conversion and influence loyalty.

Thanks to a combination of smart packaging technologies from NFC tags to QR codes and printed electronics, more than 800 billion digitally capable consumer products are expected to ship by 2020. Now iPhones have opened up to natively recognize NFC tags and also QR codes via the camera with no app required – driven by the phenomenal success of QR powering commerce, payment and product engagement at scale in Asia – will make it easier for millions more consumers the ability to digitally interact with physical packaging.

EVRYTHNG’s partnership with Avery Dennison to make it possible for virtually every type of product to be #BornDigital™ at point of manufacture with a uniquely coded smart label paired with a corresponding digital identity in the cloud. Once activated, the personal, emotional connection with consumers enabled by these smart products can lead to impressive business results. Research by EVRYTHNG and reports in the Harvard Business Review have found that smart products have an 85 percent lower cost per engagement and a 152 percent lower cost per lead. A customer experience focused on emotional connection led to a 23.8 percent decrease on attrition rates.

Using Internet of Things and smart product technologies, physical and digital interactions can now be merged into a unified set of connected brand experiences that form more empathetic connections with people as human beings. Brands that use this to connect more emotionally, personally, and contextually with consumers will gain a competitive advantage.

 Download our Digital Emotional Intelligence report to learn more.

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