Looking Ahead to a Year of Convergence for the Consumer Products Industry

Meeting the divergent needs of GenZ and GenX is challenging the consumer products industry. Responding to the challenge will require a strategy that enables diverse consumer needs to be met on a converged and common product platform. This, we contend, is a defining driving force for 2019 and beyond.

GenZ consumers are making values-based purchasing decisions, demanding transparency from brands. At the same time, GenX and the aging population of retiring Baby Boomers are demanding ever more convenience. Brands that can deliver both transparency and personalized consumer experiences are going to rise to the top.

The good news is that the digital switch-on of the world’s consumer products provides a scalable path to resolve these divergent needs. GS1 Digital Link and EVRYTHNG digital identities has created an unprecedented opportunity to apply data science and intelligence to every product’s journey, and to every product’s experience for the consumer.

The Breakthrough

The breakthrough is in being able to digitize products at mass scale. Brands now have a platform that delivers both:

    • Supply chain visibility and control to provide GenZ consumers with the transparency they seek; and
    • Instrumentation and control of the product journey to deliver personalized omni-channel experiences to GenX consumers.

EVRYTHNG is building out the partner ecosystem required for brands to realize the full potential of the technology. We have set up packaging and supply chain integrations with partners like WestRock, Crown and Avery Dennison to ensure products are produced with digital identities as they are manufactured—trackable across the full product lifecycle and ready to drive consumer experiences.

Several industry developments are also contributing to technology adoption, including:

  • Over 2.5-billion smartphones now capable of automatically interacting with consumer products to access digital services and share data without special apps
  • The rollout of GS1 Digital Link, an upgrade to the global barcode standard, connecting every product to the Web
  • The availability of enabling technologies and consumer activation capabilities

Introducing EVRYTHNG SmartLabel® DL

The newest addition to this ecosystem was introduced last week at ShopTalk 2019. More than 800 consumer product brands have already adopted the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) SmartLabel® methodology to provide consumers with full transparency into the nutritional information and contents of food and beverage products. Now with EVRYTHNG SmartLabel DL brands can do a whole lot more than simply repeat what is printed on the label digitally. EVRYTHNG SmartLabel DL assigns a GS1 Digital Link and EVRYTHNG digital identity to each product so that SmartLabel-compliant information can be delivered with the added bonus of supply chain tracking and rich consumer engagement experiences.

Back in August 2018, EVRYTHNG announced our support for the new GS1 Digital Link standard that upgrades the global barcode standard, adding dynamic intelligence with a web address for every product and making individual products interactive, intelligent and trackable on the Web. GS1 Digital Link works with a QR code or NFC tag on packs or labels, upgrading the traditional 1D barcode used on trillions of products for point of sale with the new ability to support smartphone interaction, supply chain tracking, authentication and many other applications.

For brands already working with GMA’s SmartLabel the integration of SmartLabel with GS1 Digital Link and EVRYTHNG digital identities is huge because now they will be able to maximize the effectiveness of investments they are already making in on-pack digital triggers. Beyond delivering SmartLabel-compliant product information, brands now have the ability to deliver dynamic, direct-to-consumer experiences and capture valuable product lifecycle information all from a single code, whether purchased online or in-store. For brands who have not yet deployed SmartLabel, doing it with EVRYTHNG SmartLabel DL means that they can meet the need to provide transparency to consumers, support rich and dynamic consumer experiences and integrate supply chain traceability—all with one consistent digital trigger on product and with a consistent data management methodology for products in the cloud.

The Brand-Consumer Connection

There is a lot of research that reinforces the value of providing full product information to consumers. Just check out the Atomik Research data shared by GMA, in which 75% of 1,002 shoppers said they would change their buying habits if they were given more environmental impact, safety and usage information about the products they were purchasing. And 71% said they wanted more information about a product beyond the label ingredients, such as what role the ingredients play in the product.

But up until now implementation for brands has not been dynamic, simple or cost-effective. We are working closely with our digital ecosystem partners to change this for brands. Our hope is that EVRYTHNG SmartLabel DL will accelerate adoption of the SmartLabel initiative across the consumer products industry by making it more accessible and scalable for brands. Everyone wins with greater transparency.

EVRYTHNG has supported the Grocery Manufacturer Association (GMA) SmartLabel initiative since 2017. Our development agenda has focused on making SmartLabel more convenient and cost-effective for brands to implement at mass scale, and on helping brands maximize the power of SmartLabel on-pack to create dynamic, context-based direct-to-consumer experiences.

Consumer product brands want to engage with consumers in more innovative and direct ways. The SmartLabel initiative cracked the door open—facilitating consumers’ need for full product information and provenance. EVRYTHNG SmartLabel DL swings the door wide open, amplifying the opportunity for brands to also benefit from real-time data intelligence and full product lifecycle traceability, while turning individual products into owned-media channels. All at the lowest cost of ownership of any SmartLabel program, with a predictable, annual flat fee.

I look forward to sharing exciting developments and updates in the months ahead.

If you’d like to be a part of our growing digital ecosystem, or simply want to learn more about EVRYTHNG SmartLabel DL, sign up for a meeting with a member of our team.

About the Author:

Niall Murphy is Co-founder & CEO of EVRYTHNG, the Internet of Things platform for consumer products. EVRYTHNG has been named as Technology Pioneer 2018 by the World Economic Forum. A technologist, serial entrepreneur and angel investor, Niall has 25 years of experience in innovation and future thinking. He has founded and built pioneering businesses in internet infrastructure, the mobile internet and Web services. Niall is a frequent speaker at venues around the world, including TED, and an experienced mountaineer.

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