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The consumer products and retail industry has a joint responsibility to enrich the online and mobile shopping experience by providing trustworthy digital product information that goes beyond the label.
The following are key findings from a report titled "Beyond the Label," co-authored by GS1 and Capgemini. The report examines this emerging issue and offers a vision to improve digital data quality, with the objective of enriching the online and mobile shopping experience for consumers.
Beyond the Label: Providing Digital Information Consumers Can Trust
Consumers' lives are changing due to the new technologies they are using at home, at work, in stores and on the go - and so is their shopping and consumption behavior. In this connected world, consumers are increasingly using these technologies to search for additional product data beyond what is on the label or packaging. Manufacturers and retailers must realize that like it or not, this is happening now, and by not playing an active role, brands and stores are impacted.
Unfortunately, the digital information consumers receive is often inaccurate, incomplete or missing entirely. The rapid rise in the use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices as well as the growing use of mobile barcode scanning applications will only accentuate the problem.
Consumers Need Information They Can Trust
Consumer research conducted by GS1 UK and the Cranfield School of Management tells the story: 91 percent of mobile barcode scans returned incorrect or incomplete product descriptions. Inaccurate and incomplete digital product information - especially when it relates to authoritative data like ingredient and nutritional information - erodes consumers' trust in products, brands, stores and the entire B2C experience. Global research conducted by GS1 demonstrates that trust lies at the core of the issue:
• 74 percent of consumers consider it important that product information is trustworthy.
• 38 percent would not purchase the product if they did not trust the product information displayed about it on their smartphone.
• 35 percent would never use a mobile shopping app again if it contained incorrect product information.
Taking Action to Improve Digital Product Data
Concerns about the quality of authoritative digital data, together with converging industry nutritional initiatives, have already led local GS1 member organizations to work with brands to explore addressing these challenges. The goals of this initiative support all key stakeholders by:
• Protecting the brand, as both the brand experience and the "moment of truth" when a consumer makes a purchase decision are increasingly moving online.
• Improving the shopping experience and helping shoppers make informed decisions.
• Raising consumer confidence that the product information they access is accurate and authentic, no matter how or where they shop - in store, online or with their smartphones.
• Increasing sales - simply stated, better product information means better sales.
The Benefits and Vision: Everybody Wins with Good Digital Information
Many kinds of online and mobile initiatives are currently under way - by individual retailers and manufacturers, GS1 member organizations, private ventures and others - and many more will come. Now is the time to establish alignment on a common foundation for these initiatives to provide trustworthy authoritative consumer information. The Consumer Goods Forum and GS1 need to play a pivotal role in establishing a business-led approach towards a solution that is based on consensus among manufacturers, retailers and technology providers.
The right solution can help the industry realize the digital data vision: Brand owners can share relevant product information easily, thus building trust and loyalty with consumers. Application providers can ensure they are delivering authentic data. And consumers can feel confident that the digital product information they access is accurate, no matter how or where they shop.
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