with the unprecedented rise in ecommerce and start-up brands all making marketing claims how do consumers know who to trust?
Today's consumers are more aware than previous generations of the intricate networks behind the supply of goods and services that they consume and they are demanding new levels of transparency from brands and retailers.
"Now, in the hyper-connected and ever evolving world, transparency is the new power." Benjamin Herzberg, Program Lead, Private Sector Engagement for Good Governance at the World Bank Institute
Consumer brands and retailers are realising that opaque supply chains are actually damaging to their brand and share value because they reduce end-user trust. With so much information available the average consumer can easily run a 'health- check' on a company and reject it if they aren't satisfied. Many start-ups and 'disruptor' businesses have established their credentials by having a clear and transparent footing - introducing their social, ethical and environmental policies and even their suppliers directly to their consumers. Some large companies are doing similar things, for example, Marks & Spencer invites consumers to check-out their manufacturing partners across the globe via an interactive map.
Understanding the importance of linking the consumers' need for more traceability and the manufacturers and retailers need for transparency has led to start-up tech company Provenance establishing a tracking system to trace and verify the origin, attributes and ownership of products as they move through the supply chain. A unique ID enables the tracking of each item. Through the ID the consumer can access a secure digital history, along with verified claims, enriched with content from along the supply chain
image courtesy of IPNLF
It's going to become more important for brands and retailers to be able to tell their story directly to consumers because the way we consume media has changed. Consumers care more about the global impact of their consumption and they want their brands and retailers to be actively involved in social, ethical and environmental affairs. Only by collecting data on a product's entire life cycle can they hope to convince consumers of provenance and authenticity and by doing so engage in a unique dialogue with consumers.