The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us, transforming connectivity and ‘blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres’ according to World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab.
As the WEF Annual Champions meeting takes place in China this week, Kezzler reflects on some of the opportunities that exist when it comes to connecting products and people based on its experience working to connect the digital and physical worlds over the past 16 years.
Innovations in serialization have made it possible to make every item unique and connected, and not just possible but practical too. Companies are already harnessing this technology in innovative and exciting ways, and today Kezzler is working with brands across the globe to make products safe, enhance consumer experience and interactions, and support the fight against counterfeit goods and illicit trade.
Putting Safety First
Serialization supports product safety because brands can use unique codes to ensure supply chain visibility. This means they can identify issues with a product’s journey before it reaches the consumer. Brands are also able to identify when shipments have gone astray, or may have been exposed to compromising conditions. Should the brand choose to, they can use the codes to enable consumer authentication. Consumers are able to scan the code using a phone and check that the product is genuine. They can also confirm that there have been no recall warnings of the product.
This functionality is becoming increasingly important for the food industry, where safety scares have become ever present in the 24-hour news cycle. However, it is equally applicable to various other sectors in which consumer safety is paramount. The Consumer Packaged Goods sector more broadly.
Fighting Counterfeits and Illicit Trade
With counterfeit products accounting for an estimated five to seven per cent of world trade. Brands risk lost sales and reputational damage if they fail to tackle this problem convincingly.
Serialization technology can safeguard both brands and consumers against fakes. At one point an estimated 40 per cent of Viagra sold in Hong Kong was non-authentic. Kezzler worked with Pfizer to apply visible and non-visible codes on Viagra packs that enabled both consumers and Pfizer to authenticate them directly. As a result, the problem of non-authentic Viagra in Hong Kong was resolved within the first 12 months of implementation. This resulted in a substantial increase of sales.
Enhancing Consumer Experiences
The ability to interact with a product is not simply a gimmick or a novelty but is fast becoming a driver of consumer loyalty and sales growth. Business consultants, Frost and Sullivan have projected that by 2020 consumer experience will overtake price and product as a key brand differentiator.
Digitizing products enables brands to share additional product information with the consumer beyond what can be displayed on the packaging. This helps brands meet the growing demand for transparency by providing information regarding an array of considerations. Ranging from health-related topics such as allergens and nutrition to ethical and environmental concerns regarding provenance.
Serialization can also support brands to elevate the consumer product experience. With each product being unique and digital the possibilities are almost endless. From creating an avenue for feedback to sharing incentives to repurchase.
Connectivity and Collaboration
In 2019, it’s clear a lot of companies are already demonstrating how technology that boosts connectivity can deliver benefits for brands and consumers alike. However, the question of how we capture the full benefit remains. As Schwab, who coined the term Fourth Industrial Revolution identified. The challenge on this front is ensuring sufficient collaboration in our quest for greater connectivity.