Retailers have been quick to react to consumers’ increasing demand for product data transparency and have been somewhat successful in providing more basic product information. This is most evident in shelf tag health and wellness (H&W) programs we’ve seen implemented in stores over the past several years (think: those small tags on store shelves that call out claims like "organic", "gluten-free," or "heart-healthy"). While these initiatives have been limited to a set number of health attributes, they have provided retailers with a first glimpse into the challenges and opportunities surrounding product data transparency. Now, it is generally accepted that going from a limited set of H&W attributes maintained for a shelf tag program to addressing full product data transparency is a significant leap of capability. But retailers that take this leap will be able to leverage product data in a number of ways, across all use cases, and most importantly, in a scalable manner. Retailers who attack full product data transparency will be able to slice and dice the data to service such use cases as Custom Health and Wellness programs, innovative Category Review Processes, or to make their inventory more discoverable through engaging search and filtering experiences, to name a few use cases.
In 2019, we have a goal to work towards joining the thought leadership conversation in the area of E-commerce & Omnichannel. This conversation is already taking place on properties such as (to mention a few places where we see interesting content):
Category Decision Tree One of the critical elements of the CatMan2.0 process is the Category Definition and the Category Decision Tree step. The purpose of this step is to agree which items are within the category and to outline and define the Category Decision Tree (CDT). The CDT is a graphical record that assists retailers to better understand consumer buying habits, and the decision-making processes followed by individuals while shopping a category.
Shoppers in today’s marketplace demand convenience, personalization, and transparency. They want the products they desire, at the time they want it, and for the right cost. Shoppers are more knowledgeable than ever before about their purchases. They research online and have a complete understanding of the price, in-stock conditions, and materials that make up their desired product.
Growth in High-Order Attributes Studies indicate shoppers are rewarding transparency. Seventy-four percent of shoppers claims they would switch to a more transparent brand (FMI & Label Insight - The Transparency Imperative). As evidence, brands with digital SmartLabel pages that enable digital labeling transparency have grown by 10.7% over the last 52 weeks in a number of categories that are either flat or declining. “Most major brands and retailers are losing share, volume, or margins, sometimes all three.” Gordon Wade, CatMan + Transparency
“When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.” — George Westerman | Principal Research Scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy Transparency bar is set The FMI and Label Insight Transparency Imperative report has clearly demonstrated that demand for more information in the grocery shopping experience is taking off. Almost all shoppers these days require more information in the shopping experience, and there’s been a 90% increase in shoppers who would switch brands based on level of transparency (74% in 2018 vs. 39% in 2016) which seems to indicate that the demand is growing in distribution and in intent.
“Transparency may be the most disruptive and far-reaching innovation to come out of social media.” — Paul Gillin in Digital Darwinism: Branding and business models in jeopardy Transparency crosses all generations We are constantly being reminded of the differences between generations, and in particular, how different the younger generation truly is. But when it comes to the demand for transparency, the recent FMI and Label Insight Transparency Imperative points out that there is actually little difference across generations.
Transparency is here to stay. Recently the FMI & Label Insight Transparency Imperative report stated that over 86% of shoppers are more likely to trust a brand or retailer who provides complete and easy-to-understand definitions for all ingredients. And the same study demonstrated that 74% of shoppers would be willing to switch to another brand that provided more information – a 90% increase from 39% in 2016.
In the last post of this series, we discussed the need for a dynamic taxonomy to power search across the omnichannel experience. If this future was to exist, it would be interesting to understand what effect this would have on the concept of a single source of truth - the apparent holy grail of product data management. To explore this topic we will need to first cover where we are at right now in regards to maintaining a single source of truth for our product data. We can then consider the future needs which we discussed both here and here, with the aim of overlaying where we are at with where we need to go to see whether a single source of truth is viable going forward.
“One-third of American households have a family member who is dealing with allergies, intolerances or sensitivities.” — FMI & Label Insight - The Transparency Imperative Diet is the new norm