“Boing” tolls the bell of doom. On 13th December 2014 another Grim Reaper of corporate IT budgets visits the European Grocery Market when the Food Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 come into play. Or at least that’s the way some people I speak to are seeing these new regulations.
Other, more enlightened manufacturers and retailers are seeing Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 as confirmation that the demand from consumers for more transparency of the information about the food they eat is only going one way: UP!
Much of the product information consumers receive today during their e-commerce experience is inaccurate, incomplete, and/or not certified by the brand owner. Product information provided in e-commerce applications is often obtained by the application developers “scraping” information from the Internet, or provided by users of the application (crowd sourced). There is no common source of the truth.
Without access to trusted product information , consumers depend on search engines and social applications to make purchase decisions. The consumer considers the opinions and interests of others, available pricing information and personal intuition to decide whether to purchase a product, rather than authentic or insightful product information .
If the consumer’s experience with an Internet application provides poor data (e.g. inaccurate, incomplete, uncertified, slow/latent) the consumer will go elsewhere because he/she has alternatives. The Trading Partner either captures the consumer at the “moment of truth” … or loses them to an unknown competitor.
Use your investment to comply to Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 to also plan for the future. Start viewing product information as a strategic asset instead of it just being an enabler or cost. Look at the trends of demand by consumers for product information and add that to the scope. The return on investment for that additional piece will be fast. A comprehensive Product Information Management strategy within and across brand owners on key focus areas can play an important role in handling these challenges and meeting consumer expectations. Fix the age old problems of:
- Disparate processes and platforms for product information and images
- Redundant entry of product information into multiple systems
- Insufficient product information (e.g. nutritional info, images)
- Manual sharing of product information with some trading partners
- Inaccurate, incomplete and delayed access to product information
Accept that compliance is essential in order to not have your products de-listed and use this as a spring board to achieve more with your product information with ultimately less resource? As an industry, we have a duty of care towards the consumer but we can also listen to the consumer and turn this into an opportunity to increase brand trust and drive sales.
“Don’t Fear the Reaper” sang Blue Oyster Cult. Don’t fear him, get closer to him and use him to drive better sales to more informed, happier consumers.