Trying to deliver on what consumers want is often like trying to hit a moving target. Tastes and shopping patterns change almost constantly but one thing that has been consistent is the buying public’s clamor for discounts. But there are signs that even that is beginning to change.
While today’s consumer is cost conscious to be sure, the reality is price isn’t the only—or even the top—concern for many.
When it’s time to choose, a new report reveals that quality often speaks louder than price.
Product pricing solutions firm First Insight polled shoppers and found that more than 50 percent say their quality is their top criteria. For those customers who earn $100,000 or more, that’s especially true. Of that group, 62 percent said quality is their priority—compared to the 28 percent who are primarily focused on price.
For those labels that present clear value by using elevated processes, materials and finishings, these findings represent an opportunity. But it should also serve as a warning. If consumers are buying based on quality, they’re going to expect to get what they paid for. That means brands had better be certain their raw materials and products are authentic, and can prove it.
“It’s not enough to rely on paper certificates to communicate to the consumer that the label and its contents are authentic,” said MeiLin Wan, vice president of textile sales of Applied DNA. “In this new age of information transparency, it takes the entire supply chain to work in a unified and cohesive way to bring about the ‘truth in materials’ so that you can trust that they are in fact in the finished product.”
Wan said brands have relied on paper documents or certificates as their authentication strategy in apparel production until lately, leaving brands and retailers vulnerable to both mistakes and fraudulent action, which not only diminish a brands reputation with consumers but can also lead to legal liability. “Many materials cannot be easily distinguished or differentiated by visual inspection, and in a finished good, it is often difficult to deconstruct it to analyze the raw materials used,” she said
Today, companies don’t have to rely solely on trust anymore.
Applied DNA has developed a platform called CertainT® to tag, test and track raw materials and finished products throughout the supply chain. The SigNature® T DNA Transfer System applies molecular tags to raw materials, components, finished goods and packaging, allowing brands to track and test their products throughout every stage of production. Currently used by U.S. and Australian cotton growers, the system provides proof of origin for all fibers throughout the ginning season.
The automated system collects almost 100,000 data points per day per location, and the information is then shared with Applied DNA clients via a secure cloud-based system.
“All the information that is captured through tagging can also be managed within the digital transactions stored and accessed in a shared ledger or other traditional models to enable traceability and transparency as efficiently as possible,” Wan said. “It’s what I call the ‘Identity of Things’ meets ‘Internet of Things’ because for the first time brands can be sure that the products they label are truly authentic from source to shelf.”
By making the data available, Applied DNA is facilitating a more collaborative environment, one that Wan said provides for more efficiency and creativity.
Used in concert with innovations like blockchain technology, SigNature T provides a level of peace of mind other solutions cannot.
For example, a blockchain on its own is fallible, Wan said. “Ultimately a blockchain is only as good as the information that is entered into it so it’s not foolproof,” she said. “While movement and ownership of goods might be totally secure in a blockchain-managed supply chain, it is entirely possible to have goods which are counterfeit, expired, or tampered-with.”
SigNature T applies unique, customizable tags that can’t be replicated. Plus, it’s designed to endure most chemical and manual production processes. The result is finished goods that meet consumers’ standards for value and quality—every time.
“Our clients have brand reputations to protect as well as liability and risk when products do not perform as intended,” Wan said, adding it also helps brands insulate themselves from counterfeiters. “CertainT allows them to sleep at night and also frees them up to focus on growing their business and doing the things they are best at.”