We sat down with Steve Ablett, OpSec’s Senior Sales Manager, to discuss the latest trends in consumer engagement and how technology has revolutionized the way in which brands gain customer insights. Steve has over twenty years of experience in global supply chain security, and has worked with many high street retailers and iconic fashion brands to create custom and robust solutions that deliver measurable results.
- How has consumer engagement with brands evolved over the last few years?
Constant advances in technology have drastically changed the way that consumers interact with brands. It is no surprise that consumer engagement helps drive more sales and increase average revenue per user. Smartphones and QR codes are ubiquitous, and the majority of consumers are familiar with scanning codes. Studies show that customers who are fully engaged with a brand represent an average 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared to the average consumer. Consumer engagement now takes one step further, and can be incorporated into an anti-counterfeiting program.
- How does implementing a consumer engagement program benefit brands?
Consumer engagement programs add tremendous value to a brand’s authentication program, specifically those in the licensing industry where a global market exists. Football clubs are a great example of this. Clubs can engage with fans and provide them with rewards, all while gaining valuable data. The clubs I work with then analyze this data to help drive future marketing and product decisions.
This benefit of consumer insight is enhanced with geolocation technology. This technology helps brands target specific consumers, and ultimately promote products in that territory. Geolocation technology can also help brands identify potential problem areas for counterfeits. Everyone understands the value of direct marketing and understanding the consumer, and programs like these help brands do exactly that. Programs also result in higher return and conversions, since consumers already have expressed an interest in the brand.
- Are engagement programs generally well-received by consumers?
When consumers love a brand, and become loyal to that brand, they want to find a way to become a part of its story. Consumers should be looked at as “members” of a brand. This is particularly true in the fashion industry. Consumers want to flaunt the brand they are wearing, and they want to engage as much as possible so they feel they are contributing in some way. Ultimately, the program helps drive more revenue to the brand because it allows consumers to build a deeper connection with the companies they love.
When brands include a mobile engagement component to their brand protection programs, this allows consumers to register non-authentic product, which helps the brand gain insight into potential counterfeit problems. In this sense, the consumers become a part of the brand as an enforcer. The brand can then reward consumers for registering fake product, providing an incentive to report.
Many brands don’t want to admit they have a counterfeit problem, but consumers are generally aware of it. Consumers will engage with the brand to help overcome the problem.
- What are some of the things brands are most concerned with when thinking about adopting a program like this?
One of the biggest concerns that I address with brands is helping them realize the ROI with a program of this scale. Brands simply want make sure that the program will work. Understanding the marketing benefits associated with a brand protection and consumer engagement program is crucial to help gauge its ROI. Brands with both programs can often combine resources and share valuable consumer data with their marketing teams, helping to drive future campaigns.
Another concern is making sure that the security labels fit in with the brand’s style guide. The best way to go about this and address the problem is to design the label as part of the product – an element virtually invisible to the naked eye, but easily scanned to help incorporate consumer engagement.
- What does the future of consumer engagement look like?
Consumer engagement and product authentication programs can only get smarter. The QR code itself can now be disguised, and brands have the ability to present consumers with product-specific information, such as warranty data.
In addition, the increasing popularity of mobile credit cards can be leveraged in a consumer engagement program. Consumers can buy products with a mobile credit card, and be rewarded in the form of loyalty points. These points could be redeemed for future brand purchases. The possibilities for interaction are virtually endless.
For more information about these programs and how they might benefit your brand, visit our website, or click the link below.
Steve Ablett is OpSec's Senior Sales Manager. Steve is responsible for managing and securing the supply chains of some of the world’s most iconic fashion brands, and has over twenty years of experience helping brands improve their distribution and management processes.