Product tags such as barcodes are ubiquitous on physical goods. These tags carry information on pricing, and they enable products to be scanned into large-scale inventory and point-of-sale systems.

Barcodes are not the only type of product tag. Others include:

  • Quick Response (QR) Code
  • Near-Field Communication (NFC) Tag
  • Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Tag

Though they are usually considered identity markers, product tags can become so much more in the hands of a smart business. Learn more about how product tags enhance business operations at every step—from the time of a product’s creation to the moment it reaches the customer’s hands.

What is digitalisation?

Digitalisation is a term used to refer to any change or initiative a business undertakes to transform an offline process into an online one, thus unlocking new opportunities. Digitalisation is carried out to reduce inefficiency, save time, and eliminate errors. By introducing digitalised product tags in the supply chain, for example, managers can replace pen-and-paper stocktaking.

The digitalisation of product identity tags are a cost-effective yet powerful step for businesses that wish to transform their operations and processes. With the additional information that businesses provide through digital product tags, customers can trust that the products they purchase are safe and authentic, and businesses will in turn enjoy more sales and improved buyer loyalty.

Four concrete benefits of digitalising product identity tags

Businesses can enjoy four key benefits by digitalising product identity tags. 

Counterfeit prevention and tracking

Counterfeits are estimated to have cost the global economy US$323 billion in 2018. They do not simply damage revenues or cause reputational harm to businesses. Counterfeits also stifle innovation and job creation.

Product tag digitalisation can help consumers instantly distinguish authentic products from the counterfeits with a single scan. Businesses will also receive alerts when a fake or duplicated scan occurs. Each product has a unique identity, so duplicate scans are an indication of counterfeit production—and businesses can then take prompt action. 

On a related note, it’s important to ensure your product identity tags are unique and clone-proof. That means it should be impossible for third parties to create fake copies of the tags.

Supply chain visibility

Product identity tags can be supported with blockchain to ensure all product movements are recorded and stored safely.This means every time a party scans the tag, information is added to the blockchain- and storing information within the blockchain makes it immutable, creating not just a secured but rich database of information and supply-chain visibility. 

With digitalised product tags, businesses can track stock distribution and movement, identify product diversion as it happens—something previously not possible. 

Product provenance and sourcing information

Customers are becoming more conscious about how and where products are sourced.  An IBM study of 18,980 consumers in 28 countries, conducted in 2020, reveals a number of key insights on consumer behaviour:

  • Sustainability is important for almost 80% of respondents
  • Traceability is important for 73% of respondents. 
  • Among these, 71% say they are willing to pay a premium for products with traceable sources

It is not enough to talk about sustainability. You must be able to demonstrate the different initiatives and efforts you have made to operate sustainably and ethically.

Fortunately, product identity tags can be linked to promotional, informational content about the product itself—they are an ideal way to communicate this critical information without forcing it upon consumers. Curious shoppers can scan the tags to learn about where a product was sourced and how it was created, processed, and delivered. For example, they can verify that the cacao used to make a bar of chocolate came from a farm that is certified sustainable and ethical.

Consumer behaviour insights

Consumers scan product tags to receive information on products; when they do so, companies can in turn collect their own information on consumer activity to understand buying behaviour and preferences.

As more and more consumers scan the different product tags, trends will begin to emerge that reveal the habits of certain consumer segments compared to others. Businesses can learn what type of information matters most—product provenance, for example, or loyalty programmes and rewards—and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.

Enjoy the benefits of product identity tags 

Modern product identity tags are no longer used simply for inventory or stocktaking. They provide critical insight into consumer behaviour, protect the business from counterfeits, serve as an educational tool for buyers, and help businesses solve supply chain inefficiencies. 

Contact i-Sprint Innovations to find out how you can start digitalising your product tags to enjoy the benefits digitalisation brings.