The Uphill Battle to Consumer Trust

February 27, 2020

The Uphill Battle to Consumer Trust

Earning Consumer Trust and Building Lasting Loyalty through Product-level Transparency

By Gary Nelson

Consumer trust and product transparency are two sides of the same coin. Studies have shown that when evaluating top factors to consider when making a purchase, trust  nearly surpasses the quality and value of a product, with 81% of individuals stating they “must be able to trust the brand to do what is right.” In order to foster trust, consumers require unprecedented insight into product origin and supply chain practices—and 73% of consumers state they are ultimately willing to pay more for products that provide this total transparency. Let’s explore an example:

Patagonia has long been regarded as an environmentally and socially conscious brand. To convey this commitment to end consumers, Patagonia launched its “Footprint Chronicles,”  which shows the step-by-step process of their supply chain—even down to the textile mills and sewing factories—in order to provide total insight to consumers. Through their transparency, Patagonia is able to prove its practices align with consumer’s desire for ethical supply chains, and ultimately, build lasting loyalty.

In order to foster trust, consumers require

unprecedented insight into product origin and supply chain practices.

While effective, Patagonia’s model provides a holistic view of their supply chain, rather than a history of individual products. As consumers continue to demand more from brands, the meaning of transparency has begun to transform from an aggregate view of supply chains to an individual view, where consumers receive specific insight on discrete products they purchased. According to a special report from Edelmen, this process has already started, with everyday consumers expecting insight into the production process. To deliver on product-level transparency and earn trust, brands must in turn provide insight on:


Studies have found that where once transparency started at a high level, the everyday consumer now expects product insight to reflect its origin. That means product-level transparency must begin at a product’s nascence and carry throughout its lifecycle. In order to accomplish this, companies must establish a digital genealogy at the point of origin, and continue to build off of this record as the product moves throughout the supply chain. In global operations, this creates a demand for billions of serialized identities that can be tracked and stored independently, and extended to the consumer level to provide a comprehensive view of the product’s journey.


Next comes a product’s quality. Edelmen found that when establishing trust, 86% of consumers ranked quality as the top factor to consider. With the rise of e-commerce leading to a new wave of counterfeiting, it’s crucial for brands to enable the end consumer to verify the authenticity of their products. In fact, in the past year, counterfeiting in retail increased 40%, with a consumer’s inability to differentiate between fake and authentic products contributing to this increase. In order to ensure the quality and authenticity of every product, and in so doing, prevent faulty or counterfeit goods from tarnishing a brand’s reputation, companies must be able to rapidly isolate and eliminate gaps in security across their supply chain and prevent gray market diversion. As part of this effort, product-level traceability can enable consumers to validate authenticity at a single scan to ensure subpar duplicates do not pass as bona fide goods.


Tied hand and hand with quality is a product’s components. 82% of buyers say that high-quality components and ingredients are a deciding factor when making a purchase. That means product traceability must extend beyond the product alone to include all of the many components that comprise a finished goods. Each of these components must be assigned a digital identify, which is then linked to a product’s digital identity to create a comprehensive genealogy. Going one step further, this traceability should remain intact as products are aggregated into batches to ensure holistic insight throughout a product’s lifecycle.


69% of consumer’s state societal concerns—ranging from employee treatment and pay, to sustainability efforts, and corporate social responsibility initiatives—play a role in establishing trust for a brand. True product-level transparency extends to this level, allowing consumers to ensure that components were sourced ethically and that production conditions and practices meet their standards. Providing consumers this information requires brands to collect insight from partners and suppliers, housing data in a secure, Blockchain-enabled database, with relevant data accessible by stakeholders.

Product Security and Traceability You Can Trust

In order to deliver the product-level insight required to earn today’s conscientious consumer’s trust, companies require a technology solution that provides end-to-end traceability. While existing factory systems collect data at set checkpoints throughout the factory floor, they often fail to aggregate this data into the singular view needed to achieve global insight. At Ashton Potter, we provide the missing link in your factory systems through ProLinc®. As an advanced product security and traceability solution, ProLinc enables manufacturers to assign serialized identities and track products across the global supply chain. At a single scan of the tamper-evident security label, ProLinc empowers consumers and brands alike to access the critical product-level insight they require.

Want to build lasting loyalty from your consumers? Talk to an expert today to learn more about how Ashton Potter can unleash product-level traceability in your unique environment.

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