Just about anything that can be worn is about to become part of the Internet of Things.
In a major deal just announced, a minimum of 10 billion apparel and footwear products for some of the world’s largest fashion and performance brands are going to be created with unique digital identities built in.
Packaging and labeling giant Avery Dennison inked a deal with Evrythng, the IoT platform company backed by Samsung and Cisco, to add special tagging on products that consumers can interact with via smartphone.
This essentially means that products will be born digital right at the manufacturing process.
The product tagging could be by serialized QR codes, RFID chips or NFC tag, depending on the product type, Andy Hobsbawm, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Evrythng, told me yesterday.
“Hardware, software and real-time data connects with digital identity in the platform,” Hobsbawm said. “This creates a digital capability in a product that can drive consumer interaction.”
The idea is that a consumer could tap or scan a product and instantly receive information, such as the product history, where it came from or how it was made. For example, a consumer could ask a product a question, such as ‘Where did you come from?’
Marketers also could link digital identities to loyalty reward programs, product reordering capabilities along with original purchase information.
A running shoe could tell when it’s nearing its end and clothing could offer personalized styling suggestions or health and fitness content based on the product and past purchases.
For the label or tag to provide information, the consumer would have to take the first action, such as scanning or tapping the product with their phone.
“All good marketing should be permission based,” said Hobsbawm.
Of course, a consumer could totally ignore the added value provided by digital tagging.“The number one barrier of brands is how to get individual codes on products that correlate to digital identity,” Hobsbawm said. Those brands now will have at least 10 billion attempts to do just that.