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Etailers lose sales due to lack of product information

18/02/14 - Despite latest figures showing that one in five items are now bought on the internet, failure to meet ‘one click’ consumer demand for product information is resulting in lost online sales and brand damage, according to a GS1 UK survey of 2000 UK adults*.

Indeed, 42% of people said they had given-up on an online purchase because there wasn't enough information about the product, while 24% also said that they don’t trust the product information online is as accurate as product information available in-store. In addition, almost 50% of consumers have given up on an online purchase because they didn't trust the seller. 

As consumers increasingly seek trusted information on a vast number of product attributes – instantly, wherever and however they choose to access it – it is now critical for retailers and brand owners to rise to this digital information challenge.

Take food retail, for example, price, ingredients and nutritional value are a given, but consumers also increasingly seek trusted information on dietary considerations, provenance, responsible sourcing, environmental footprint, celebrity advocacy and consumer reviews, all in one click.

“The rapid growth of digital media is transforming consumer expectations of product information. In this context, the benefits of product information standards – for retailers, manufacturers and most importantly, consumers – cannot be underestimated,” comments David Smith, Solutions Manager – Digital, GS1 UK.

“To provide an enriched omnichannel consumer experience, retailers and brand owners need to ensure that product attributes are consistently defined across all channels – in-store, online, and mobile – allowing consumers to interrogate and compare their choices. In the online environment missing key information used for product identification is the equivalent of being out-of-stock in a physical store. Industry-wide standards across the board of all possible product attributes are key to achieving this and something GS1 UK is working with the industry to deliver.”

The GS1 System of identification, seen by most people as the barcode on retail products, has simply and completely transformed the world of physical retail, saving retailers and their supply chains billions through increased labour efficiencies and improvements in data capture and management.

In today’s rapidly evolving virtual marketplace, the same unique number that is encoded in the bar code can now be leveraged and extended to establish virtual linkages for product data, images, promotions and coupons, ensuring consistent omnichannel experiences for consumers – from search through to purchase and digital checkout.

GS1 is also working with Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), a leading mobile standards organisation, to enable bar code scanning features to be built directly into mobile devices. The two organisations will build a specification based on existing standards that mobile device manufacturers will be able to use later in 2014. This will make it easier for application developers to integrate barcode scanning features and link to trusted product information in their apps.

“There’s no doubt that the rapid pace of digital and social media will continue to transform the way consumers think, behave and interact with each other and with businesses. For the retail sector, the implications are huge. Brand leaders of tomorrow will need to provide a seamless, integrated and trusted purchasing experience across channels, or risk losing out to others that do,” concludes Smith.

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Notes to Editors

* Online survey of 2000 UK adults conducted by The Leadership Factor on behalf of GS1 UK, December 2013

About GS1 UK

For more than 35 years GS1 UK has been working with its members to enable the efficient movement of goods and sharing of information. It drives supply chain efficiency alongside 111 other not-for-profit GS1 member organisations in 150 countries worldwide. 

Having introduced the first truly global bar code numbering system in 1973, at least five billion GS1-compliant bar codes are now scanned everyday – making it the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world. GS1 identification numbers are now also commonly used in RFID tags, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) messages and for real-time global data exchange.

Providing independent support, GS1’s team of technical and business consultants also assist members with on-site implementation of appropriate supply chain information solutions.

Its 26,000+ UK members range from SMEs to major UK companies and include grocery retailers and food service companies, food manufacturers, healthcare and pharmaceuticals companies, and NHS Trusts. Its supervisory board includes senior directors from Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, as well as Unilever, P&G, Diageo and the NHS.

GS1 UK actively supports The Food Chain – a UK charity set up to ensure that people living with HIV can access the nutrition they need to lead healthy, independent lives. For more information, visit www.foodchain.org.uk

www.gs1uk.org