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Top Reasons Your Supply Chain Is the Key to an Effective Consumer Engagement Strategy

Welcome to Part II of our series about effective consumer engagement. In Part I, we talked about the benefits of consumer engagement. Today, we’re focusing on your supply chain — and how you can use it for a next-level consumer engagement strategy. Let’s jump right in.

It’s all about data from your supply chain

Your supply chain is a gold mine of information that you can leverage for a robust consumer engagement strategy. The basic building block is serialization, which turns each one of your products into what we call “digital assets.” Each digital asset has a unique digital identity that can be monitored from production all the way to the person who buys it.

With rich, traceable data about every item in your supply chain at your fingertips, you can establish and maintain connections with consumers before, during, and after the sale. (You can also do much, much more, but that’s beyond the scope of what we’re talking about today.)

Four ways supply chain data supercharges your consumer engagement strategy

1. You’ll share the product information that consumers demand.

Consumers demand information. Every product — every digital asset — in your supply chain can be “loaded” with data that consumers can access at the store, at home, at a restaurant, at a sporting event. Anywhere. For example, a quick scan of a 2D Data Matrix code or QR code with a smart phone will reveal every detail you want to share about your product: where and when it was grown or made, its ingredients, the route it took to get to the consumer. This demonstrable provenance using supply chain data builds consumer trust and confidence; it is foundational to consumer engagement.

2. You’ll create compelling customer experiences.

Consumers also want experiences. With data from your supply chain and other brand resources (e.g., an app) you can curate experiences such as contests, loyalty programs, games, and unique online content. You can encourage storytelling about your brand. If you’re a winemaker, connect people to a virtual tour of your vineyard. If you sell organic foods, share video recipes online or invite people to see your sustainable operations. If you make cosmetics, link to virtual try-ons. Importantly, you can hyper-personalize and hyper-target every engagement, and even “broadcast” specific information to specific locations or events.

3. You’ll communicate directly with consumers.

Your serialized product is a device for one-on-one communication with the person who bought it. When a customer accesses the information from your digital asset, you can connect them to your website, social media, an app, a survey, or other forums where they can start a conversation with your brand. They can ask questions and provide feedback — and you can give answers and reactions. Relationship-building is another cornerstone of an effective consumer engagement strategy, and the products people are literally holding in their hands are the first step of the conversation.

4. You’ll gain valuable insight into your customers.

An effective consumer engagement strategy creates a world for your customers. And as they navigate and participate in that world, they share information. Where are they buying your products? What do they like? What don’t they like? What inspires them? What engagement activities resonated the most? This business intelligence can inform every part of your business, from how your supply chain works to creating better consumer engagement strategies.

Final thoughts

The purchase used to be the last part of your supply chain; now it’s the beginning of a new realm of possibilities. Every digital asset is an opportunity to connect your customers to your brand and put your products front and center in their lives.

rfxcel’s Traceability System is an end-to-end supply chain solution that creates the digital assets. It gives you in-depth, real-time insights all the way from production to your final customers. The data you connect to your products will fuel compelling consumer engagement activities that can reach people everywhere you do business.

And now, as part of Antares Vision Group, we can offer even more ways to engage with consumers. Contact us today to find out more.



Last year, we did a piece called “Supply-Chain Traceability Is Building a New Kind of Consumer Kingdom.” Here’s an excerpt that ties into what we’ve said about an effective consumer engagement strategy:

In fact, consumers are not only thinking deeply about where the things they buy come from and what goes into making them, they are actually becoming a pivotal part of the supply chain itself. What’s more, they’re participating willingly and with gusto, demanding detailed information about the goods they purchase and even expecting to interact with products far beyond the point of sale. Just how far will they go to get what they want? More than 70% of customers say they’re willing to share their data in exchange for a more personalized experience, according to one recent survey.

Read the full article here.

Requirements for Russia’s Textile and Apparel Supply Chain

There’s always something interesting going on with Chestny ZNAK, Russia’s National Track and Trace Digital System. (Well, we think it’s interesting, and chances are you do too if you’re reading this.). Adjustments, pilots beginning and ending, mandatory product labeling going into effect … it’s a treasure trove of track and trace. Such is the case with today’s topic: Russia’s textile and apparel supply chain.

Technically, Chestny ZNAK refers to some facets of the textile and apparel supply chain as “clothing items and light industry goods.” The category includes coats, shirts, blouses, and linens.

Globally, footwear and some items made with fur are certainly part of the textile and apparel supply chain. Chestny ZNAK, however, treats these as separate categories, so we’re not including them in today’s discussion. We’ve written about footwear before — mandatory serialization and other requirements went into effect on July 1, 2020 — and you can learn more about requirements for fur (and all regulated product categories) by downloading our “Overview of Chestny ZNAK Compliance for Key Industries” white paper. It’s fully updated for 2021 and available in both English and Russian.

Okay, let’s get into clothing items and light industry goods in Russia’s textile and apparel supply chain.

Serialization in Russia’s textile and apparel supply chain

A pilot for clothing/light industry products was conducted during the second half of 2019, and mandatory labeling began on January 1, 2021. To date, Chestny ZNAK reports that more than 130,000 textile and apparel supply chain stakeholders have been issued more than 1.4 billion marking codes.

All products must be labeled with a DataMatrix code containing four data points:

  • A 14-digit Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)
  • A 13-digit serial number
  • A 4-digit verification key
  • A 44-digit verification code (i.e., crypto code)

The Center for Research in Perspective Technologies (CRPT), which manages Chestny ZNAK, issues verification keys, crypto codes, and serial numbers. Manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, and retailers, referred to as “economic agents,” can also generate serial numbers.

Before economic agents are issued codes, they must create a “product card” for Russia’s catalogue of marked goods. These must note four product attributes

  • The product name
  • The 4-character EAEU Combined Nomenclature of Foreign Economic Activity (TN VED) code
  • The corresponding GTIN
  • The trademark (if any)

New goods produced in Russia must be marked before leaving the factory. For importation from other Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan), codes must be applied before the goods enter Russia’s textile and apparel supply chain. For imports from all other countries, codes must be applied before customs processes begin.

Economic agents must have an encrypted digital signature and equipment to handle codes, including scanners, printers, and point-of-sale cash registers connected to the internet (for retail sales).

These are the broad strokes of compliance for the textile and apparel supply chain. For full details, be sure to download our white paper.

Final thoughts

Russia’s textile and apparel supply chain is large and lucrative. But to participate and succeed, you need to be able to navigate Chestny ZNAK’s strict requirements. To do this, you need the right partner, one that knows the regulations, has a local team, and actually has active in-country implementations.

Right off the bat, we can say that we’re the only official CRPT software or integration partner for clothing items and light industry goods. In fact, we’re the only official CRPT partner for several other industries; we’ve proven that our signature rfxcel Traceability System integrates seamlessly with Chestny ZNAK and meets regulatory requirements for key industries. We were also recently accredited as an IT company by the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media.

To learn more about our leadership in Russian supply chain compliance, check out these recent blog posts:

If you have questions about the textile and apparel supply chain in Russia — or any other market where you’re doing business or want to do business — contact us today to schedule a demo. See how our powerful software can ensure you’ll remain compliant with textile and apparel supply chain regulations around the world.


CRPT Partner in Russia’s Supply Chain: Traceability and Compliance

The Center for Research in Perspective Technologies (CRPT) operates Russia’s National Track and Trace Digital System. Known as Chestny ZNAK, the supply chain system was established by Federal Law No. 425-FZ, signed on December 29, 2017. rfxcel has been prepared for these regulations since 2018, and is now an established CRPT partner.

Let’s take a look at what it means to be a CRPT partner, including the benefits it brings to our customers.

What is the CRPT?

The CRPT is a public-private partnership akin to the European Medicines Verification Organization. Its many responsibilities include generating the serial numbers and verification codes (i.e., crypto codes) required by Chestny ZNAK.

Business giant USM is the CRPT’s principal partner, with a 51 percent stake. USM was founded in 2012 and has interests in many of Russia’s key sectors, including metals/mining, telecom, technology, and internet. According to USM, Chestny ZNAK is the country’s first public-private partnership in the IT sector and the first of its kind at the federal level. Private investments totaling more than 200 billion rubles ($2.5 billion) are expected over the next 15 years.

rfxcel as CRPT partner

Last year, rfxcel earned official CRPT partner status in 10 of the 11 industries for which the organization has chosen partners: medications, footwear, tires, light industry, perfumes, dairy, bottled drinking water, bicycles, wheelchairs, and tobacco. Furthermore, we are the only official CRPT partner for several of these industries.

To be named a CRPT partner, a solutions provider must prove it can work with Chestny ZNAK, comply with its strict serialization requirements, and support companies that do business in Russia.

For example, to be named an official integration, software, and tested solution partner for medications, members of our Moscow team met with the CRPT to demonstrate the rfxcel Traceability System, answer technical questions, and share examples of compliance reports. After an internal evaluation, the CRPT notified rfxcel that it had validated its solution and designated the company as an official partner on its website.

What does being a CRPT partner mean for our customers?

The benefits we bring as a CRPT partner are pretty straightforward. First and foremost, we have proven that our signature rfxcel Traceability System integrates seamlessly with Chestny ZNAK and meets regulatory requirements for key industries.

Russian law calls for serialization, aggregation, unit- and batch-level traceability, crypto codes, and electronic reporting and records management. Our rfxcel Serialization Processing and Compliance Management solutions ensure you’ll comply with these mandated labeling and reporting requirements. Plus, our solutions have a Russian-language user interface that makes integration and start-up much quicker.

The other benefit of being a CRPT partner is that we’re trusted. The CRPT knows our solutions, knows our team in Moscow, and knows that we take compliance very seriously. They know our customers include major pharmaceutical and consumer goods brands. They know we’re committed to making the transformation of Russia’s supply chain smooth and effective, and support the mission “to guarantee the authenticity and declared quality of goods being purchased by customers.”

So, when you work with rfxcel in Russia, you’re working with a CRPT partner that is equipped to deliver quick integration and compliance today, tomorrow — always.

Sneak peek: another recent rfxcel accomplishment in Russia

We’ll share more details about this soon, but earlier this month we received accreditation as an IT company from Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media. The Ministry develops and implements national policy and legal regulations for a range of industries, from telecommunications to Internet governance.

That’s all we’ll say for now. The official IT company accreditation is another reason why we continue to be the leader in Chestny ZNAK integration, operability, and compliance.

Final thoughts

We are proud of being an official CRPT partner. It’s proof that our software ensures companies in any industry will remain compliant while they do business in Russia.

Contact us today for more information about how we can help you succeed with Chestny ZNAK. And be sure to download our white paper about Russian compliance. Fully updated for 2021, including information about new pilots for beer and beer-based drinks and biologically active food additives , it’s an easy-to-understand guide to Russia’s strict supply chain regulations for every industry.