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Wine Consumer Engagement: Ten Things to Know for 2022

Virtual tastings are so 2020. Don’t get us wrong: They’re still a thing. But to do wine consumer engagement right in 2022, winemakers have to do a lot more than ask people to hop on a Zoom call. That’s why today we’re talking about 10 things that are vital to successful wine consumer engagement.

Also, don’t forget that the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium starts today! We’ll be exhibiting with our fellow Antares Vision Group member companies FT System and Applied Vision, so sign up today and visit us at Booth 807.

Ten things to know about wine consumer engagement in 2022

Like our recent “Five Wine Supply Chain Trends for 2022” and “Trends for the Digital Wine Supply Chain” blog posts, we’re not ranking these aspects of wine consumer engagement. They’re all important. Winemakers should consider each carefully when crafting their engagement strategies.

1. Nail your story

Your brand’s story is vital to wine consumer engagement. (All consumer engagement, actually.) It’s the foundation of “the face” and the heart of the personality you’re going to project to your customers and potential customers. What do you want people to know about you? Where is your brand “coming from”? What sets you apart from other brands?

Many of the other aspects of wine consumer engagement we’re discussing today stem from and overlap with the decisions you make about your story. To get this right, expect to do some soul-searching and ask yourself some tough questions about who and what your brand is.

2. Know your customers

It’s Marketing 101, right? If you don’t know who’s buying your products, you’re missing opportunities and wasting money. Today, however, knowing your customers requires elbow grease. You have to devote time and resources to gather information (i.e., data) and develop profiles to inform your wine consumer engagement.

Here’s a handy tool: ALE. It’s an appropriately wine-and-spirits-flavored abbreviation for ask, listen, and engage. Ask consumers questions. Listen — really listen — to their answers, feedback, suggestions, opinions, etc. Importantly, what they say might not jibe with your own vision of your brand, so be willing to adapt and pivot and do the extra work to give people what they want, not what you want them to want.

To engage, pull out all the stops. Social media, of course. But you can also get out into the real world. Talk with sommeliers to see what’s trending with wine lovers. Talk with retailers to learn what people are thinking and buying. For instance, is there a cheaper brand that people are being drawn to? What brands have buzz?

We all know that wine can be a very personal experience. It’s part of its appeal. It’s why people get excited about wine and anticipate the purchase as much as the uncorking. Take advantage of that. Ask, listen, and engage.

3. Customer first, brand second

So, you’ve done the research and know who your customers are. Time to let them know all about your brand, right?

Not really.

Always remember that wine consumer engagement is about the consumer. They are the hero, not you. It can be a difficult lesson to learn, but your job is to guide people toward what they want and demonstrate the value your brand brings. Don’t make it all about you, because it’s not. Give people what they want to see and share, not what you want to show them.

4. Accept that you might not be that special

This might sting. You have to be self-aware. You have to know your strengths and weaknesses. You have look in the mirror and do an honest self-assessment.

What, if anything, makes you unique? Remember, unique means unlike anything else. One of a kind. Are your competitors saying they’re unique while making the same claims you’re making?

Industry observers are noting that wineries are saying the same thing. “Estate-grown,” “multi-generational,” “visionary winemaker,” and “terroir” are on their short list of traits and lingo that are decidedly not unique in the market. You can talk about these things, but don’t pin your identity on them.

Knowing your customers is what will make your brand stand out. What do they like (and dislike) about your wines? Where do they drink your wines? How do they “use” your wines? Are they talking about and sharing your wines on social media? What do they expect from you? Meeting their demands is what will make your brand special.

5. Be yourself

All this said, it is critical to be yourself. Don’t put on airs. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Don’t be a bore. Today’s consumers have a nose for you-know-what. If they get even a whiff of phoniness, watch out. So, you have to be authentic. Keep it real.

6. Focus on sharing

Think of wine consumer engagement as a self-perpetuating chain in which the links are interactions, including sharing between and among your customers. For this to happen, you have to create content that people want to see, experience, and share. The possibilities are virtually limitless — videos, contests, loyalty programs, giveaways, prizes … . Just remember to focus on your consumers, not yourself.

7. Always bring value to consumers

Ask yourself this question every day: What have you done for them lately?

You must always bring value to your customers. “ABV” — another industry-appropriate abbreviation. This means different things to different people, of course. For some, it might mean proving the provenance of your wines and demonstrating that you’re focused on transparency and sustainability. For others, it could mean sharing a picture of your team out in the vineyard or a fun promotion, such as winning a prize for sharing a video. If you’re not always bringing value to your customers, who are the heroes of your wine consumer engagement, you’re going to push them away.

8. Devote resources

Wine consumer engagement isn’t a “set it and forget it” proposition. It shouldn’t be an afterthought delegated to whoever might happen to have some spare time.

You need a person or a team to conceptualize and create content, push it out across all your channels, monitor and analyze reactions, make changes, and respond to what people are saying and asking. You also need to pay attention to what your competitors are doing and saying.

In other words, you have to be fully engaged in your consumer engagement.

9. Business as usual probably won’t cut it

It’s a cliché because it’s true: You have to think outside the box. Running an email campaign* or posting a video on Facebook then kicking back with a nice Pinot to watch your sales boom isn’t how wine consumer engagement works. It’s called consumer engagement for a reason: You want to get a response. You want to build that self-perpetuating chain of interactions. Creativity is key. It’s another reason to devote resources to make sure you’re doing it right.

*A note about email and marketing: Some people say it’s dead; others say it’s alive and well. Only you can decide if it works for your brand and if it should be part of your consumer engagement strategy.

10. Leverage supply chain data

We’ll let you in on our secret: The key to effective wine consumer engagement is your supply chain, which is a goldmine of actionable data.

The basic building block is serialization, which turns every product into what we call a “digital asset.” 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. For example:

    • Link every product to unique content and brand interactions
    • Give consumers the information they demand (e.g., provenance, transparency, sustainability)
    • Hyper-personalize and hyper-target every engagement based on location, time, or purchasing data
    • Empower consumers to reject counterfeits, alert for diversions/gray markets, authenticate products, help with recalls
    • Gain valuable insight into your customers

Final thoughts

“A message in every bottle.” This is rfxcel’s mantra for using your supply chain for wine consumer engagement. Our Traceability System provides granular data from the vineyard all the way into your customers’ daily lives. You can use it to define and tell your story, know your customers and bring them value, and inspire your brand to think outside the box.

If you’re at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium this week, stop by Booth 807 to see our solutions in action and learn more about how we can help your brand stand out in a very crowded market. If you aren’t there, contact us today to schedule a short demo with one of our digital supply chain experts.

You can also read more about why your supply chain is vital for effective consumer engagement and how to leverage it for an effective strategy.

 

Cosmetics Supply Chain Challenges in 2022

In our last two blog posts of 2021, we talked about the global problem of counterfeit cosmetics and who investigates them when they’re discovered. For our first article of 2022, we’re talking about cosmetics supply chain challenges the industry should consider as we make our way through what will likely be another trying year for the global supply chain.

Please note that this isn’t a ranked list or a “countdown” to the No. 1 cosmetics supply chain challenge. That said, let’s get started.

Cosmetics supply chain challenges in 2022

Counterfeits and fakes

Yes, we’ve been talking about counterfeits a lot lately. But they’re one of the cosmetics supply chain challenges that bears repeating and re-emphasizing. Cosmetics and perfumery products are consistently among the Top 5 products “targeted by counterfeiters,” with fakes accounting for just under 10 percent of all customs seizures in 2019.

There are two main reasons why counterfeits are a challenge. First, they are a public health threat because they can contain hazardous materials. Second, they are a major threat to companies’ brand security. Traceability in a digital supply chain, including serialization and real-time environmental monitoring solutions, is your best defense. Read more in our brand protection blog series.

Sustainability

Sustainability is top of mind for all supply chain stakeholders. Consumers are one of the main drivers here, as they’re demanding accountability from the brands they buy. And if they don’t get it, they’re happy to take their business elsewhere. More and more regulatory bodies are also calling for sustainability.

Traceability, visibility, and transparency are how you can prove to consumers and regulators that you’re operating a sustainable supply chain with environmentally friendly/conscious processes and products. We wrote a good summary about “The Trifecta” of traceability, visibility, and transparency in our “Top Supply Chain Trends of 2021” post. Read that for more details about this important trend.

Refrigeration/Climate control

Some cosmetics must be shipped at specific temperatures. If the temperature dips or rises beyond that specified point — an event known as an excursion — products can be damaged, resulting in loss of revenue and, possibly, a knock to your brand reputation. This is a risk that’s simply not worth taking.

Climate control should be part of a larger real-time environmental monitoring solution. We call ours Integrated Monitoring. It’s an Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled solution that seamlessly integrates with your supply chain to monitor more than a dozen conditions, including temperature, on land, sea, and air.

Ethical considerations

One of the first cosmetics supply chain challenges is sourcing high-quality ingredients. (Indeed, this is a challenge in most industries; the concerns here should be on everyone’s radar.) In addition to the ethics involved in creating and maintaining a sustainable, environmentally friendly supply chain, cosmetics companies must contend with the issues of child labor and trafficked workers —even slavery.

To illustrate: mica and palm oil. The former is a sparkling mineral used in eye shadow, lipsticks, and highlighter; the latter is used for moisturizing or texture effects.

A 2016 report from the Amsterdam-based nonprofit Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) found that more than 20,000 children are forced to work in mica mines while their families live in severe poverty. Similarly, palm oil, the global market for which is expected to reach a global value of $57.2 billion by 2026, is plagued by human rights problems.

Companies must be vigilant. A digital supply chain with end-to-end traceability, visibility, and transparency is crucial.

Market changes

The cosmetics industry must continue to address changes in three areas: technology, regulations, and consumer sentiment. Of course, these changes are happening within the context of the pandemic, which arguably makes them more challenging.

In “The Global Cosmetics Market”, a white paper we published at the end of 2021, we get into the details of these challenges. Here are the broad strokes:

    • Technology is changing how consumers buy products and even how they interact with them. To adapt, companies can employ tools such digitalization and IoT devices to expand their supply chains without compromising efficiency.
    • Regulations are an ongoing concern in every industry. For example, in the United States, the Personal Care Products Act, if passed, would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and give the Food and Drug Administration more oversight of production and authority over cosmetics products, including the power to demand recalls.
    • Everchanging consumer sentiment means cosmetics companies must pay attention to what people want, expect, and demand. This makes supply chain traceability, visibility, and transparency vital to success.

Final thoughts

We ended our “Top Supply Chain Trends of 2021” blog post with a questionnaire. These questions absolutely pertain to cosmetics supply chain challenges:

    • Are you keeping up with the trends we talked about today?
    • Are there gaps and blind spots in your supply chain?
    • Are counterfeits a problem in your industry?
    • Are you doing everything you can to protect your brand?
    • Are you actively reaching out to your customers to bring them closer to your brand?
    • Are there compliance deadlines on the horizon?
    • Are you certain your current supply chain solutions are truly optimal?
    • Are you using your supply chain as a strategic asset?

We encourage you to contact us to discuss why your supply chain is the key to keeping up with challenges. Our digital supply chain experts can share a short demo of our award-winning Traceability System that will clearly show why it’s the best solution for cosmetics companies.

We also encourage you look through our blog. To learn more about how transparency works, for example, read our “Transparency Trilogy,” which unpacks transparency in the global seafood supply chain. You can also subscribe to our quarterly newsletter, which tracks the latest news and trends in traceability, regulations, and other industry news. Find the subscription form at the bottom of any page on our website.

Top Supply Chain Trends of 2021

The supply chain has been grabbing headlines since the pandemic began, but this year was especially newsworthy. From flotilla-like bottlenecks at major U.S. ports to warnings about counterfeit toys in Santa’s sleigh, it’s been a challenging time for supply chain stakeholders and consumers alike. So, as the year winds down, we thought we’d take a look at some of the top supply chain trends of 2021.

The Year’s Supply Chain Trends

Before we start, please note that this isn’t a ranked list or a “countdown” to the No. 1 supply chain trend of the year. It’s just a collection of trends that have occurred in different industries and that have made industry news as we’ve worked our way through the year. That said, without further ado, here are the top supply chain trends of 2021.

Automation

Automation includes robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, process mining, drones, and driverless delivery systems. This trend dates back to the first half of 2019, when companies in North America spent $869 million on more than 16,000 robots. This year, the World Robotics 2021 Industrial Robots report said there were 3 million industrial robots operating in factories globally, a record number and an increase of 10 percent. The report also said sales of new robots grew 0.5 percent, with 384,000 units shipped globally in 2020.

Blockchain

Blockchain has been a buzzword for years, and worldwide spending on the technology has been predicted to reach more than $11 billion by 2022. In regard to supply chain management, blockchain has great potential for traceability because it allows the provenance of any product to be easily demonstrated with and supported by immutable, tamper-proof data. It’s a big topic, so download our “Blockchain-Based Supply Chain Traceability” white paper to learn more.

Sustainability

There’s been a barrage of research about supply chain sustainability, particularly consumers’ expectations for transparency and environmentally friendly products and packaging. In one recent survey, 83 percent of respondents said it was “important or extremely important” for companies to design environmentally conscious products. Another found that 81 percent of shoppers say transparency is important or extremely important to them. In short, more companies are choosing to make their supply greener and more transparent.

Consumer engagement/customer experience

Consumer engagement and customer experience have always had a place in marketing and branding, but they’ve risen to a priority position over the last several years. (See a tidy summary of why here.) But what does your supply chain have to do with any of this?

The short answer: Your supply chain is a gold mine of information that can be leveraged for robust, innovative engagement/experience strategies. The basic building block is serialization. Read our two-part series to learn more. And definitely read our article about how supply chain traceability is building a “consumer kingdom.”

“The Trifecta”: Traceability, Visibility, Transparency

It should come as no surprise that we’re including these three “must-haves” on our list of the top supply chain trends in 2021. We’ve always maintained that visibility, transparency, and traceability are the key to a successful supply chain; however, the last two years have shown us that this trifecta is more important than ever and is the best way to optimize, safeguard, and leverage your supply chain for business value.

Visibility means using data to gain insight into how your supply chain is functioning and to take steps to make it run more efficiently. The goal is to see every ingredient/input, every product, every partner, every handoff … everything. Transparency means communicating supply chain knowledge internally and externally so all stakeholders, including consumers, can see how you operate. Traceability means you can follow a product to its point of origin and prove what it is and where it came from.

We have written extensively on these topics. Here’s a suggested reading list:

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT is a network of physical objects that connects to the internet via sensors and software. It’s the basis of our Integrated Monitoring solution. It enables greater visibility and flexibility across your entire supply chain. For example, IoT-enabled sensors placed in a shipment of vaccines will send a real-time alert if a problem arises, such as a temperature excursion or route diversion. We’ve written about IoT in the food and beverage industry, and rfxcel CEO Glenn Abood wrote a great article about real-time monitoring in the pharma cold chain. We also have a great video about it.

Digitization

If we were ranking the 2021′ supply chain trends, we’d make digitization No. 1. A supply chain that isn’t digitized cannot function efficiently. It cannot give consumers what they demand. It cannot comply with regulations. It cannot compete. It cannot make your business better.

Final Thoughts

As we move toward the New Year, it’s a good time to think about the future of your supply chain. Ask yourself some basic questions:

    • Are you keeping up with the trends we talked about today?
    • Are there gaps and blind spots in your supply chain?
    • Are counterfeits a problem in your industry?
    • Are you doing everything you can to protect your brand?
    • Are you actively reaching out to your customers to bring them closer to your brand?
    • Are there compliance deadlines on the horizon?
    • Are you certain your current supply chain solutions are truly optimal?
    • Are you using your supply chain as a strategic asset?

The next step is to contact us. Our digital supply chain experts can share a short demo of our award-winning Traceability System that will clearly show why it’s the best solution for any business, under any circumstances.

What is the Drug Supply Chain Security Act?

Today’s question: What is the Drug Supply Chain Security Act?

We’ve written extensively about the legislation, which was passed on November 27, 2013. But with the deadline for full compliance quickly approaching, we thought a quick overview was in order. So let’s answer the question, What is the Drug Supply Chain Security Act?

What Is the Drug Supply Chain Security Act?

If you’re a pharmaceutical company — a manufacturer, wholesaler, dispenser, repackager, or third-party logistics provider — you must comply with the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) if you want to do business in the United States.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the goal of the DSCSA is “to build an electronic, interoperable system to identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they are distributed in the United States.” The Act “will enhance [the] FDA’s ability to help protect consumers from exposure to drugs that may be counterfeit, stolen, contaminated, or otherwise harmful” and “improve detection and removal of potentially dangerous drugs from the drug supply chain to protect U.S. consumers.”

The law has been rolled out in phases since it was passed nearly 10 years ago. Implementation culminates on November, 27, 2023, at which time the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain will be fully serialized.

Key requirements of the Drug Supply Chain Security Act

The FDA puts DSCSA requirements into the following categories:

1. Product identification/serialization

A unique product identifier (PI), such as a bar code, must be placed on certain prescription drug packages.

2. Product tracing

Stakeholders must provide information about a drug and who handled it each time it’s sold. This includes transaction information (TI), a transaction statement (TS), and a transaction history (TH), collectively known as “T3” information. Read our “Dispensers and DSCSA 2023” white paper for more about T3 information.

3. Product verification

Stakeholders must establish systems and processes to verify PIs for certain prescription drugs packages. The Verification Router Service (VRS) enables a rapid, secure exchange of data to do this. See more about VRS below.

4. Detection and response + notification

Stakeholders must quarantine and promptly investigate suspect or illegitimate drugs. They must also notify the FDA and other interested parties when they find such drugs.

5. Licensing

Wholesalers must report their licensing status and contact information to the FDA. Third-party logistics providers must obtain a state or federal license.

Looking forward

The FDA has delayed the rollout of the DSCSA two times, giving the industry extra time to prepare. However, an FDA official recently said there will be no more delays. November 27, 2023, is a done deal.

In terms of what’s next, take a look at our “DSCSA 2023: The Future of Pharmaceutical Traceability in the United States” blog post. This gets into the granular details of the transformation that’s going to happen in 2023, but here are the basics of what to expect:

Serialization

Serialization relies on product identifiers (the “PIs” we mentioned above), which include serial numbers and expiration dates. For 2023, all transaction information (the “TI” we mentioned above) must include the PI. TI includes the following:

  • The product name
  • The product’s strength and dosage form
  • The product’s National Drug Code
  • The container size and number of containers
  • The lot number
  • The transaction date
  • The shipment date
  • The name and address of the businesses from which and to which ownership is being transferred
Authorized trading partners

Put simply, the DSCSA says that if you’re not an authorized trading partner (ATP), your access to the U.S. pharma supply chain will be severely restricted or denied altogether. All manufacturers, wholesale distributors, repackagers, third-party logistics providers, and dispensers and their trading partners must be ATPs. We did a deep dive on ATPs earlier this year; read our two-part series here.

Verifying drugs

The DSCSA’s saleable returns verification requirement stipulates that wholesalers must verify all returned drugs before they can be reintroduced to the supply chain. This is done by verifying a drug’s PI. A wholesaler must initiate a verification request to the drug’s manufacturer, then the manufacturer must provide a verification response within 24 hours. The Verification Router Service — the VRS — is what enables the rapid, secure exchange of data between these parties. Like everything else in the DSCSA, we’ve written extensively about the VRS. Our “DSCSA Saleable Returns Verification Requirement: Just the Facts” article is a good place to start.

Final thoughts

What is the Drug Supply Chain Security Act? The DSCSA makes pharma stakeholders responsible for securing the U.S. supply chain. It doesn’t matter if you’re a manufacturer, wholesaler, repackager, third-party logistics provider, or a dispenser — the law affects how you conduct business. Your compliance depends on making sure you can meet your responsibilities.

That’s where rfxcel comes in.

A fully serialized pharma supply chain is just two years away. It’s important to use this time to get your systems in place. We have almost 20 years of experience providing the pharmaceutical industry with leading regulatory and compliance software. So if you aren’t sure if you’re going to be ready for DSCSA 2023 and want to see a short demo of our solutions — or just want to know more about your responsibilities — contact us today. Our DSCSA experts will work directly with you to design a solution that meets your specific needs, no matter your role in the supply chain.

In the meantime, you can hear directly from our experts in our “Plan for DSCSA Readiness” webinar and our DSCSA 2023 webinar series. These are great resources to help you better understand the law.

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 can supercharge 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.

 

BONUS CONTENT!

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.

Why Your Supply Chain Is Vital for Effective Consumer Engagement

Consumers are exposed to countless brand messages every day. They see an endless variety of product information and opportunities, from ads, promotions, friends, and influencers on social media to signage in brick-and-mortar stores and website pop-ups. This is consumer engagement.

Or is it? It’s easy to throw an ad or a video online and say you have a consumer engagement strategy. But there’s a difference between consumer engagement and effective consumer engagement — and believe it or not, it’s your supply chain that makes the difference.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Today we’re looking at why consumer engagement has become a vital part of marketing strategies. Part II will get into why your supply chain is the key to effective consumer engagement. Let’s get started.

What is consumer engagement?

Consumer engagement is part of a larger marketing strategy with interlocking elements that support and complement one another. It’s often mentioned in the same breath as customer experience (a.k.a. CX or CEX) and user experience (UX). It is definitely part of brand protection, which we’ll be talking about in another blog series.

The goal of consumer engagement is to establish and maintain a connection with your customers. It is a sustained interaction between brand and customer. It is fueled by content such as videos, rewards programs, and games/contests, and on-demand product information, such as traceability data that proves that your product is what you say it is.

Top benefits of effective consumer engagement

Consumers are not the only ones who reap rewards from consumer engagement. You — your company, your brand, your bottom line — stand to gain a lot. Here are just a few examples:

You’ll promote stronger customer relationships

Your consumer engagement strategy should make your customers want to continue buying your product. Engaging customers across touchpoints and channels will increase the likelihood of forming stronger relationships with them. When you move beyond pitching only your products and begin adding value with activities and incentives, your consumers will be more inclined to turn to you when they plan to make a purchase. This allows you to develop a community of engaged loyalists who are willing to choose your brand, even if your products are more expensive than your competitors’.

You’ll get more (and better) customer feedback and insight

No matter the channel — an app, a social media platform, an email, a text message — consumers are more and more willing to share what they think about the things they buy and the experiences they have. With this valuable data about your customers, you can improve your products and product experiences and continue honing your consumer engagement strategy.

You’ll leverage personalized, proactive communication

Today, it’s all about personalization. You want to make your brand relevant to each person’s daily life. For example, if you have a product you know a consumer might find valuable, you can reach out proactively and help them understand its usefulness. You can promote a contest, a promotion, a rewards program — anything. When you communicate personally in this way, you create new value for your product while letting people know you’re interested in making their lives and product experiences richer and fuller. Artificial intelligence is likely to be the cornerstone of this type of fast, individualized consumer engagement.

You’ll build customer trust and loyalty

You don’t want your relationship with your customers to end after they purchase your product. You want them to be loyal to your brand. You want to position your brand as part of their daily lives. You want them to trust you. And you want them to tell others about you. By regularly engaging with customers — via their preferred communication channel or channels — you can demonstrate the benefits of your products. An effective consumer engagement strategy will also help you identify your customers’ concerns and determine what they care about. For example, do they demand to know where their foods come from? Are they concerned about sustainability?

This is where brand protection enters the picture. Consumer engagement is absolutely part of an effective brand protection strategy. Come back to our blog next week to read more about that!

Final thoughts

Consumer expectations are changing faster than ever before. Just talking about your brand and hoping that people notice it is not enough — you need to start interacting and incentivizing. This is the basis of all consumer engagement.

We covered some fundamentals today. In Part II, we get into the cool stuff: Why your supply chain is the key to effective consumer engagement. It’s all about traceability, serialization, digitization, and data. So take a look at that and contact us with your questions or to schedule a short demo of our Traceability System. You can also read more about how we can help you take your consumer engagement activities to the next level.

rfxcel, Part of Antares Vision Group, and MVC Sign Agreement with Lebanese Republic to Deploy End-to-End Pharmaceutical Traceability Hub

The agreement continues the partners’ success in the Middle East, where they recently launched the first GS1-compliant Traceability Hub in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Reno, Nevada, Sept. 22, 2021 (EINPRESSWIRE). rfxcel, part of Antares Vision Group and a global leader in digital supply chain traceability solutions, today announced that it signed a five-year cooperative agreement with the Lebanese Republic’s Ministry of Public Health to provide a GS1-compliant Traceability Hub to secure the country’s entire pharmaceutical supply chain. The company will implement the system with its partner Medical Value Chain (MVC), the Bahrain subsidiary of U.S.-based AVC Global.

The announcement comes only a few months after rfxcel and MVC were selected by Bahrain’s National Health Regulatory Authority and Supreme Council of Health to provide the first GS1-compliant system to track the Kingdom’s entire pharmaceutical supply chain on a blockchain platform.

The Lebanon Traceability Hub will deliver end-to-end visibility into every aspect of the country’s pharmaceutical supply chain, from the manufacturer of origin, importers, wholesalers, and distributors to pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals — all the way to individual patients. It will integrate with the Ministry of Public Health’s MediTrack system for domestic manufacturers.

The Hub is designed to achieve the following:

  • Lower the cost of pharmaceuticals
  • Provide patients with only authentic, safe medications
  • Combat drug counterfeiting and smuggling
  • Ensure access to pharmaceuticals subsidized by the Banque du Liban, the central bank of Lebanon
  • Prevent hoarding of medicines

“The Hub is all about leveraging leading-edge technology to secure Lebanon’s pharmaceutical supply chain and safeguard patients and consumers,” rfxcel CEO Glenn Abood said. “Security and safety — these are the very reasons I founded rfxcel almost 20 years ago. We’re eager to begin our work with MVC in Lebanon, and we’ll continue to focus on bringing Traceability Hubs to other countries in the Middle East and beyond.”

MVC Co-Founder and President Leo Giacometto said, “The MVC technology platform with blockchain revolutionizes the delivery and integrity of pharmaceutical supply chains in Lebanon. We are excited and honored to deploy our platform in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health in the Republic of Lebanon.”

Emidio Zorzella, Antares Vision Group CEO, said, “We’re all eager to start working with the Ministry of Public Health and gratified that everything has come together so well. When we unveiled the Bahrain Traceability Hub in June, I said we’d be announcing national hubs in other countries. Here we are today, continuing our vision of protecting products and people, and making supply chains safer and more efficient.”

About rfxcel

Part of Antares Vision Group, rfxcel provides leading-edge software solutions to help companies build and manage their digital supply chain, lower costs, protect their products and brand reputations, and engage consumers. Blue-chip organizations in the life sciences (pharmaceuticals and medical devices), food and beverage, worldwide government, and consumer goods industries trust rfxcel’s Traceability System to power end-to-end supply chain solutions in track and trace, environmental monitoring, regulatory compliance, serialization, and visibility. Founded in 2003, the company is headquartered in the United States and has offices in the United Kingdom, the EU, Latin America, Russia, India, Japan, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region.

About Antares Vision Group

Antares Vision Group protects products, people, and brands with inspection systems featuring 6,500 quality controls, track and trace software solutions for end-to-end transparency and visibility in digital supply chains, and smart data management tools for maximum operational efficiency, from raw materials to final consumers. It provides solutions to five primary industries: pharmaceuticals and life sciences (medical devices and hospitals), food and beverage, cosmetics, and consumer packaged goods. Active in more than 60 countries, Antares Vision Group has seven production facilities and three Innovation and Research Centers in Italy, 22 foreign subsidiaries, and a global network of more than 40 partners. Today, 10 of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies use its solutions to secure their production and supply chain operations; worldwide, it has deployed more than 25,000 inspection systems and more than 3,500 serialization modules. Antares Vision Group has been listed on the Italian Stock Exchange’s AIM Italia market since April 2019 and in the STAR Segment of the Mercato Telematico Azionario (MTA) since May 2021.

For further information

Antares Vision S.P.A.

Via Del Ferro, N. 16

25039 – Travagliato (BS)

Alessandro Baj Badino, Investor Relator

Tel.: +39 030 72 83 500

E-mail: Investors@antaresvision.com

Herb Wong, rfxcel Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Initiatives

Tel.: +1 925-791-3235

E-mail: hwong@rfxcel.com

Meat Traceability in the Food Supply Chain: Getting to Know Your Protein

Today’s consumers demand transparency, particularly when it comes to the meat they consume. They want more information about how and where the livestock was raised and processed — not just from a nutritional standpoint, but also with regard to food safety practices, animal care practices, environmental impact, and worker safety. Put simply, they want meat traceability.

Consumers are making an emotional connection to the foods they buy and consume; they want to feel good about where their money is going and what they are putting into their bodies. While this trend has been growing over the past several years, it has gained significant traction recently. Add the pandemic into the mix, and you’ve got an even greater demand for transparency amid an environment driven by heightened health and financial concerns.

The supply chain saw significant disruption during the pandemic, as high infection rates in processing plants led to a marked curtail in operations in pork, beef, and poultry plants—and in some cases, plant closures. In fact, roughly 65 percent of meat processing plants experienced outbreaks and 20 percent were forced to temporarily suspend operations, which, in a consolidated meat industry, had a ripple effect across the country. As the outbreaks played out publicly, consumers grew even warier of the origins of their meats.

Adding more complexity to the issue, bad weather over the past year meant smaller corn and soybean harvests, making it harder and more expensive for cattle, hog, and poultry farmers to feed their herds. The last time the industry saw such high grain prices was during the 2012 U.S. drought.

As meat supplies diminished, consumer demand grew, with more people stuck inside and forced to cook and eat at home. The result: price inflation at the grocery stores, making it more expensive for consumers to feed their families. As they pay more for the foods that nourish their families and read headlines about the pandemic’s effects on the food supply chain, their demand for transparency has only become greater.

Meat traceability is more essential than ever

As we usher in a new era in food safety, meat traceability is no longer a “nice-to-have” — it’s essential. With increasing consumer demand for more information about where their protein is coming from, clear documentation from the farm to the end product is a must.

The Global Food Traceability Center defines traceability as the “ability to access any or all information relating to a food under consideration, throughout its entire life cycle, by means of recorded identifications.” This goes beyond the information itself; it’s about linking the information throughout the supply chain and ensuring coordinated processes and end-to-end meat traceability.

The good news is that tech-enabled meat traceability doesn’t have to be complicated, and its benefits are vast and powerful. From increased meat quality, improved food safety, and fewer product recalls to better inventory tracking and superior customer service, traceability delivers a range of benefits that go far beyond simply responding to consumers’ demand for information. With visibility across the entire supply chain, manufacturers can document and link the production, processing, and distribution chain of their protein products, which results in greater organizational efficiencies, reduced market and operational risks, a stronger competitive advantage, and a better brand image.

Final thoughts

While challenges continue to emerge amid a rapidly evolving global landscape, brands have an opportunity to tell a story that evokes a positive emotion and inspires a purchase. Consumers want to know that their meats were produced ethically and safely, and, of course, pose no risk to themselves or their families. As more and more people scan labels and packages for information about where their food came from and how it was made, transparency will play an increasingly crucial role in a meat producer’s brand image. It really comes down to trust: If consumers don’t trust your brand, they’ll be more than happy to buy another company’s product. Meat traceability satiates a consumer’s need for information, which builds trust with your brand.

From farm to table, rfxcel’s food supply chain solutions have you covered. Our award-winning Traceability System (rTS) is the basis of a modernized, digital supply chain with fully customizable and scalable solutions that yield complete end-to-end meat traceability. It is the foundation of a digital supply chain and a successful food recall management system that operates with surgical precision.

Offering the most complete and flexible raw materials and meat traceability solution for food and beverage, we’ll help you to optimize your supply chain operations while catering to the consumers’ increasing demand for information about the meats they consume.

rfxcel Enters into Acquisition Agreement with Antares Vision Group

The combination of rfxcel’s industry-leading traceability software platform and Antares Vision’s solutions for intelligent track and trace will create significant value for customers.

Reno, Nevada, Feb. 19, 2021 (EINPRESSWIRE). rfxcel, a global leader in digital supply chain traceability solutions, today announced that it had entered into an acquisition agreement with Italy’s Antares Vision Group, a leading global provider of intelligent track and trace, inspection, and smart data management solutions for the life sciences and food and beverage sectors.

rfxcel CEO Glenn Abood said the agreement marked the start of an expansive era for the company he co-founded with Chief Strategy Officer Jack Tarkoff in 2003. “This is an exciting new chapter for rfxcel,” he said, “a time for the company and our customers to look to the future.

“Becoming part of Antares Vision Group will give us new ways to strengthen our relationships with our customers and provide them with enhanced solutions as they do their important work in the life sciences, food and beverage, consumer goods, and government industries. Plus,” Abood continued, “the integration of our companies’ capabilities will enable us to drive into new markets and geographies as the undisputed leader in supply chain track and trace solutions. It really is a ‘win-win’ for our global teams and our customers.”

The Antares Vision Group will leverage rfxcel’s capabilities and signature rfxcel Traceability System (rTS) software suite to help customers accelerate their transition toward digital and sustainable supply chains characterized by full transparency and visibility. Together, the companies will provide a full stack, end-to-end digital supply chain solution that will optimize and streamline customers’ operations while providing complete end-to-end visibility, from product ingredients and raw materials to the end customer experience.

rTS is a digital supply chain visibility platform comprising up to eight discrete solutions that work in concert to harmonize, optimize, automate, and monitor virtually every aspect of supply chain operations, including serialization, regulatory compliance, Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled monitoring, and raw materials and finished goods traceability. rfxcel also offers a Mobile Traceability app that extends the power of rTS to users at every node of the supply chain, from remote fields and warehouses to retail outlets.

Emidio Zorzella, chairman and CEO of Antares Vision, said he and co-founder Massimo Bonardi were “delighted” about the agreement with rfxcel. “Demand for traceability and serialized products and services has increased significantly over the last few years,” he said, “and this transaction accelerates our ability to offer best-in-class propositions in all our key reference sectors, life science and food and beverage. We look forward to welcoming the management and employees of rfxcel to the Antares Vision Group and working together to serve our customers across the world.”

Abood added that both companies shared the same goals and Antares Vision would help rfxcel accelerate its plans. “The rfxcel management team is delighted to join with Antares Vision to offer customers the most complete end-to-end solution for track and trace on the market today.”

For more information about the acquisition agreement or the companies’ solutions, contact Herb Wong, rfxcel’s vice president of marketing and strategic initiatives, at hwong@rfxcel.com or 925-824-0300.

About rfxcel

Founded in 2003, rfxcel provides leading-edge software solutions to help companies build and manage their digital supply chain, lower costs, and protect their products and brand reputations. Blue-chip organizations in the life sciences (pharmaceuticals and medical devices), food and beverage, worldwide government, and consumer goods industries trust rfxcel’s signature Traceability System (rTS) to power end-to-end supply chain solutions in key areas such as track and trace, environmental monitoring, regulatory compliance, serialization, and visibility. The company is headquartered in the United States and has offices in the United Kingdom, the EU, Latin America, Russia, India, Japan, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region.

About Antares Vision

Listed since April 2019 on the AIM Italia market of the Italian Stock Exchange, Antares Vision Group guarantees the protection of products, people and brands through inspection systems for quality control, track and trace solutions for anti-counterfeiting and supply chain transparency, smart data management tools for maximized efficiency and digitalization of the supply chain, from the point of production to the end consumer. The Antares Vision Group is active in the life science sector, including the pharmaceutical, medical device, and hospital segments, as well as in other industries, including, primarily, food and beverage, cosmetics, and in consumer-packaged goods. The Group reaches over 60 countries worldwide with complete and flexible solutions, hardware, and software, with related services: it has five offices in Italy (Brescia, Parma, Piacenza, Latina and Vicenza), 15 foreign branches (Germany [2], France [2], USA [3], Latin America [2], India, Russia, Hong Kong, China, Croatia, and Serbia), three Innovation and Research Centers (Italy) and a worldwide network of more than 40 partners. With the 20 years of experience in vision technologies of the two founding partners, the Antares Vision Group is the supplier of 10 of the 20 leading pharmaceutical companies in the world (by turnover), with more than 25,000 inspection systems, which ensure everyday product safety and quality, 6,500 quality controls, and more than 3,500 serialization modules on lines installed all over the world. With the aim of continuing and supporting the growth and development strategy, during 2019, Antares Vision finalized participation agreements with T2 Software, a Brazilian company specialized in smart data management solutions, and Orobix, an Italian company leader in artificial intelligence services, and acquired 100 percent of FT System, leader in control and inspection in the beverage sector. In 2020, Antares Vision acquired 82.83 percent of Tradeticity, a Croatian company specialized in software management of traceability and serialization processes, 100 percent of Convel, an Italian company specialized in automated inspection machines for the pharmaceutical industry, the assets of Adents High Tech International, a French company specialized in software for serialization and traceability, and 100 percent of Applied Vision, a global leader in inspection systems for glass and metal containers in food and beverage. In 2019, Emidio Zorzella and Massimo Bonardi won the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award for innovation. For more info: www.antaresvision.com.

rfxcel Welcomes Lincoln Manning as Chief Revenue Officer

Reno, Nevada, Sept. 17, 2020. rfxcel, the global leader in digital supply chain traceability solutions, today announced that Lincoln Manning has joined its executive team as chief revenue officer. Mr. Manning will be responsible for all aspects of revenue generation, including worldwide sales, ecosystem partnerships, sales operations, and systems engineering for the company’s verticals, which include the life sciences (pharmaceuticals and medical devices), food and beverage, government, and consumer goods.

“We are glad to have Lincoln on our team,” said rfxcel CEO and Co-Founder Glenn Abood. “He brings a wealth of experience from diverse industries that he’ll be able to leverage across rfxcel. We are particularly excited about his devotion to and excellence in anticipating what customers need and doing what it takes to ensure they succeed. This is one of our corporate values.

“Lincoln also has a track record of building and strengthening sales teams. Our sales teams are solid in every market, but Lincoln will take them to the next level, helping us maintain our leadership where we’re already established and build our presence where we’re still growing.”

Prior to joining rfxcel, Mr. Manning held executive-level positions at software and digital marketing companies. He led sales, marketing, and customer success teams to increase revenue, reinvent business ecosystems, navigate post-merger corporate change, and reset reseller channels.

“There couldn’t be a more perfect time to be joining rfxcel,” Mr. Manning said. “Our mission of keeping the supply chain safe in key verticals is more important today than ever. I believe rfxcel is uniquely positioned globally to ensure products are safely delivered to patients and consumers, because of our agility and ability to respond to customer needs in today’s ever-changing environment.”

Mr. Abood co-founded rfxcel with Chief Strategy Officer Jack Tarkoff in 2003, so Mr. Manning joins the company as it celebrates 17 years of supply chain innovations and growth. Recent successes include conducting major pharma pilots for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Brazilian government; tripling the size of its team in Russia and being named an official software and integration partner of the Center for Research in Perspective Technologies (CRPT), which operates Russia’s National Track and Trace Digital System (Chestny ZNAK); releasing the latest version of its award-winning rfxcel Traceability Solution; increasing its presence in the Middle East; and being named 2020 Software Company of the Year by Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NCET).

“Lincoln’s joining us at a busy time,” Abood said. “We’re keeping our customers’ supply chains running during the pandemic, improving our products and developing new solutions, and expanding our operations globally. Lincoln will be a huge asset as we continue to secure and optimize the pharma, food and beverage, government, and consumer goods supply chains. By strengthening our commitment to our customers, he’ll strengthen rfxcel. We’re all excited to have him on the team.”

For more information about rfxcel’s solutions, contact Herb Wong, vice president of marketing and strategic initiatives, at hwong@rfxcel.com or 925-824-0300.

 

About rfxcel

Founded in 2003, rfxcel provides leading-edge software solutions to help companies build and manage every aspect of a digital supply chain, lower costs, and protect their products and brand reputations. Blue-chip organizations in the life sciences (pharmaceuticals and medical devices), food and beverage, worldwide government, and consumer goods industries trust rfxcel’s signature Traceability System (rTS) to power end-to-end supply chain solutions in key areas such as track and trace, environmental monitoring, regulatory compliance, serialization, and visibility. The company is headquartered in the United States and has offices in the United Kingdom, the EU, Latin America, Russia, India, Japan, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region.