As the supply chain continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate, verifying that a product is authentic is more important than ever – for manufacturers and consumers alike. In the past, a shorter “farm-to-table” product journey made it easier to pinpoint where an item came from, who created it, and how it reached the end user.
Oppositely, today’s complex global distribution system has made it harder for manufacturers to maintain visibility and transparency through the supply chain – and has caused millions of customers to doubt the authenticity of their purchases.
And, in today’s highly competitive market, 71% of customers report finding it easier to switch to a different brand if one company breaks their trust. So, how can you maintain your customers’ trust and loyalty while also ensuring that your products are authentic, safe from tampering attempts, and distributed according to your plans? Product authenticity verification through blockchain technologies can help.
Learn about the concepts and benefits of a tailored, end-to-end product authentication solution in this guide by Authena.
Today’s consumers crave product authenticity, and they are prepared to pay more for products that are manufactured in a specific place, by a certain supplier, or using determined ingredients.
In most cases, the authenticity of a product is communicated to consumers through marketing material, labels, and accreditations. A common example in the industries of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods is wine designations, such as the P.D.O (protected designation of origin) label.
But far from being just a buzzword or a marketing strategy, product authenticity is important to guarantee consumers that the product they are buying is the one they are expecting, safe, and up to the highest standards.
That is where product authenticity verification systems come in. These solutions allow consumers to buy with confidence, meet their expectations, and avoid severe issues for manufacturers, like reputation damage and public health scandals.
While labels might already contain all the information a consumer needs, counterfeit products and fake goods are still a significant threat to both consumers and manufacturers. That is why end users need to understand the authenticity of a product – and, for organizations, to implement the right tools to empower their customers during their buying decision-making process.
A great way to do so is to implement an end-to-end authentication verification system that allows manufacturers to gain increased visibility through the supply chain and offer user-friendly authentication portals to their users. For example, consumers can check the authenticity of a product simply by downloading the Authena App.
Product authenticity is a broad concept that encompasses many aspects of branding, marketing, and product manufacturing. According to studies by Harvard Business Review, some consumers might determine a brand to be authentic when sticking to its values, mission, and vision, while others might look at the origin of products or techniques used in the manufacturing process.
However, generally, a product is deemed authentic if it’s transparent, has not been counterfeited or altered, and reflects the manufacturer’s standards. Tailored end-to-end systems like the Authena solution help manufacturers track and trace their products through the supply chain, thus ensuring authenticity.
According to studies, the authenticity of a product is assessed by a consumer based on factors like:
Serial numbers can be used by consumers to ensure that the product they are about to buy is authentic. Consumers can usually register the serial number or barcode number on the manufacturer’s website and learn more about the item.
These solutions can be time-consuming and inefficient in the case of products such as FMCGs. What’s more, barcodes can be forged and cloned, making them less reliable than other authentication verification systems.
Thanks to today’s emerging technologies such as blockchain, NFC labels, RFID tags, and smart packaging solutions, consumers have more efficient and reliable tools to verify the authenticity of a product.
For example, manufacturers that implement track and trace solutions such as NFC labels allow their customers to get a wide range of information about a product simply by scanning a label with their NFC-enabled device. Some of the information immediately available include:
Product authenticity goes beyond simply tracking a product through the supply chain. Consumers are now more than ever looking to gain insights about how a product was manufactured, what certifications it has obtained, and what standards it meets.
Even more importantly, end-users are expecting manufacturers to provide them with product authentication tools, such as smart labels and packaging.
While blockchain is still an emerging technology, it is one of the most disruptive ones of our era. Blockchain refers to a hyper-secure digital ledger that collects and stores immutable digital records of a product’s transaction – in the physical and digital world.
Systems like Authena M3TA’s Smart Contracts and NFT authentication solutions create a digital twin for each product, allowing manufacturers to track each unit’s transactions across the supply chain, through the distribution channels, and to the end-user.
One of the reasons why blockchain technologies are so revolutionary and efficient is the high levels of security it offers. Transactions recorded on the blockchain are immutable and impossible to forge, which creates a trail of information that cannot be tampered with.
When each product, unit, or batch is paired with Authena’s digital-physical seal, blockchain records can provide unprecedented traceability and validate authenticity.
Product authentication systems are end-to-end solutions that track the movements and transactions at the unit level. These track-and-trace systems are essential to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, and adulteration and can deliver accurate information about each product’s status across its journey to the retailer and beyond.
While barcodes and QR codes are the traditional response to the need for traceability, today’s authentication systems leverage safer and more accurate digital tools, such as blockchain, NFTs, and smart labels to prevent tampering and guarantee product authenticity.
The rise of online marketplaces has increased the volume of fake goods on the market and worsened the risk of dangerous counterfeits. That is why, as the eCommerce market grows, it has become essential for manufacturers to implement systems that allow both organizations and customers to authenticate their products when sold online. Smart labels and blockchain records play an important role in helping online shoppers verify the authenticity of a product.
Emerging technologies like blockchain, NFC tags, RFID labels, and NFTs all play an important role in creating a bulletproof end-to-end authentication system. However, as each brand has unique needs and requirements, the most efficient way to verify the authenticity of your products is to implement a custom-designed solution and work with specialists such as the Authena team.