One of the biggest questions facing consumers in 2020 is certainly “is it safe?”. From going to the grocery store to taking public transportation, many elements of our daily lives now have their own risk factor. At the beginning of the pandemic items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer and cleaning products flew off the shelves. Over time, many new brands began to surface to satisfy the demand for products that had become scarce. The problem is, there is no real way for consumers to know which products are authentic and which could be harmful. In this article, we’ll discuss two avenues where an authentication technology could be highly beneficial for consumer safety.
According to Neilsen, in the first week of March alone, hand sanitizer sales shot up by 470% compared to the same week a year earlier. By April there were many brands in industries as diverse as cosmetics and distilleries using their factories to produce hand sanitizer and fill the gap caused by overwhelming demand. Generic brands of sanitizer began to flood the market. Fast forward a few months and we are now seeing that several of these brands were not as authentic as advertised. As of August 12th, the FDA flagged 157 hand sanitizers for being unsafe.
Adding a connected packaging technology to the label of a hand sanitizer can ensure the product is safe and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. For instance, a consumer could touch the bottle to their mobile device and get a green light or a check mark indicating it is safe and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals.
Although specific cleaning products and disinfectants haven’t officially been tested for Covid-19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of disinfectants for use against the virus that causes COVID-19.
According to Mayo Clinic, consumers should look for products with active ingredients such as ethanol, hydrogen peroxide or quaternary ammonium. Adding a connected element to the products packaging, like a card insert, can educate consumers on how to best use the product. With a touch to a mobile device, consumers can receive a confirmation that the product is authentic and not a counterfeit product. Brands can even take it a step further by providing a video tutorial on how to use the product on different surfaces that may be in infected. Additional information, like precautions consumers should take when using the product could also be provided. Not only does this allow for an opportunity to educate the consumer, brands will also be able to engage with them in ways that haven’t been done before.
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