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There isn’t a product manager in the country who isn’t constantly under pressure to put more and more information on their labels from forces both inside and outside the organisation. God help those who are striving for a clean and minimalist packaging design.
Recently GS1 Australia, the local barcode authority released a free iPhone application that allows consumers to scan product barcodes and access a huge range of extra product information uploaded by the brand owners themselves.
The GoScan app is the product of three years of development in partnership with retailers, food companies, the Australian Food and Grocery Council, Australian Universities and national health organisations. It provides accurate, authorised and comprehensive product information for consumers –at the touch of a button.
The GoScan app allows consumers to easily access information that can be a stumbling block in the purchase decision. Unlike other barcode scanning apps, the information is supplied by the manufacturer and verified by GS1 to ensure accuracy, ensuring a trustworthy source of information.
How does the Goscan app work?
Brand owners supply GS1 Australia with information about the product via a simple Excel template. Once it is entered into the GoScan app database, shoppers can search for products in three ways:
- By scanning the barcode using their iPhone camera
- Entering the barcode manually
- Searching by description or brand
Once the product has been found, the app displays eight categories that include information on;
- Allergen information and alerts
- Dietary information such as Kosher, Halal and Organic
- Country of origin
- Nutritional content and RDI information
- GM and irradiation declaration
- Storage and preparation
- Company information
This is a great step forward for the average shopper. The visually impaired can use the standard iPhone features to hear product ingredients read aloud. Users can set up alerts for specific allergens or dietary requirements. The NSW Food Authority recently announced data showing that up to a quarter of the population may have a food intolerance. As food allergies are becoming more common, the average consumer needs to be cautious about what they are buying for their family.
The benefits for consumers are obvious, but what are the benefits for companies?
Building trust is the most important part of brand loyalty. If the consumer doesn’t trust a product, they won’t continue buying it. When consumers use the GoScan app they are receiving trustworthy information about the product from the Brand Owners.
GoScan is a new way for the consumer to engage with the brand. Companies can provide address details and consumer enquiry numbers. There is also the option to include links to social media sites – and with it, the possibility to promote a competition, link to genuine product reviews or even provide instructional ‘How-to’ videos.
Additionally, each product page has space for the brand owner to upload a banner image which may be use to announce special offers or cross-promote other products.
Want more ideas for using the GoScan app as a marketing tool? Download Goscan – A guide for marketers – here.
GoScan will reduce reliance on customer service resources by enabling the consumer to access information not normally included on product packaging.
More importantly, rather than continuing to legislate for further information on product labels, the Government could utilize the GoScan app technology as a convenient and cost effective alternative for product information for both consumers and Brand Owners.
GoScan has recently been released to the public and is available in the iTunes store.