The Global Commerce Initiative is not a group you would see as ‘getting’ buyer-centricity, so it’s interesting to see developments on this front.
GCI is an umbrella body of the world’s largest consumer goods manufacturers and retailers. Its executive board includes manufacturing representatives from British American Tobacco, Coca-Cola, Colgate Palmolive, Danone, Henkel, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, L’Oreal, Mars, Pepsico, Procter & Gmable, Philips, Reckitt Benckiser, Sara Lee, and Unilever. Its retail representatives include people reps Albertsons, Boots, Carrefour, the Metro group, Royal Ahold, Target, Tesco and Wal-Mart.
Recently they formed a working group to look at what the consumer goods industry will look like in ten years time (http://www.gci-net.org/gci/content/e29/e1525). Among their conclusions are the following:
· “by 2016 consumer trust will centre around consumers’ willingness to share information in a largely virtual world. Through the development of a ‘digital persona’ database, consumers will register certain types of information that they are willing to share with specific companies.”
· “consumers’ willingness to share their personal information with companies will be dependent on the consumer having confidence in the privacy and security measures in place covering this type of activity. Most importantly, however, they will expect to get something of value in return, such as tailor-made promotions or added convenience.”
· “demand signals from consumers will be aggregated in new ways [to provide, for example] discounted deals based on aggregated demand for commodities such as energy and fuel.”
· “consumers will share their future requirements with selected players in the value chain. This would allow for replenishment directly to the consumer, bypassing the need for stock in the value chain” [i.e. retailers!]
· “increasingly, ‘smart consumers’ will use converging technology to run the home as a business, providing companies with the opportunity to connect to the household information platforms that will likely emerge”
· [we will see the rise of] “personalised ordering agents” managing the replenishment of commodity items.
· “consumers increasingly will be pulled into the R&D process suggesting ideas, making comments about beta versions, and so on.”
· “Consumers will look for trusted and accurate information. The industry will need to respond via agreed-upon and consistent forms of communicating information to consumers.”
Many of these ideas were raised, and discussed, many years by the BCCF among others. You can see white papers on these themes: on ‘digital persona’ databases (see discussion paper on personal knowledge banks, http://www.rightsideup.net/documents/PersonalKnowledgeBanksrevise2_000.pdf); on household information platforms (see discussion paper on personal information management services, http://www.rightsideup.net/PIMS.htm), on services that help consumers buy better and smarter (see discussion paper on added value buying services, http://www.rightsideup.net/AVBS.htm), and on the notion of ‘the consumer’ as a business.
It’s good to see such ideas being spreading, even to the heart of the seller-centric establishment.