Crowdsourcing & Purchasing Power: Why Consumer Insight Matters

Shopping Carts

Image courtesy of Camilo Rueda López at https://www.flickr.com/photos/kozumel/

A paradigm shift between consumers and companies is gaining momentum as the power dynamics of their relationship transforms.

Like never before, consumers have access to an overwhelming amount of real-time information, right at their fingertips. With this new-found freedom, people all around the world have begun to vote with their wallets.

This is disrupting business as usual.

Purchasing power is stronger than ever, making companies much more accountable to their actions. Greenwashing and cover-ups no longer pass under the radar with the same ease they had in the past.

This is great news for conscious consumers and companies doing the right thing. And it’s just about to get a whole lot better.

A new app has recently launched its beta version with the potential of making purchasing power hit a tipping point into a new era of business.

OpenLabel is a web platform and mobile app that seeks to bring transparency and accountability to the world of commerce. Simply put, it acts as a crowdsourcing space for consumers, nonprofits and other stakeholders to share information and reviews about the ethical, environmental and social attributes of products. In turn, users can search reviews–by scanning a product’s barcode–to make informed decisions before committing to a purchase.

This is purchasing power at its finest.

I wanted to learn more about what all of this change means for companies, so I spoke with the CEO of OpenLabel, Scott Kennedy, to get his take on it all.

When asked what he thought of companies that ignore the growing reality of consumer purchasing power, Scott answered with swiftness and an air of confidence: “I think [these types of companies] are going to go away.” He furthered this point by comparing our current shift in consumer purchasing power to the music industry.

iTunes is here to stay, and although Urban Outfitters may seem to be a vinyl-selling anomaly, it’s no longer a wise idea to open an album (or CD) shop.

He also spoke about what OpenLabel will mean for companies who use their business as a force for good. Scott highlighted the fact that smart companies realize that participation in this new space is “inevitable,” and instead of fighting it, smart businesses will “get out in front of it [and be] proactive.”

When OpenLabel begins to monetize the platform, businesses will have the opportunity to purchase information and data relating to user ratings and reviews about their products. Not only will this be beneficial for companies looking to enhance their consumer insight, but it’s also fabulous news for activists, consumers and nonprofits committed to bettering business practices. Their voices and opinions will actually be purchased by companies, instead of ignored.

So long may be the days of businesses that try to coerce consumers into believing what’s worth buying.

With apps like OpenLabel–and with its growth accelerating at an impressive rate–I imagine this trend will only continue to grow.

So what should companies do to stay on their toes?

Monitor what’s being said about your company and its products. Gather data to gain further consumer insight. Improve your products based on stakeholder reviews, aligning those improvements with scalable social and environmental impact. And continuously repeat this process.

Does your company engage in consumer insight initiatives? And how do you embrace consumer purchasing power in your business? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to follow the blog and follow me on Twitter @CSRtist for more on all-things relating to corporate good.

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5 replies

  1. Very cool! I’m pretty tired of waiting for brands to offer more (and better) information. And government won’t make them. So this is a pretty brilliant way for socially active people to just start re-labelling products ourselves 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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