With the holiday shopping season just behind us and the National Retail Federation’s Big Show just ahead, the topic of customer experience is a hot button. In particular, how can retailers provide a consistent, personalized experience across all channels while ensuring they are engaging with consumers in a respectful manner?
The consumer products and retail industry needs to work together to address this question by developing a set of “consumer engagement principles.” A number of reasons support the call for a common approach by the industry:

  • The increasing impact from “digital landmine accidents” (e.g., data breaches, privacy risks), which negatively influence consumer trust, not only regarding the individual companies involved but also the industry at large
  • The increasing pace of technology developments with regard to consumer data and digitally enabled engagement (e.g., wearable devices, observation tracking, big data insights)
  • Protecting the ability to create value with respect to increasing consumer demands and preventing unnecessary regulations

As noted by the World Economic Forum (“Unlocking the value of personal data,” February 2013): “Government legislation and regulation have a crucial role to play in establishing trusted flow of data, but given the speed of change and complexity, it can never be relied upon to cover everything. Common Principles at industry-level can serve as a global foundation for creating an interoperable, flexible and accountable framework for coordinated multistakeholder action.”
Capgemini and The Consumer Goods Forum are working on an initiative focused on developing a set of “Consumer Engagement Principles.” The initiative was an outcome of the Future Value Chain 2022 program. More than 200 executives from some of the leading consumer goods and retail organizations worked together as part of the program to focus on how, through a set of collaborative initiatives, the industry can continue to bring benefits to consumers. This effort was triggered by the significant changes taking place in society, consumer behavior, the environment and technology.
The overriding rationale for the Consumer Engagement Principles is clear: In the context of consumer trust and legislation with regards to the use of digital technologies, the industry needs to protect its ability to create mutual value in digital consumer engagements.
The key objective of the Consumer Engagement Principles is also clear: Establish and drive a set of commonly agreed principles, by the industry, for the industry, to raise and maintain the level of trust with consumers. The goal is to have consumers view the industry as a responsible user and steward of consumer data and insights – thus forming the common foundation from which the digitally enabled value exchange can be optimized by individual companies.
A number of activities are already under way to move the initiative forward, but participation from consumer products and retail companies is key to success. As the industry gathers in New York for NRF’s Big Show, we encourage companies to join the Consumer Engagement Principles initiative.
Find out more by contacting Kees Jacobs or Ruediger Hagedorn.

This contribution is by Kees Jacobs
Digital Proposition Lead
Capgemini Digital Customer Experience