Agile Innovation Update – October 2014

Each month we bring you the FreshMinds Agile Innovation Update. This month we’re looking at Unilever’s pilot of a wearable device, the price consumers put on their data, a new partnership between mobile payments company Zapp and a number of British retailers, reports that Facebook is planning a peer-to-peer payments service and innovation trends in the European food and drink industry.

Unilever enters the world of wearable tech

Unilever is piloting a wearable tech device to help consumers become healthier. The ‘behaviour engine’ consists of a wristband to track physiological data such as sleeping patterns and physical activity as well as an app so that users can record their nutritional habits and buying behaviour. There are already a number of apps and devices on the market to help users track elements of their behaviour, but where Unilever’s device could really stand out is as a data hub, that brings information about various aspects of a consumer’s lifestyle, including all-important information on their purchasing behaviour, together in one place. If the device does take off, Unilever will be privy to a huge amount of data. And if the company can overlay information regarding consumers’ attitudes and motivations onto this, Unilever will be in a strong position to develop an unrivalled understanding of its customers.

Consumers put a price on their data

A new study by Orange has revealed just how much consumers consider their personal data to be worth. On average, consumers put a price tag of £140 on their data but when asked to consider sharing information with a brand they are less familiar with this figure rises to £200. It’s clear that consumers are increasingly aware of the immense value of their own personal data to brands with 67% believing that businesses benefit from the exchange as opposed to the consumer (6%). This is something that neither marketing nor insight professionals can afford to ignore. If they are to persuade consumers to continue to part with their data and reap the associated benefits, it is essential that they design a compelling value exchange.

British retailers look set to innovate their payment systems thanks to a partnership with Zapp

Sainsbury’s, House of Fraser and Asda are just a few of the British retailers who have partnered with Zapp in a bid to bring mobile payments to their online and bricks and mortar stores by 2015. Zapp’s technology precludes the need for cash or a card by letting consumers pay for goods through a mobile device – an innovation in payments that will meet consumers’ ever increasing expectations for ease and convenience. Earlier in the year, Zapp established relationships with a number of major banks, but what makes this new partnership so significant is that it has the potential to bring mobile payments to the mainstream, by making the technology available to a broader number of people and part of everyday life. With this news, and the forthcoming introduction of Apple Pay, is a cashless society finally on the cards? 

Facebook reportedly preparing for peer-to-peer payments services

A series of leaked screenshots suggest that Facebook is preparing to integrate a peer-to-peer payments service into its Messenger app. The screenshots indicate that users would be able link a credit or debit card to their Facebook account and then send friends money in the same way it’s possible to share photos, voice recordings or emoticons. This has huge implications for retail banks – competition from Facebook could endanger an important revenue stream, especially with regards to transferring money abroad. This underlines the importance of not only monitoring your direct competitors, but keeping a close eye on those outside your industry with the potential to disrupt business as usual.

Product innovation in the European food industry dwindles

According to a new report from the European Commission, product innovation within the European food industry has fallen in recent years. Since 2008, the number of food and drink innovations that reach consumers has decreased by 6.5%. The nature of innovation has also become less radical over the last decade. Whilst in 2004 innovations were primarily focused on new product development or range extensions, a third of all food and drink innovations in 2012 related to changes to packaging. Hopefully this trend may be reversed as more and more companies look to embrace the principles of agile methodology and develop methods that allow for early stage collaboration with consumers, promoting the ability to fail fast, focus efforts and get to market quicker.