You’ve introduced CircularID™, an attempt to log the life cycle of a garment. Why?
The fashion retail industries have reached a breaking point. Brands are saddled with massive amounts of inventory, struggling to keep up with breakneck production speed, and racing to the bottom with price. They’re losing their relationship with digitally native customers who are redefining the consumption patterns of the future in favor of experience, services and value-aligned brands.
By introducing digital identity to products and connecting these products to the Internet of Things, we make it possible for brands to power customer engagement, enterprise intelligence, circular economy business models and sustainable performance.
What changes are consumers demanding?
Customers’ values are impacting their purchasing decisions, driving them to purchase less, purchase more responsibly, and participate in new circular and sustainable business models – including reuse, resale and rental. Brands are responding to that demand by providing transparency and investing in circular economy programs which increase a product’s use and its materials’ reuse, to power a sustainable product lifecycle.
That transition, though, is challenging because brands and retailers don’t have the digital infrastructure. At Eon, we’re working with the industry to create the digital systems essential to power new circular and sustainable business models.
How do you see technology and connectivity solving that?
The economy of today is defined by a linear economic model – a ‘take, make, waste’ approach to resource consumption. A circular economy introduces an economic model based on the continuous reuse of materials and zero waste.
IoT [the Internet of Things] is recognized as one of the most powerful enabling technologies for a circular economy. It makes it possible to embed intelligence and connectivity into products and manage these products and materials in a highly intelligent, efficient and interconnected system. It also unlocks the new monetization models, financial incentives and global systems of transparency, measurement and accountability essential for this shift.
What challenges does that present for your business?
Although IoT may be one of the more complicated technologies to adopt, it is one of the most disruptive technologies facing the industry and is quickly becoming ubiquitous in our everyday lives. Because IoT technology combines the digital and the physical, implementation across an enterprise requires new infrastructure, systems and processes. When we work with our clients, we view it as entering a long-term collaboration and a strategic partnership to power digitization.
How do you see circularity being applied beyond fashion?
Every industry should be striving for a circular economy approach to design, product delivery and business strategy. Transitioning to a circular economy is essential to creating a viable future for our ecosystem, environment and economy – across all industries. We’re seeing an immediate demand for the technology in consumer packaged goods, furniture and electronics – and we’re quickly moving to support these industries to design the digital infrastructure for their circular future.
Want more? Read our interview with Tina Sharkey, Co-founder and Co-chair of Brandless.