Thousands of new products launch every year, and it takes a lot of effort and gusto to stand out to retailers and consumers with so much competition in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. You need a great product backed by a solid brand strategy and differentiators that make your brand’s products shine. And in today’s CPG world, consumers want to support brands and purchase products that align with their values. This is where brand and product certifications come in.
Join our LIVE webinar “Leveraging the Power of Product Certifications” to hear from buyers and CPG experts about what it means for your brand to carry industry-recognized certifications. Register here.
What are certifications and why do they matter?
Certifications are a way to set your brand apart from other suppliers in the retail industry. As consumers’ shopping behaviors change and they become more aware of what these certifications mean, they search for products with familiar labels and icons. Consumers want products that help maintain their lifestyles, diets, religions, and so on. We see this in action as more and more consumers reach for products that promote healthy lifestyles such as non-GMO, gluten-free, paleo, biodegradable, and eco-cert. But it doesn’t stop there. Consumers are demanding brands that encourage diversity, whether it be minority-owned, women-owned, or LGBTQ-owned. Consumers want to purchase products from brands that give back to communities, and do not harm animals or the environment, such as fair trade, vegan, rainforest alliance, or certified B corporation.
And because consumers demand these products, retailers are listening and buyers are actively searching for brands and products with certifications. In 2020, we saw buyer searches for certified products tick upward on the RangeMe platform. For food and beverage buyers, some of the most searched certifications included USDA Organic; Non-GMO Project Verified; Certified Gluten-Free; Fair Trade Certified; and Certified Vegan. The same went for health and beauty buyers who searched for more health-conscious products such as vitamins, supplements, and more because of changing consumer shopping behaviors during the pandemic. As for general merchandise buyers, there was a definite emphasis on diversity and sustainability certifications such as Women’s Business Enterprise, Clean Label Project, and Biodegradable Products Institute.
Certified products = trusted products
Product certifications are so much more than just a tiny logo or icon featured on a product label. They provide consumers and retailers with the reassurance of standards, quality, and safety.
A brand doesn’t just achieve a product or brand certification overnight. It’s a time consuming, thorough process that doesn’t go without reason. Getting certified opens up the door to new customers, as mentioned earlier, and gives your brand credibility.
Product certification is the process of a manufacturer partnering with a certifying organization to verify their products conform to a set of recognized industry standards. Below are some of the steps brands might need to follow and commit to in order to get their products certified. The process varies with each certification provider and type.
- Business assessments + agreements– Establishing that a given certification is right for your brand and products followed by signing an agreement and committing to the process of getting certified.
- Testing– Ensuring products are safe and meet the claims made on the product packaging. There are different types of testing you may need to commit to, such as:
- Material safety
- Ingredient safety
- Ingredient performance
- Performance testing
- Packaging testing
- Auditing– Inspecting the supply chain confirms products are made a certain way, with the right materials, every time. Consistency here is key.
- Literature compliance– Ensuring product packaging, installation manuals, data plates, and product data sheets are consistent with test results. This step confirms the applicable industry standard’s information, and the brand and product do not make false or misleading performance claims.
- Registration and labeling– Entering into a license agreement with the certification provider to use their trademarked logo or icon on your product labels.
- Regular audits– Once you get certified, you don’t get to keep the label forever without check-ins. Be prepared for periodic audits of your products, supply chain, ingredients, and so on. Regular audits allow the certification organization to ensure your products still comply with their and the industry’s standards.
And voilà! You now have a certified product (or brand) that can easily be distinguished and trusted. It’s important to remember that once you get this certification, use it to your advantage when marketing. Aside from communicating your great product, certifications are another way to connect with consumers and retailers alike.
How do I connect with certification organizations?
The list of certification providers suppliers can connect with is endless and can be found with a little research and google searches. However, at RangeMe, we’ve partnered with industry-recognized certification providers and launched a new category dedicated to certification providers in RangeMe Services. Here you can find the relevant certifications for your brand by searching for providers by your product categories. Suppliers can connect with providers on RangeMe to learn more about their brand’s eligibility and the process for becoming certified. This RangeMe Services category is growing, and new certification providers will be joining soon!
The time and effort involved in getting your brand and products certified is no simple task, but it will only benefit your brand. Product certification will help your brand stand out to retailers and build trust with consumers.
Discover certification providers on RangeMe Services here.
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