Born Digital: Effective Digital Trigger Methodology and Content that Incentivizes Apparel Consumers to Trust and Engage with Digital Apparel Labels Called Digital Product Passports, Rana Sidahmed

In the United States, 26 billion pounds of textiles end up in landfills. Much of this waste is due to the linear and traditional “take-make-dispose” discard model. This research aims to further the adoption of a circular fashion model by first understanding how consumers engage with digital technologies, and by determining which information is most important to them. This study will answer the following three questions: Which method of digital triggers with a digital product passport will most likely be adopted by apparel consumers? What will enable apparel consumers to trust the tracking and tracing of their products through a digital product passport? What type of content incentivizes apparel consumers to engage with a digital product passport?

Digital Product Passports are digital labels linked to the internet, validated through blockchain, and accessed through a smartphone. These labels can be linked to the item through digital triggers, which are vehicles to communicate with consumers with data controlled by the apparel brand. This enables the identification, authentication, and monetization of apparel through circular business models like resale and recycling across the entire product lifecycle, keeping products out of landfills. Digital Product Passports are starting to be used by the apparel industry to track information and promote circularity of
product lifetimes.

This study utilizes a quantitative research design. The data was collected through a structured, cross-sectional 25-question survey with 63 respondents from the researcher’s extended network. The findings of this study demonstrate that quick response (QR) codes are the most familiar form of digital trigger and should be utilized to increase apparel consumers’ adoption of digital labels. Brands can gain consumers’ trust by ensuring that the data is validated and only used for their intended purpose. Suggested content should include information to help apparel consumers understand (1) how to care for their garment, help consumers know (2) what to do at the garment’s end of life, and ensure (3) supply chain visibility.

This research will benefit consumers by revealing their preferences for digital triggers. It will also help brands and marketers understand what content will incentivize consumers to interact with the digital labels. Standardization of digital triggers could also help with adoption as more people get familiar with one method of accessing garment information. Finally, better adoption of the Digital Product Passport will benefit recyclers because it will easily convey to consumers where to recycle their garments and give
recyclers instant verified access to their material content, keeping more garments out of landfills, thereby increasing the circular economy.

Keywords: Digital Product Passport, digital triggers, circularity, digital labels, IoT, Creative
Content, Trusted Content, Data Privacy, Transparency, Loyalty.

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