Robert van Boesschoten

How Digital Product Passports will make your products last longer

Understand how Digital Product Passport will impact product longevity

Welcome to The Loop, a series of blogs that provides insights, tools, and questions from the world of Circular Commerce. The key question we aim to answer is: How can we accelerate the transition towards Circular business models? We will explore this topic through the perspective of the consumer, the makers, and our planet. We also extend an open invitation to join us in pioneering this field together. Please share your feedback, views, and ideas here!

I have been intrigued by this question for some time now: why is it so difficult for consumers to extend the lifecycle of the products they own and use?

A few situations that recently came up in my own household:

  • I bought a new electric toothbrush and was informed that I need to keep the small receipt for the next 2 years to qualify for warranty. However, I often misplace the receipt and forget about the warranty. >> Why are product warranty systems so outdated?
  • I attempt to sell used children's clothing on Vinted, which are of high quality and in excellent condition, but I struggle to earn more than 15% of the original price on those platforms. >> Why is it so difficult to regain the value of used items?
  • The hood in my kitchen required a replacement filter, but I had trouble determining which part to order and for which specific type of hood. Consequently, I had to wait for an extended period of time to take action. >> Why are spare parts so difficult to find?
  • While shopping in-store for a new pair of jeans, I tried to understand the environmental impact of those products. >> Where can I find sustainability information about a product?
  • My son's electric race-car broke down, and despite my attempts, I couldn't repair it. There were no available repair services, forcing me to buy a new one. >> Why are repair services so hard to find?

Do any of these situations sound familiar? Well, there might be an interesting solution on the horizon: the Digital Product Passport.

What is a Digital Product Passport (DPP)

A DPP, or Digital Product Passport, is a digital representation of a physical product that documents its entire lifecycle from its creation to its disposal. Similar to a person's passport that indicates their origin, a DPP provides information about a product's origins and journey. It serves as a dynamic digital record that can store, process, and share product information with supply chain partners, authorities, and consumers. This information can include details about the product's source, materials, production processes, and sustainability metrics.

DPPs often incorporate scannable codes, such as QR codes or NFC tags, which allow users to easily access all the relevant information by scanning the tag with their mobile phone.

How will a DPP help me as a consumer?

As a product user, you can enjoy a range of benefits with the implementation of Digital Product Passports (DPPs). Here are 4 key advantages:

Know the journey of your products

You can trace the origins and journey of a product, knowing where it comes from and how it was produced. This can make consumers more aware so they can make informed choices.

Example: US-based apparel brand Coachtopia offers sustainable fashion. Each product comes with a unique digital passport that holds details about the product's materials, environmental impacts, and how it has been crafted according to their Made Circular™ principles.

Easy warranty registration

A DPP enables simple registration of the product's warranty. Registration for (extended) warranty can be seamlessly integrated into the DPP, allowing users to activate and manage their product warranty with just a few clicks. This not only enhances the user experience but also ensures that consumers can easily access after-sale services, fostering brand loyalty.

Example: Dutch kitchen appliances brand ETNA offers a 5-year extended warranty on their products. While this is not yet a full DPP solution, registering your product for an extended warranty is a breeze. Simply scan the QR code and you will be guided through a user-friendly registration process, ensuring your appliance is covered for any unforeseen issues. This also allows the brand to build a long-term relationship with their customers.

Start reselling with ease and maximum value

DPPs can play a pivotal role in enabling easy and efficient resale. When a consumer decides to resell a product, the DPP can showcase its entire lifecycle, proving its authenticity, condition, and any refurbishments. This transparency instills confidence in potential buyers, drives the second-hand market, and contributes to a circular economy.

Example: Breitling pioneers the adoption of the  DPP for their luxury watches. The passport provides full visibility on the watch it’s lifecycle, from the moment it is sold. Breitling will soon provide a secured resell-market place with embedded valuation via the DPP. Prospective buyers can then confidently purchase a pre-owned device, knowing its complete history and condition.

Access repair and support when you need it

DPPs simplify the after-sales service process, making it easy for consumers to seek assistance and repairs. When a product requires repair, the DPP can guide users through the steps to initiate a repair request, provide information on authorized service centers, and even offer tutorials for basic troubleshooting. This not only streamlines the repair process but also enhances customer satisfaction.

Example: Let's say your smart thermostat experiences a minor issue. By scanning the DPP, you are instantly connected to a virtual assistant that guides you through potential solutions. If the problem persists, the DPP provides a list of authorized service centers in your area, ensuring a quick and hassle-free repair process.

DPPs are coming!

Digital Product Passports have the potential to create a win-win-win scenario. They empower consumers by providing transparency and sustainable choices, enable circular commerce for brands, and contribute to circular value chains.

In Europe, the EU is mandating the adoption of Digital Product Passports as part of the Green Deal package. Product brands selling in Europe will soon be required to implement Digital Product Passports, starting with the Electronics, Batteries, and Textiles industries. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in penalties and missed opportunities.

However, leading product brands don’t wait and focus on the opportunities it presents. They are taking action now by enabling new after-sale services and embracing Circular Commerce. Start now!

💡 Our Call to Action:As innovators in this space, we are ready to collaborate with visionary product brands and service providers to implement DPPs, driving sustainability, enhancing consumer experiences, and shaping a circular economy. The journey to a sustainable future starts with a single step—let that step be the integration of Digital Product Passports into your brand's narrative. Contact us today, and let's embark on this transformative journey together.

Book a consultation with Subspot to explore recurring commerce business models. 

Published / 
February 9, 2021

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I'm Robert van Boesschoten, founder and CEO of Subspot. If you've got any questions, feedback or thoughts I'd love to talk more. Drop me a message below and we'll grab a coffee.
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