The Gusto Amico Platform Project

Connecting Small Producers with Consumers through Just in Time Introductions

Gusto Amico is based upon simple truths about trusted relationships. They begin with an introduction and endure through mutual respect. 

Using video, Gusto Amico introduces artisan producers to potential consumers right at the point of sale. And opens the door to building an ongoing personal rapport. 

Ten years ago, while looking for ways to combine my obsessions - technology, travel, food and culture - I noticed that small scale farms and food producers need a direct way to introduce themselves to consumers in a grocery store setting. They need a just in time introduction right at the decision-making point of purchase.

In a Farmer’s Market, cottage industry startups can establish a personal connection with customers and have the added advantage of offering samples. 

In a grocery, though, national brands have the advantage of name recognition and discounted prices. But from my own experience in retailing artisan cheese, I know that meeting the product producer often convinces a potential customer to try a new product even without a sample.

Barcodes are already a grocery standard so I explored their potential for delivering product insights to the consumer. But their finite utility instead led me to the much more dexterous QR (Quick Response) code which surpasses most of barcode’s limitations. With a smartphone, a customer could scan a QR code next to a product and be connected to a video of whoever produced the product, creating an immediate virtual introduction.

At a Google Startup Weekend in 2013, I pitched Gusto Amico as just such a point-of-sale virtual introduction invitation.  After viewing the video, customers could opt-in to a custom relationship platform to exchange content and direct communication with the producer.

The concept was well received but smartphones weren't everywhere yet. Most onerous though was having to download a special app to read the code. But I kept the concept alive. 





My Foundation for Insight
  • Decades of experience in digital media production and web development
  • Decades of involvement with the evolution of the Internet and digital communications
  • Digital production and software instructor in community and academic settings
  • Acclaimed as a visionary for creating a prophetic 1995 Internet PSA...related details here
  • Firsthand understanding of artisan wine and cheese retailing and production
  • Early adopter of virtually connecting rural communities: Spreading the Curd in Montana




An Innovation, a Plague, and an Opportunity

Then it happened. Smartphone cameras became code scanners. QR codes became an immediate no-contact solution during Covid. And the public got to know how to use them. 

Now two game changing digital technology upheavals are quickly emerging:
    • New international regulation ending predatory advertising (good-bye cookies)
      • Marketers are scrambling to create "opt-in" engagement
      • Gusto Amico is completely "opt-in"
    • An unprecedented emphasis on digital technology in precision agriculture
      • Digital skill education is among Gusto Amico's essential goals
      • To survive and thrive, small producers must own and control their data

Overview of the QR (quick response) Gusto Amico platform

Proof of Concept Phase
    • Create in-store test cases of the Just in Time QR introduction
    • Create training resources around digital media and technology
    • Gather and assess first-hand response data and consumer feedback
    • Build suitable technology and producer community support

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Platform Development Phase
    • Incorporate insights from proof of concept
    • Use open source software whenever possible  
    • Allow consumers and producers to build private and direct relationships
    • Emphasize transparent local control rather than mega-social media
    • Integrate useful creation/data tools for producers and consumers
    • Coordinate with Ag Tech initiatives to advance digital skills among producers
    • Keep data exchange, storage, and utilization private and mutually beneficial


User Experience Highlights
    Consumer
    • Registration not required in order to view point-of-sale videos
    • Registration opens interaction with producer and special content access
    • Receive health, nutrition, food safety messages and levels of personalization
    Producer
    • Levels of membership including a basic free option 
    • Tutorials and coaching on content production and digital proficiency
    • Access to CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and data tools

Please help us build the doorway to a new small producer CRM platform.
Try the demo below and offer your thoughts!


Meet Faux Farms Go-4-Goat Cheese 

Thank you!