Smart Packaging

Oct 11, 2021

Keeping consumers engaged with intelligent packaging

A close-up look at how smart packaging can improve the consumer experience and how smart product platforms can help.
Elisabeth Skoda

David Rogers, marketing manager at Blue Bite, talks us through different ways how smart packaging can improve the consumer experience, and highlights the benefits of smart product platforms.

Smart packaging transforms physical packaging into a digital platform, building a better consumer experience than previously possible. This improved experience redefines how brands engage consumers in-store, at home and beyond, starting at the first consumer touchpoint: packaging and labels.

Smart packaging uses built-in technology to move beyond what packaging is traditionally known for: protecting products and branding, and is generally divided into two categories: active packaging and intelligent packaging.

Active packaging works to improve the product in some way, for example, a food container made of materials that keep the food fresh longer than traditional packaging.

Intelligent packaging is capable of intelligent functions through the implementation of technologies directly in or on the packaging, for example, a food container that can sense how fresh the food inside of it is.

While the benefits of active packaging to consumers are self-evident, it’s intelligent packaging that really brings a new kind of consumer experience to market.

One of the most commonly used subsets of intelligent packaging — and one of the most beneficial to consumers — is connected packaging. Connected packaging uses connecting technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC) tags and QR codes to attach a digital experience to physical products. Consumers easily access these experiences by scanning or tapping with their phones.

Improving the consumer experience

When these digital experiences are connected to a smart product platform such as Blue Bite’s, they become dynamic touchpoints that keep consumers engaged before, during and after purchase. These experiences can provide personalized marketing at scale, give consumers the information they need, when they need it, provide always-current messaging that can be updated at any time and deliver brand access at all times.

Consumers can benefit in three major ways. They can reorder products or order related products with one click through POS integration. This is particularly important for brands that typically sell through retailers, as it opens up an easy avenue for direct sales. Because each item has a unique ID, the entire provenance can be traced through the supply chain, even back to materials sourcing. This provides a new kind of transparency into how products are produced. Authentication gives consumers peace of mind that the product they are considering purchasing is authentic, even if it’s being sold on the secondary market.

These are just a few examples of the benefits smart packaging offers consumers, and how these experiences build strong and long-lasting relationships between consumers and brands that last far beyond the initial sale.

Brands leveraging a smart packaging platform use this continued interaction to provide continuously updated information and messaging. Consumers see different information every time they interact, keeping them coming back again and again, long after the initial sale.

A closer look at Redken

For example, Redken connects digital experiences directly to product packaging by adding QR codes — a Blue Bite-powered experience is launched when consumers scan them with their phones. A “personalised prescription” details the benefits of the product the consumer holds in their hand. If they are in a store or salon and haven’t made a purchase yet, it provides additional information that may influence that purchase decision. If they’ve already purchased the product, the experience showcases product instructions and more.

The experience provides more information about the brand in video form. A “Complete Your Hair Routine” call-to-action directs consumers to other products that will perfectly complement the purchase, turning the product itself into a new kind of direct sales channel.

Redken’s digital experiences were developed and maintained by an in-house team using the Blue Bite Studio and Dashboard. The experiences allow a variety of customization based on consumer inputs and specific products, without the need to build thousands of individual webpages.

This information is provided directly to consumers with no need to print brochures or other materials to distribute to salons that waste resources and eventually get thrown away. Packaging design can remain clean and simple when there's not a need to provide product instructions and other information on the box. During the salon project, the brand saw an activation rate of 40%, meaning that more than one in three customers that visited salons interacted with the experience. Additionally, the average time spent in the experience was 3:34 minutes; consumers were finding value in the experience and continuing to explore beyond the recommended product.

Elisabeth Skoda

Editor of Touchpoints magazine, writer for Packaging Europe magazine and design enthusiast!
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