Jenny Stanley
Jenny Stanley 29 September 2021

What is Connected Packaging?  

Does increasing engagement with your audience and driving in-store footfall sound like desirable objectives? Then connected packaging is the solution for you!

Nowadays, most consumers own a smartphone. Thanks to this wonderful tool, brands now have a way to amplify the experience they provide for their customers by using connected packaging. The addition of QR codes or NFC chips to packaging allows it to become connected.

Connecting to the packaging via a smartphone gives you access to a variety of information including statistics, videos, nutritional values as well as activities such as AR, games and contact forms. Connected packaging is found in different industries, such as: 

  • Food and beverage
  • Retail 
  • Events 
  • Cleaning products
  • Health and beauty products 

Types of Connected Packaging

There are three types of connected packaging: active packaging, interactive packaging, and intelligent packaging. Active packaging initiates contact with the customer and creates engagement, interactive packaging allows interaction with the packaging that provides useful information to the customer.

Lastly, intelligent packaging aims to send information to the customers but also receives some information directly from the customer. 

Active Packaging:

The objective of active packaging is to inform the customer about the product. The majority of times the packaging will use a QR code, that will redirect the customer to an informative piece of content. This informative content can include a link to a website, social media or the location of the closest shop that sells the product. Active packaging helps the brand to create engagement and increase sales.

Interactive Packaging:

Similarly to active packaging, interactive packaging also provides information to the customer. However, it is more technologically advanced, as it allows interaction with the user. The customer initiates the interaction with packaging and the brand can then provide an augmented reality animation, a game, a quiz or more information about the product to keep the customer engaged.

The purpose of active packaging is to help customers engage and learn more about the product, active packaging can be used so that customers can receive product information and/or special offers are usually easily accessible through an RFID or QR code printed on the packaging. Interactive packaging communicates with the customer and provides information about the product as a result of an interaction such as a game for example.

With active packaging, the customer will only receive information, with interactive packaging he/she will be part of the process to get the information.

Intelligent Packaging:

Intelligent packaging is different from active and interactive packaging, as it is not only used to provide information to the customer, but it can also receive information. It uses NFC technology to capture what is going on around the customer's smartphone. 

For example, a smartphone brand has created an application that uses NFC technology to wake up its users. In the morning, a customer struggles to get out of bed, so the brand decides to provide a solution to this issue.

When the alarm clock goes off, the customer doesn't need to press snooze, to turn off the alarm. Instead, they could interact with the alarm by answering a set of maths questions, taking a quiz or scanning a nearby NFC tag! By doing this, the company not only provides a service to its customers but can also collect data on their consumption habits as well as their behaviours. 

What are the Benefits of Connected Packaging? 

1. Provide Important Customer Data:

Connected packaging provides an opportunity for brands to collect useful information on their customers. This data can include demographics as well as their behaviours. This information can give brands a better understanding of their customers, which can allow the brands to meet their customer’s needs. Privacy has become an important factor in the relation between brands and their customers over the last few years.

Thanks to connected packaging, brands can interact with their customers while retrieving information that is useful to them. This can be done through the use of a single-use QR code or by redirecting to a Facebook page which will allow access to the profiles of those who visit it.

Connected packaging won’t give access to all the information about the customer, only the data they accept to communicate. The data collection is aligned with GDPR restrictions, the customer is always given the option to agree to a privacy policy that outlines the data that will be shared with the brand. 

2. Increase Brand Awareness and Recognition:

Connected packaging, allows customers to learn more about the products they consume but also about the values of the brand. By offering interactive content such as games or fun augmented reality animations, brands can improve their connection with their customers. This kind of interaction with customers highlights the values and commitments of the brand whilst making them friendly and accessible.

3. Build Customer Loyalty:

It also helps build customer loyalty. Connected packaging creates a bond with the customer. A brand can showcase its commitments such as sustainable development through a quiz, which allows customers to become aware of the brand's vision which can build loyalty. A game can also for example come with a reward, such as a discount or a free product, which will encourage the customer to continue to come back to the brand.

4. Improve Customer Engagement:

Connected packaging can help to grow engagement between a brand and its customers by providing brands with an opportunity to directly offer discounts and highlight their values. Connected packaging can also allow the customer to play a part in promotional content which can further increase engagement. For example, augmented reality content that a customer features in can be shared on social networks. 

5. Increase Revenue:

Connected packaging can also have a positive impact on revenue for brands that use it. It helps improve the brand image and helps to attract new customers to the brand. It can also provide an opportunity to drive revenue from existing customers by providing a way to offer customers coupons, discounts and vouchers to encourage repeat purchases.

6. Makes the Unboxing Experience more Interesting:

Buying a product is now more than consuming what is inside the package. The packaging is part of the product, becoming an experience. Digitalizing the packaging makes the shopping and consumption experience more entertaining for consumers. 

Connected Packaging Examples

Case study - Curry King 

This first example shows how augmented reality can have a positive impact on customer experience and be beneficial for the brand. The Curry King brand is an iconic food brand in Germany, known as the "curry-wurst king".

The user had to scan a QR code on the package through Shazam. In addition to the three little games created for the brand, Appetite Creative modelled the "CurryKing" in virtual reality, the customer had to take a selfie with it and share it on social networks. This operation counted more than 420,000 users and an average of 3.5minutes of game time.

Case study - Tetra Pak  

Tetra Pak objective was to promote its commitment to sustainable development and to raise awareness of recycling. Appetite Creative created a quiz with the goal of getting more trees to grow in the forest. The user could access the quiz through a QR code printed on the package. As soon as the customer provided a correct answer, they would see a tree grow. Tetra Pak customers grew a total of 750 trees and answered 19,000 questions.

Case study - Ben & Jerry 

The aim of the ice cream brand was to draw attention to its new product Cookie Dough 'Wich. Appetite Creative had to find a way to encourage consumers to use their discount coupons. The customers could access their vouchers by scanning a  QR code on the package. To get their coupons consumers had to log in either with their social media.  The website counted over 50,000 registrants and 900ms loads time. 

Wrap Up

As we have seen in this article, the varying types of connected packaging provide brands with an infinite number of ways to connect with their customers. This not only benefits customers but also allows brands to gather data that can be used to improve their marketing campaigns. 

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