Technology has led to different advancements in our daily lives, digitization being one. Digitization has crossed the boundaries and limits of industries like telecommunications, education, healthcare, and commerce.
In the packaging industry, digital packaging innovation sets a good example.
Digital packaging, or smart packaging, refers to the packaging that connects the digital world and the physical world through various innovations in design, security, and traceability. These packages connect retailers, manufacturers, customers, and digital channels to create one seamless commerce system.
Technologies that utilize smart packaging innovate so that their packaging is more than just a container; it’s a communication between company and customer.
Today, many brands still utilize a conventional type of packaging; however, the use of smart packaging is steadily growing across brands.
4 Applications of Digital Packaging
1. Connected packaging
This type of packaging allows brands to “connect” with their consumers. In addition, they integrate technology that will enable them to update their customers on the status of their products.
Some of the technology they utilize are QR codes, image recognition, NFC technology, and barcodes. These technologies allow easy interaction with consumers and can generate and collect third-party data. This enables brands to understand their customer’s behaviors better.
The experience of these connected packaging could create an avenue for retailers to build customer loyalty, telling their story more directly than ever before.
2. Sensory experiences
Virtual reality or VR can now also be integrated into packaging. It is a powerful tool used in visualizing designs or prototypes, bringing the packaging to life so that customers can interact with it as if it were in the real world.
Another great addition to sensory experience in packaging is the integration of augmented reality or AR. With augmented reality for packaging, brands can enhance their marketing campaigns by integrating digital content such as texts, graphics, animation, videos, and even games.
This unique way of packaging a product allows customers to have a new encounter with a product that could make your brand stand out and give them a sensory experience that’s distinct to your brand.
3. Informative packages
Using NFC tags and QR codes, brands can embed these features in the packaging to provide more information about a product. For instance, a skincare brand can feature a QR code where the buyer is directed to a landing page.
This page can include detailed steps on using the product correctly, finding out more about its ingredients, and checking out other products that best go with it.
4. Intelligent functions
The world now sees packaging as a great way to monitor the environmental conditions of the package—an added benefit to customer safety and satisfaction. Intelligent packaging is mainly seen used in food packaging. It can detect, sense, and record the changes in the product’s environment and guarantee the safety of packaged food. Smart packaging increases food quality, safety, and shelf life.
5 Benefits of Digital Packaging
Increased consumer interaction
A great thing about intelligent packaging is how it makes it fun for the consumers and encourages them to increase their interaction with your product and brand.
The added steps in, let’s say, VR and AR packages that make it interesting for your customers not only leave a good impression on them but also keep you at the top of their minds.
Traceability and improved supply chain
Product packaging that collects, monitors, and updates delivery information improves the brand’s overall traceability and supply chain. Everything in the whole retail process is accounted for with one scan, including order tracking, stock inventory, logistics, and more.
Customers want to know more than just what they’re buying. Sometimes, they want to know where it’s from, who made it, how long it will be delivered. This benefit improves not only customer satisfaction but also brand trust.
Branding is an integral part of any business because it allows your company to stand out among competitors. In addition, great branding makes a lasting impression on your customers, which will significantly help your brand awareness and create a loyal customer base. In a world where counterfeit products exist, you should continuously look for ways to protect the integrity of your product.
Digital printing can help you by adding marks or microtexts that are almost impossible to duplicate. By doing so, it’ll become easier for your customers to distinguish your original product from replicas.
This not only protects your brand’s reputation but will also protect your business from losing sales to impostors and position your brand as trustworthy for including anti-counterfeiting measures.
Apart from the added benefit of safety and security to your product, digital packaging also provides reduced costs. Your brand can save on the front end because of lower setup costs and printing materials. It’s a “produce-as-needed” setup, allowing you to only pay for the printing that you need.
Companies reduce costs and keep more money in because the printing process is faster, and the products can be shipped quicker. Moreover, digital packaging removes the wait time to take products to market because there are no long waiting times for labels, improving your revenue stream.
Digital printing can be applied to many materials. The capabilities of digital packaging extend beyond cardboard boxes and plastic. These types of packaging can be used with transparent films for food and even wood, metal, or cotton.
Digital Packaging is the Future
Digital packaging provides more than just “something new.” These types of packaging offer a whole new different customer experience that can add to your overall branding. Depending on your customer’s experience, they can decide to stay with your product, should they find your packaging unique and, more importantly, convenient and helpful.
Smart packaging benefits your buyer’s journey and helps your business. From flexibility to cost-cutting and security, it’s no doubt that digital packaging also improves the business’ overall status through its innovations.
While more research is being done to improve smart packaging, the future is bright. Hopefully, researchers and innovators will discover more benefits and improve other aspects of the product, such as sustainability.
Adam Peek is a father of 5, husband of 1. He is also the host of the People of Packaging podcast and a VP at Meyers Printing. His passion for changing the world has also led him to be a sustainability consultant, sales trainer, global keynote speaker/preacher, soon to be Children’s Book author…and a part time rapper.