Over the years, packaging has developed from a simple product protector to the forefront of brand representation. Presently, owing to connected packaging technologies, packaging is not merely ornamental but serves as a significant aspect of a brand’s narrative.

In this blog post, we explore the evolution of packaging design, placing consumer appeal at the forefront. Moreover, in an era where technology is easily accessible to all, features like QR codes in connected packaging have the potential to elevate brand-consumer interaction to new heights, even a century after its inception.

Attracting and engaging consumers Visual appeal is crucial in capturing consumer attention beyond a loyal customer base. Appealing packaging and labels with distinctive, eye-catching designs enhance shelf appeal, encouraging consumers to take a closer look.

Distinctive homeware packaging designs might incorporate prints matching the pattern of the tableware within, which are too aesthetically pleasing to discard. Additionally, limited-edition packaging and labels, such as bottles with custom shrink wrap celebrating sports events, introduce an element of exclusivity and collectability.

Innovative packaging is often intentionally created to excite consumers, encouraging them to share photos or even unboxing videos on their social media accounts, thereby providing free brand exposure. For instance, the Heinz Tattoo Stencil label allows consumers to express their unwavering devotion to the brand.

Packaging-based promotions have become more interactive than ever. Although including mail-away coupons and competitions on product packaging is not a new concept—US cereal giants Kellogg’s and General Mills were running their first promotions over 100 years ago—the objective remains the same: delighting consumers and fostering brand loyalty.

However, with retail packaging traditionally focused on attracting attention to drive sales, communication between brand and consumer has typically been one-sided.

Connected packaging and QR codes Connected packaging equipped with QR codes can help bridge the gap between the physical and digital realms, elevating the consumer experience. QR codes facilitate instant connectivity between consumers and brands, granting consumers access to product details while enabling brands to gather consumer responses and feedback.

In recent years, consumers have become accustomed to scanning QR codes in various everyday scenarios. According to Martech Alliance, four out of five smartphone users in the UK and Europe have scanned a QR code at least once, with one in three scanning at least one QR code per week.

In the retail sector, the migration of packaging barcodes to standardised 2D codes facilitated by GS1—previously known as the GS1 Digital Link—at the point of sale is underway, sparking increased interest among brand leaders. This presents an opportune moment to delve into this technology.

Brands are uncovering the versatile uses of QR codes, with Bitly’s QR Code Trends Report 2023 identifying consumer goods as the third fastest-growing industry in terms of the number of scans, experiencing an 88% year-on-year growth.

Despite their small size, QR codes powered by GS1 have the capacity to deliver information to multiple stakeholders through a single convenient scan. This offers valuable data and enhanced product traceability to brands and retailers while providing consumers with helpful or engaging content that can evolve over time without necessitating changes to the packaging.

This capability is facilitated by the standardised structure of the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) represented by the QR code. Essentially, this URI functions as a website address containing a sequence of identifiers and attributes that serve as gateways to information such as expiry dates, serial numbers, and batch/lot numbers, as well as landing pages.

The processing of specific identifiers varies depending on the device or app used to scan the code. For instance, a scan using a mobile phone camera might lead to a landing page presenting information on recycling and sustainability for consumers, while brands and retailers employing an EPOS scanner could gain access to supply chain tracking and expiry dates to inform dynamic pricing strategies.Benefits of Connected Packaging

Digital printing and connected packaging Forward-thinking brands are utilising QR codes to create immersive, interactive experiences, enriching interactions with consumers, while also embracing GS1 technologies to future-proof their businesses. By providing information for multiple stakeholders through a single compact code, brands can concentrate on maximising consumer appeal and driving scans in their label and packaging designs.

Digital packaging and label printing serve as excellent facilitators for consumer engagement campaigns. They not only expedite the production of eye-catching, variable designs with limited runs at a lower cost but also allow for the incorporation of variable QR codes for consumer engagement. Brands can integrate QR codes into packaging designs using a digital or hybrid printing process. Additionally, near-line packaging customisation with variable data print and QR codes through a digital inkjet print bar is feasible.

A growing number of companies provide services to help brands leverage the potential of connected packaging. Codico, an expert in variable data print, is an ideal partner for exploring this potential.

Learn more About Connected Packaging!

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