Packaging is no longer just a physical matter. Digital technology has transformed the ways brands communicate and market to consumers, and that includes what is known as connected packaging.
Connected packaging is a means of better engaging with consumers to help elevate your brand.
What Is Connected Packaging?
You’ve seen products with QR codes, hashtags, or barcodes on the packaging. These can be used to extend the customer experience online, often with questionnaires, games, exclusive offers, or additional information. Connected packaging is designed to bridge your unboxing experience with digital interactions aimed to create more immersive and memorable encounters with a brand.
Given how ubiquitous smartphones are, connected packaging is becoming more standard across industries. Consumers almost expect there to be more to packaging than protecting and storing a product. They’ve become accustomed to brands interacting with them on social media, and anticipate any physical product they buy will connect in some direct way with the digital world.
Plain and simple: Consumers want more comprehensive experiences.
So how can brands take advantage of connected packaging?
Utilizing Connected Packaging to Elevate Your Brand
Connected packaging facilitates lots of creative marketing possibilities, suitable across most industries. Here are just a few avenues to consider.
Whether it’s offering consumers an easy link to simple games on a website dedicated to your product or a more advanced gamified campaign that extends over several months, such as McDonald’s popular Monopoly game, connected packaging is a fun way to keep people engaging with you far beyond your primary product offering.
Providing Additional Instructions
Some products lend themselves to many instructional caveats, or could benefit from giving consumers further information. By making this easily accessible, you greatly enhance the user experience.
For instance, food products can benefit from a QR code that takes consumers to a website showing a collection of creative recipes they can make using your product. Household tool products can connect to a digital library full of tutorials and innovative ways people are using them around their home.
Another example: Capitalizing on this approach, SoaPen, a handsoap pen for kids, redesigned their packaging using a QR code to take people to a how-to video and webpage elaborating on its social mission.
By encouraging consumers to share their stories on social media, you can rely on organic growth to extend the reach of your brand. It can be as basic as including a hashtag on your packaging.
For example, specialty outdoor retailer and consumer co-op REI includes #OptOutside on a wide variety of product packaging, encouraging its members to take pictures of themselves using the gear during their outdoor adventures. As a result, Instagram is flooded with images of outdoors enthusiasts sharing pictures of their REI gear while summiting mountains or biking down rocky trails. This resonates strongly with consumers, while doing the seemingly impossible—bridging the digital world with the sometimes tech-adverse outdoors community.
Further Target Consumers
Connected packaging can be used to curate targeted experiences for consumers. By relying on IP addresses (if using a desktop or laptop) or mobile location using smartphones, you can direct consumers to digital platforms designed specifically for any given geographic region.
It can be as simple as directing consumers to a website in a different language. However, you can get really creative. Imagine a company that manufactures high-end headphones using connective packaging to generate a list of upcoming concerts performed in a local music venue.
Or envision connected packaging that directs automotive car parts customers to a website with more information specific to the make and model of their vehicle, including fields where they can input their mileage and identify when they’re likely to need repairs or schedule maintenance.
(Variable data printing can also help you further target consumers.)
People love maps, and you can employ them in a variety of ways with connected packaging. One way is by appealing to the growing number of consumers concerned with sustainability—those who want brands to provide sustainable packaging.
For example, on top of utilizing visual cues to highlight the use of sustainable materials, a QR code can direct consumers to a map showing precisely where inputs for their product are sourced.
If you’re a food brand or restaurant, you might consider using connected packaging to show customers exactly where their food is being produced. Imagine how rewarding it would be for locally minded consumers to see where their food comes from, and interact with a map introducing them to the very farmers producing it.
Further consumer engagement can also come in the form of additional content or exclusive offers. Connected packaging can invite them to scan a QR code for a special deal or require them to input a website code printed on the packaging. It’s simple, but can be a chance to go above and beyond consumer expectations, adding a bit more value to their purchase.
Connected packaging is a powerful avenue for brands to strengthen loyalty, delight and engage consumers, and create memorable experiences. By using any blend of these options, you can elevate your brand and set it apart from the competition.