The internet of things is becoming our reality. Just like you saw in Sci-fi movies where everything in your home is connected like the door lock, to your washing machine and house lights, to even the more simplest things like your bottle of water. Another thing that is becoming more and more popular with brands and manufacturers is the internet of packaging that will soon be on every product and consumer box you buy.
At the time of this writing it is estimated that there are well over 6.5 billion devices that have the ability to connect to the internet, and this is just scratching the surface of this massive market. It is estimated that this number will easily grow to 20 billion up to 50 billion as early as 2020.
Almost everything you will own in the next couple of years will have a microprocessor or some sort of communication chip that will enable Wifi, Bluetooth or GSM based signal communication, think of your watch that is already capable of doing these things and you can just imagine where it will go from there
In the near future you will start to interact with your products in a more personal way, think about buying your favorite chips bag or a box of cereal you always get. To do this brands will have to place a simple and tiny chip onto the regular box and while a few years ago you would think it sounds crazy, it is already happening today and will just increase in the future as brands and manufacturers want to know more about their customers.
How they do this is by giving each pack a unique identity or number and than connects that package to the internet. There are a a few options that are available for the FMCG ( Fast-moving consumer goods ) marketing teams that can get millions or even billions of packaging connected to the internet, the definition of internet of packaging.
So how do you create the internet of packaging?
When you think about it, it's rather simple right? All you need to do is create a code of 12 alphanumeric digits that will be unique to each box or item, you can place it next to the best-before date or something similar, it's simple and straight forward and very functional while the back end side of the codes is very advanced to ensure the originality of the item and the security.
Talking about security, it's known that in recent years privacy and user security is a big issue and people tend to be cautious when it comes to sharing their private information with brands and companies, and also and even more important is what these companies do with our information and is it safe there? All good questions indeed.
Well since the codes are naturally passive up until the point where the user decides to activate it, it makes the whole thing much more people friendly and the whole feeling of big brands " tracking us " is non existent.
Getting personal with smart packaging
The days of just putting together a cool TV ad or a flashing banner online are almost over. Brands need to get much more personal with their consumers if they want to stay ahead of the game and catch their user's attention.
Finding those precious moments where your customer is most receptive is getting harder with the advancement of technology and the internet of things/packaging, So instead of relying on traditional ads that are somewhat outdated, brands start to use innovative ways to engage with their customers, a few good examples of this is the Amazon dash button where with a push of a button you can let your favorite brand you need something from them right from your home and with no hassle.
In today's world brands can and should use the technology available to them to give their products a unique identity and go directly to the consumer in real time. The upside is huge for big brands other than the sale itself the data and user behaviour they will collect has massive value for them. Here's one example where using the internet of packaging was a huge success.
A large drink brands used promo codes in a cash back campaign to introduce a new product to its user base, and while the campaign itself was a big success the information the company gathered was literally priceless. They learned that their average customer was actually a decade younger than what they thought! This would have been impossible to learn in any other way.
The potential of connected packages is huge, and the information it can give on consumers is a game changer. You can load packs of your product with a code that you can activate at any time, all you need to do is run a promotion and create a campaign that tells your audience where to locate your codes t win something by going online and inputing the code or using an app or even better just by using their camera on their phone, the possibilities are endless.
The benefits for manufacturers and brands are clear
Brands can't deny the upsides of using smart packaging to better reach and understand their customers. With the new technology at hand, once the customer registers a code the brand will know about it and the codes will offer instant validation compared to today's receipt scanning. Brands can even place these codes as part of the production process and never have to worry about the costs of printing special promotional codes again.
With the internet of packaging in reach and starting to take hold, brands can run promotions at any given time because the codes are on every package, the value of information and relationship with their consumers will never be higher once they start using these codes as part of their ecosystem, no more creating material just for one campaign, you can initiate a " conversation " with your consumers at any time with ease.
This is just a glimpse of how brands and consumers will interact in the near future, and once it becomes the norm, consumers and brands will engage on a personal level.