QR Codes for Smart Packaging: the Future of Packaging
Last Updated: March 13, 2020
QR Codes for smart packaging has disrupted the way brands function, especially packaging-first (intelligent packaging) brands, by catering to a large audience and instilling a positive effect on brand perception.
The global smart packaging industry is anticipated to grow by $20 billion by 2024. This implies that smart packaging and product packaging is anticipated to grow in leaps and bounds in the coming years.
Hershey’s unveiled SmartLabel QR Codes on its Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolate to promote ingredient transparency and provide quick access to brand representatives.
The inclusion of QR Codes on the product packaging was not just to offer relevant information but also to alert their consumers of any allergens or artificial sweeteners present.
All consumers had to do was scan the QR Code and they were redirected to a landing page to read a glossary of ingredients, view nutrition facts or allergens and directly contact the brand with any further queries.
2. Improve customer engagement like Coca-Cola
Product packaging that comes with QR Codes is an excellent method to increase and improve customer engagement drastically.
How to boost engagement with QR Codes
QR Codes on products can help retailers and brands stay connected with their customers during the entire purchase cycle, including post-purchase.
With QR Codes being embedded into the product packaging, customers can scan them to –
Know about the product’s origin, and contents
Participate in any of the customer retention programs such as loyalty programs and coupons and discounts
Alerts about product usage such as product expiration dates, recipes, and videos related to the product
Closest points of purchase in case of repurchasing
Coca-Cola deploys QR Codes to strengthen customer engagement
Coca-Cola introduced dynamic QR Codes on their products with new content that provided special experiences to customers every time they scanned the QR Codes, thus promoting customer engagement.
3. Data collection and insights
Retailers of product packages are best advised to host dynamic QR Codes because of their versatility and ability to provide the best insights.
Dynamic QR Codes on product packaging can help brands and retailers to analyze the number of customers that have scanned the QR Codes to track and analyze them.
Smart packaging that has dynamic QR Codes can help brands to track and monitor purchased goods with their respective apps to convert important business opportunities to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Packages with QR Codes can also be leveraged to identify supply chain inefficiencies, reduce costs and errors, improve product performance thus increasing profit margins.
Product packaging with QR Codes is crucial to help report product loss and reduce product theft. UPS (United Postal Service) estimated that 1% of their shipments are either lost or damaged.
The integration of QR Codes on a product’s packaging could potentially reduce the overall theft rate and damage rate significantly.
4. How Huhtamaki UK combated food wastage with QR Codes
According to the United Nations, roughly one-third (over 1.3 billion metric tons) of all food products for human consumption is lost or wasted annually. This is mainly because of poor practices and the storage and logistics of goods.
The giant wastage of food adds up to the significant financial burden for the food industry plus, is a major environmental hazard due to its packaging and food supply practices.
However, designing and manufacturing of the product packaging can help fight food wastage rather strongly.
QR Codes on product packaging can serve as a powerful tool to prevent food from going to waste. Encourage customers to scan the QR Code to set up reminders on their smartphones about the product, different ways to use the food, expiration dates, and disposal method in case of expiration.
Huhtamaki UK’s move towards recycling with QR Codes
Huhtamaki launched an initiative to increase cups recycling in the UK.
Single wall hot cups and paper vending cups are placed with QR Codes on them to redirect the users to a landing page containing the details of the growing numbers of cup recycling sites and schemes across the UK.
Becci Eplett, marketing manager for Huhtamaki UK says, “The cup aesthetic is a vital contributor to the overall drinking experience but we also wanted to do more to help communicate the recycling message.”
The QR Code on the cups really helped them list out all the recycling schemes in the UK in an effort to promote conscious living.
5. Adhering to regulatory standards and compliance
A number of countries including the US have strict regulations on maintaining and adhering to the food standards in order to be able to serve the consumers authentic products.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) needs consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) to be able to recognize the immediate supplier and recipients of a product, owing to the responsibility to the manufacturers to monitor the path of the products.
Track-and-trace via QR Codes or RFID through product packaging can help retailers scan and retrieve data for all the inventory items instantly across the entire value chain.
This method also decreases recalls as well as minimize the impact by pinpointing the exact location of any contamination that has occurred by easily locating the products.
3 ways to boost sales and increase customer retention using QR Codes on product packaging
These aforementioned methods are usually how brands leverage QR Codes on their packaging. Apart from these, incorporating the following actions can also impact a brand’s ROI and boost sales –
1. Increase sales
QR Codes on smart packaging and product labels serve as a terrific arena to increase sales.
By placing QR Codes on products, they can become an integral part of the product. Or, in other words, an upbeat marketing strategy to increase sales and engage customers.
Customers in this era want to know what goes inside their products, and demand for transparency is more than ever. Thus, the more information a brand provides, the customer will purchase the product with more conviction, and the faster the decision will be made.
For instance, let’s say, add a QR Code on wheatgrass formula to instruct the customer about the product usage, best practices, and directions to use. This information will not only be useful but will also encourage the customer to spread the word and push them for repurchase.
Once you integrate your account with Zapier, you can set certain triggers upon scanning the QR Code on the product package.
Zapier automatically sends out predefined messages to the customer as soon as scanning the product as set by the owner.
By implementing these practices, QR Codes indirectly and directly increases the interaction level between the brand and the customer and seamlessly connects with each other.
2. Loyalty programs
65% of a company’s business is initiated from the existing customers.
Not just that, by increasing customer retention even by 5% boosts profits by 25%-95%.
Beaconstac strongly believes that QR Codes for smart packaging can help brands and businesses boost sales and retain customers by implementing loyalty programs.
QR Codes for loyalty programs can help identify a customer, their likes, requirements, and pain points thus, increasing sales and generating a positive ROI.
Place QR Codes on food packages, or any kind of product package to encourage customers to scan them. Link the QR Code to a landing page that is dedicated to loyalty programs such as coupon code, discounts, or free product trial even.
Let’s say a customer scans a can of soda and the landing page alerts the customer that they have received bonus points, with which, they get another can free.
This approach works wonders with customers. 67% of loyal customers spend more than fresh customers.
QR Codes for smart packaging to boost customer retention and increase loyalty serves as a powerful tool.
In addition to that, QR Codes can also be used to collect reviews and feedback from the customers to improve their product quality.
Adding QR Codes for feedback forms instead of traditional paper forms save a lot of time, minimizing commotion, and thus amplifying the customer experience. QR Codes for feedback and reviews add a lot of value to the brand perception, helping them to personalize and serve better.
In addition to that, if your brand has its own app or website, we suggest integrating it with our QR Code API so QR Codes can be created automatically.
Smart packaging: NFC + RFID
Aside from technologies such as QR Codes and the Internet of Things (IoT), NFC (Near-Field Communication) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) have also proven to be a great potential in the smart packaging industry.
The global market for NFC technology is expected to reach US $24 billion by 2020.
The use-cases of NFC tags and RFID in smart packaging are immense and supremely useful.
For instance, if a juice carton is embedded with an NFC tag, upon tapping the tag, the user can be taken to a landing page where they can learn about the origin of the fruit, process involved in making the juice, cocktail/mocktail recipes that can be made using the juice, and point(s) of purchase in case of repurchasing.
Customers are willing to share their information with brands when accessing online content via NFC tags and RFID.
This, in turn, allows brands to track their interactions with the product in real-time, fine-tune consumer profiles, and measure a campaign’s performance for a better output.
Smart packaging with technologies such as NFC tags, QR Codes, and RFID has been greatly popular in countries such as China but was slow in the US and Europe due to lack of engaging experiences and the need to download third-party apps.
Due to the native implementation of QR Codes and NFC tags in all the latest smartphones this day, smart packaging is now easy to use and widely accessible.
In the coming years, it’s a no-brainer that technologies such as NFC tags, RFID and QR Codes will become even more common and, in particular, more brands authenticating a two-way conversation channel with their target consumers built around data, insights, and personalization.
Bombay Sapphire deployed AR Codes that when scanned, the bottle comes alive. This can be used to provide real-time information to consumers and involve an interesting loyalty program to keep them engaging.
The demand for smart packaging is undoubtedly on the rise, because of its ability to provide better transparency to customers to combat food waste, and counterfeit.
According to a survey by Deloitte Insights, smart and connected packaging is attracting significant investment, and senior executives are beginning to see its value as a way of managing a brand’s inventory and product life cycle management.
This clearly means that QR Codes for smart packaging, especially for CPG (give the full form here) are here to stay.
QR Codes coupled with AR (Augmented Reality) is changing the way consumers interact with smart packaging. The technology creates an elevated level of personalized shopping experience that blurs the line between eCommerce and brick-and-mortar retailing.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I get a QR Code for my product?
Use Beaconstac’s QR Code generator to create a QR Code. Download the QR Code and print it to be placed on the product. We suggest placing the QR Code on the back of the product that is visible and scannable for easy usage.
2. What is the purpose of a QR Code on a product label?
QR Codes are mainly placed on product labels to test the authenticity of the product, its origin, manufacturing process, expiration date, and any further information regarding the product.
3. How can QR Codes be used for product identification?
Place QR Codes on the products or product labels, and encourage customers to scan them to be redirected to a dedicated webpage to check for authenticity and correct identification.
4. How to employ QR Codes for product tracking?
Leverage dynamic QR Codes for product tracking. Place the dynamic QR Codes on product packaging and integrate it with analytics. Every time a user scans the QR Code on the product package, track the location of the product scanned at, device used, and date of the scan using analytics.
5. How to use QR Codes to learn about product information
QR Codes on product packaging and product labels, when scanned, can be redirected to a landing page which can contain the product’s information covering all the insights.
Customers want this information to be sure of the product’s authenticity and the manufacturing process.
As the world continues to sail through uncertainty in the newly adopted world, businesses are faced with many challenges – shifting business hours, fluctuating supply chains, and protecting their employees – all while ensuring that the public health is a priority whilst taking these decisions.
Contactless solutions will be the new future in a post-pandemic world. Contactless technologies such as NFC tags and QR Codes are on the rise and will continue to be in existence since it promotes zero-touch.