According to Grand View Research’s report, 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 leapis and bounds in the coming years.
QR Codes for smart packaging revolutionizes consumer interactions with your brand. It reinforces trust and improves brand perception significantly. Businesses should leverage QR Codes on product packaging to cater to their mobile-first audience and foster long-term brand loyalty.
Most Fortune 500 brands such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Amazon have already incorporated QR Codes on their packaging, and indeed witnessed a massive surge in sales, ROI, and achieving KPIs.
With the increase in smartphone usage and integration of QR Code readers in all the latest smartphones, smart packaging is the future in the packaging industry.
What is a packaging QR Code?
A packaging QR Code is one that communicates relevant product details with consumers to help them learn more about the product, its benefits, and its uses. Packaging QR Codes serve as a valuable medium for sharing all kinds of information with consumers at every stage of the consumer buying journey, including collecting responses to a satisfaction questionnaire.
How global brands are killing it with QR Codes on packaging
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 with QR Codes on product packaging
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 for products
QR Codes on custom 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 smart 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 with dynamic QR Codes for products
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.
Packaging QR Codes can also be leveraged to identify supply chain inefficiencies, reduce costs and errors, improve product performance thus increasing profit margins.
QR Codes for products are 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 on product packaging
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, the designing and manufacturing of 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 smart QR Codes
Huhtamaki launched an initiative to increase cups recycling in the UK.
Single wall hot cups and paper vending cups are placed with smart 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 with QR Codes for product identification
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 with QR Codes for product information
QR Codes on smart packaging and product labels serve as a terrific arena to increase sales.
By placing QR Codes on labels, 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 the 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 to 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 increase the interaction level between the brand and the customer and seamlessly connects with each other.
2. Loyalty programs using QR Codes on product packaging
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 packaging, 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 codes, discounts, or free product trials 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.
3. Initiate predefined communication for better customer engagement with smart QR Codes
Another method to increase customer engagement is by initiating communication with the brand and the consumer.
For instance, place QR Codes on the packaging. You can create custom QR Codes for print and predefine them to trigger a set of actions such as “give a missed call, send a message or even an email” upon scanning the QR Code.
Consider all the time that can be saved instead of feeding in the number manually to give a missed call. This action can be tied with a loyalty program too, to boost this action.
Additionally, you can use the QR Code to link to your social media handles on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and others to further increase brand engagement.
Initiating communication can help greatly in understanding the customer and retargeting them to serve better.
Integrate this action with analytics to calculate the number of initiations received with respect to each action and personalize offers for the customers based on it.
How to create QR Codes for smart packaging
QR Codes for smart packaging can be created in less than five minutes with these simple steps –
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 $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, the 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 smart packaging using QR Codes (& NFC tags) for CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) is 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 them with analytics. Every time a user scans the QR Code on the product package, track the location of scanning, the device used, and the date of the scan using analytics.
5. How to use QR Codes for product information?
QR Codes on product packaging and product labels, when scanned, can be redirected to a landing page that can contain the product’s information covering all the insights. (Get more information on QR Code landing pages.)
Although customers want this information to be sure of the product’s authenticity and the manufacturing process, it can be time-consuming to update it manually. With PIM software, you can edit, organize, and tweak content in real-time, and provide customers with accurate product information when directed from the QR code.
Create custom QR Codes to match your branding, stand out from competitors, and increase brand recall. Explore this guide to learn more about creating branded QR Codes with some helpful design tips and use cases.
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