How Smart Products and Packaging Can Influence Consumer’s Behaviour
Last Updated:  March 24, 2021
Every year, companies around the world sell trillions and trillions of dollars worth of products. A vast majority of those products involve some kind of packaging. With the rise of e-commerce and the global market, the packaging industry keeps on growing.
Back in 2016, the global packaging market was reportedly worth around $757 billion. In less than 3 years, the market is expected to grow to $1 trillion. Yes, the market is huge, and it’s only going to grow further. That’s because the packaging is more important than some people think.
Why is it so important, you may ask? Well, for a number of reasons:
It protects the product during shipment
Makes the logistics part of the job easier
Ensures people don’t return their orders
Works a good branding tool
Can help you market your business
Like every other industry, the world of packaging has seen some exciting development in the last couple of years. With the rising popularity of the Internet of Things, so-called “smart packaging” has become a point of interest for many merchants and manufacturers.
That’s why we’re here today, to talk about smart packaging: how it affects the customers, how it works, and how you can use it to promote positive habits. First, let’s see how packaging affects people.
How Does Packaging Affect Consumers?
While most of us were taught from an early age not to judge a book by its cover, the reality is, most of us do just that. Whenever you’re judging someone’s professionalism – whether it’s a person or an organization – you look at their entire aesthetic.
Today, when we tend to buy more than 60% of our items online, we mainly judge a company by its packaging. You only have one opportunity to leave a good impression, otherwise people might start leaving negative reviews and you’ll have to manage your reputation online later on. Even if you have a quality product to offer, if it comes in a plain-looking, cheap box, you won’t have a terribly good impression.
It encourages people to become loyal buyers: Around 60% of consumers are more likely to purchase a luxury product repeatedly if they particularly like its packaging.
A good design can help you with marketing: Roughly 40% of people will post a picture of a package if they feel the design is memorable, unique, or branded.
Now, do you see why so many people are investing in good packaging? Of course, what constitutes good packaging can be a bit subjective. Sure, there are things like sturdiness and durability, but you need something that will help your product stick out.
You can spend all your money on design, but that won’t make it eye-popping enough, you need something else. And that’s where smart packaging comes into play.
Never heard of it? Let’s talk about it…
What’s Smart Packaging All About?
You’ve probably heard a thousand times by now that we’re living in an increasingly “smart world.” Nowadays, everything from your refrigerator to your underwear can be “smart” if you’re willing to pay the right price for it, that is.
Admittedly, some of these gadgets are pretty outlandish. And when you hear the words “smart” and “packaging” it may also sound a bit silly. But believe us, it’s not. Smart packaging helps create a digital bridge of sorts between the consumers and merchants.
Smart packaging describes packaging that has digital functions. In general, smart packaging falls into one of 3 categories:
#1. Design-led Packaging
Design-led packaging is a model that aims to improve the form and function of the packaging and help your brand get more exposure. These products mainly improve customer experience and leave a good impression on your customers. PillPack is a good example of smart packaging since it delivers medication in easy-to-open packages tailored to each user.
#2. Active Packaging
In the category of active packaging, you can find all the packages that are made of advanced materials. Their aim is either to improve the functionality of the package or its physical appearance. A good example of active packaging is FreshMax. The company that helps people market and distribute fresh produce sends their fruits and vegetables in pooches that keep everything fresh.
#3. Connected Packaging
Any package that contains sensors, tags and other electrical devices that allow it to record data and/or connect to the Internet falls into the category of connected packaging. This type is used to gather consumer data and improve customer experience. Ferngrove Vineyards have a chip embedded in every wine bottle they send out to help their customers communicate and connect with them.
By now you see that smart packaging can help you with business aspects. But you probably are not aware that it can connect with your customers at a much deeper level.
How Smart Packaging Promotes Positive Consumer Habits
People are creatures of habit. By helping your customers form certain habits, you can make sure that they stay loyal to your brand and even become brand ambassadors. Some habits could benefit both you and your customers.
Now, let’s see how smart packaging can help you cultivate these habits…
#1. Create More Trust Between Brand and Consumer
If you want people to stay loyal to your brand, you need to make sure that they trust you 100%. More than half of people globally are willing to pay more for products from brands they fully trust. And 75% of consumers only make repeated purchases from brands they trust.
How can you ensure that your customers trust you fully? Well, you need to be transparent about your business, as much as possible. You can use smart packaging to provide customers with information that will confirm that your product is what you say it is and that it’s manufactured the way you say it is.
Companies now use AI-based packaging solutions that allow customers to access location data to know where the product was manufactured at, how long did it take to deliver, and other information. Knowing the product’s history will help you win over more customers and create brand supporters.
#2. Allow Consumers to Communicate With the Brand Directly
What’s the best way of connecting with customers? By making sure that you’re not just a heartless corporation and that you have real human beings running the operation. You have to communicate naturally with your customers.
Research has shown that around 36% of brand humanity comes from using normal language. You don’t want your brand messages to sound overly-sentimental or corny. If your brand messages sound like something an ordinary person would say, your customers will naturally be attracted to you more than to your competitors. Smart packaging can help you communicate better with your customers.
Take for example NFC. Back in 2017, the spirits brand created an AI tag for their popular Astral Tequila that interacted with customers. The tag was embedded on the neck of the bottle. When a customer put the phone on the tag, they were greeted by Jonathan Goldsmith a.k.a. “The Most Interesting Man in the World” who thanked them for their purchase and made a funny quip.
#3. Encourage Positive and Environmentally-Friendly Behavior
If we’re not careful enough, water could end up becoming a huge problem in the future. This is a cause every person and organization can stand behind, right? Some companies have even started motivating their customers to save water through smart packaging.
Ocean Bottle manufactures reusable bottles. Every bottle has a tag on the bottom that encourages the customer to find a water source nearby, so they can refill their bottle. This not only helps the customer stay hydrated but also helps them use a refill station, instead of buying more bottled water.
Associating your brand with eco-friendly goals is never a bad idea. Having eco-friendly packaging can also help you improve your sales. Almost half of the people – 49% to be exact – say they would pay more for a product that comes in an environmentally-friendly package.
Final Thoughts on Smart Packaging
A good package can do wonders for your business. That’s why you need to be prepared to go the extra mile and invest some money into your packaging.
It will certainly payoff: more people will be willing to buy your product repeatedly, you will get more exposure on social media, and you’ll have a good return on investment. Going a step further and investing in smart packaging is even a better idea.
Smart packaging allows you to cultivate a loyal following and instill certain purchasing habits into your customers that will be beneficial for both your company and their well-being.
No matter what way you look at it, it’s a win-win situation. Therefore, you need to ditch your old packaging, start looking at smart options and investing money intelligently. Only then you’ll be able to ensure that your product reaches the right people and fulfills its full potential.