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Smart packaging – do you need it in your supply chain?

AUG Reality

As digital technologies continue to disrupt industries around the world, how will packaging change? In the next 10 years 75% of consumers are expecting to do all of their shopping online(1) and with the internet of things continuing to grow, smart technology is becoming common place in supply chain(2). With this in mind, it makes sense that packaging will need to keep pace and become more intelligent.

So, what is smart packaging?

Smart packaging, also known as active or intelligent packaging, refers to packing materials that interact with digital technology or packing systems used to help extend shelf life, monitor goods, improve quality, enhance security and encourage customer interaction.

Examples of smart packaging include cartons printed with radio frequency identification (RFID) codes, allow tracking, scanning and automation of warehousing, as well as augmented reality (like QR codes), which enables consumers to play games, open websites and interact with their goods – all adding to the customer journey.

What are the upcoming trends in smart packaging?

– Real-time tracking & data collection

Consumers expect their interactions with a brand, the user experience, to demonstrate understanding of their needs and adapt to them(3). In the eCommerce industry, this is going to translate into real-time parcel tracking. Time-poor consumers want to know exactly where their goods are and when they’ll get them. Technologies such as RFID and ParceLive(4) will eventually become integrated into packaging.

– Safety conscious packaging

Experimental packaging technologies are now helping to keep people safe. Alcohol sensors and LED displays have been built into food packets as a means of reminding people not to drink and drive. The technology also called users an Uber ride to boot(5). Whilst this technology may not become mainstream instantly, it’s a great step towards firms really making a difference in their customer’s lives, so start asking “how can our packaging help our consumers?”

– Thermodynamic printing

Heat activated printing is a new trend for food and beverage packaging (6). It can safeguard promotional information, only revealing itself when drinks or food are heated. Unique codes can only be used once and digital content management adapts the content after use – ideal for customising the user experience.

If you want to make your packaging more intelligent, get in touch with us! We can help you develop solutions to keep up with the fast paced digital age. Call us on 01902 496666, email us or complete our contact form to speak to an expert today.

References / Images Sources

  1. Mintel (2017) Global Packaging Trends 2017
  3. Whitmey, T. (2012) Data, but not as we knew it. Marketing, p7. Ebsco