Digital meets physical - 5 Smart Packaging opportunities

Written by Markus Wulff

The smart packaging market,  where advanced technology is used to expand functionality and create an interactive experience for packaging,  is growing rapidly.  Our expert Markus Wulff will take you on a deep dive through five trends that are influencing the world of smart packaging,  a world where digital and physical meet to create a packaging journey that is transparent,  circular and brings experience to the forefront.


Why is smart packaging now scalable to FMCG?

Smart packaging trends have been pushed by high-margin products in markets where anti-counterfeit and parallel import are common.  With technology prices decreasing,  it’s now possible for most product categories to scale up NFC into packaging whilst also keeping the cost per goods margins.  Recently a $0,03 NFC tag price was introduced by Talkin’ Things,  a technology developer focused on smart packaging,  which allows wide implementation of the technology into mass-market FMCG products.


Closing the loop between physical and digital

FMCG brands have always been effective in retail presence and brand building,  but a major challenge has been how to close the loop between the physical products and the digital world today’s consumers act in.  With smart packaging this bridge is fading out,  now consumers can interact with the brand in real-time instore and at home.  Kellogg’s launched a limited-edition World Sight Day Coco Pops cereal box in the UK.  The boxes use NaviLens technology to allow a smartphone to detect and playback information,  and also feature braille embossing,  including on-pack information in larger font size,  according to information released by the Royal National Institute of Blind People.


Frictionless consumer interaction with Apple’s technology App Clips

During Apple’s recent developer conference at the beginning of June,  they released new functionality with the technology called App Clips from Apple,  this enables consumers to interact with brands’ smart packaging without the hassle of downloading heavy apps through the App Store.  App Clips are small lightweight apps meant for consumers to interact with packaging,  point-of-sales in-store,  and the hospitality business.  Fast and convenient is key,  consumers can now get extended product information directly in different languages instantly by scanning a code.


Consumers demand transparency

Sustainable Swedish menswear from ASKET now comes with a full transparency report which they call “From Farm To Finish Line” and offers a percentage for how much of a product’s journey is traceable.  Each items’ traceability report contains a percentage of manufacturing,  milling,  raw materials,  and trims.  This is just an example of how traceability is a part of the product,  and how packaging brings traceability to other categories including the food industry.


The circular economy is digitalization

We all know that the future is about a sustainable way of living.  Circular solutions are enabled by embracing digitalization,  with the three principles 1)  Design out waste and pollution 2)  Keep products and materials in use and 3)  Regenerate natural systems,  new business models are dependent on the connection between smart packaging solutions where traceability and smartphones are key.  The merger of digitalization and the circular economy creates new waste-free solutions like Terracycle’s Loop,  which eliminates the single-use packaging by offering a 100% refundable deposit to borrow the packaging.


Looking at these opportunities,  there is only one question left.  How will you use smart packaging to leverage digital and enhance the sustainability and experience of your packaging systems?


Markus Wulff,  advisor smart packaging