Packaging means more than what's printed on the side of the box – it's a message communicated directly to customers. That said, are they listening? More and more consumers are going online to have conversations with friends, family and even their favorite businesses. So, why can't packaging go virtual too?
Finding ways to market digitally to consumers in a traditional brick-and-mortar setting has serious potential, according to a Deloitte study – by the end of 2015, 64 percent of all retail sales will be dictated by "digital interactions." The question is, how can manufacturers get a slice of that $2.2 trillion pie?
Packaging with near-field communication may be the answer.
What is NFC?
NFC technology allows two separate chip-enabled devices to pass small amounts of data between each other with very little energy. So little, in fact, one NFC chip can be incorporated into just about anything. A smartphone or tablet can then pull data from the NFC-powered product if the mobile device owner places it close to the package. What kind of data does that entail? That's up to the manufacturer.
NFC technology can be a valuable marketing tool if businesses know exactly how they want to engage their audience.
Favor freshness and reduce waste
Back in 2014, Bakeryandsnacks.com floated the idea of using NFC to demonstrate a product's freshness to discerning consumers. Food manufacturers that want to emphasize the quality of their goods could create direct or retail ready packaging with an NFC chip embedded in the corrugated cardboard.
When customers want to check how fresh the product in question really is, they can hold their smartphone to the packaging and read whatever information the manufacturer wishes to relate. Maybe it's a time stamp, maybe it's pictures of the manufacturing facility putting the finishing touches on that exact batch.
"The right NFC packaging campaign could reduce in-store shrinkage."
The possibilities are endless, but the right NFC packaging campaign could help retailers and manufacturers reduce in-store shrinkage by driving customers to buy before products go stale.
Send customers on a spending scavenger hunt
Although supermarkets and big box stores overflow with seemingly different goods, a single manufacturer may make a litany of products available on the sales floor. So, when customers scan those companies' NFC-enabled packaging, why not direct them to other goods to maximize revenue? Manufacturers could transmit the names of related products, in-store maps or suggest things other customers bought with that very product.
Digital coupons may help encourage customers to bundle products as well. A manufacturer of desktop printers, for example, can use NFC to tell customers that if they buy two ink cartridges, they'll receive a deal on all three.
Let customers know you're 'the real deal'
Bottle service will never be the same after Remy Martin's foray into NFC in 2015.
The cognac brand released a line of bottles with NFC chips in their tamperproof caps. Customers could scan the alcohol, learn whether the bottle was indeed authentic Remy Martin and even see if it had ever been opened before. Call it "quality assurance 2.0."
Businesses that have been burned by counterfeiting before could use NFC technology similarly to protect their names and win back their reputations in the eyes of consumers.