Connected Packaging: augment your unboxing experience

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The way brands create memorable unboxing experiences has evolved over the last few years, adapting to incorporate innovation along with the rise of technology to bring custom experiences into consumers’ homes.

Connected packaging is one of the most creative ways you can modernise your pack; it utilises augmented reality (AR) to transform your passive packaging into your own media channel. Allowing you to create stand-out materials like digital games and even send personalised messages, developing the normal unboxing experience into something more special.

Whilst some brands might be reluctant to implement this new style of technology, it’s been found that 81% of businesses have already incorporated connected packaging. This means brands and consumers alike are becoming increasingly comfortable with using AR elements. And with 6.92 billion smartphone users in the world, there is a relatively low risk that your hard work would be missed.

In this blog, Zappar will tell us what connected packaging is, how they’re innovating the packaging industry and showcase some great examples!

connected packaging

What is connected packaging?

Connected packaging is packaging that can be transformed into a digital experience. This is achieved by printing packaging with QR codes, barcodes or images that can be scanned with a smart device that launches a digital experience in a browser-based app. For example, in recent years augmented reality, the overlay of digital experiences onto the real world, has been used to help transform packaging into brands’ very own media channels.

Also classed as smart packaging, this type of packaging can also feature RFID or NFC technology where users can tap their phone against packaging to interact with it. 

Why is AR perfect for levelling up your unboxing experience?

With consumer behaviour perpetually changing, connected packaging presents new opportunities to provide online shoppers with a new way to connect with retailer brands. It’s a way to communicate and engage on top of the standard branding practices.

In the age of social media, there are millions of unboxing videos on the internet. The ritual of unboxing a new product or opening a haul is everywhere. Google estimates that people have spent so much time watching unboxing videos, it’s equivalent to watching Love Actually 20 million times.

A positive unboxing experience can not only reach the customer who opened the parcel but a huge audience if they post their encounter online. Using connected packaging is certainly a way for retailers to stand out. Plus, it could be a great tool for brands who use influencer marketing as part of their strategy.

4 ways AR will enhance your customer experience

Along with adding to the unboxing experience, connected packaging can be utilised to support different areas in your business. From driving sales to increasing engagement; you can tailor messaging to support your company needs. Here are four of our favourites!

  • Brand loyalty – Add value with digital rewards to incentivise purchase without margin-eroding discounts or gifts.
  • Partner promotions – Enhance your partnerships on pack with AR to offer greater value for your brand, the licensor and the consumer.
  • Data collection – Gather valuable information by providing customers a greater incentive to scan your packaging and share their details.
  • Sustainability – Empower your customers to make conscious decisions by turning your packaging into a digital discovery channel.
connected packaging

How is Zappar innovating in the packaging industry?

Zappar believes packaging represents one of the brand’s most undervalued owned media channels but in many cases it is a solely analogue proposition in an increasingly mobile first world. However, thanks to the ever present smartphone and the power of augmented reality, product packaging can be transformed into a multimedia portal that can deliver value to both the consumer and the brand. 

With AR Zappar are helping companies increase sales by up to 15% through a combination of product education and revenue driving activities such as promotions, competitions and customer loyalty schemes. 

Boosting brand engagement using AR’s unique attention grabbing capabilities (55% more dwell time than traditional advertising campaigns) to upgrade loyalty programmes, CSR initiatives, sponsorship campaigns and more. And providing unparalleled consumer insight by unearthing actionable real time scanning data including when consumers are interacting with and consuming products, where they are and how long for.

connected packaging

Connected packaging examples

To give you some inspiration, here are a few examples from Zappar to showcase what is possible with augmented reality packaging. 

  •  Nestlé CPW – DC Super Heroes – Zappar Creative Studio created this engaging and immersive experience for Nestlé CPW. Launched via WebAR for seamless delivery, it brings out the hero inside you by transforming the user into a superhero from the DC universe. This face-tracked experience consists of 5 face filters including Superman, Batman, Flash, Wonderwoman and Batgirl.
  •  H&M Kids – Clothes Recycling – Zappar Creative Studio designed this playful experience for H&M Kids for their store on Regents Street. This image tracked experience was launched via QR code on artwork across the store and once scanned children can enjoy playing the game and finding the recycling box.
  •  Beam Suntory, Jim Beam & Teachers – Festival Editions – Zappar Creative Studio worked with Beam Suntory, Jim Beam and Teachers to create this AR experience to help celebrate those we appreciate most in life. Launched via a QR code on the receipt, you can send a specialised message to loved ones.
  •  Happy Egg – Happy Island Egg Hunt – The Zappar Creative Studio partnered with Happy Egg to create this custom WebAR experience. A virtual treasure hunt – customers just scan the QR code on Happy Egg cartons and are transported to Happy Island, where they can hunt for different prizes – from Happy Egg merchandise to kitchen appliances.
connected packaging

3 consumer touchpoints to focus your connected packaging

Now you may be overrun with ideas of how you would like to incorporate AR into your packaging; but below you will find 3 objectives you can meet, to focus your creativity around creating a great experience.  

Social Media sharing

Most consumers are connected to at least one social media network and seek out experiences that enable them to stand out on others newsfeeds. Brands can harness this need through delivering an AR experience that meets this criteria and gives the consumer the chance to share this on their platform of choice. 

Fanta and their Teen Takeover campaign was a great example of this, they used social media influencers to drive sales of the drinks and then turned the consumers into social media influencers themselves with a range of fun face filters.

Driving traffic to e-commerce sites

Once you have got your product in the hands of the consumer and they are inspired by your AR experience this is a great opportunity to encourage the next or additional purchases. 

For example, by linking them to a chosen e-commerce platform, to buy a companion product from your range. This concept becomes even more compelling when brands are launching their Direct to Consumer propositions.

Communicating Brand Provenance & Ingredients

Similarly, in the world of the more conscious consumer we’re ever more aware and interested in the story behind our products, their provenance, authenticity and ethical values. People want to know what goes into their products and want this information in an easily digestible format. 

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How Macfarlane Packaging and Zappar are supporting brands to create innovative packaging

Macfarlane Packaging and Zappar work together to join packaging expertise and innovation through AR technology to enhance your customer experience. If you would like tailored support around connected packaging, please contact us here