Technology is changing packaging and shopping

The packaging doesn’t just have to be attractive, it doesn’t just have to play with colors and trends; You also need to understand that consumers don’t leave home without their smartphone.

Consumers are increasingly focused on mobile devices: they watch more and more videos on their smartphones or tablets, access more and more pages from these terminals or spend more time looking for any kind of information from them. And if, for example, they use their mobile phones as a key to show their boarding pass during a flight or use them to find the best place to buy the products they are looking for near where they are, why not do it while doing their weekly shopping?

The increasing use of mobile devices is already influencing the way brands present and sell products. of products distributed in retail. If supermarkets have already begun to feel the changes in consumption imposed by millennials, they will have to do so with the – much bigger – revolution of smart mobile users. The shift is affecting the strategies of both manufacturers and retailers, as Crimson Hexagon’s analysis points out, and both are starting to consider smartphones and the like when presenting their products. The mobile phone even touched the packaging.

How and why are tools used that add a layer of information and services through mobile devices?

“Consumers are embracing technologies, devices and services to make everyday tasks like shopping, cooking and even getting around faster, easier, more fun and more efficient. This is fragmenting the path to personalized shopping.” that consumers regularly switch between physical and digital channels and communicate outside and inside stores,” notes The Boston Consulting Group analyst Patrick Hadlock.

In other words, shopping is no longer just going to the supermarket. Now the experience balances between a physical visit to the point of purchase and a virtual visit with all the layers of information that a smartphone adds.

Brands must not only understand this change, but seek it out various new possibilities which it creates in order to reach consumers and create new business windows. Consumers are jumping headlong into mobile phones and companies are starting to test them. Product packaging doesn’t just have to be attractive or seductive, it doesn’t just have to play with colors and trends: now it has to understand that consumers don’t leave the house without an intelligent accessory called a smartphone.

New tools and solutions

One of the first elements that brands incorporated into the packaging of their products and tried to play with in stores were QR codes. Today, for example, it is not difficult to find them if you look carefully at the different products found in the supermarket. Some brands of milk, for example, contain QR codes, although the information associated with them is quite limited, and many also point out that the technology is outdated. QR codes are also not the main new tools that make brands think about what the future will be in the retail space.

According to many analysts, the future is in NFC technology. NFC allows a smartphone to perform actions just by touching or bringing the device close to a surface. The tool has great potential in marketing strategy, although currently the main element used is payment management. And that, according to Crimson Hexagon’s analysis, is where it could change the way products are sold. The increasing acceptance of solutions such as Google Wallet or Apple Pay, which are starting to gain momentum in the United States, makes consumers start to feel more curious about this tool and start to demand it more often in their retail trips.

For brands, it will also be a way to provide their consumers with the efficiency ratios they expect. Consumers want to save time when shopping and are also concerned about how to save money and get the most out of their shopping list. Coupon clipping is not the future: the future is in using these types of tools effectively.

Apps: an opportunity that changes the way people shop

But the big revolution that brands and distributors are already experiencing is mobile apps, which are changing the way consumers interact with products to how brands need to present them to them. Users not only pick up their smartphone to shop, but also indulge in a long list of apps to select the products they want to buy.

The opportunity, in this field, is open to anyone who wants to take advantage of it. Research by Crimson Hexagon shows that consumers are using third-party apps, but they are also using those offered by major distribution chains. Consumers already consider the apps of retail giants in the United States, such as those of Walmart, when shopping and go to the supermarket with them.

And brands – manufacturers, not just distributors – must take this into account when presenting their products.

What do consumers use apps for? 44% use the app of the store they visit, according to Crimson Hexagon statistics, and the remaining consumers use apps that enhance their shopping experience. 27% use apps for recipes or meal planning, 16% use apps for coupons, and 13% use apps for product delivery.

But does it affect the packaging?

All these changes mean that the shopping experience will be completely different in the near future. Consumers will use new technologies much more regularly and will often make purchasing decisions based solely on how brands and distributors use them.

For brands, new technologies can become a key element to compete in the market. Playing with the way technology changes the point of sale is a smart idea, but so is incorporating it directly into the product. Its packaging must therefore communicate with these tools and how they are changing consumption patterns. Packaging must be much more ‘technologically acceptable’ and it must lead consumers to access new tools that shape their consumer habits. For example, apps can serve as a bridge between brand, product and consumer, turning product packaging into keys to access information or to receive offers or rewards.


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