Getting Started with Smart Packaging – Activator Placement and the Story You Want to Tell
The Story You Want to Tell is Partially Determined by Where Your Smart Packaging Activator is Placed
Smart packaging activators can be placed in a variety of locations like on a point of sale display, on a shelf talker, on a hang tag, on a collar, on the primary packaging, or on the secondary packaging. All of these are viable options depending on your budget and goals, but the experience that happens with customer interaction will be different based on placement to get maximum benefit.
For placement not on the product like shelf talkers and point of sale displays, brands need to consider the possible placements as they design their interaction. If you anticipate placement in the grocery aisle at various retail stores, then the interaction would be based on your message and the assumed environment. You would expect competing products to be placed nearby and that your audience would include the person in the household that is responsible for grocery shopping. Based on this, you would design an interaction that would be most effective to that audience and that location. If you are positioning your product as a healthier alternative to other choices, you could encourage the customer to compare the calories or fat content of your product compared to others in the aisle. If price is a concern, you could offer a discount coupon or buy one get one free. Your goal is to take advantage of the conversation at that moment in that location to promote your message at the highest point of relevancy.
On product markers create a potentially different conversation in that the interaction could be at retail or in the home after purchase. You would still want to take advantage of the opportunity to compare and contrast with competitors, but now you also have an opportunity to begin a product journey with that customer. The focus shifts to maximizing the experience that consumer has with your product after they get home so if this were a food product you may offer tips on using the product correctly, preparation instructions, recipe suggestions or recommendations of other products that your company offers that may be of interest. Which path you choose might be determined by the attributes of your product, is it a well-known staple that is new from your company or is it a new product that might not be familiar? The conversation can help ease customer concerns and assure satisfaction.
One of the more interesting challenges for marker placement is whether to focus on primary or secondary packaging. Primary packaging is on the actual product, so the label on a can or bottle for example, and secondary packaging is an exterior package that a product comes in like the box that would hold a bottle of cold medicine. The messaging associated with these choices would be quite different. At retail, if a product comes in a secondary package, then any smart packaging interaction would need to focused on that mode if your goal is interaction in the store because the primary package is not accessible. In contrast, if your goal was extending the relationship to the home, then the primary packaging would be your target because in many cases the secondary packaging gets discarded after opening. Some brands actually will do separate markers on primary and secondary packaging to take advantage of both opportunities and may even consider different types of markers: for example on the secondary packaging a QR code is used while on the primary packaging an NFC tag makes more sense and creates a solution that fits better in the budget.
How markers are added to packaging or displays is a consideration as well in choosing placement. Adding an NFC tag to secondary packaging can be achieved with a tag on the inside of a box or embedding the tag within layers of cardboard and these options will lead to different total costs. Adding a QR code to secondary packaging would be less expensive as it is printed on the box, but on a smaller primary package, there may not be enough space for a QR code. Brands and packagers need to weigh these options and costs as they develop campaigns.
When you are getting started, the challenge is finding the right blend of price and opportunity for your message. Great campaigns can be designed with everything from point of sale displays to on product markers, but the time is now to begin communicating