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Product Packaging Gets a Digital Makeover

Boxes, wrappers, bottles and cans have long been designed to draw customers’ eyes, but product packaging with splashy artwork has made for a one-way conversation. There hasn’t been a way to connect a potential customer with the information they actually care about. SGS is aiming to change that.

For 50 years, SGS has provided all aspects of product packaging for retail and consumer brand companies, ensuring that brands’ cool, ambitious designs come through with greatest impact. In response to the ubiquity of smartphones and consumers’ near constant access to the Internet, SGS is revolutionizing traditional package design by embracing digitally-enabled “smart” packaging that sells.

Elegant and Economical

Mobile barcode and QR code scanning has been available on smart phones for several years. However, as customer engagement tools, these antiquated symbologies are highly problematic as brands see valuable packaging real estate consumed by ugly markings that disrupt the overall design aesthetic.

SGS disrupts the status quo by offering imperceptible Digimarc Barcodes in its packaging solution. Making a package speak to a smartphone is now elegant and economical. Digimarc Barcodes are unobtrusive, so the package looks uniformly branded, and no space is lost to an RFID tag – or, potentially, even a UPC code. Digimarc Barcodes are applied during the prepress process, and cover the entire surface of a colored medium, making scanning easier and faster for retailers.

When you look at any package, there’s limited real estate to work with. Smart packaging will free up space for more distinctive, emotional and appealing design, and provide consumers with a means to connect to the information they need about a brand.- Michael Shannon, executive vice president of global business development for SGS

Packaging as Portal to the Digital World

Emboldened by the tremendous digital potential of their packaging, brands are exploring creative ways to inform and engage customers, with everything from visual guides and how-to videos to educational children’s games that can be accessed post-purchase and keep parents and kids coming back for more.

“We see some companies immediately taking the lead, aggressively capitalizing on the edge Digimarc Barcode provides,” Shannon said. “Early adopters are going to capitalize on satisfying both retailers and improving consumer engagement. Those late to the game will be playing catch up, once this type of experience becomes implicit to consumer shopping behavior.”

New Label Requirements Present New Opportunities

The applications of smart packaging aren’t reserved for marketing. For example, in spring 2016, the U.S. government will require mandatory labelling in a new format for CPGs, and companies will have 18 months to comply for all their products. The nutritional panels that already take up a lot of space on a package will expand; imperceptible codes that trigger interactive experiences will make that information more accessible and less obtrusive.

The same is true for pharmaceuticals. The instructions and lists of side effects and contraindications that now require separate inserts printed in tiny type could be expanded and made more legible, greatly benefitting patients. The SGS-Digimarc solution will allow retailers to streamline inventory management, quality control and supply chains.

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