Packaging to win

AR in Packaging

Think about the last time you visited a supermarket and stood in front of the milk section. Which of the products stood out for you? Did you give it much thought? There isn’t much price differentiation when it comes to largely homogeneous product categories like milk, where prices tend to vary by cents, rather than dollars (generally).

Now, imagine if you could use an application on your mobile device (conveniently located in your pocket) to scan a barcode and find out more about where your milk came from, some recipes from milk, or if there’s any special offers – customized to your requirements?

Packaging, more importantly, innovation in packaging has become very impactful as brands look to stand out in the clutter of modern day supermarkets. Similarly, attractive tap handle design at bars have shown to increase the likelihood of a patron selecting a particular beverage, even if only as a talking point for the evening.

In the world of fast moving consumer goods, where brands fight tooth and nail to stand out amongst the clutter, it’s not uncommon to find companies investing in merchandizing, ranging from attractive advertising banners to company representatives offering free samples. But merchandize can get damaged, staff need to be managed and surely, in 2017, there’s a better way?

Augmented Reality in packaging

In recent times, as consumers have become increasingly dependent on their mobile devices for reference, and in a world where every brand has released a mobile application in the interest of procuring data about their loyal users – there is a growing trend towards adoption of Augmented Reality as a tool to connect the physical (the product) and the digital (an experience about the brand) – turning packaging into a “multidimensional communication vehicle”.

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Research from Deloitte showed that mobile is driving the convergence of consumer and shopper behavior and expectations, with more than one-third (34 percent) saying they use a smartphone to help choose brands during a shopping trip.
AR has proven to be a cost- & resource-efficient way to drive sales, and here are three key ways AR can help the packaging industry;


1 A dynamic marketing tool; Immersive experiences

For AR to work, a user downloads an application as directed and points the camera at the ‘target area’ on the packaging. The similarity of this function to taking a photo ensures that it’s not difficult for users to adopt and experiment. The target area can be anything on the packaging – a logo, a picture, a special creative or the entire packaging as well.

With a successful scan, an ‘experience’ plays – which can be a special deal for the user or any other communication. The ideal, naturally, is a message to encourage a purchase decision immediately.

Yasushi Kusume, innovation and creative manager for IKEA highlights three key goals of product packaging;

  1. It needs to stand out and grab the audience’s attention.
  2. It should encourage a purchase by conveying a unique and relevant value proposition.
  3. It should fit with your brand’s positioning and remain authentic to your overall stance.

AR has the capability to achieve all three goals, and much more.

Click here to know more about how Augmented Reality works

Click here to know the difference between AR, VR and MR 

2 “Hidden” communication to supplement packaging

A dichotomy in the packaging industry comes to the fore as brands are torn between a desire for minimalist design and impactful copy (to cater to the short span of human attention) and an awareness that purchase decisions are largely driven by reasonable amounts of information.

As such, AR enables brands to share “more info” on products, no longer restricted by the physical real estate of packaging.

Some examples of information that can be shared;

  • Allergy alerts (customized to the user’s account)
  • Sources of production
  • Recipe ideas
  • Any further collateral being used by the brand
  • Cross-promotions with other products under an umbrella brand

3 Additional touch point: Customized communication

Moreover, experiences can be customized, and data accumulated about users – thanks to existing tracking such as barcodes, QR codes and other unique IDs. Alexandre Carvalho, of Tetra Pak shared the following insight in the Tetra Pak 2017 Index;

“We sell, globally, a year, 108 billion units of products. So can you imagine if every single unit has a unique ID and you can use this to interact with consumers and gather data? And this is already happening,”

At Appearition, we have worked with clients in the packaging industry, and would be more than happy to share what we have learnt along the way. Here’s a quick sample of our work;

At Appearition, our Research and Development team is actively working towards improving our understanding of how these technologies can work to benefit your business. Contact us to find out more.


The future is here – create your own augmented reality experiences

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