Enhancing ecommerce: powered by connected packaging

By Jenny Stanley

As I sit down to order my weekly food shop online, I’m reminded of the myriad ways technology has transformed the way we shop. In our digital age, where commerce media reigns supreme and retail media offers brands more opportunities for online sales, it’s easy to assume the product packaging is less important.

Jenny Stanley – Managing Director , Appetite Creative

In fact, I’d argue that it’s more important than ever before, and a key part of this wider digital advertising ecosystem. Packaging, especially if it’s connected packaging, supplies opportunity and growth for advertisers, which combined with ecommerce and retail media strategies, bolsters online presence and enhances the overall shopping experience.

Retail media, ecommerce and connected packaging 

According to Emarketer 20.1% of retail purchases are expected to take place online in 2024 and by 2027, 23% of retail purchases are expected to take place online.

McKinsey defines commerce media as ‘makes advertising more effective by using transaction data to gain audience insights, improve targeting, deliver relevant experiences, and connect impressions to sales, online and in-store’. According to Shopify, ecommerce sales are expected to grow 8.8% in 2024.

Retail media is the equivalent of ‘end of aisle shelves’ in the supermarket, which showcase product offers. When a consumer visits a grocery retailer website, there are prime spaces on the website where consumers are more likely to see (and ultimately purchase) a product. Figures from IAB Europe predict retail media spending will surpass traditional linear TV in Europe in under two years, reaching a massive €25 billion.

The smart or connected packaging utilises a web app based connected experience accessed via QR codes found on the packaging. When a customer scans the packaging they’re seamlessly redirected to the branded experience, where they can explore exclusive deals, interactive fun games, product information, recipes and much more. This not only drives engagement and loyalty, but also simplifies the purchasing process and gives the brand first-party data access to better understand consumer behaviour. 

A recent survey we carried out shows that a third (33%) of respondents are planning to spend between $15,000 to $30,000 this year. A large majority (88%) claim to be planning a connected packaging campaign this year. With 80% of respondents citing that connected packaging will be increasingly important to the packaging industry in the next 12 months and beyond.

By dovetailing, ecommerce or retail media opportunities with connected packaging, customer loyalty and engagement increase, product knowhow improves, and customer data can be used to inform future marketing and production decisions. 

Simple purchase journey

Don Simon, a leading brand in the beverage industry, has mastered this strategy by leveraging connected packaging to generate direct traffic to its sales website. By seamlessly integrating offline and online channels, Don Simon ensures that customers can easily transition from product packaging to easy purchasing with just a few taps on their devices.

Don Simon offers consumers virtual coins for interacting with its packaging, which can then be converted into vouchers to purchase more products via their website. This not only fosters brand loyalty but also encourages repeat purchases, as consumers are rewarded for their engagement. By gamifying the shopping experience, brands can captivate consumers’ attention and develop a sense of belonging, ultimately driving sales and enhancing brand affinity.

Another benefit of connected packaging is that it seamlessly drives customers from physical retail experiences or products to ecommerce platforms. This gives brands the opportunity to encourage customers to sign up for subscription plans or loyalty programmes, which allows them to retain more of the profit margin.

Customer loyalty 

Another key advantage of connected packaging is its ability to keep consumers on your brand website and engaged. In today’s crowded marketplace, where competition is fierce and consumer attention is fleeting, it’s crucial for brands to create immersive experiences that captivate and retain their audience. 

Whether it’s interactive games, product tutorials or exclusive promotions, connected packaging offers endless possibilities for brands to connect with consumers in meaningful ways, fostering deeper relationships and driving brand loyalty.

Household names like Pepsi, Gatorade and Frito-Lay have increased global first-party data records by 50% through accruing people’s email addresses in exchange for reward programs, letting it serve people more relevant messages, ultimately driving revenue.

Like many brands, PepsiCo has used a number of tactics to capture consented first-party data, including QR codes available on product packaging, in-store point of sale at registers and TVC ads. It’s a popular tool to ensure valid, reliable and consciously shared data. 

We’re seeing more requests than ever for loyalty and rewards programmes – which connected experiences are perfectly placed to deliver – especially important when inflation means loyalty is an even bigger challenge for brands than usual. In fact, at Appetite Creative we’ve recently seen a loyalty program yield a remarkable 28% increase in sales within the initial six months of its implementation.

Understanding customers 

By tracking how consumers interact with their packaging, brands can gain valuable insights into purchasing patterns, demographics, and product preferences, allowing them to tailor their marketing efforts and product offerings accordingly. This data-driven approach not only enables brands to optimise their ecommerce and retail media strategies, but also ensures that they remain relevant and responsive to evolving consumer needs and trends.

While collecting this data in real time, brands can see exactly what content customers are interacting with and adapt or update it as required. Once that bridge is created to connect with them, it allows brands to dynamically change content in real-time to start delivering more tailored experiences. It can evolve and deliver new data in real-time. The different layers of data connected packaging delivers includes age, gender and location to product preferences and purchase dates. 

Through connected packaging experiences, such as quizzes or personality tests, we often ask users questions which in turn encourages them to trial new products or gives them inspiration to add a product into a recipe or mix products together. We can also track customer motivations based on which competition or quiz prizes they pick to convert into vouchers or coins. It’s a great tool to get a raft of insights into customer preferences, product uses and behaviour, as well as nudging them into action to purchase more products. 

Allowing brands to have a deeper understanding about their customers means marketing messages can be optimised, targeted and tailored. Brands can find out exactly what their customers want, and track a range of data including how and when they’re using the product and where they’re buying it. With the target audience easily accessible, it’s also a valuable tool for market research and production innovation too. 

By leveraging the power of connected packaging, and combining it with ecommerce and retail media campaigns, brands can drive direct traffic to their sales websites, incentivise consumer engagement through loyalty programs, and keep consumers engaged and returning for more.

Next time you come across a product with connected packaging, take a moment to scan it and discover the immersive world of possibilities that awaits you.

Jenny Stanley is MD at Appetite Creative

Source: Appetite Creative

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