by Sharat Potharaju, CEO of Beaconstac

As inflation and economic uncertainty threaten retail sales, consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers know their brands need eye-catching packaging to engage consumers and encourage purchases. Smart packaging can set your product apart, bridging the gap between physical and digital spaces to offer consumers a tailored experience. This phygital marketing tactic — blending physical and digital marketing — equips marketers with a dynamic advantage on retail shelves. Smart packaging offers consumers a more robust consumer experience than traditional marketing strategies, enhancing engagement and boosting customer loyalty.

Consider these four ways to optimize the customer experience through smart packaging. 

1. Share the brand’s story to instill trust

Brand stories offer consumers memorable details and increase the likelihood of a purchase. Headstream found that when consumers love your brand’s story: 

  • 55% are more likely to buy the product in the future.
  • 44% will share the story.
  • 15% will purchase the product immediately. 

Using your CPG experiences to tell your brand story will differentiate you from competitors. Incorporating QR codes and NFC tags in your packaging puts your story in consumers’ hands. By offering an instant, direct path to your brand narrative, you invite consumers to discover and explore on their smartphones while they browse a brick-and-mortar. When they relate to the story you share, their trust in your brand will grow, bringing them closer to a purchase.  

2. Include thorough product details to ease purchasing decisions

While your packaging highlights a product’s most crucial details, your website is rife with information. And according to Statista, 74% of U.S. consumers research products in-store on a mobile device. QR codes and NFC tags let consumers use their smartphones to connect immediately to clear, accurate information on your website.

Adding QR codes and NFC tags to product labels enables your brand to provide transparency about product origins and supply-chain processes — details that won’t fit on your label but are increasingly important to consumers. Label Insight found nearly all consumers (94%) are more likely to be loyal to brands committed to full transparency.

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3. Foster brand advocacy with gamification

Stronger engagement deepens the relationship between your brand and its customers, transforming them into brand advocates. Smart packaging nurtures customer engagement by offering easy opportunities to interact with your brand.   

Gamification is one way to foster brand advocacy. Using a QR code to promote interactive games and quizzes enables you to collect market research and reward consumers for their valuable time and insights. By rewarding their increased interaction with your brand, you’ll demonstrate appreciation and encourage a closer bond. 

You can also use smart packaging to increase participation in your loyalty programs. Create loyalty reward journeys involving your smart packaging, and invite non-members to join through QR codes featured prominently on your labels. When consumers scan the code, they’ll instantly access exclusive content, promotional offers and other incentives to earn points and redeem rewards. 

You can also use QR codes and NFC tags to direct loyalty members to post product reviews online. This strategy embeds brand advocacy into your loyalty programs, leveraging your most engaged customers to broaden your brand’s reach.

4. Create a direct-to-consumer channel to drive personalized experiences

Your smart packaging’s power can extend far beyond in-store purchases, inviting consumers to continue exploring your products online. QR codes and NFC tags offer this entry point, connecting your brick-and-mortar presence to your direct-to-consumer (D2C) eCommerce channel.

Smart packaging not only directs consumers to your online store — it also establishes personalized interaction opportunities. You can provide more customized product recommendations by collecting better consumer data insights. Consumers who come to your eCommerce store to reorder their favorite products directly from you will benefit from those recommendations, leading to higher average order value (AOV).

When shoppers can use your packaging to continue their consumer journey, they’ll drive additional revenue to your D2C business model and enable your brand to rely less on intermediaries like third-party retailers.

Smart packaging enables a seamless consumer experience

Incorporating smart packaging transforms how marketers interact with their customers. When you modernize your CPG strategies with QR codes and NFC tags, you seamlessly integrate consumers’ physical and digital marketing experiences. This phygital marketing strategy enables you to extend the life of your brand story, demonstrate your commitment to transparency, and invite consumers to engage more deeply. As a result, you’ll remain relevant and available to consumers long after they’ve left a retailer’s aisles.

Sharat Potharaju is the Co-founder and CEO of Beaconstac, responsible for crafting the overall strategy and execution. Sharat is dedicated to achieving Beaconstac’s vision to enable digital connection with every physical object and place on the planet. Prior to his entrepreneurial career, Sharat spent a few years working in investment banking at Merrill Lynch in New York. Sharat holds a master’s degree in engineering management from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.