Packaging evolves into sensory adventure
John Kalkowski -- Packaging Digest, 10/8/2012 12:32:45 PM
It is no longer enough that packaging has an attractive graphic design to be differentiated on the retail shelf. Today's consumers want more; they need to be engaged. "Interactive" now means packaging engages all of a user's senses, not just sight.
Let's face it, though. The latest packaging technologies really help sell products. We're hearing more and more about how exciting packaging innovations that employ the latest techniques are helping to revive nearly moribund brands or making new product launches become overnight successes. Flashing lights, tactile coatings, changing colors, scents, QR codes and augmented reality all are having a major impact on consumer perceptions when they make their buying decisions in the retail environment. That shouldn't be surprising either, since many retailers literally offer tens of thousands of SKUs to compete for a shopper's attention.
October's Packaging Digest and the accompanying PACK EXPO Insider supplement have several articles highlighting just how interactive packaging has become and how companies are achieving these advances.
In the Insider, author Sal Pellingra takes the reader on a tour of some of the latest cutting-edge packaging technologies, offering examples of how companies are using these innovations and explaining how these interactive changes help build the brands. Not only do these packaging embellishments provide additional product information to users, they increase brand loyalty. They also provide the brand owners data that helps them understand consumers.
On p.52 of this month's edition, Robert Ugianskis demonstrates how many companies are using specialty inks to create whiz-bang effects on packaging that range from color changes based on product temperature to fluorescence in nightclub environments. Material advances even allow electronic devices to be printed onto flat substrates, which can be used in packaging to engage customers and obtain direct feedback.
Meanwhile, on p.60, Rick Lingle relates how companies are making their packaging more interactive for aging consumers through the design of "frustration-free" or "universal" packaging.
Not all interactive packaging features are designed to capture consumer attention. In some cases, the interaction is between the product and the packaging. For instance, some features are designed to indicate spoilage or inhibit the growth of pathogens.
As a recent presentation offered by Innova Market Insights points out: A bright future can be anticipated for interactive packaging, as it fits perfectly with product safety strategies, offers convenience...and delivers a level of novelty which keeps consumer interest high. That study concludes that developments in interactive packaging point to "a future where simple, merely functional packs will seem more archaic day by day."
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