The unfulfilled potential of product packaging

5 min read
Blog Author

The unfulfilled potential of product packaging

Blog Author
5 min read
Exploring the capability of product packaging to deliver the greatest always-on owned media channel and user data resource you never knew you had.

I’ve recently returned from a wonderful trip to New York City for NRF 2019, exploring the incredible advances in the retail sector with our partners at Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. Hopefully you managed to attend and came by to see us at Booth 2437 - we certainly had a fantastic time meeting you all and showcasing the incredible power of AR to transform the retail experience.

Recently, we explored the exciting ways physical retailers were turning to technology to meet the challenges of e-commerce, pivoting to experiential to reward customers with incredible experiences that are simply impossible online - something we believe AR experiences are at the absolute heart of. Fresh (if somewhat jetlagged!) from our transatlantic trip, here are my reflections on another exciting way that AR is empowering retail - the unfulfilled potential of connected packaging.


A truly sweet new horizon for product packaging

There’s a saying, which I will no doubt paraphrase badly, that goes something like this: 

“Don’t just see me for who I am, see me for who I can become.”

It speaks to the unfulfilled potential in all of us.

That’s the essence of AR in connected packaging: delivering the unfulfilled potential of a product which is often passively hidden in its inert or unassembled state and helping users see its benefits and value them in their lives.

Take a commodity like sugar for instance (although the same would be true of most products!). AR for packaging doesn’t simply perceive a 1kg bag of sugar granules in its static state on the shelf as static - it sees what it can be at home. The possibilities of AR transform the sugar granules into the glorious cake, the delicious brownie, the delicate cup cake.

Or to put it another way, if all this talk of treats is making you hungry, it offers an engaging and interactive window into a product’s future potential and true end benefit.


AR connected packaging experience, created by Zappar for Alpen Salz


Imagine that when I scan the product with my phone, I’m not faced with a passive pack, but instead a visualisation of the amazing end product. We have the ability to fold time with AR -  from scanning the pack on shelf and in the home to demonstrate what it can be.


“In a shifting of roles, AR puts the consumer (not the product) as the missing ingredient - the catalyst to augment the pack of sugar to its ultimate destiny of deliciousness. That becomes a compelling signal to buy, to be inspired, to make a choice over other brands and place it in your basket and take it out of the cupboard.”

- Caspar Thykier, CEO, Zappar


Building truly valuable customer relationships that add value

Once we’ve made that connection between person, product and pack, AR has the ability to offer other inspiring messaging. Recipes, competitions, coupons, rewards, brand heritage and other contextually relevant and personalised baking content, post-purchase, through a simple scan.

AR connected packaging experience, created by Zappar for Bresso


The more data we collect through scanning (with the users’ permission, of course), the greater the level of assistance and end benefit we can give our users as we learn about their behaviour and adjust our messaging to meet their needs.


“ Our otherwise passive packaging is transformed into our most powerful connection point, creating direct dialogue with our users as an always-on owned media channel.”

- Caspar Thykier, CEO, Zappar


Through the use of brandtech in connected packaging, we’ve delivered a media channel like no other at a fraction of the cost of traditional paid channels with more granular data about our users. This new platform can also be leveraged for partnerships with other like-minded brands and retailers to help our end users while driving new sales opportunities and revenue.

By turning packaging into digital discovery channels we increase transparency about our products. We create meaningful moments of assistance; drive purchase intent; loyalty and repeat sales. With the right tools (like Evrythng’s SaaS platform and ZapWorks Studio content authoring and publishing tool for AR) these channels and short form experiences can be managed in real time effectively and efficiently at scale.


AR connected packaging experience, created by FlyAR using ZapWorks Studio, for Stora Enso


The opportunity is there for brands who can look beyond their current passive product and see them for what they really are in the new age of connected pack: the greatest owned media opportunity and data resource you never knew you had.


Final Thoughts

Our in-house creative studio has a fantastic track record of producing exceptional connected packaging experiences for some of the world’s biggest brands, adding real value both pre and post purchase. If you’re thinking about unleashing the potential of your product packaging with AR, why not get in touch with our expert team about the ways we can support you? For AR creators exploring the possibility of offering connected packaging to your clients, the ZapWorks Studio toolkit has everything you need to blow audiences away. We have a wide range of step by step and video tutorial content to help you on your creative journey, and our community of AR enthusiasts and expert technical support staff on our Forum are on hand for everything from detailed troubleshooting to a bit of moral support!