We live in the digital age, there's no doubt about that. It's not a question of if the technology evolution will transform packaging, it's a question of when and how. In May, our sister brand Target Marketing attended Philly Tech Week and came away with some insight into the future of technology.
You may remember that we covered some of Philly Tech Week last month after Target Marketing's Taylor Knight released a video on the event, which took a look at the effects of the future of technology on business. In her second video, Knight asks the question, "What is the future of technology?" Here we will take a look at the dynamic tech industry and how to prepare a package printing business for the future:
"It's about solving consumer problems."
—Tim Philippo, cross car line project manager, Jaguar Land Rover N.A.
Philippo stresses the fact that business are always looking for the differentiation over the competition, and technology is one approach. But for each business, it's really about solving consumer problems. What can you do that is unique and offers an advantage?
Packaging Perspective: We've said it before: packaging needs to be functional, but it also needs to stand out on the shelf. If that means implementing a new form of technology in the packaging space, then it needs to add value. The best way to integrate new technology — whether it is an augmented reality layer that lets the consumer learn a little more about the product or an innovative new zip closure for flexible packaging — is to figure out what added element will benefit the consumer most and how it can be executed so that it is easy to use and easy to understand.
For example, if you have a uniquely flavored liquor, it might be useful to include a QR code or an augmented reality layer that provides easy and delicious cocktail recipes when scanned. How often have you neglected to buy a product simply because you don't know the best way to put it to use? Adding technology directly on the package to provide examples and best use practices for consumers to interact with in the store can influence a purchasing decision. However, this is just one way to answer a consumer problem; there are many other interesting ways to bring packaging to life.
"I think what you're going to see is more smart consolidation."
—Jason Brewer, co-founder and CEO, Brolik
Brewer commented that technology is going to require more integration and it will need to be built into a business' culture. In other words, right now, marketers and technology experts usually need to pull together a "cobbled assortment" of vendors and platforms. To use technology to its greatest advantage, there will need to be smart consolidation and integrated partnerships. It needs to be built "into the culture and the fabric of the business," rather than allowing technology to be a far-reaching goal.
Packaging Perspective: Think about partnerships. How might a strategic partnership benefit your business? Is there a revolutionary new platform that might be the perfect fit for corrugated? An integrated partnership with, say, a technology-focused company might make it easier to reach tech goals more quickly. Consumer demands are constantly changing, so package printers and converters need to be on the edge of the latest advancement that might push packaging one step further.
"You need a more holistic approach to how you offer products."
—Chris Hunter, senior user interface engineering manager, Urban Outfitters
It's important that businesses now use an omnichannel approach to influence purchasing decisions. Hunter explains, "Consumers might go to a retail store and go touch and feel products … leave the store, think about whether [they want it] … and order it then." There isn't only one channel for influencing purchasing decisions anymore, there are various platforms to market products to consumers. Businesses just need to make sure they're targeting consumers where they can be reached, making themselves available on multiple platforms.
Packaging Perspective: This one is a little more about marketing, but it does relate to the packaging industry. For packaging, sometimes there is only one chance to catch a consumers' eye and influence a purchasing decision, so it needs to be noteworthy. If a consumer interacts with a package, the chances are increased that the consumer may make a purchase at some point — through various platforms, either in store or online. But how can a package make an impression in-store so that the consumer remembers the product even when interacting with it on their computer or on their phone? One way to do that is by encouraging a consumer to reach out and touch the package when he/she physically comes in contact with it.
“There is so much that happens from a psychological standpoint, whether it’s a perceived ownership of that product or not,” Kevin Abergel, VP of sales and marketing at MGI, explains in the article "The Finishing Touch," which was featured in the April issue of packagePRINTING. “The chances of putting the product back on the shelf are greatly reduced when it is picked up.”
The same goes for later when the consumer goes home. If a package makes an impression … it might spark a buy at a later date.
For more information and to watch the Target Marketing video, please click here.