Allow your customers to connect with your product before they even open it........
How does holding a high-end, top-quality package make you feel? Cherished? Intrigued and impatient to open it? One thing is certain: We instantly start to feel more positive about the product within.
And that’s natural. If a company has invested significant time and effort designing, refining, and manufacturing its packaging, it has probably put double the effort into the actual product. Therefore, we develop more trust in both the product and the brand.
Indeed, quality products from responsible brands have high-end packaging that is built around the shape, size, and sensitivity of the product.
The issue with many packaging designs is that they are more product-centred than consumer-centred. In other words, they are more focused on showcasing product features rather than the value that the product can give to consumers.
That’s because too many designs are approved in conference rooms without considering the way an actual consumer would experience it.
Consider the amount of information about features presented in minuscule font sizes that nobody will bother reading, packaging that is hard to open, and designs that aren’t interactive and don’t carry an emotional message or connect with the consumer.
It’s true that the facts and features are important and even amazing packaging cannot save an inferior product. However, the reality of competition in the post-internet era is that whatever the features, the product alone is no longer enough.
The focus must move from a product’s features to the value it creates for consumers. In other words, consumers should be put first
Add That Human Component to Your Packaging Design
How do you involve the consumer?
Meet intelligent packaging. When built upon the right framework, it’s what allows consumers to interact with your product, adding that extra value.
Intelligent packaging implies a functional design that offers an additional benefit, going beyond the mere packaging task.
Essentially, the intelligence of packaging results from its ability to communicate with the consumer and deliver value in the form of information, automation, or personalization functionality.
Among all the possible means of achieving this functionality, augmented reality rightfully takes a leading position. It complements the physical package with a digital layer, which can be explored with the help of your smartphone camera.
“Until recent years, augmented reality was a little like the Yeti. A lot of people talked about it, but no one really saw it — or in this case, saw an excellent example,” shared Peter Zwierzyk, RealityUnit’s co-founder.
Benefits of Augmented Reality for Packaging Design
AR can educate consumers on how the product works, what the size/form factor is, and what its uses and benefits are.
Let’s imagine buying an item that needs some manual expertise to work, for instance, a chair that comes in pieces and needs to be assembled.
The instruction manual is not the optimal way of doing this, as written instructions can be challenging to understand because they are too abstract, and are especially hard to grasp for people who are not proficient in the language.
What if, instead, we could point our camera at the packaging and be led gently through a visual tutorial. The camera could help us find piece number one, then piece number two, and so on, until we could triumphantly announce to the world that it’s ready.
In another example, Lacalut used its toothpaste’s packaging to create an engaging tutorial for kids that shows them how to brush their teeth.
AR can provide information that communicates the purpose of the product or the vision of the brand. As an example, I W-in-a-Box did a great job using AR to explain more of the benefits of drinking their water.
Most packaging has limited space, and it’s easier to read if it’s not crammed with words.
“A company making cereals can only mention ‘BHT free’ on their product as a unique selling point, whereas many people could have no idea about BHTs. An AR content showcasing the harmful effects of this ingredient in detail will help transform leads into conversions,” shares CJ Xia, Boster’s VP of Marketing & Sales.
Another interesting take on AR in packaging comes with entertaining content. As an example, Coca-Cola Ukraine used augmented reality to turn their Christmas-themed cans into true magic: Within a few seconds of scanning the can, it transforms into a dance floor, featuring the country’s top stars.
Every brand has a story. Using AR, a brand can tell captivating stories. For instance, 19 Crimes has an AR feature called Living Labels in all their wine bottles. Using your phone, you can hear infamous convicts tell their side of the story.
AR helps tell your story in a visually straightforward way, thus creating a stronger connection between your brand and your consumers.
“The goal should always be to provide value and feature content that either educates, explains, inspires, or entertains.” — Ainars Klavins, Co-founder and CEO of Overly.
Productivity and positivity create value. And the additional value is an additional reason to pick up the product.
That being said, augmented reality packaging is not necessarily a sales tool for in-store purchases, persuading customers to buy one product over another. It possesses much more value and immense potential in building brand loyalty post-purchase by providing interactive content that customers can explore at home and share with friends.
Boring packaging can still turn out great
You can always build excitement for your packaging with a sharply defined focus on the experience it can produce, rather than its design elements. Thus plain, sustainable packaging can still attain additional value through digital content.
If we look at the FMCG sector, AR packaging offers an empty space for hosting additional information such as recipes, instructions, rewards, and more. The extra content can also be based on kids’ entertainment, adding AR games to the packaging.
“The key here is that augmented reality packaging turns your products into channels that ‘carry’ your ads, directly or indirectly.” — Arman Atoyan, CEO of Arloopa.
After all, customers no longer desire to be strictly materialistic. They want to feel connected to their products in a meaningful way. By adding AR to packaging, the brand can tell their story and display their message for the customer to see and interact with, holistically elevating the experience of purchasing.