Until recently, packaging’s sole purpose was to contain and protect the goods it surrounded. Despite the fact that many retailers branded their packaging, it was typically an afterthought for brands.
Smart packaging encompasses any packaging that does more than simply contain and protect an item. Retailers must invest in packaging that offers efficiency, resiliency, and insight to remain competitive. Smart packaging can help retailers achieve such through tracking location and their stock count, so retailers are always aware of how much/little of a product they have.
Finding the Right Solution
Packaging differs significantly across industries, and retailers have ranging demands for what their packaging needs to deliver for them. Brands operating in food, beverages, and pharmaceutical industries rely on product temperature monitoring, and cannot simply drop their products into boxes and ship them to stores.
With labels and packaging as a physical carrier of brand and product information, they can then be turned into a data carrier, unlocking new product values and bringing transparency to retailers. In this scenario, retailers require intelligent smart packaging that can protect products and provide additional functionalities, such as sensors that can detect item freshness and temperature. These sensors can keep operators informed of any potential issues, and challenges – such as out-of-date products – can be dealt with swiftly.
Driving an Agile Supply Chain
Supply chain efficiency has been hindered over the past few years for many organizations, and a number of businesses now package their items with solutions such as RFID or NFC tags, Bluetooth, or dynamic QR labels in order to streamline their supply chains.
For perishable goods, sensors within the packaging can alert staff if items are expiring, or if the packaging is damaged. These enable retailers to resolve any difficulties seamlessly, while eliminating products that may no longer be suitable for sale.
In an agile supply chain, brands should respond to in-store trends quickly, and move necessary stock to different locations based on requirements. This allows products to reach store floors faster, allowing retailers to capitalise on growing demand.
Creating Sustainable Processes
Smart packaging can be completely circular if utilized correctly, and retailers should be focused on eliminating wasteful materials, replacing them with that which can be safely reused, recycled, or composted.
Along the chain – from manufacture to sale – retailers can often fail to optimize their resources. Whether they have overproduced an item or distributed an inoptimal amount of items to warehouses or stores, waste is created that can be costly to both revenue and the environment. With insights provided by connected smart packaging and RFID tags, retailers can ensure that the number of products that are manufactured and distributed throughout the supply chain matches demand. Overseas shipping can be optimised, as well as warehouse and store deliveries.
With this structure in place, retailers can minimize travel emissions, as well as any emissions created throughout the manufacturing process. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of overstocking shop floors and creating excess waste in-store. Retailers are able to see how in demand their products are, and they are also able to produce and deliver the correct forecasted amount required for both in-store and online shopping.
Utilizing smart packaging to serve its purpose
Smart packaging enables brands to work smarter, more cost-effectively, and more sustainably. With these insights, an investment that generates long-term business sustainability retailers can keep up with evolving consumer trends and ensure operations remain optimized.