Toppan’s Secure ID Platform provides brands with a cloud-based turnkey solution to give physical products a digital identity and connect it to the Internet.
The company initially developed this technology to protect companies and consumers against adulterated products and product tampering.
The platform works in conjunction with an NFC tag that contains a high-security chip that can detect if a product has been opened.
This allows consumers to determine if they are buying a safe and authentic product by scanning the tag with their smartphones.
Additionally, the tag can provide information and Toppan now looking into its application as a marketing tool to help brands engage with consumers.
“We started by providing this solution for companies in liquor, spirits and wine – products that [stress more] on authenticity. Now we want to expand to cosmetics because it’s more important for cosmetics companies to communicate directly with consumers,” said Takuya Onuki, securities & cards specialist, business development manager, security products, Toppan.
With more demanding consumers and hurdles caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns, Onuki noted that brands are under increasing pressure to find novel ways to engage with their consumers.
"For cosmetic brands, the customer touchpoint for them in the past is basically at the store. Smart packaging can give them a new way to communicate with consumers and expand their touchpoints. With this solution, brands can communicate with consumers anytime they scan the tag with their smartphones. It could be while using the product or even after purchase.”
Onuki emphasised that this technology had massive applications for cosmetic brands.
It can be used quite simply to display product information or even multimedia content like video tutorials. Furthermore, the information can be personalised based on consumption stages.
For instance, the open detection technology can trigger the platform to offer exclusive information for consumers after they make the purchase and begin using the product, such as perks like coupons.
“This is just a tool to connect the consumers and brands. How it is used is dependent on the brand and how they want to communicate with the consumers. The most important point is to create an attractive consumer experience,” said Onuki.
The company also provides brands with a dashboard which can monitor scan activities of individual products.
“When, where, which product – all this information can be collected on the brand manager platform,” said Onuki.
Most importantly, being able to track the location of a product from production can alert the company to grey market dealings and keep track of product distribution.
Onuki emphasised the NFC tags were secure with high-level security IC chips that were encrypted.
Furthermore, with its open detection technology, it ensures that the packaging cannot be collected and reused after it is thrown out or recycled.
Moving forward, Toppan expects to see smart packaging playing a more important role for brands and consumers as a tool to ensure authenticity, security and enhance engagement.
The key to the implantation and usage of smart packaging is smartphones, said Onuki.
He elaborated that almost all smartphones in the market today had an NFC reader function after Apple activated the functions in its phones last year.
“From a brand standpoint, they can now offer these services to more consumers, that’s why there’s been a lot of activity in NFC going on, big brands are now thinking about the possibility and potential to use NFC for smart packaging.”