Smart packaging goes beyond the traditional functions of protecting and preserving a product, incorporating features that add value to both brands and consumers.
Launched in Q3 last year, Meiyume’s NFC- and QR-enabled smart packaging solutions can be applied from cosmetics and fragrances to wines and spirits, and more.
For beauty products in particular, smart packaging elevates the level of personalisation that a brand can offer its customers.
“Brands have the flexibility to design the consumer experience. For instance, when users tap on the NFC-tagged packaging of a skin care product, they can be given usage instructions, pairing recommendations, or suggested routines. Brands can even choose to link to a Spotify playlist.
“Information on a product’s ingredient sources, environmental impact and recyclability can also be provided, so consumers can make better informed purchasing decisions. By introducing a one-click refill order or repurchase process, brands can further promote sustainability and sales. It all depends on what the brand wants to focus on,” Kenneth Chia, Assistant Marketing Manager at Meiyume, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.
In addition, serialised NFC tags or QR codes allows consumers to quickly confirm a product’s authenticity before purchasing or opening it.
“As there are a lot of grey market goods out there, consumers can verify if a product is authentic through this method. Consumers today want to know where products come from and how they are made. Smart packaging allows for greater transparency and traceability.
“From the brand’s perspective, it becomes easier to track the movement of its products throughout the supply chain. Some NFC tags can even monitor conditions like temperature and humidity. Importantly, brands can also be notified when products are being sold via unauthorised distribution channels.”
Another benefit of smart packaging is the ability to capture data, including consumer preferences and usage patterns for new product development, recycling behaviour for sustainability audits, and counterfeit hotspots.
“Brands will be able to track the specific metrics that they want for their products — for example, features and experiences that drive the highest consumer engagement,” said Chia.
Challenges to uptake
Since its launch, Meiyume’s smart packaging has received notable interest. The firm is currently in discussion with several firms that have expressed differing needs and requests.
With smart packaging still in its early stages, Chia admitted that there are challenges to overcome before widespread adoption would take place.
“Brands want to know what’s the main value add [of smart packaging] and whether it is necessary. Not everyone can visualise the immediate benefits of consumer insights and user experience, so they are keen to find out if other brands have done it and the success rate.”
The second barrier to uptake is the additional cost involved. Especially for big companies that sell huge amounts of products globally, shifting from conventional packaging to smart packaging is an investment to ponder over.
Furthermore, brands must be willing to be transparent about their products and supply chain, as authenticity and traceability are key aspects of smart packaging.
“It’s not a hefty investment if you look at the return on investment. Oftentimes, brands lose touch with consumers post-purchase. Understanding how people interact with their products can help brands maintain a relationship with their customers.
“On top of that, brands on e-commerce sites will find the reordering function very useful. It can be inconvenient for consumers to search for and repurchase an item. With an NFC-enabled packaging, they can place an order via a simple tap and wait for the product to be shipped to their home.”
Ultimately, the degree of customisation and scale of investment is up to each company to decide.
“They may come to us only for the NFC or they could outsource the whole end-to-end service. At Meiyume, we not only make packaging, but we are also able to recommend the best solution to adopt based on our insights-driven approach and expertise.
“For instance, we can advise on the type of content that the NFC tag should link to. We can also help to design the user experience and user interface.”
The firm has an in-house analytics team that gathers data via various tools, such as its AI-driven Beauty Intelligence Platform.
One of its functions includes using AI to amass vital online information for analysis and interpretation, such as consumer sentiment analysis from product reviews, in real time.
“Brands may be thinking about the best ingredient to use for their next formulation. With our platform, we can find out what exactly appeals to consumers, such as a particular texture or fragrance, and feedback to our clients so they can refine their products accordingly.
“The smart platform is also able to translate languages, analyse competitor products, etc. It grants brands full visibility and understanding of the market, as well as bigger room for customisation and personalisation.”
According to data provided by Meiyume, smart packaging is expected to grow by 7% annually between 2023 and 2028, with the largest market currently in North America and Asia-Pacific having the highest growth potential.
“From food and beverage to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, we are seeing more companies adopting smart packaging,” Chia said.
Meiyume’s insights team has identified the US, France and China as the key potential markets for its smart packaging solutions.
“The prevalence of large multinational cosmetics companies in New York and France is significant. As major hubs for fashion and beauty, they attract substantial investment and high sales volumes. Several prominent beauty brands in these countries, including Paco Rabanne and Clinique, have already begun exploring the realm of smart packaging.
“Meanwhile, the issue of counterfeiting is particularly acute in China, making it a market where smart packaging solutions could provide immense value to brands. These innovative technologies can enhance product authentication and consumer engagement.”