Smart packaging to counteract lost 'moment of truth' for retailers & consumers, say IDTechEx
09 April 2019
In its new report, 'Smart Packaging 2019-2029', IDTechEx Research finds that electronic smart packaging will become a $1.8 Billion market in 2029.
Retail is undergoing significant change. Not only are there many more customers, but that also includes many more elderly people, who need easier access to increasingly difficult-to-open packaging (deliberately designed to stop tamper in-store, but making it harder for consumer use). Cities are becoming more densely populated, and so real-estate becomes more expensive – all the while, retail tills waste space in stores. Waste is prolific – both within the supply chain and at home – and sustainability is much discussed, but work is only beginning.
The rise of internet shopping for non groceries is well documented – and even mobility is changing, with autonomous last mile electric vehicles in trial to rapidly deliver products to customers, which they increasingly expect and demand. In addition, the rise of internet shopping for groceries is also well underway.
This is all challenging for brands. In retail, there are two well known 'moments of truth'. The first is the immediate moments after the consumer sees the retail item package, when the consumer forms an opinion of the product, based on the package. The second moment of truth is when the product is consumed or used. However, internet shopping is eroding the first moment of truth – with the bar being lowered for the competition who have not invested as much in marketing their product. The rules are now changing very quickly.
IDTechEx Research's report, 'Smart Packaging 2019-2029' addresses the opportunity arising from these trends, specifically looking at how technologies related to packaging are being developed and used to grow brands – and provide consumers with valued additional benefits.
For example, there is increasing traction with RFID in packaging. The Japanese government ministry, METI has announced, alongside the leading Japanese retailers, that it plans to tag 100 billion retail items in Japan by 2025 – provided the tag price point is appropriate. In part, this is driven by a lack of young people in the workforce in Japan – and they do not want those people deployed in unproductive roles, such as scanning products at a supermarket till. Already several retailers are trialling automated checkouts in stores in Japan and China using RFID tagged products. Others achieve the same with sensor fusion, combining RF location technologies with machine vision – enabled by inexpensive cameras developed for smartphones, and now moving into other applications. Amazon have several such stores in the US, which completely eliminate tills.
Payments are changing too, with the rapid rise of QR codes in China, bypassing the need for smaller retailers to have card processing machines and obtain credit merchant status – apps such as WeChat and AliPay can send the money to the retailer immediately, once the QR code has been read. This success is localised – popular social media apps elsewhere have failed to encroach on the payment business.
Tagged items in stores are boosting sales by providing better stock control and IDTechEx also see a trend to dual frequency RFID tags, where consumers can use their NFC phone to interact with the product.
New technologies have now come to market, including flexible ICs, which will help to reduce the cost of NFC labels further, making it applicable to tagging more things.
Then there is the huge progress of packaging, which further excites the consumer and differentiates the product, from light-up or sound emitting versions that can be personalised, to smart packaging that can save lives by recording, for example, medication compliance in the form of smart blister packs or chemical time temperature indicators that alert when a vaccine is no longer appropriate to use, since it witnessed extreme temperatures in transit.
The full range of enabling technologies are covered in this IDTechEx report, along with their appraisal, suppliers and case studies. Learn about the key trends in retail packaging and the opportunities that result. For more details, please see www.IDTechEx.com/smart
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