Ever noticed a QR code on your pint of milk or bottle of wine? Or ever been encouraged to scan a code to receive an exclusive offer? These are all examples of connected packaging, which is not only bridging the gap between the digital and physical world, but also extending the opportunity for brands to converse and engage with customers.

Using technologies such as QR codes, barcodes or image recognition, customers now have the opportunity to utilise packaging as a ‘tool’ to access the digital world, through their digital devices. From educating customers about a product, or its materials, to entertaining and engaging them with content, packaging has become a priceless marketing channel to enhance brand loyalty.

However, with competition for consumer attention at an all-time high, how can businesses connect with customers via their packaging correctly? Not all connected experiences are created equal, and to sustain attention and recognition, creativity and simplicity but work together to offer a unique, and unforgettable experience.

Remember the objective: It’s all well and good connecting with customers, but it also needs to serve a business purpose. First party data can provide valuable information about customers, which can in turn help to sculpt future marketing efforts, allowing products to be more strategically targeted and optimised.

Keep it simple: The more clicks involved, the more likely you are to lose customer’s interest. A simple QR code placed on your packaging makes it easy for customers to access the information, over the likes of an app. These are not only expensive to create, but also time-consuming to download, as well as taking up unnecessary data.Keep in mind the customer’s journey, and make it as short as possible.

Educate customers: Australian wine brand, 19 Crimes, employs augmented reality in its labels. Customers can scan labels, each decorated with a different historical convict exiled to Australia, and hear from them as they talk about their crimes and punishment. It’s brand stories like these which build a connection with customers, giving them information about the product, which in turn boosts brand loyalty.

Incentivise the experience: Everyone loves a freebie, discount or competition, so connect with customers by rewarding them for making a purchase. Their commitment to ‘connecting’ with you via a QR code could be recognised with a unique offer or competition. Go one step further and ‘gamify’ the experience; with customers often relishing in the chance to win a prize and have fun while doing it.

Be strategic: Make sure your connected packaging strategy extends to your other online channels, and encourage audiences to share digital experiences on your social media pages. The more engaging and/or rewarding the experience, the more likely they are to tell others about the brand, and in turn drive up revenues.