You’ve probably heard of the Internet of Things.

It’s the trend toward including internet access in everyday items like washing machines, fridges, heating systems, and security systems.

Many are now controlled by home hubs or smartphone apps which can turn on your heating or lights, or monitor your home’s security.

When it comes to packaging, smart technology is about to revolutionise the industry.

Several businesses in the food and pharmaceutical industries are experimenting with connected packaging, giving them real-time information about how their customers use their products.

For example, it could give sauce manufacturers details about how users squeeze the bottle or how easy it is to open the lid.

That would feed back into research and development for the next generation of sauce bottles.

It might also give important information about how quickly a product is used.

Analysts predict that the health and beauty and pharmaceutical industries, and lifestyle businesses will be early-adopters of this technology.

In the pharmaceutical industry, there are many potential applications.

How about a pill bottle which alerts a pharmacy if an elderly relative forgets to open the lid and take their medication?

Or, a bottle which only disposes an exact, safe dose?

These developments are not too far in the future. There is already a bottle with an alarm system which warns patients a dose of medication is due.

How does smart packaging work?

Technology already allows manufacturers and distributors to:

  • Monitor the shelf life of a product
  • Respond to changes in the environment
  • Communicate the history, condition, and information about a product to a user – in France, consumers can read the stories of the previous users of their recycled bottle
  • Help ensure product security

The use of computer chips and sensors in packaging is set to expand rapidly in the next few years.

They can be used to send information back to the manufacturer or another ‘hub’ like a pharmacy or health centre.

US-based drinks brand Gatorade, owned by PepsiCo, is developing a water bottle with a smart cap containing hidden sensors and a microchip alongside a smart sweat patch to be worn by athletes and weekend runners.

Professional sports teams in the USA are already trialling the system and early prototypes were used by the Brazilian football team during the 2014 World Cup.

The sweat patch calculates how much moisture is being lost by the athlete, while the smart cap records real-time data on the athlete’s hydration.

This information is then sent to the coach who can monitor the situation.

Field trials are also giving athletes visual alerts on bottles when they should be hydrating

The company is also set to launch small, snap-on pods to add to the bottles of its drink – adding different levels of electrolytes, carbohydrates, and calories to keep athletes at their peak performance.

The smart cap and sweat patch are expected to be released onto the commercial market either later this year or in 2018.

Professional athletes are expected to get the first chance to buy these systems this summer.

So, is smart packaging right for your business?

The cost of materials will play a key role in determining which businesses adopt the new technology in the next few years.

Potentially, there are huge benefits in helping you develop user-friendly packaging designs, alerting your business to usage trends, and giving your customers added value.
Do you need advice on packaging for your business? Call Menshen’s experts on 02920 473147. Find out more about our range here: http://menshen.co.uk/.

The right packaging can make a cosmetic line. The wrong packaging, however, could break it.

It’s the first thing your customers see, forming the first impression of your cosmetics and your company.

Use the right packaging and you could create a cosmetic line which speaks directly to your ideal customers.

Here are five things you need to do to ensure you get it right:

 

Understand your target customers.

Do your market research in your key demographic and find out what your customers want and need.

If you’re selling to Millennials, be aware that they will be researching your products online before going into the store to buy them. Your packaging needs to look fun, fresh, fashionable, and funky to attract them.

Millennials, however, are also very cost-conscious, marketing data shows. They will be looking for the best value products – so your packaging should not be adding too much to the overall cost if they are your target market.

Using standard packing with eye-catching graphics may well be the best way to go to market to these people.

If you’re marketing to women in their forties, they are prepared to spend more on any items they perceive to be of the best quality.

For that reason, the quality of your packaging is of vital importance to their spending decisions. If the product looks of excellent quality on the outside, it is likely to be of excellent quality on the inside.

Consider whether your packaging needs to be bespoke – helping you stand out from the competition.

 

Think about how your customers will use your products.

How they use your products has a huge bearing on the ergonomics of your packaging. Does it need to be easy-open for use on the go? Do you need to show how much has been used to help your customers keep on top of when they need to buy more? For cosmetics which will be carried in bags, for example, the weight of packaging will be important – tubes may well be a better option than jars.

 

Your packaging must travel well.

For any items carried in bags pack integrity is of critical importance.  Lesser quality packaging will be more prone to leakage giving an instant negative perception of the product and brand. Saving costs at the front end of the project does not always translate to a successful product life cycle.

 

Treat your product with respect.

Choose the right material and thickness to ensure it has a long enough shelf life. You’ve invested in the creation and production of your cosmetics, don’t waste money because of spoiled or spilled goods. You want as much of your product as possible to get to the shelves.

 

Size matters.

The more expensive your product, the more likely consumers are to buy smaller sizes of it, research has shown.

Get your sizing range right. Asking people to pay for larger pots of expensive product because there aren’t enough smaller options will be a little off-putting.

Think long term. Customers who initially buy smaller pots and love your products will come back and switch to the larger ones if they see it as a better deal in the long run.

Your smaller pots are the way you get into great relationships with your customers.
Looking for advice on packaging for cosmetic companies? Tell us what you need. Call our Menshen UK experts on 02920 473147. Visit www.menshen.co.uk