The term ‘extended packaging’ refers to the practice of conveying information to consumers via their mobile devices. This information could take a number of different forms (video, images, web page) and is usually linked through a 2D code or QR code on product packaging. The idea is that packaging to serve a function beyond what is traditionally expected of it; so besides keeping the product protected and/or fresh and usable, it will also help the consumers understand more about the product that they are purchasing. In that sense, it serves a different purpose from that of 2D /QR codes (or NFC/RFID chips) in posters, mailers etc. The purpose of ‘extended packaging’ is not just marketing (although that could be one of the purposes); by using ‘extended packaging’ on their products, brands and retailers are creating a situation where the consumer can get actual information that is not obfuscated by marketing jargon.
The need for extended packaging has been felt for a number of different reasons. One the main reasons is changing consumer needs:
- Consumers are now less easy to target using traditional methods of marketing.
- Additionally, consumers are also more willing to trust other consumers, rather than marketing messages
- Also, consumers are getting their information from a number of different channels, which only distract them and reduce the impact of marketing messages.
By using extended packaging, brands have a way to reach consumers as they shop. For example, the 2D code on the packaging of a juice box could be scanned by consumers in-store to access basic nutrition, hygiene and packaging information. In fact, extended packaging could be used for a number of different purposes:
- Product authentication
- Mobile coupon delivery
- purchase and delivery of digital content
- Creation of social communities