Reinventing the Product Experience

Mark Hewitt, CEO | Strategy & Innovation Lead

Pushing the boundaries of possibility 

Technologies and the tools available mean that today, you have more power than ever to shape your consumer’s brand experience. All you need is a little imagination and good business case, and we know exactly where you can find both. 

Connected Packaging: a two-way street to consumer engagement

With 7 trillion consumer packaged goods (CPGs) in circulation globally, packaging is the largest owned-media platform that brands have yet to use effectively. Imagine digitising the millions (and billions) of assets you already own and control. Now, imagine the insights that each of these assets could deliver if set up to do so, and how these could help you understand your consumers more and connect directly with the buyers and end-users of your products. 

Connected Packaging provides a great opportunity for your brand to add value by helping consumers shop, buy and use your products in ways that are easier, simpler and more rewarding. However, we see many brands failing to consider consumer pain points, still directing people to their .coms in the same way they have for the last 15 years. It’s curious how few seem to stop to consider how digital experiences could deliver increased value to consumers and brand owners. 

Reinventing the product experience is a two-way street. It isn’t simply about generating a more engaging product experience with consumers. Reinventing the product experience is about unlocking insights that your business can use to drive new concepts and new products, open new market segments and understand consumers in a whole new way. 

The first step to doing this successfully is understanding the consumer pain points. This is critical for brands that wish to provide incremental value at key product moments which, in turn, will drive engagement. We’ve spent many years working with some of the world’s leading CPGs and, in our experience, brands need this level of understanding to be able to make the decisions that drive the difference. 

From interesting data to usable insights

With an in-depth understanding of their consumer pain points, an awareness of their own brand objectives and up-to-the-minute Connected Pack insights and tech innovations from either their own Connected Packs already in action, or benchmarks derived from other Connected Packs that have been rolled out around the world, brand owners can create realistic business cases for markets and categories. This then allows brand owners to build a business case that highlights the real potential value of a Connected Packaging campaign. Then, this can be compared to business needs or targets to create a plan against which the campaign can be measured.  

With the business case ready and the targets set, it’s time to start planning the experience. With the opportunities afforded by technology, there are endless possible ways that brands can capture attention, enhance engagement, and differentiate themselves from other players in the market. 

Embracing AI to deliver Accessible experiences 

For example, Accessible QR [link to Accessible QR) when integrated into apps like BeMyEyes, can provide real-life video assistance to those who are blind or partially blind. This could involve trained volunteers or actual customer service assistants available to help consumers get the most from their products. For example, the volunteers or assistants could help recommend recipes based on your product and the ingredients the consumer has at home, then walk them through the preparation and cooking of that recipe. 

Accessible QR and BeMyEyes can also use Artificial Intelligence Visual Recognition to do the same thing. With 4%+ scan rates, product-as-a-service experiences like this provide real value to everybody: the brand, the business, and the consumer.

Enhancing UX with dynamic experience tools

Smart assistance can also be used to demo the product experience to consumers. For example, with a beauty product that claims to rejuvenate skin, consumers could scan the QR code and connect to a Smart Mirror Diagnostic Tool that enables them to see the potential areas where the skin could have a positive impact on their face. For these kinds of experiences, we see high scan rates and a 2.5 x increase in dwell times compared to the brand’s .com. 

Taking personalised gifting to a new level

Imagine using Connected Packaging to turn personalised gifting into a premium service. The gifting consumer could simply scan the serialised QR code that takes them to a delivery page where they can sign into the Personalised Gifting section. Once there, they can upload their message for a video or AR experience and even add a written message if they choose. They then link the message to the QR code on pack and use a PIN to secure the message before sending the gift with the recorded message to the intended recipient. The recipient then simply scans the QR code and enters a PIN to view the video and written message.

Using tech for traceability 

Serialised QR codes with reward mechanics like Green Tokens can also help consumers track product ingredients. On scanning the QR code, the consumer would select the ingredients they wish to track. Using SAP Green Token Platform, the consumer can then track where the ingredient originated. For example, if a product uses potatoes, the consumer could track when the potatoes left the farm, the date they arrived at the factory and when the potatoes were stacked on the shop shelf.

Incentives can be tracked and delivered with product information and rewards based on location, occasion, time and day of the week, and even the weather forecast. With always-on, smart wallet notifications, products could be added to a shopping list and the camera can be used to validate purchases and unlock rewards in real-time. This simplistic way to reward specific shopping behaviours is a potential option that all brand owners should consider. 

Tap into technology to reinvent the product experience

In summary, the technologies and tools at our disposal make product-as-a-service experiences a real possibility for marketers and brands. The key to success is knowing how to combine the technologies, make the user experience seamless and get the right, scalable commercial model from the outset, reducing unnecessary cost and waste and optimising return as quickly as possible. 

For more information about how you could reinvent your product experience to keep you at the cutting edge of Connected Packaging experiences and how you could start to receive insightful data from your Connected Packs at scale, contact

Written by Mark Hewitt, CEO | Strategy & Innovation lead

Mark has spent his career helping businesses grow and lead in digital transformation. For the last 10 years he has successfully led brand, digital, technology and packaging businesses and worked with leading CPG brands, helping them operationalise Connected Packaging Programmes around the world. In 2022 he co-created the multi-award winning Accessible QR code with Zappar.

CEC Overview

For more than 4 years, CEC has been helping clients quantify the true potential of their Connected Packaging. From revealing the true business case for Connected Packs to establishing the infrastructure and helping clients scale, CEC’s talent, tech and data insights are helping businesses better understand consumer behaviour when they have the product in their hands. 

Register to unlock this thought piece

Register now


Register with us to receive regular updates.

By signing up to our newsletter you agree to our Privacy Policy


Test message