Cosmetic packaging goes smart

According to an analysis conducted by MarketResearchPro, by 2023 the cosmetics market will grow by 4.16% annually: growth that companies must be ready to exploit and ride by continuing to innovate, including in packaging. We are not talking about a simple restyling of the image on the shelf, but about a real revolution in the way of conceiving the role of cosmetic packaging.

Why is this so important? And why now?

We summarize it in these 3 points:

The e-commerce boom in cosmetics

E-commerce is one of the sectors that has grown the most in the last year: it is estimated that by 2024, 16% of cosmetics purchases in the UK will be made online. This change in habits, accelerated by the pandemic, presents several challenges for cosmetic brands: 

  • Enhancing the value of the product (which cannot be tested)

Tester, goodbye: online there is no possibility of holding the cosmetic in one’s hand, tasting its texture and smelling its scent. The choice is only made on a visual basis. So, appearance counts even more! 

  • The revenge of primary packaging

On virtual shelves, products are not at risk of spoiling, so there is no need to present them in secondary packaging, such as graphically elaborate cardboard boxes. Instead, the primary packaging, such as the tube or jar, should be the focus of design, because that’s what the shopper is looking for (the exact opposite of what happens in shops today).

  • The fight against cosmetic counterfeiting

Among the new priorities that this forecast raises, the protection of consumers shopping online is becoming increasingly important. It is estimated that counterfeiting in cosmetics causes a 14.1 % loss of sales revenue in Europe, amounting to €9.6 billion (source: EUIPO research July 2020). And unfortunately, counterfeiting of cosmetic products often takes place via online sales.

Counterfeit products pose a high risk to brands and it is imperative, from both consumers’ and brand’s safety , to fight these dangers on all fronts. When shopping online, the consumer cannot see or test the product and the risk of being a victim of counterfeiting is increasingly high: how to build trust from a distance?

Cosmetic brands must therefore invest in solutions that combat counterfeiting. And packaging can become a real “brand armor” in this respect. 

Building consumer loyalty and strengthening market presence

The pandemic situation has given a decisive boost to online market, but on the digital front, cosmetics are split in two: on the one hand there is growth in dermocosmetic products, on the other a decisive drop in make-up (the McKinsey & Company report of May 2020 already recorded a 30% drop). Thanks to smartworking, people don’t go out much, and there is less need to put on make-up and lipstick or foundation. Yet the need to look good has not diminished, it has only changed: proof of this is the increase in requests for cosmetic surgery. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reports that its member doctors have noted increases of up to 70% in requests for virtual consultations during 2020. A phenomenon that many link to video calls (and the distorting effect of PC cameras) but also to a renewed need for self-affirmation at a time that has challenged us psychologically.

In both cases, cosmetic products need to reinvent themselves. To build a real relationship with their customers that can pierce the digital screens and enter their lives. Thinking about packaging from a different angle can be the way to find a new way of relating to the end consumer and, above all, of building consumers’ loyalty.

This last point is particularly important. In fact, online shoppers are generally more prone to infidelity: they change brands with ease, letting themselves be guided by offers or eye-catching advertising. In order to retain a customer over time, it is therefore necessary to offer a “plus” never attempted before.

The solution? Intelligent packaging.

For years, we have been working on smart packaging solutions for cosmetics that offer a concrete response to the needs of the industry, and that enable the use of every available tool to enhance the experiential qualities of cosmetic products.

Our proposal is a combination of technology and design: Stealthcode® and ToBeUnique digital printing. 

 StealthCode® is a code imperceptible to the human eye that is “hidden” in the print artwork; it can only be detected through a mobile app, available free of charge. By simply scanning it with your mobile phone’s camera, you are redirected to interactive content, which can be accessed via a simple smartphone.

What are the advantages? Let us look at some of them:

  • Unlike the more common QRCode, StealthCode® is invisible and therefore not forgeable. Computer security systems prevent it from being read if it does not meet the required standards. This discourages attempts at counterfeiting, offering additional protection for the product. Moreover, it is always correctly detectable even when the tube is completely squeezed or crushed.
  • Consumers are developing an increasing awareness of the ingredients and processes behind the products they buy, particularly in relation to health and sustainability. As a result, they will increasingly look for brands that offer greater transparency. Intelligent packaging techniques can help brands provide more information to their consumers, while ensuring reliability and traceability of the supply chain.
  • StealthCode® also allows you to provide users with all the information about the product, from the list of ingredients it contains to information on how to properly dispose of the packaging.  
  • For example, scanning a tube of foundation could open a video tutorial where a beauty blogger explains how to apply it for optimal results. This feature opens up a range of possible collaborations with influencers and well-known personalities in the industry, supporting the brand’s digital communication. There is more: the content associated with the product can be substituted. As a result, those who buy a foundation can also purchase a professional make-up video course, with content that changes, for example, once a week. 
  • Instead of classic content, the code can be combined with the sending of discount coupons for the purchase of new products, building customer loyalty. 
  • The StealthCode® app is coupled with a marketing platform that allows the company to obtain useful data, such as how many users have scanned the code, their geo-location and geographical coverage and the time spent on the digital content offered through the app. All in compliance with the GDPR – European Data Protection Regulation.
  • StealthCode® can also be used on the corporate side for product tracking and warehouse management. 

The technological advantages of StealthCode® are magnificently combined with digital printing on tubes and in particular with ToBeUnique, Favia’s exclusive printing method that combines printing on the aluminium body of the tube and on the closure capsule (also available in recycled plastic or compostable biopolymer) in a single process. A solution that saves time and energy (as two traditionally separate processes are condensed into one) while offering unique design solutions.

 A change that offers a new dimension of interaction between consumer, brand and product.

If you are interested in making your cosmetic packaging smart, contact us: we will be happy to listen to your needs and propose the best solution for your brand. 

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