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Smart packaging: definitions, models and packaging as an intermediator between digital and physical product management

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the traditional ‘contain–protect–communicate–facilitate convenience’ model of the main packaging functions, to revise each component of it in relation to packaging strategies and smart packaging applications, and to establish a new model of the main packaging functionalities concerning the analysed data. The scientific approach of this paper is twofold: it is based on an extensive literature review focused on articles related to packaging science and on a set of empirical observations from industrial cases of enhanced packaging with a higher emphasis on interactive packaging. The key findings of this paper are the two principal purposes of smart interactive packaging: (1) to enhance the product’s functionality or experience in order to serve its primary initial purpose more effectively and (2) to improve consumers’ experiences through engagement and entertainment in both the retail and the usage environment. This paper proves its originality by considering shifts in technological opportunities in packaging to assure a broader range of design options in packaging and engagement, thereby leaving packaging as static item. Also, bridging the general consumer experience between digital marketing and physical shopping using packaging is a novelty in retailing and brand management. This research is in its early stages and limitations are given from the modest proliferation of smart and interactive packaging into empirical contexts. New technologies of packaging and the design decisions are expected to have significant practical implications for brand and retail managers as well as consumers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research
Volume30
Issue4
Pages (from-to)377-410
ISSN0959-3969
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

    Research areas

  • consumer engagement, interactive packaging, Packaging functions, product experience, smart packaging, ENGAGEMENT

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