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Marketing and Comms
Redefining the Consumer Experience with SmartLabels

With engagement levels still low, SmartLabels are something of a sleeping giant. So, where’s the tipping point to awaken their full potential? How do we really drive that desire to engage?

The billions of US products equipped with the Consumer Brands Association’s (CBA) SmartLabel represent a huge opportunity for brands. With customers caring increasingly about the stories behind their purchases, many should be eager to scan a QR code (or search the web) to learn about them.

But consumer involvement, while encouraging, still has a way to go. With engagement levels still low, SmartLabels are something of a sleeping giant. So, where’s the tipping point to awaken their full potential? How do we really drive that desire to engage?

Bridging the engagement gap

SmartLabels have always had the potential to change the way customers interact with products. We know there’s a demand for transparency, and they inhabit valuable real estate on packaging. So, it seems that the answer to making this more attractive lies in the consumer experience.

At the core of the issue is the static nature of interacting with SmartLabels. Scan a product today, and you’ll mostly see basic information such as nutrition facts and ingredients. You won’t necessarily get the opportunity to actually engage with the brand to understand things such as the history of the product or the origin story of the company.

There’s a lack of connected data that tells the story of how a product came to be — from the original materials to the manufacturing plant, and the journey to the retail shelf.

A new partnership with SmartLabel

With over 100,000 product lines across the US adorned with its technology, SmartLabel has now partnered with Avery Dennison’s connected product cloud — making it only one of three platforms that are part of CBA’s preferred partner network (PPN). The consumer experience with SmartLabels now has the potential to be turbocharged. aims to turn SmartLabels into compelling consumer experiences, adding a host of exciting use cases. Brands can upload their product information onto the platform, choose from a gallery of SmartLabel templates, and even set rules for dynamic consumer experiences based on unique QR codes.

Instead of viewing a product line’s basic information, customers can see the individual story of the exact, unique item they’re holding. They’ll be able to connect with loyalty programs, automatically reorder, see related items, and check out gifting options — unlocking endless possibilities for brand and product interactions. Two customer questions can then be answered: “What’s the story behind this product?” and “What’s in it for me?”

Writing the story, not reporting it

The platform is also looking upstream to increase supply chain transparency. The digital triggers themselves can be scanned, read and interacted with; and then that will create a new tracking event in the supply chain. This not only contributes to a detailed sustainability story but also enhances inventory accuracy, reducing chargebacks between retailers and brands.

Rather than just a storytelling device, the SmartLabel becomes a part of the supply chain itself; brands can utilize it as an enabler for sustainable practices. Imagine first scanning a product to find out how it was made, then scanning it again later on to see information on end-of-life recycling and how you can pass it on responsibly.

The platform also surfaces extremely useful primary data that brands would normally miss out on — including valuable information on how customers interact with products, across geographies and product categories.

Image credit: Avery Dennison

A smart way to comply

While the immediate advantages are in broadening engagement, the partnership also sets the stage for future compliance opportunities. With upcoming regulations such as Europe’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, SmartLabels could evolve to become an even more useful tool for compliance and sustainability.

As similar regulations make their way across the Atlantic, brands will find themselves under increasing pressure to adhere to new compliance standards. The SmartLabel, once a mere window into basic product information, could become a critical asset in this process. Through integrating connected supply chain data with tracking and reporting, brands can proactively address compliance issues, from waste reduction to ethical sourcing — positioning them ahead of the regulatory curve and enhancing their reputation for transparency and responsibility.

“The partnership between by Avery Dennison and SmartLabel is more than just a technological collaboration; it's a vision for the future of consumer engagement, compliance and personalization. Once you get the QR code on the product, you can then turn that into an infinite number of possibilities for brands to unlock additional use cases through connected packaging,” says Rishi Banerjee, Senior Director of SmartLabel at Consumer Brands Association.