Is Your Print Packaging Smart Enough to Survive?

January 24, 2018


When Amazon bought Whole Foods earlier this year, people said it would change the industry. More and more customers are purchasing their groceries online–for curbside pick up or home delivery. It’s convenient. It’s fast. But this changing environment requires brands and retailers to reconsider their strategies.

In such a world, what differentiates purchasing from one place or the other? From purchasing one product or another? Retailers need to extend their reach, and their interaction with consumers through the packaging that’s delivered with the goods. Brands need to find new ways to create emotional connections and grow positive relationships with their customers to keep them coming back for more. Packaging is just one way to make that happen.

How can companies make their print packaging experience a memorable one? One that builds and grows that vital relationship between brands and their customers? The promise is in digital printing technology.


Fulfilment centers provide shipping boxes that may look brown on the outside, but when opened, they give customers a fully branded, customized experience. With the surge of online shopping, creating a rich “unboxing” experience becomes critical. You’ll see more and more brands printing and customizing the outside of their box, the very first customer touchpoint.

Subscription boxes, where relationship-building and developing brand loyalty are especially important, do this notably well.


“The global smart packaging market is expected to reach USD 46.74 billion by 2022.”

It’s fascinating to see how product decoration or product print packaging links to the cloud. Using a combination of specialized materials, science and technology, smart packaging enhances packages in two ways: through “active packaging,” which enhances functionality, and “intelligent packaging,” which enables companies to communicate things like a brand message or the status of the packaged content.

This technology doesn’t impact the ability to print, but it does some amazing things. For example, through the implementation of NFC technology, Frito-Lay created Tostitos Party Safe bags for Super Bowl 2017, with built-in alcohol sensors and the ability to call you an Uber. And on a more functional level, brands will continue using QR codes and embedded images to link to their packages to deeper product information–everything you need to know about your medication, or how-to videos and recipes linked to foods. Augmented reality makes nearly anything possible.


What does all this mean to package printers, converters, and fulfilment centers? You have the unique opportunity to help brands attract and retain their customers. But you might not be in a place where you snap your fingers and overnight, boom, change everything.  

So, here’s where to start: embrace digital printing technology. And educate yourself about the options. Learn a bit about what it provides, how it works. Get away from just the dollars and cents of what it produces, and instead understand the value it delivers. Understand what your customers are dealing with and the values that packaging can provide. And then find printing solutions that allow you to anticipate and meet those demands–demands for customization, personalization, just-in-time deliveries, short runs and on-demand package printing.

In the end, when you look at what package printing is all about, it’s about creating an emotional reaction for the consumer. Assuming it’s a positive one that creates a relationship between customers and the brand or the retailer, they’ll remember how it was done, what was done, and that establishes a good relationship going forward–with the anticipation of future sales. After all, that’s the name of the game for brands: holding onto consumers.

For more information on the right packaging solution for you and for a free consultation with VP of Packaging, Don Allred, please email Alicia at

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