Although packaging plays an important role in companies’ branding, packaging must also add to the convenience of consumers’ shopping experience and ease of use after they have bought the product.
Specialised construction products supplier a.b.e Construction Chemicals implemented a system of packaging that uses Quick Response Codes (QR Codes), enabling consumers to easily and properly identify products they want to buy.
“Using the QR Codes is not unique to us, but as far as we know a.b.e is the first company in the building industry to use them in its packaging. We have been using the QR Codes since January,” says a.b.e Construction Chemicals marketing manager Steve Rault.
“A QR Code is a simple little code that you can put on a tin. Clicking on the code will enable you to go onto our website using your phone and get product information and material-safety data sheets,” he explains.
“For example, when you are working on site and you need information on how to use the product, you can simply click on the QR Code and receive all the information you need, such as at what temperature you should lay the floor,” he adds.
QR Codes also enable users to watch demonstration videos on how a product should be used.
Rault says a.b.e manufactures engineered products that are technical in nature and that are also used in specific areas. Therefore, it is often not easy to find a user-friendly way of communicating information about them. The conventional way of communicating such information is through product manuals and booklets; however, this is expensive because of the amount of paper and the ink used.
Further, a.b.e has a large number of products and the amount of data available on products is significant. QR Codes are, therefore, useful in ensuring that all the information is managed and communicated properly to the consumer.
“This technology has been useful because we can use it to connect a person in a retail store or on site to that vast amount of data via their cellphone,” says Rault.
The company realised the potential of using this technology because of the significant number of people who use the Internet for the first time through their cellphones. “One of the things we discovered is that, in South Africa, 83% of first-time Internet users do so using their cellphones,” he adds.
“I can now also see on our website how many people are viewing each product page, which, in turn, enables me to see which products are popular and how many products are being viewed,” adds Rault.
The technology also identifies the instruments used to access the website. Rault says this enables one to see if visitors are accessing the website from a computer or a phone such as a BlackBerry, iPhone or Nokia.
a.b.e Construction Chemicals operates in an environment where recycling has become important. “We are trying to use as much recyclable material as possible, although it is sometimes difficult to do, as it can be expensive,” says Rault.
He adds that one of the challenges the company continually faces is keeping costs down, while taking the environment into consideration.
“We always strive to produce packaging that shows the correct information in detail, is convenient to use and easy to dispose of – these aspects are important to us because some of the materials can be hazardous if they are not disposed of correctly,” he concludes.