Label the future: UPM Raflatac’s smart solution bridges brand-consumer gap as e-commerce continues rise

Label the future: UPM Raflatac’s smart solution bridges brand-consumer gap as e-commerce continues rise

08 Feb 2019 --- Self-adhesive label specialists UPM Raflatac has successfully completed the first pilot of its new smart label solution, RafMore for e-commerce. RafMore labels use Internet of Packaging (IoP) technology to log and share information about packages, adding transparency and reducing inefficiencies and waste during the delivery process.

As e-commerce purchases rise, brands are looking for new ways to interact with their customers outside of the point of sale. Consumers want to easily make returns, reorder and give immediate feedback if there are any issues with the shipment. This can now be done just by scanning the RafMore label with a mobile device.

The new e-commerce solution was piloted on UPM Raflatac’s shipments on various routes throughout Europe. The pilot demonstrated that the solution provides full interoperability between supply chain stakeholders without requiring heavy IT integration, the company says.

UPM Raflatac’s smart label solution is already in use for applications such as origin tracking, inventory management, product authentication and brand promotion. The technology uses Magic Add’s IoP platform to issue the unique digital identities and process all the data generated by RafMore smart labels.

Charlotte Junnila, Communications Manager, Magic Add, explains the numerous benefits of the RafMore/Magic Add label solution to PackagingInsights:

  • “Streamlining returns: If a customer wants to return an item, she could scan the code and initiate a return. The current process typically includes many more steps.
  • Reducing paperwork: The current return process often includes printing out a paper return form and return label.
  • Enabling direct feedback to the e-retailer: If there is an issue with the shipment (i.e., it was damaged during shipment or does not contain the correct items), consumers can scan the label and communicate that directly to the sender. They can even upload photos to help show what the issue is.
  • The solution also enables consumers to schedule deliveries or update the delivery address online (i.e., a daytime delivery to a work address), saving time and frustration due to missed deliveries.”

The true extent of the problem of damaged goods has been highlighted by recent DS Smith research. The e-commerce packaging specialist estimates that 1 in 10 products ordered online arrives damaged. On Black Friday alone, this equates to approximately US$831 million worth of damage.

“Magic Add's platform has been up and running for some years now and can support an unlimited number of unique digital identities with very complex interactions. The primary challenge we foresee as we scale the solution up is onboarding all the user groups in complex supply chains so the solution can have its maximum impact,” Junnila adds.

The information attached to the label can be updated online or by scanning the code without needing to print a new label for the package. For example, designated users can reset a delivery address and time, which saves time and reduces the carbon footprint generated by failed delivery attempts.

“We don’t want to build a new tracking system or replace existing systems. We want to pull all the information from the supply chain together in one place and in this way increase transparency,” says Sami Poukka, Vice President for Global Business and Segment Development at UPM Raflatac.

For the final phase of testing before the commercial launch later in 2019, UPM Raflatac will recruit e-commerce retailers to test the solution with actual orders and customers.

“The next pilot, which will include e-retailers and a sample of their customers, will take place in Europe in 2019. The solution will be offered globally through UPM Raflatac and the commercial launch date will be announced as it comes closer,” Junnila explains.

By Joshua Poole, with additional reporting from Laxmi Haigh

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

22 Feb 2019 --- The UK’s biggest annual packaging show – Packaging Innovations – will take place in Birmingham next week. James Drake-Brockman, Divisional Director of Easyfairs’ Packaging Portfolio, expects the plastics debate to dominate the agenda once again, but this time with a more advanced focus on “what the industry has actually done” rather than “what it can do” to find sustainable solutions to a global waste problem. Here, Drake-Brockman speaks to PackagingInsights about improving consumer recycling behavior, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) tax on plastics containing less than 30 percent recyclate and the challenges of finding nationwide consistency in UK recycling.
22 Feb 2019 --- Health and nutrition messaging on packaging should be as simple as possible, as well as scientifically substantiated. This is according to the findings from a 4-year EU-funded research project, CLYMBOL – Role of Health-related Claims and Symbols in Consumer Behavior – which studied consumer understanding of health claims and symbols on packaging. It is hoped that the findings will inform future policy development to align “consumer protection issues as well as public health and food marketing communication interests.”
22 Feb 2019 --- In packaging news this week, Sealed Air has expanded its Asia Pacific presence with the acquisition of MGM, a printing and laminating flexible packaging specialist headquartered in the Philippines. In another big business move, pharmaceutical packaging supplier ACG Group has opened a US$93 million capsules manufacturing plant in Brazil. Innovative new launches this week included RKW’s “super sustainable” stretchable shrink film, which is unique in that it can be cut smaller than the pallet size and pulled over the palletized goods.
22 Feb 2019 --- Widespread confusion on food date labels is leading to increased waste and food safety risks, a new survey examining US consumer attitudes has found. The survey, published in Waste Management, highlights that consumers interpret package date labels incorrectly and wrongfully believe that the expiration dates are federally regulated. The researchers are calling for tech solutions, such as the use of QR codes, policy changes and consumer education to ensure food waste is diminished and foodborne illness is avoided.
21 Feb 2019 --- Consumers are increasingly willing to use nanotechnology-based solutions in food packaging, but they are wary of how the essential oils – used to prevent spoilage – may “contaminate” foods, a report carried out by the EU-funded NanoPack Project has revealed. The survey informs NanoPack’s continued testing of the technology, which is forecast to reach Technology Readiness Level 7 (Demonstration in an operational environment) by the end of the project (December 2019).