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

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