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Packaging Deals for Mobile Shoppers

NFC tag moves from bricks to clicks, drives sales

Rehrig Pacific is a world leader in logistics optimization for merchandising; their plastic pallets and containers are popular with the agriculture, bakery, beverage, dairy and materials handling industries. Wherever you see a soft drink display, it's more than likely that those beverages are in plastic crates by Rehrig Pacific. As their packaging systems are so often part of the consumer product interaction, Rehrig Pacific saw an opportunity to use these handling assets to encourage consumers to use their cell phones to access coupons and other promotional information to drive sales. A Minnesota branch of Pepsi Bottling agreed to be their testing partner.

Rehrig Pacific developed what would become their Mobile Engagement Platform – a means of delivering geo-targeted promotions to mobile devices within the retail environment using interactive technologies embedded in branded reusable material handling assets. The company's test included building mobile landing pages, managing customer data and delivering targeted content within retail environments. At the center of the pilot were the display crates for 2-liter Pepsi bottles – and the call to action that included a QR bar code and near field communication (NFC) tag to activate the promotion. NFC is a protocol for two-way communication between tags and mobile devices at close distances. Shoppers tapped their NFC-enabled phone against the NFC tag in the display to access a discount coupon, as well as view promotional information about Pepsi. For NFC tags, Rehrig turned to Metalcraft; NFC was a natural progression in the Iowa-based company's work producing durable, attractive RFID tags.

Rehrig Pacific demonstrated that marketers can harness NFC as a cost-effective tool. Their platform test earned a 1.34 percent response rate, outperforming marketing channels like direct mail, email, paid search and Internet display ads targeting new customers. Pepsi sales grew by almost two percent, too. Rehrig Pacific expects interaction will accelerate as NFC displays become more common and shoppers understand the easy rewards. More personalized promotions can be developed to expand this channel. The company has announced that all of its consumer-facing merchandiser case-level packaging systems and household recycling containers will be offered with NFC technology. "As NFC-enabled phones become more popular, the applications for this technology will also become more and more popular," said Metalcraft's President and CEO Steve Doerfler. "Using Metalcraft's NFC-enabled tags for data exchange opens virtually endless possibilities for secure data exchange."

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