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GUEST COMMENT 2D barcodes: The smart packaging solution for value-driven brands

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Over 80% of shoppers want a brand’s values to align with their own. Not the right match? They’ll vote with their wallet by parting ways with the brand, as roughly 75% of shoppers have reported doing. In short, brand values matter, writes Randy Mercer, chief product officer, 1WorldSync.

Randy Mercer, chief product officer, 1WorldSync

With this shift comes the rise of smart packaging, with 2D barcodes representing a potent opportunity to showcase their values, connect with conscious consumers and build lasting relationships with diverse audiences. By incorporating these scannable codes on product packaging, companies can provide shoppers instant access to information like their commitment to sustainability, diversity and ethical sourcing.

The conscious consumer
The conscious consumer looks beyond the product itself to consider the broader impact — environmental, social and ethical — of their purchasing decisions and the brands they support. These individuals (80% of consumers worldwide, to be exact) are willing to pay a premium for products that are sustainable, ethically sourced and socially responsible.

For this demographic, a brand’s reputation and values are just as important as the quality of its products. Conscious consumers want to know that the companies they support are making a positive difference in the world, which means brands must be transparent about their practices, from their supply chain and manufacturing processes to their social and environmental initiatives. This mindset translates to brands needing to demonstrate authenticity, accountability and a commitment to making a positive impact.

According to a recent study, nearly one in three consumers actively seek out information on a brand’s reputation and values when researching a product. Furthermore, 70% of consumers are open to spending more if a brand is authentic. Brands that fail to communicate their values and showcase their commitment to social and environmental responsibility risk losing the trust and loyalty of these influential shoppers.

The role of smartphones in shopping
The ubiquity of smartphones has revolutionised how consumers shop, making it easier than ever for shoppers to access information about products and brands on the go. With 87% of shoppers using their smartphones to research products while shopping in-store at least some of the time, it’s clear that mobile devices have become an integral part of the modern shopping experience.

Smartphones empower consumers to make informed purchasing decisions by providing instant access to product reviews, price comparisons and brand information. This is particularly important for conscious consumers who are looking for a good deal from brands they know align with their values.

As consumers increasingly rely on smartphones to guide their purchasing decisions, brands have a compelling opportunity to connect with shoppers through mobile-friendly packaging solutions like 2D barcodes. Incorporating these scannable codes on product packaging empowers companies to provide them with instant access to detailed information about their products and the causes they support.

This mobile-first approach to packaging is particularly effective for engaging with younger, tech-savvy consumers who are more likely to use their smartphones to research products while shopping. By leveraging the power of smartphones and smart packaging, brands can build stronger connections with these influential shoppers and foster a sense of loyalty and trust that extends beyond the point of sale.

2D barcodes: Unlocking brand values
In retail, 2D barcodes (think QR and Data Matrix codes) are reinventing brand engagement by making a company’s values and beliefs more accessible. Highlighting social-conscious initiatives is a great way to attract commerce and stoke brand loyalty. Consider, for example, that 38% of consumers intend to support LGBTQ+-owned businesses during Pride Month in 2024. In this case, brands can direct consumers to a webpage highlighting its partnerships and initiatives with the LGBTQ+ community.

Barcodes also allow brands to resonate with diverse audiences by providing information in multiple languages or by highlighting products that cater to specific cultural or dietary needs. By using this technology to create more inclusive experiences, brands can build stronger connections with diverse consumer bases, improving their commercial footprint.

The brands that will thrive in the future are those that embrace this technology and use it to create a more transparent, engaging and values-driven shopping experience. They will be the ones that not only meet the needs of the conscious consumer but also exceed their expectations by demonstrating a genuine commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

As we move forward into an increasingly connected and socially aware marketplace, the integration of 2D barcodes into smart packaging will become not just a competitive advantage, but a necessity. Brands that seize this opportunity now will define the future of retail and shape the way we shop for generations to come.

Randy Mercer, chief product officer, 1WorldSync

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