Connect with Customers One Package at a Time High-Tech Tools Help E-Commerce Companies Engage Consumers

By Alani Kuye, Founder and CEO of Relotis, Inc.

Product companies use an increasing array of technology to connect with customers. Texts, emails, and digital advertising are designed to spur shoppers to make a purchase but often end up in spam folders, completely ignored.  Even social media marketing falls short as direct to consumer (DTC) brands are realizing that 1,000 likes or followers doesn’t equate to 1,000 new customers.  Enter our modern high-tech tools, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

The use of AI and ML in packaging actually dates back to the early 2000s, when companies began to use these technologies to automate packaging tasks such as sorting, labeling, and packing. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in using AI and ML to improve the sustainability and safety of packaging.

Improving sustainability and safety

A custom created QR code displayed on a shipping label or package delivers real-time customer insights to support retargeting and conversion to increase sales. Image courtesy of Relotis, Inc.

AI can now be used to design packaging that is more lightweight and recyclable, and ML can be used to optimize packaging materials and processes. For example, ML-powered algorithms are being used to optimize packaging designs to reduce the weight and cost of packaging, while still maintaining the highest product quality. AI-powered vision systems are also being used to inspect packaging for defects that are invisible to the human eye, like cracks and tears.

This technology is also beneficial for the highly regulated specialty-controlled goods sector, such as pharmaceuticals, vape products and hazardous materials.  which can use an AI-ML platform to automate compliance-related tasks and increase efficiency.  In fact, the global market for specialty-controlled goods is valued at $900 billion and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5% over the next five years according to MarketWatch and Green Circle Capital Advisors.

A cost-effective sales tool

An exciting new development in technology is that e-commerce companies are now using AI and ML to engage customers, build customer loyalty and increase cross-selling opportunities for retailers, resellers, direct to consumer brands, manufacturers, and distributors – at the exact time when the customer receives their package.

Specifically, both AI and ML can be programmed and applied to a unique QR code that is displayed on the shipping label or product package.  When the customer scans the code, they immediately receive personalized marketing and smart messaging, like incentives, discounts, and other product information designed to encourage future sales.

Moreover, the advent of Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) technology produces human-like text, so companies can optimize their customer engagements in a one-to-one or group conversation using a pre-programmed robot that learns and “gets smarter” with each interaction.

On the company side, this then launches a seamless integration into the company’s existing customer relationship management (CRM) system in which the enterprise user can simply create special incentives or discounts to send to their printers, and affix to their packages during fulfillment.

This is where the real power of the embedded AI and ML platform comes into play as the system is able to track real-time analytics, providing companies with such valuable information as scan times, open/scan rates, new versus returning customers and conversion tracking. The fully automated process saves time with no manual inputs or endless spreadsheets required.

Further, unlike expensive traditional and digital advertising campaigns, AI and ML are an extremely affordable sales tool often costing 20 cents for every QR code scan.

Advanced AI and ML technology platforms can streamline enterprise data insights for product retailers, resellers, direct to consumer brands, manufacturers and distributors. Image courtesy of Relotis, Inc. AI and ML capabilities can be integrated into a company’s existing infrastructure via a clean, intuitive interface.

The key benefits of AI and ML

Other key benefits of employing an AI and ML platform for e-commerce companies include:

  • Reducing marketing costs by 40 – 72%
  • Increasing repeat purchases 4 – 12 times over a 12-month period
  • Increasing multi-brand revenue opportunities (multi-brand distributors, warehouse distributors and ecommerce retailers)
  • Elevating customer life-time value
  • Improving customer engagement metrics

In conclusion, the use of AI and ML in packaging is still in its early stages, but it is clear that these technologies have the potential to revolutionize the industry. As AI and ML become more sophisticated, they will continue to be used to improve the efficiency, sustainability, and safety of packaging, while becoming a cost-effective and efficient sales tool, driving growth and dramatically improving customer engagement across an entire company.

About the Author

Alani Kuye is the founder and CEO of Relotis, Inc. He brings two decades of technology experience in the U.S. and Europe, with a focus on accelerated growth, rapid application development, and scaled deployments. His years of managing ERP programs as an engineer, executive, and founder have led to a single mission – to simplify and scale technology platforms via good governance because you can’t scale what you can’t simplify.  Relotis is a high-tech company that uses advanced AI and ML platforms to streamline enterprise data insights. For more information visit www.relotis.com.

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