Initially introduced to mark the content of pharmaceutical packages, labels have always played an essential role in many industries, from marketing to advertising, and product safety. With so much at stake, it isn’t surprising that product labels have continued to evolve and improve over the past decades.
But, if in the past, product labels were mainly used to deliver nutritional, origin, and manufacturing information about an item or unit to consumers, there is now a lot more than labels can do for manufacturers and end-users.
Swapping traditional labels for smart labels allows manufacturers to track their products journey through the expanding supply chain. On the opposite end, smart labels give consumers the chance to access and review all information about a certain product by simply scanning a label with their smartphone.
Ultimately, digital and smart labels are the labels of the future – and a tool to fight counterfeit, improve product safety, and reduce waste. In this guide by Authena, you’ll find all you need to know about reaping the benefits of digital labels.
The smart packaging market is growing at an unprecedented rate of over 4.5% a year, and it is set to reach a whopping USD 48.72 billion by 2026. But, even more important, this growth is fuelled by the rise and increasing popularity of digital labels.
Digital labels, known as smart labels or smart tags, are labels that leverage printing technology to deliver a range of information about the product or packaging they are applied on.
Digital labels usually leverage a wide range of new technologies, including RFID, QR, and NFC. Thanks to these widespread technologies, smart labels can be read by any enabled device, including smartphones.
At Authena Shield™, digital and smart labels are used as part of a custom, end-to-end tracking and authentication platform created specifically for your brand.
While the technology behind digital labels is complex, these labels are created to be user-friendly and easy to read. In most cases, digital labels are able to deliver information about the product’s location across the supply chain, its status, and its authenticity.
What’s more, depending on the types of smart packaging a smart label is associated with, manufacturers can access data about the product’s temperature, internal composition, location and date of opening, and waste levels.
Digital labels work thanks to a two-part technology that includes:
This kind of technology enables the secure and close-range exchange of information.
Changing from traditional to digital labels for your products is essential for any company that is looking to expand and remain relevant in today’s changing market. Indeed, the supply chain has never been so complex and layered, and the percentage of counterfeit products on the market is growing at a vertiginous rate.
Introducing smart labels as a substitute to your traditional labels can help you improve unit-level tracking, prevent counterfeiting, and maintain the trust of your users.
The benefits of shifting from traditional labels to digital ones change from one industry to another.
For example, in the food and Fast Moving Consumer Goods industries, where as much as 30% of what is produced is wasted, digital labels can streamline production and improve the efficiency of the supply chain. In the pharmaceutical industry, being able to prevent product adulteration and curb the risk of health and safety threats and scandals.
Nonetheless, some of the general benefits these labels offer include:
Changing from traditional labels to digital ones requires a company-wide shift. However, this does not have to be challenging or complicated.
When working with product authentication experts and digital label enablers like the Authena team, you can benefit from an end-to-end tracking system that is fully tailored to your needs and includes multiple authentication systems.
For example, to improve the authenticity of food and beverages, Athena delivers custom-made, turn-key traceability software and tags specifically designed for use within your sector.
The steps to take to substitute your existing labels with digital ones depend on how wide your company is, the complexity of your supply chain, and your future growth goals. However, the most important action to take is to partner with an authentication expert that provides ad hoc and branded security and tracking systems like Authena ShieldTM.
When opting for this strategy, you will be guided through the process of shifting from your old, traditional labels to the new ones – seamlessly and efficiently.
If you wish to add an extra layer of security to your supply chain, digital tamper-evident labels can help you prevent counterfeiting and protect your users’ health and money. Indeed, tamper-evident security labels can protect each item from tampering – or the intentional modification of a product.
With tamper-evident labels, any modification or tampering attempt will become immediately visible and irreversible, thus protecting your company and your consumers from the damage that fake goods can cause (including health and safety risks, loss of trust, and affected brand reputation).
Tamper-evident seals are part of your smart packaging solution. Once applied to a product or package, these labels cannot be removed or modified without leaving clear visible evidence of the attempt. While these labels might not protect the product from damage, they can protect consumers from unconsciously buying an item that has been tampered with or adulterated.
Tamper-evident seals can also be combined with digital labels to improve your ability to visualize each unit and product as they move through the supply chain.
Digital labels can be endlessly beneficial to any company, but the transition to a new system can always feel intimidating or overwhelming. Working in partnership with the authentication experts at Authena can help you understand what end-to-end system is best suited to your needs, budget, and goals.