With ubiquitous technological advances in today’s society, it is no surprise that the advertising industry will be able to spread messages through new mediums in the future. How does this affect packaging? What changes will be made to our knowledge of package design today? Some innovations are already making their debut in today’s marketing strategies such as new “scanner applications” for smart phones.

Scanner Apps are downloadable programs for smart phones, such as the iPhone or Android, that allow consumers to scan barcodes through their phone’s camera. Once scanned, the phone is able to direct the consumer to the product’s website, reviews, prices and price comparisons, and much more. How does this affect packaging? Although the package design would not be affected, the application would allow companies to enhance interaction between the brand and the consumer. Below are several of the dozens of opportunities created by scanner apps.


Owned by eBay, this free application for the iPhone allows its users to scan a product and then instantly receive a list of retail prices for the product. Hence, the consumer is able to see the lowest price for the product they wish to purchase and then find a convenient store location with the offer.


This application costs five dollars and is only available to iPhone users, but is well worth the price. With this tool, each scan reveals calorie counters, updates your personal “food diary,” and provides a list of products that might not have a barcode at the grocery store. Marketed as a weight-loss application, FoodScanner is just one of many innovative ways this new technology can be used to connect the consumer with a package.


An app created by Google exclusively for the Android smartphone, Shopper allows users to compare prices, keep a history of the products they are interested in, and share their purchases with others. The best part about this application? It’s free of charge.

The possibilities don’t stop there, however. Scanner Applications are also a beneficial opportunity for corporations. With this new technology, each scan can be tracked in order to provide invaluable information to marketers such as what products are popular, the type of consumer that expresses interest in the product, and cities/locations where the product is viewed the most. Equally surprising is the fact that many different demographics can be tracked using these applications. David Javitch, from Scanbury Inc, shared with Packaging world that “seventy percent of the scans are done by people from 18 to 45 years old, and they are all split pretty evenly. It’s really something that anyone can use.”

The podcast below reveals much more information about scanner applications and the opportunities they present to the future of packaging. Additionally, the podcast contains a fascinating conversation about couponing and gaming possibilities. You must have a Packaging World username to view the podcast, but membership is free and (from my experience) does not send a lot of spam e-mails.

Electronic-enabled packaging: beyond the label | Podcast | Packaging World.

Chan, C., & Herrman, J. (n.d.). The Best Barcode Scanner Apps. In Gizmodo. Retrieved from http://gizmodo.com/#!5713768/the-best-barcode-scanner-apps