“COVID has changed everything,” says Kevin Frydryk of Resource Label Group, a full-service provider of pressure-sensitive label, shrink sleeve and RFID/NFC technology for the packaging industry. “From a consumer interaction point – it’s changed the world. Consumer comfort with using their devices as a gateway for information is transformative.”
That change was inevitable after Apple opened up the iPhone to read NFC (near-field communication) tags from its homescreen in 2018. And since the pandemic, there has been a major increase in the use of QR codes at retail. The beauty of QR codes and NFC tags is that they’re simple to use. Consumers don’t need to launch an app to make it work. They know they can just read the QR code with their mobile phone camera or tap their phone against a tag on a wine label with an embedded NFC chip to learn about the wine they’re drinking, place an order or join the wine club. Some wineries use them at the tasting room so a visitor can select their favorite of the wines they tasted and have it shipped to their home.
This technology can fill the gap in consumer engagement in a socially distant world, allowing wineries to build customer loyalty from afar and drive remote product sales. Frydryk noted that they often connect their winery customers to resources like data-driven agencies that can help them capitalize on the opportunity presented by the technology. With eight of its 19 US and Canadian label-printing operations in West Coast wine country, Resource Label Group is well-versed in the value of label technology for wineries.
“Wine is a very personal experience for people,” Frydryk adds. “and it’s tremendously personal for winery owners too. For owners, anything that increases customer engagement with their brand is a win-win situation. With newer technology, there are now a variety of ways that can be used to activate the personal nature of the wine experience for consumers.”
For example, counterfeiting of wine is an increasing problem affecting wine brands, and each fraudulent bottle sold is a safety and image risk for the brand. With consumers increasingly reporting that they are concerned about counterfeit products, an overt code can let them confirm that their $40 bottle of wine is the real thing.
“One of our capabilities focuses on security and authenticity and the label technologies that provide features that can address product counterfeiting,” Frydryk says. “RFID and different security-based technologies are gaining a footprint in wine. Wine is a known target for counterfeiting. NFC allows customers to authenticate the wine, down to the unique identification code for that particular bottle. We work with a lot of clients at different price points who want this kind of security.”
Resource Label Group often inserts these NFC-based chips in labels covertly. When only the winery knows it’s there, it’s much more difficult for someone to counterfeit it. Wineries with higher price points are most likely to use NFC chips, but a mid-range winery can also find security solutions using print-based technology. Options include printing bar codes or QR codes on the labels, adding fine detail with laser die cutting to impart a unique shape that’s extremely difficult to copy or using invisible ink or micro-printing that’s almost impossible to see with the naked eye.
As wineries and consumers emerge from lockdowns and social distancing, there is a clear opportunity for wineries to leverage a range of technology to build consumer engagement while enhancing their security.
Our extensive wine label team is ready to engage: