Avon partners with Cambridge tech firm to test smart packaging

17 January 2018 (Last Updated January 17th, 2018 17:08)

Global beauty brand Avon has teamed up with British technology and product design firm Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP) to test smart packaging in consumer trials of a new anti-ageing product.

Avon partners with Cambridge tech firm to test smart packaging
Anew Reversalist Infinite Effects Night Treatment Cream is the world’s first rotational anti-ageing night cream. Credit: Avon

Global beauty brand Avon has teamed up with British technology and product design firm Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP) to test smart packaging in consumer trials of a new anti-ageing product.

During a month-long trial, consumers tested Avon’s new skincare product called Anew Reversalist Infinite Effects Night Treatment Cream.

The cream combines two separate night creams, Phyto+ and SuperRetinol, which, in order to be effective, need to be rotated every seven days to prevent skin adapting to either regime.

Crucial to the development of the product was finding out whether participants would remember to alternate between the two creams.

Avon used CDP’s technology to maximise the potential of the trialled product through the firm’s user insight service called diialog.

CDP’s digital services specialist Tom Lawrie-Fussey explained the process, saying: “Our challenge from Avon was to verify that users were remembering to rotate their double-ended dispenser each week.

“We first had to define ‘normal’ use – does everyone dispense the product in the same way, for example? We set up an internal trial here at CDP to ensure our algorithm was robust enough to reliably translate the inertial sensing data from the dispenser into accurate user insights.”

The Cambridge-based firm then ensured that the diialog system could be successfully integrated into the cream’s packaging without altering its effects or appearance while having sufficient battery to last for Avon’s month-long trial.

Paul Davies, executive director of global skincare R&D at Avon Cosmetics said: “A year-long clinical study showed results improving month after month up to a full year and key to achieving those results is rotating the two formulae.”

He also mentioned the importance of CDP’s smart technology: “CDP’s diialog technology helped us confirm that we designed the product to be intuitive and easy to use for our customers, to help them stick to the regime long term.”

Smart packaging is forecast to be one of the most promising and revenue-generating trends of the packaging industry.

Last year, Research and Markets predicted that smart packaging will be worth around $52 billion by 2025, encouraging several companies to invest in the development of new technologies that would make their products more interactive and engaging for customers.

Scannable codes that help consumers get more information on the product they are buying; electronic chips and radio frequency ID (RFID) tags are some of the technologies that have already been applied to improve a product’s packaging.

Research is also underway on the development of spray-on electronics, which could replace chips, while Bluetooth tags are popular for reading products information using smartphones.