Amcor manufactures capsules and closures, including STELVIN - the original aluminium wine closure - for premium spirits, wines and sparkling wines. Lucie Neubauerova, trade marketing and communication manager, discusses the new MaXQ technology and how it can boost interaction between brands and consumers.
Lucie Neubauerova: MaXQ refers to unique codes - QR or alphanumeric - that are printed on the liners inside our aluminium closures to make every bottle special. Generally, we can print QR codes as they can easily be read by smartphones and are, therefore, more accessible to end consumers. We also print alphanumeric code in markets with limited internet access, where consumers can send codes to receive authentication via SMS.
As an integrated solution, MaXQ offers real-time brand protection and targeted consumer engagement within a digitalised system. Each MaXQ code is secure, random and non-repeatable. Our customers use the codes to engage end consumers with targeted and personalised marketing programmes.
Brand-owners have access to a cloud-based control centre for activating and deactivating codes, as well as managing associated campaigns, such as loyalty programmes, lotteries, customised surveys and opinion polls.
Consumers who are scanning the QR code do not require an app as MaXQ is web-based, although apps can be developed for brands that specifically require them. The benefit to consumers is added value through earning loyalty points, winning prizes or verifying brand and product authenticity. There is also a relationship that can be fostered between consumers and brand-owners. At the same time, brand-owners can collect valuable data - which is stored in the cloud - from consumer scans to create future campaigns.
MaXQ codes can also be used for track-and-trace applications. In such cases, the codes are printed on packaging and palettes, and can be aggregated to give brand-owners complete control of the product's location and its mode of travel to reach the final consumer. This helps fight grey-market diversion.
A unique identity on every pack creates a dialogue between companies and their consumers, which enables point accumulation or lottery systems to be set up in such a way where each product can only be scanned once. It also creates a controlled-winner validation system, strengthens brand protection by allowing consumers to authenticate each product and traces the individual pack back to its origin.
In addition to this, a unique digital identity enables companies to match consumers to specific products or items, giving businesses detailed insights into the needs of particular consumers.
I've heard brand-owners say that consumers do not scan QR codes, but this is a very Eurocentric view. There are consumers all over the world who actively use QR codes. This perception has been changing in Europe: iPhone now has the ability to read QR codes via the native camera app and other leading apps, such as Shazam, integrate QR code scanners into their systems.
When there is specific value, consumers are willing to scan codes, especially for loyalty programmes and instant rewards. Consumers demand that digital technologies are integrated into the products that they purchase. MaXQ is a perfect fit because it not only gives end consumers information, but also adds real value too.
Consumers can get detailed information on the wine or spirit and can instantly verify the product features. This helps companies build trust in their brand. Consumers can get personalised allergy information based on their user profile and can also get information in different languages based on the scan location.
Brand-owners can build a real, personalised, targeted and two-way conversation with consumers. Every MaXQ code is different, so brand-owners can personally address each consumer. The MaXQ campaign control centre has a user-friendly interface that makes loyalty programmes, reward schemes and interactive pop-up surveys easy to customise.
MaXQ collects data from consumer scans, and brand-owners receive real-time insights on individual consumer interaction and patterns, location, product reference, as well as other vital demographics. Brands own this data and can use it for business intelligence, which is a fraction of the cost of regular market research campaigns.
The campaign control centre allows brand-owners to create custom filters that target specific groups, and send push notifications to a particular user or group in an area of interest, which enables specific and efficient marketing.
When compared with competing systems, MaXQ can be used to undertake large-scale and item-level identification, as well as traceability, by using a fraction of the data footprint. MaXQ also has better data retrieval performance and manages massive volumes of serialisation data while generating substantially lower deployment and maintenance overheads.
The codes can be generated and managed on a mass scale with an immediate response time. There are also alternative solutions, such as printing unique QR codes on labels. However, if you print the QR code inside the closure, it is only accessible to the end user who has to purchase and open the bottle before getting value by winning a prize or collecting points. Printing QR codes on a label makes campaigns, such as value accumulations, loyalty programmes and lotteries, difficult to control.
MaXQ is one solution from our connected capsules offering. Our approach to innovation is market driven, and we see the integration of digital technologies into capsules and closures as one of our priorities. Also, the closure is located at the most vulnerable place on the wine/spirits bottle package. Counterfeiters usually access the bottle through the bottleneck, replacing the liquid inside and refitting the closure, which should act as a seal to protect the authenticity and quality of the product. A digital seal provides added value.
We want to use connectivity from the internet of things to give our customers a unique identity for every bottle they order through our closure and capsule technology.
Our vision is to become the global leader of quality closures for wines and spirits, and to be recognised as the most innovative and customer-focused provider. The design of new products is in line with our vision and market trends. Integrating digital technologies is definitely one of the most prominent trends in the alcohol beverage industry and we want to be the leader in this trend with our connected capsules.