Amazon shipped more than 5 billion items worldwide with Prime in 2017, which means it also shipped a lot of boxes (it would not specify how many). And now it is putting its QR code-like SmileCodes on about a third of the boxes it ships in the U.S. to make them more engaging—and perhaps less wasteful.
The scannable SmileCodes unlock video content with step-by-step instructions for kid-friendly craft projects using the boxes themselves like a dinosaur cut-out or a “whimsical galaxy.”
To access the videos, Amazon customers must download the Amazon app and allow Amazon to access their cameras, so a pessimist might argue these could be additional motivating factors behind the surprise-and-delight initiative. From there, users click the camera icon in the upper right corner, choose the SmileCode option and scan.
Amazon said there will be eight videos and projects overall as part of an ongoing effort to engage customers after their packages arrive.
The new boxes follow a February initiative that provided customers with “colorful suggestions for how to reuse their boxes,” including a cowboy hat and a roller coaster.
Customers were encouraged to show off their creations on social media using the hashtag #MoreThanABox, which Amazon is reviving for the new boxes.
According to social media monitoring firm Brandwatch, the hashtag has been used nearly 400 times on public Twitter and Instagram posts since Jan. 1, and over 98 percent of mentions have been positive.
And, for consumers looking to instead pick up goods in stores, Amazon is reportedly expanding its cashier-less retail experience, Amazon Go, to San Francisco and Chicago.