Modern consumers are increasingly time-pressed and as such they tend to make decisions quickly. This means that your packaging must send a clear message with which customers can instantly engage if your product is to have any real chance of commercial success. Here are some points to consider.
Packaging Must Immediately Tell the Customer What a Product Is
This may appear self-evident, but it’s still worth noting. In the real world, products will frequently find their way into the wrong part of a shop and even in the digital world; they can be put in the wrong website category. Your packaging therefore acts as a common-sense check. Taking an extreme example of this, bleach and perfume are both sold in bottles, but if bleach ended up in the perfume area it would be very noticeable and vice versa.
Packing Must Quickly and Clearly Identify Your Brand
Many purchase decisions are made partly on hard factors such as price and partly on soft factors such as the way a customer feels about a brand. Brands which have a good relationship with their customers can worry less about trying to “race to the bottom” on price.
By using product packaging to communicate their brand identity, companies can benefit in one of two ways. Firstly, customers who are familiar with the brand may gravitate towards it due to the established connection. Secondly, customers who are not familiar with the brand may make a note to learn more about it if the packaging appeals to them.
Brands want to do everything they can to make it easy for customers to do this, for example, they should provide their key online details on the packaging at a size which is easy to read and in a font and color which are easy to photograph in retail lighting. For online listings, companies may be able to link to their website or at least mention it and if not, they may be able to include a photograph showing the relevant details on the packaging.
Packaging Must Demonstrate Your Brand’s Credibility and Integrity
Packaging must show that your brand can walk its walk not just talk its talk. This starts with the visible aspects of packaging but goes all the way through to its use and then reuse or disposal.
First and foremost, brands are expected to keep packaging to a minimum and use sustainable options when possible. The importance of this was recently demonstrated by Amazon, which hit the headlines when it switched to “SmartPac” envelopes for deliveries. Amazon says that these padded plastic envelopes are recyclable, but it has still come under fire for using plastic when there is an alternative and for putting the onus on the consumer to recycle rather than on the retailer to use sustainable options.
Sustainability, however, is only part of the packaging story (albeit a large part). Companies are also expected to show that they have kept the customer in mind throughout the entire design process.
As a minimum, the packaging should be straightforward to open and close (keeping security in mind) and, if possible, should add extra value for example by being attractive and/or fun.