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Power of Packaging

A meticulously planned marketing campaign and a novel product, although a great combination, isn’t enough to guarantee booming sales numbers. “The last 10 seconds of marketing”, referred to by retailers as the point where a consumer reaches for a product on the shelf, can almost single handedly make or break a sale.  

Make the Consumer Do a Double Take

1. The attention span of the average shopper is brutally short. A study done by Proctor and Gamble 25 years ago indicated that consumers pushing a shopping cart down the aisle of a supermarket looked at packaging for 1/6th of a second before they decide to stop and look. This is a shocking stat as this was a time before smartphones, the Internet, and the barrage of multimedia we’re faced with on a daily basis. At the crucial moment when a consumer is reaching for a product, the package design must communicate the brand attributes as well as the benefits of the product. Type, color, and copy must work together to make a connection with the consumer. 

Avoid Wrap Rage

2. Some packaging has become so difficult to open that it has spawned it’s own “rage”. “Wrap Rage” is the common name for heightened levels of anger and frustration resulting from the inability to access hard-to-open packaging. Some packaging is purposely made to be difficult to open, for example, to prevent children from tampering or to protect from shoplifting. However, in general it’s better to err on the side of convenience to prevent your customers from reaching for the competitor’s brand because it’s easier to open. A great example of evolution to eliminate wrap rage can be seen in the disposable battery industry. Not long ago batteries were mostly sold in blister packaging, but now mainly come with a cardstock perforated back panel for easy access. In most cases, a change such as adding a perforated opening in the back or printing clear instructions can make a package less likely to cause "wrap rage". 

Ahead of the Curve

3. Several years ago “Supersizing” everything was all the rage. However, with constantly changing consumer values, today this would be an unwise strategy. For reasons specific to each demographic, factors such as “Eco friendliness” and convenience often dictate purchase decisions. It’s important to keep in mind who will be using your product, how they’ll be using it, and what they value most. Will they be using this on the go? Do they need it to fit snuggly in the refrigerator/shelf/closet/etc? Companies like Coca-Cola are constantly looking to improve end user experience and have in recent years crafted packs of soda that offer convenient access to the cans through a perforated opening while being able to fit snuggly on any refrigerator shelf. 

Damaged Goods

4. The same way that intriguing packaging can win a sale in “the last 10 seconds of marketing” damaged packaging can prevent one. A study conducted by Mead Westvaco and Perception Research Services International found that over 70% of shoppers pushed a damaged package aside, but arguably more importantly, that even with slight damage, “brands you trust” perception drops from 73% to 41% among competitive shoppers. Although accounting for all potential damages is an impossible task, taking into consideration where the product will be sold, what the logistics chain is that will convey your product, and what type of wear and tear it will experience at the retailer can cut down on damaged goods. For example, if there is a possibility of rough handling of your product during transportation to the retailer, fortifying your packaging with more durable material, angle boards, airbags, corrugated wrap, or inserts can potentially prevent deformation of your package. Or, if you plan to sell your product in humid climates, consider using materials that provide moisture and vapor protection to both protect the integrity of the packaging as well as its contents.  

The marketing effort for your product shouldn’t stop at the retailer. The “last 10 seconds of marketing” are just as important as the months of effort that are put in beforehand. Your product deserves attention; don’t let the packaging do it an injustice and come up short!

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