Successful business owners understand the absolute importance of packaging in modern commerce. It is the first element of product presentation that people see right before they lock in on a decision to buy. It is also the final opportunity for manufacturers to convince potential customers to choose their merchandise over others.
In this age, self-service and online retailers have lessened the store clerk’s role in explaining a product to the public, so packaging is the so-called “silent salesman” that does the task.
Can Your Package Design Stand Out?
So you bake the best cookies in town, but your budget is too slim to let you put up ads besides those you’ve already stuffed into your Twitter account. After that, you’re just trusting that your product’s reputation will spread by word of mouth.
The problem is that, before you persuade the public to buy your cookies, you have to compete with big names like Famous Amos and Oreo and probably tens of other players in your neighborhood. Plus, with the pandemic going on, people are more likely to be sanitation-conscious about everything they buy. So how will you get them to purchase from you regardless of these conditions?
Consider the following before you sell the next batch:
- In a year, the typical consumer will buy only 0.7% of all the products seen in-store, and there are more than 30,000 kinds of commodities to choose from.
- About 75% of purchasing decisions are made at the point of sale.
- Approximately 90% of people make a purchase only after scrutinizing the front of a package.
- About 85% decide to buy without having considered another product. This is especially true when buying food and beverages.
Do you want yours to be that product that the 85% never picks up? Surely, that’s a big, resounding “No!” Believe it or not, many household names started this way—with only their product and a winning packaging design. That is how crucial this part of your business is.
Your Packaging Prevents Product Breakage
But of course, the most obvious function of packaging is to keep your product intact before it reaches your customer.
Seriously, wouldn’t you be upset if the mug that you ordered arrived this way?
If you’re selling breakable goods, your packaging should be designed to protect their integrity during shipment. Doing that prevents pricey returns and increases the chances of getting highly rated as a seller. So, go ahead, be a little more generous with those bubble wraps and newsprint paper. Don’t forget to splash a little color on your fillers while you’re at it.
Your Packaging Bridges You with Your Customers
The labels on your packaging allow you to communicate important information to your buyers. Through them, you can brandish your logo, insert do’s and don’ts with the product, put in additional marketing tools (like discount coupons) and indicate details about how to reach you if a problem arises.
Additionally, you can use custom packaging labels to highlight your product’s advantages over competing brands. Your unique packaging style should be able to convey your company values and brand personality.
Speaking of labels, don’t be shy about using them to show your customers that you care. It’s one effective way to secure repeat business. Here is an example, which displays an allergy warning in bold letters and bright colors.
Also, for startups, always remember that first impressions last, and they can make or break your business. Aim to have the type of packaging that sells and the kind of label that gets your product remembered in a good way.
Proofread your labels, please. It takes only a minute of your time and keeps your product from becoming the butt of marketing jokes, like this one:
Packaging Impacts Buying Decisions
Well-packaged goods are more likely to sell than ones that are not. Product packaging alone makes up a third of the average consumer’s purchasing decisions. More often than not, customers perceive product quality to be directly related to presentation, the most important element of which is the packaging. In future blogs, we shall discuss how colors, shapes, fonts and graphics all speak to your customers about your merchandise and help sway them to buy it.
Packaging Helps Promote Brand Recognition
Remember how red is associated with Coca Cola like blue is with Pepsi? Packaging consistency helps create long-lasting relationships with customers and facilitate brand recognition. Once you have established a client base, loyal customers will associate themselves with your brand and have faith that all the goods that you sell are worthy of their dime.
Packaging Can Help Your Product Stand Out
In a shelf full of commodities belonging to the same category, a brilliant packaging design is your best tool to help it grab customers’ attention. Experts say that, when people leave home wanting to buy something, a large majority are not loyal to any one brand. The key factor that prompts them to purchase a specific product is its presentation.
Our brains are programmed to pick up the most obvious cues from our environment, and the ones that are likely to get our attention possess what is known to psychologists as “saliency.” It is directly related to sensory perception, and for most shoppers, visual saliency is the most important attribute that a packaging can have, followed by tactile (touch). The rest are of minor importance. For example, when shopping for earphones, teenage girls are more likely to gravitate to those inside pastel packages than in black ones and end up buying them even though they have the same performance level. Therefore, time spent on eye-catching packaging ideas is never wasted.
The Packaging Design Can Evoke a Sense of Belongingness
The packaging, being an extension of your brand, can induce a sense of belongingness in people and help your product capture specific buyer demographics. For example, consumers in possession of an Apple logo-bearing box are assumed to be wealthy or important, and they certainly feel that way. The same goes for holding a Starbucks tumbler, which is now most often associated with the millennial crowd.
Does your packaging make your buyer feel satisfied and proud of purchasing from you? Is your brand worth sharing with friends? These are the feelings that you should inspire if you want a loyal clientele.
Your Packaging Creates Positive Expectations
If your packaging graphic shows delectable food in it, it is what the public would expect of the product within. The packaging conditions the consumers’ perception of your product before they purchase it, and to some extent, convinces them to assess it favorably after trying it. What people see on the packaging stimulates reward centers in the brain to crave it, and sampling the goods inside helps satisfy that craving.
In the case of food, it has been found that transparent packaging, which allows buyers to approximate freshness and taste, encourages a more positive response than mere pictures. However, having pictures of food on an opaque package is still more powerful than having none at all. You can observe these behaviors during lunch hour in busy restaurants, when people are hungry and make food-buying decisions in a snap.
Your Packaging Can Reach a Wider Audience than Any Form of Advertisement
Finally, your silent salesman can do what no clerk or TV commercial can—connect with your customers when they are out of reach. When your budget is tight, but you know that your product is a hit in the making, your best strategy is to display it in a well-designed package.
In 1987, Mexican chef Rick Bayless established the well-renowned Frontera Grill in Chicago. The restaurant is famous for its handmade gourmet meals that boast of fresh ingredients. In 1997, he launched Frontera Foods, which initially offered only tortilla chips. The pouch markings featured the restaurant’s logo—beloved by devoted customers—and labels signifying that the chips were made in the same way and from the same fresh ingredients that people loved. The see-through packaging allowed consumers to take a peek at the mouthwatering tortillas inside. Even without spending much on TV ads, the snack thrived in American markets, and Frontera Foods grew to what is now a big name in Mexican food products.
The packaging is the crux of product presentation, making it a vital marketing tool. It is your silent salesman, convincing customers to start and maintain a long-lasting relationship with your brand. Time spent on an unforgettable package design is an investment that is sure to make abundant returns for your business.
Don’t know which products best fit your packaging requirements? You can read other blogs we have on packaging and labeling business tips.
Ampuero, O. & Vila, N. (2006). Consumer Perceptions of Product Packaging. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 23(2), 100-112. https://doi.org/10.1108/07363760610655032.
Milosavljevic, M., Navalpakkam, V. Koch, C. & Rangel, A. (2012). Relative Visual Saliency Differences Induce Sizable Bias in Consumer Choice. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 22, 67-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcps.2011.10.002.
Mininni, T. (2013). No Advertising Budget? No Problem. The Design Force Newsletter, January 2013. http://www.designforceinc.com/no-advertising-budget-no-problem.
Simmonds, G. & Spence, C. (2017). Thinking Inside the Box: How Seeing Products on, or Through, the Packaging Influences Consumer Perceptions and Purchase Behavior. Food Quality and Preference, 62, 340-351. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2016.11.010.