22 Jun Why product packaging is important.
Product packaging has a few jobs, not the least of which is serving as point of purchase advertising.
Packaging contains your product, it can provide security, it can protect your product from damage, and it can provide important information about your product. Just to mention a few of it’s tasks. As I am a packaging designer and not a packaging engineer this post will mostly focus on point of purchase advertising.
As the image above begins to illustrate customers are often left confused as to what to buy, or why a particular product is of higher value. Often this can be attributed to businesses basing their packaging design decisions on what others are doing in the market. The result is shelves full of products that look very much the same. When faced with a decision between a wide selection of products consumers often decide to buy based on one of the following; aesthetics, brand loyalty, or value. Consumers also make this purchasing decision very quickly, 7seconds or less according to some studies. When everything looks similar customers grab the first thing that looks familiar or gravitate to the lowest price item.
How packaging design can help you sell product.
As said consumers buy based on three things, aesthetics, brand loyalty, and value. When discussing how good packaging design can help you sell your product the first in the list, aesthetics should be a no brainier.
Not many would argue that good design looks good. Often it is visually pleasing, communicates effectively, and targets your audience to better stand out to them. If a product’s packaging is well designed it looks like it should contain that product type but stands out from competition. If you’re here reading this I will assume this doesn’t need much explination and move on.
Packaging design also helps build brand loyalty. People remember a box or jar that is different than your competitors and contained the product that was exactly what they needed. The next time they are faced with a decision they will seek out that same product.
Value last on the list, at the end of the day everyone is looking for the best value, but that is something each person must define for themselves. It is very hard to convince a potential customer you are the best value without being the cheapest. Even I struggle with this in my business, a bit more on that in my past post, why design should never be cheap. Value is also often confused with cost, and I think many would agree we would gladly pay a little bit more for a great product vs. a product that is low quality. Without experiencing your product, packaging design is a direct communication to your consumer on your products value. How often have you been in a store and decided it was unwise to buy something because it looked cheap? In reality, it could have been the best product ever, but many of us realize that if a product seems cheap we are taking a risk in purchasing it. Being the cheapest can mean cutting corners. Often I talk to business who are struggling with trying to drive sales and are trying to become the lowest cost option. Whenever I hear this I feel the business has lost sight of their product and is setting themselves up for failure. Unless you are a giant business or have revolutionized production in some way, someone can always do it cheaper. Your value is in making a great unique product. Your packaging can help sell this fact by elevate your product to look very valuable. If your packaging appears to be premium and your product is at a competitive price point sales are easy.
I see businesses neglect their packaging, instead focusing on word of mouth as well. While yes word of mouth is an important tool in building your brand, word of mouth requires constant advertising to keep the name fresh with consumers. You, your emplyoees, or your advertising team must be constantly selling the product. Product packaging on the other hand quietly does it’s job advertising your product on the shelf, every day. Product packaging is also an important tool in opening up new markets and building brand recognition when you or your advertising can’t be there. Such as any time your product is entering a new store where your product will be sitting in a crowded retail environment next to your competition.
In fact, there is a type of market research study known as a shelf impact study that is designed to assess how well your packaging works. You can learn more about that here shelf impact studies. While I do not do shelf impact studies on the level outlined in that article, I do conduct retail audits for any potential client looking to redesign packaging. This allows us to access their retail environment and identify their most successful competitors to determine how we can learn from them. Something I recommend for anyone trying to improve or assess the effectiveness of their packaging as well as assess their competition.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you would like help improving your product packaging, or to discuss a retail audit contact me on my contact page. I’d be happy to schedule an in-person consultation. Also please enjoy this great infographic created by thepaperworker.com on how packaging affects your buying decisions.