Packaging In The Retail Space

Posted on August 22, 2011

A consumer’s impression of a product inside a store begins with its packaging. The consumer reads, visualizes, feels and handles packaging before getting to the desired product, all the while building up a sense of anticipation around the product itself. Clearly, packaging differentiates a product on the shelf and ultimately contributes to consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Through our network of sister companies, our packaging experts work with customers around the country, across all market segments, to assist them in creating effective packaging that makes a positive impression in the retail environment. Here are a few guidelines to help you create a strong presence through packaging:

Keep Your Brand Unique

A well-designed functional package influences customer perceptions and purchasing decisions considerably in the retail environment. Packaging should align with existing sales collateral and brand positioning, while helping a product stand out on the shelf.

Like other marketing elements, packaging is a communication channel that informs consumers whether a product is low or high quality, expensive or inexpensive, meant for you or meant for someone else. The shape, color and design of the package are important factors in drawing consumers toward a product and communicating the features and benefits of that product.

While you want to create a unique presence on the retail shelf or online, it’s important to keep in mind standard perceptions. Children’s toys, for example, often call for brighter colors, while executive office supplies may merit deep, rich colors. Find a way to work within these standards, but still set your products apart from the rest.

Be Safe, but Inviting

Ultimately, packaging serves as protection for the product while in transit, on store shelves, and sometimes for long-term use. That said, the container itself should also be durable enough to withstand damage, as many shoppers will push a bent, torn, or broken package aside in search of a perfect one.

It’s a fine line, however, between durability and impossibility. Just about everyone has wrestled with – and been frustrated by – those plastic electronics packages that require scissors or knives to open. Be aware of your end customer and ultimate product use, and consider the entire customer experience when designing your packaging.

Remember The Inside

The interior design of a package is often overlooked, but is an integral aspect of packaging and impacts consumer perception. Have you ever opened a box just to find cheap Styrofoam that is easily broken down inside? Packaging does not end at the exterior of the package, as consumer perceptions and brand building continue with how the item is housed within the exterior facing carton.

There are a variety of interior packaging materials such as molded pulp, partitions, foam, and thermoform packaging, all of which contribute to the consumer experience and perceived product value. Even heavier paper substrates can be die cut and folded to create a protective interior, while at the same time providing additional print space for brand messages and identity.

Consider the Environment

Many consumers consider environmental impact when making a purchase decision, and want to support products and companies with environmentally friendly practices. In fact, nearly three-quarters of U.S. consumers say they check the packaging labels as a source for environmental information about a product. Effective communication of the sustainable aspects of the product, the packaging itself, and the company can impact a consumer’s brand choice.

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