Packaging is currently experiencing a time of huge potential. It continues to be viewed as a key element in the purchase decision, but is also presented as a brand communication device that goes beyond the product and has the ability to connect with consumers in both the physical and virtual worlds.
Faced with the current trend for multi-channel publicity and the boom of social networks and e-commerce, packaging is consolidating itself as the big nexus between the online and offline worlds. Consumer interest in learning about a product before acquiring it or recommending it gives this field a great opportunity.
The double litmus test
We mustn’t forget the fundamental objective of packaging, nor the basis on which its function is truly tested. There are two key moments – the first may only last a few seconds, yet will make the difference between the product being picked and consumers simply walking on by.
This litmus test will only be passed by the most attractive packaging – the one that stands out on the gondola shelf for its sex appeal, which draws attention and attracts the consumer. The packaging must also communicate the necessary information and offer the right value for money. To do this, the main drivers need to have been developed very well beforehand: colours, typography, shape and material, brand identity, identification of variety within the line, etc.
However, having overcome this first hurdle does not mean the end of the road: after purchase, the packaging is confronted with an unknown terrain – the home.
And the home does not offer enough indicators to understand its actual impact. Once the product reaches its destination, it must demonstrate its validity. The consumer will value its functionality (opening, dosing, material and design) and permanency (how well it can be stored and kept, if the content needs to be transferred elsewhere, if the packaging can be thrown away).
We need to take advantage of the time our client is alone with our packaging – with no competition, noise or distraction – to provide additional information that may reinforce his knowledge of our brand and our other products.
Packaging and e-commerce: a relationship full of potential
In order to position ourselves well, we must bear in mind the conclusions of the pioneering
report on packaging and e-commerce recently conducted by saica Pack iberia and Esic on consumers from spain, the united kingdom, and france. The first conclusion already tells us where the sector is heading: internet sales have seen an annual increase of 20% on a European level. Furthermore, accessibility has also improved thanks to the development of smartphone apps.
What relationship is there between online purchases and packaging? To start with, the report highlights that consumers prefer to receive their purchase in a cardboard box instead of in an envelope or bag. Packaging adapted to the object within, making it easier
to return, is viewed favourably. Moreover, it is at the moment of receipt that we can connect directly with the consumer to provide information and increase customer loyalty.
In this way, good packaging is able to intervene and improve online sales, as it continues
to be the first point of contact between the consumer and the product, and, in consequence,
with the brand.
New shopping habits suggest new sales strategies
Big shopping centres, outlets and internet sales have influenced the consumer, modifying
his shopping habits. If 20 years ago, 3 in 5 people were shopping at multi-brand shops,
only 1 in 5 do so today.
An opportunity exists based on the simbiosis between the store itself and the supplying brands. Stores require brands in order to position themselves on the market, whilst the brands need these spaces in order to reach their target public.
In order to maintain and grow this relationship, packaging plays a relevant role as a key device in the communication and transmission of brand values. For example, merchandising development needs to be boosted, as it acts as the chief promoter of impulse buying.