Imagine you’re at the supermarket buying groceries for the week. You’ll see shelves stuffed with similar items from different brands, but you can only choose one to add to your cart. How did you make your decision? What made you choose the item? Was it experience with the brand? Was it recalling advertising? In many cases, it’s the product packaging that sells your brand by aiding recall.
I remember when my kids were helping at the grocery store. Even before they could read, I’d send them to retrieve a product and they knew which was the one we needed because they recognized the product packaging. Competitors, especially generics, often copy the packaging by using the same color palette and other design elements to confuse buyers and hoping that similar packaging sells the brand.
For many customers, a product’s packaging can be as important as the product itself. Packaging affects consumer buying decisions, becoming a huge factor that sells your brand and contributes to your brand’s success. And here’s why.
How packaging sells your brand
Product packaging serves many purposes and contributes to consumer preferences that sell your brand resulting in higher revenue. Among the purposes of product packaging are the following:
- Protects the product from damage in shipping or storage. For instance, an egg carton protects eggs by holding them upright. While it’s easy to crush an egg on its side, it takes much more force to crush it end-to-end. Packaging also protects products from infestation by vermin.
- Bundles products together, which results in consumers purchasing higher quantities of your products. In Europe, it’s very common for consumers to buy products from bulk packaging by the pound or buy the piece. In the US, we commonly see many products bundled together for ease of purchase. Even produce often comes in bags rather than individual units and pricing often favors purchasing the bag.
- It offers advertising space at the point of purchase, which sells your brand at a point where advertising often has its greatest impact, especially for convenience goods. For instance, slapping “New and Improved”, “Organic”, “Fat-free”, or other terms on your packaging helps consumers make choices that favor your brand. Using a similar color palette, text, and images helps connect the product in the store with advertising through other channels such as TV or print.
- Your packaging offers an identity to your brand that not only allows consumers to recognize your products but elements of your packaging also convey information about your mission and values. For instance, some brands choose green as a dominant color in their package to convey sustainability while others, like Godiva, use gold to show the luxury of the goods inside the package.
- Legal requirements such as country of origin, ingredients, and nutrition labels on food serve both to satisfy the government and provide information that differentiates you from your competition.
- Packaging helps with family branding, such as we see in the image with cereals that use similarities in their package to identify products from the same company. For instance, Cheerios uses different color schemes but the same general layout for all the brands in its family.
Beyond these generic reasons for considering your brand packaging, here are some more specific roles that packaging plays in selling your brand.
A great package leaves a great first impression
Have you ever stopped in front of an item at the grocery store and realized you’ve never heard of the brand before? The colorful packaging or unique design elements attracted your attention, driving consideration of the brand. Many customers decide whether an item is a good or bad product based on their first impression of its package, especially when the package suggests the values of the company. More on this below, but recognize that these first impressions can and do affect consumer buying decisions, like whether to add your product to their cart or not.
Customers also use packaging as a way to get a first impression of your brand before they use it. For instance, Apple sells its computers, phones, and other devices in elaborate packaging that shows the value it places in the products it makes. It’s like your mother always told you about dressing nicely to make a good first impression. Product packaging does the same for products.
Grabs customers’ attention
Have you ever gone to the supermarket to buy one thing and ended up with a cart full of items? This is the power of product packaging at work.
Packaging has many elements— colors, print styles, images, typography, and overall design. These all aim to catch your attention and ultimately result in you buying a product. It’s also why products with bright colors, unique containers, and catchy written material get more attention than normal ones. No wonder the infamous Pink Sauce sold out instantly when it was released!
Appeals to customer emotion
Product packaging provides a glimpse of what the product is about, making customers expect good things from it. A great example of this can be seen in toothpaste. Many brands show a smiling mouth with shiny, white teeth on the packaging. This makes customers think that they’ll have the same results when they use the toothpaste, making them more likely to buy it.
Packaging showing happy families, healthy children, cuddly animals, and other elements evoke emotions that are culturally derived. For instance, when Disney showed images of visitors on Roller Coasters with their hands thrown in the air, it made Japanese consumers at Tokyo Disney reluctant to ride as they interpreted the images as fear, not excitement.
Answers customer questions about the product
We talked about this aspect of why packaging sells your brand a little earlier with your ability to advertise and differentiate your product using labels. Beyond that, packaging is your way of explaining the product to customers. It contains general information about your product, from the ingredients to effects to even any certifications that it has.
For example, food products have nutrition labels on the packaging to tell customers how much of their daily nutritional needs the product can provide. The labels also provide information on any ingredient that can trigger allergies to alert customers before buying the product.
In short, product packaging provides answers on whether the customer suits their needs or not.
Reflects your vision and values as a brand
Consumers nowadays are more conscious of their shopping choices and how those choices affect the world outside their little bubble. This creates the need for you to clearly convey your brand’s values and vision in your product packaging.
According to research, 68% of consumers in the United States are willing to pay more for sustainable products than those that aren’t. This simply means that price isn’t that huge of a factor in customers’ eyes when it comes to sustainability.
For example, switching to folding carton packaging is a sustainability effort that many brands made over the years. This showed their commitment to ethical consumption and their values as a brand. If you’re interested in making a change but don’t know where to start, you can always type ‘folding carton manufacturers near me‘ to know how you can make the switch.
Whether you’re in eCommerce or have a physical store, creating products and services that sell isn’t only about the product. You should also consider its packaging, as it’s the first thing that your customers notice. Good packaging allows customers to see who you are as a brand and the potential your products have to satisfy their needs.
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