How well is your packaging representing the value that you promise to your customers?
Your packaging is one of the first tangible representations of your product. It represents your brand and your commitment that you make to your customers in your value proposition. When packaging goes wrong, it leaves current customers unsatisfied, and potential customers in search of alternative products (with better packaging).
If that isn’t enough, with the proliferation of social channels, it has never been easier for consumers to share their negative experiences through ratings and reviews. Statistically, 90% of consumers read online reviews and 88% of them trust the online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
With that in mind, what factors are sending messages to your customers that you may not know about?
Package Color and Aesthetics
The psychology of color is a known influencer on purchasing decisions and patterns. Here’s a breakdown of the impact of various colors:
- Black = authority and luxury
- White = cleanliness, purity, simplicity
- Red = passion, bold, appetite
- Orange = fun, low cost
- Green = growth, nature
- Yellow = optimism, hope
- Purple= imagination, success
- Blue = trust, reliability
What’s important to ask yourself is which colors in your brand and packaging are predominant and what does that say about your brand. For example, orange signifies low cost, which is desirable for a business that aims to sell at a bargain, but is not a good look for high end retailers or providers. Are your color choices in line with your value proposition?
When looking at the overall design of the packaging materials, let’s consider primary packaging independent from secondary packaging. Primary packaging (i.e. the packaging that is in immediate contact with the product and visible on a shelf) influences brand recognition, provides a communication mechanism between business and consumer (ex. organic, contains bleach, product instructions, ease of use, etc.), but perhaps most importantly, primary packaging communicates a level of value to the consumer.
Aesthetics are important in secondary packaging as well, especially when it comes to brand recognition. Having branded packaging, in combination with product specific guidelines (i.e. fragile, temperature requirements, liquid, etc.), ensures a positive user experience.
Quality of materials encompasses the corrugated boxes used for shipping, down to the bottles, bags, and other flexible packaging options. Damage, spilling, contamination, and other product imperfections are each of consideration when it comes to durability considerations.
One way companies are communicating quality is by incorporating small details that add exponential value. This is a great strategy for industries with a dense competitive landscape. For theses companies, product differentiation is key. In ecommerce, companies use decorative (and reusable) packaging supplies to create a positive and memorable unpacking experience.
Research has demonstrated that 52% of online consumers say they would likely return to a business for another purchase if they receive products in premium packaging. And 90 % of consumers reuse product packaging boxes and bags after purchase. 40 % would share a photo of packaging if it is interesting.
When looking at the cardboard box that transports goods to your door, having empty space in the box makes the product seem smaller and therefore less valuable. Outside of consumer impact, we have seen shifts with regard to dim weight restrictions, creating a higher cost for packages that are shipped with empty space. This indicates that optimal package sizes are beneficial for businesses and consumers.
Also, when looking at primary packaging, portability and storage is a typical concern. One example is refrigerated goods: Another example is beauty products: some users prefer products that they can easily store in their smaller wallets and purses, travel cases, and even pockets, while others prefer large quantities of product at lower prices. Understanding your customers’ preference in this area can help to guide sizing considerations and offerings.
For primary packaging, usability is make-or-break for the customer experience. For example, Heinz learned that by offering an alternative to the glass bottle, the plastic bottle, they could avoid many obstacles that they previously experienced with the glass bottles, thereby increasing revenues and customer retention.
Business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) are each uniquely affected by sustainable packaging and buying patterns. Method and Whole Foods are two companies that continually demonstrate their commitment to sustainable products for their customers. These companies use materials that are lighter, to cut down on fuel costs in transportation, and reusable shopping bags, to name a few examples. They have built loyalty through a promise to only use the word’s best, most sustainable resources.
B2C companies are not the only business that benefit from emphasizing their focus on sustainability. In order to supply B2C companies, B2B organizations must take the initiative to provide sustainable resources and other eco-friendly materials that are in demand by consumers.
Further, more than half of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Not only do millennials fall into the consumer category, but they also make up for more than 1 in 3 workers in the American workforce, including buying positions.
How do these five areas of packaging affect your customers’ buying decisions? Don’t let your packaging ruin your relationship with your customers.