Over the past decade, the retail industry has undergone a drastic makeover.
To remain relevant and adapt to the complexities of the modern industry, retailers must shift their strategies to be better aligned with fluctuating consumer preferences, demographics, tastes and attitudes. Businesses that want to stay on top in a competitive market should consider altering their product packaging because of its ability to reflect consumers’ eclectic shopping habits.
The following six methods can help optimize packaging in today’s complex retail environment.
A Sustainable Amount of Packaging
Environmentally friendly packaging has gone from trend to requirement. Now, packaging that fails to meet sustainable criteria can fall by the wayside, negatively affecting company sales. But achieving the right balance is tricky.
Using a minimum of packaging materials might result in damaged product that ultimately increases company spending, while too much packaging will turn consumers away because of its blatant waste and disregard for the environment. To avoid these issues, packaging strategies need to be carefully planned and developed. When considering the right materials, it’s essential to analyze each aspect. The strength and flute of corrugated board, the thickness of foam, the rigidity of plastics or films, and the placement of tapes and adhesives are all important elements that will determine whether or not a packaging’s design will be successful. The new ecological approach focuses on the reduction of these elements, so designers and manufacturers should limit unused box space and work to decrease their carbon footprint by making sure their materials are easily reusable or recyclable.
Modern consumers expect their goods to be shipped and delivered quickly. When it comes to efficient lead times, Amazon Prime has set the standard. From “add to cart” to “delivered,” ship times average only 4.5 days. Suffice to say that packaging — especially for e-commerce businesses — should be optimized to ensure a smooth journey from the warehouse to the customer’s doorstep.
Corrugated leads the way as the most popular shipping material because of its versatility and lightweight properties. Systems for corrugated packaging such as taping machines that pre-apply “peel and seal” adhesive tapes are an efficient way to increase the ease and speed of assembly, thus ensuring a swift manufacturing and shipping process. Establishing an effective shipping strategy can be a powerful point of differentiation for customers, prompting them to choose one business over another.
Advances in digital printing have greatly altered the packaging industry. Thanks to innovative technologies, designs can be created faster and at lower cost. Since high-quality printing no longer requires costly plates and lamination, businesses can easily perform short runs that allow them to reduce the cost of redundant inventory and reduce stock holdings, as well as continuously update and revise content with rapid turnaround times. Short runs can even be performed to conduct market research. Digital print also offers highly personalized capabilities, which enable packagers to cater their designs to varying demographics and promotional content, and stay in touch with varying economics and consumer needs.
Perfect Unboxing Experience
Modern consumers want their packaging to reveal a story and impart an unforgettable experience, which means that a box must do more than protect its contents during the shipping and handling process. Developing the perfect unboxing event is a sure way to generate engagement and increase loyalty, so businesses should incorporate this component into their design strategy.
To accomplish this, it’s important to consider the use of materials. Special finishing touches will almost always make a memorable, positive impression. Extra thought should be given to the way the box is opened. In no way must any component incite frustration. The right package should be likened to opening a dazzling display case: each element must be presented in an organized and aesthetically pleasing manner for the big moment of reveal.
Redesigning a brand’s look can be a risky endeavor, but is sometimes necessary, especially if the brand’s design has lost its contemporary relevance. When updating packaging, customer perception and needs are factors that brand owners need to evaluate. An effective redesign can increase sales from 5-20 percent, while misguided packaging changes can drive sales declines of 20-30 percent. Since restructuring the shape and size of packaging for logistical purposes is more likely to drive sales than revamping visual graphics, packaging can be easily optimized for distribution to different channels.
When undergoing a brand refresh, businesses should uncover customer trends while analyzing chief assets to determine which ones should be axed. This type of analysis is crucial to creating a successful redesign strategy.
Multi-channel retailing is an important aspect that will help brands stay afloat in this highly competitive market. Modern consumers no longer inspect items on physical store shelves. Today, shoppers take a multi-pronged approach, which involves comparative shopping online and at multiple locations and marketplaces. As a result, packaging must reflect these varied methods of distribution. To do so, businesses must develop high-impact, visually appealing packaging that is suited for store placement, while also providing e-commerce packages that satisfy shoppers’ demand for pleasant unboxing experiences. The ability to diversify packaging while remaining consistent to branding is a must for generating optimal sales and ensuring long-term growth.
Phil Bagdasarian is the co-founder of Packwire, an online printing and packaging service that enables businesses to create their own box designs.