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Unlock the Role of Packaging Through Key Stages of a Consumer’s Journey

Packaging plays an important role in defining the sophistication of the products. It imposes an impression on consumer’s likelihood to purchase the same product again. How about we categorize the role of packaging in consumer’s journey in three stages?

  1. Before the product reaches the consumer
  2. The product is with the consumer
  3. What does the consumer do with the packaging after he has retrieved the product

READ: A detailed industry report elaborating on the impact of packaging on consumer buying behavior.

I. Role of Packaging Before Reaching the Customer

Is your potential customer aware of your brand? Here is how packaging can help in spreading brand awareness.

Packaging for Brand Awareness

Packaging acts as a brand ambassador for spreading brand awareness. A customer might or might be not in the need of your product. Even then, if your packaging is standing out on the shelf, there is a greater chance that the consumer might think of buying it. If you see, in the offline retail stores and e-commerce websites, the products are arranged in categories. I.e. retailer places similar products together. Hence, if you are launching a product in the market, then packaging plays an important role in grabbing consumer’s attention. Following are the factors influencing packaging for brand awareness.

#1 - Package Shape

Simple shapes never go out of fashion. While determining the shape for your packaging, you should also consider its durability while shipping. For example, the packaging for Sesamis Bar- a homemade chocolate company is square, yet distinguishable.

Attractive colors - Simple packaging shape or Sesamis Bar
Image Courtesy: Packaging of the World

#2 - Package Print

You can be selective for color, images, and fonts on the package but the print on the package should be readable. Colors on the packaging influence the consumers a lot. For example, yellow is considered a happy color and is suitable for packaging meant for children’s products. Look how Small & Wild Limited, a herbal tea company for kids has designed its package with attractive images, font, and color.

Role of Packaging - Attractive colors | Small & Wild
Image Courtesy: Small & Wild | LinkedIn

#3 - Package Size

Right-sized packaging is also important for convenience sake. The packaging should not be oversized that it cannot accommodate the shelf. It should neither be too small to get overlooked by the user. Now, considering the fact that your potential customer is aware of your brand, but what are the packaging factors that drive purchase?

II. Role of Packaging in Motivating Consumers to Buy Your Product

The quality of the product is, of course, the first preference of the consumers. But, he seeks more information for validation. You can differentiate your product by providing relevant information in the packaging. Given a choice between two products of the same quality, which product will the consumer choose?

The consumer is more likely to go for the product with impressive packaging. Some of the key factors to influence consumers are-

  • Packaging design with practical utility
  • Reusable packaging like glass jars, PET tubs, etc.
  • Refill packaging
  • Informative packaging
  • Convenient to carry

For example, Heinz introduced upside-down ketchup bottle for user convenience. This packaging innovation was able to drive Heinz tomato ketchup sales by 6% in just a year.

 Role of packaging - User convenience | Heinz Upside Down Bottle
Image Courtesy: The Marketing Spot

III. Role of Packaging When the Consumer has Made a Purchase

When the consumer has made a purchase, the work isn’t over yet. The manufacturers also have to consider how the user interacts with the packaging. For instance, if the consumer purchased your product because of attractive packaging, but while opening finds spills or product damage, it is certainly not a good impression on the user. So, what does the consumer expect from the packaging?

#1 - Product Safety

The consumer is trusting the packaging for the safety of the product inside. One should never compromise the packaging design against product safety. The elements of safe product packaging are-

  • Right-sized box
  • Padding and fillers
  • Locking and sealing
  • The durable outer packaging material
  • Moisture resistant

#2 - Convenient Packaging

Consumers want to cherish the products without much effort in opening the package. Quicker the package opens, happier is the consumer. Following are the psychological factors associated with convenience-

  • No need for additional tools to open the package
  • Fewer fillers and tapes
  • Lightweight packaging
  • Easy to carry
  • Less waste

Amazon has introduced Frustration-Free Packaging meant for saving the environment and increasing consumer’s ease-of-accessibility. You can read more about Frustration-Free Packaging here.

IV. Role of Packaging for Consumer Retention

More time the consumer spends with packaging (in a productive way), his probability of buying the product again increases. Following are some of the successful consumer retention techniques through packaging.

#1 Informative Packaging

Relevant information on the packaging helps in increasing consumer interaction with the product. Also, as mentioned before, informative packaging validates the consumer’s choice for the product. For example, PepsiCo’s Kurkure- a savory snack brand shares a recipe on its packaging. Different flavors of Kurkure have a different recipe to drive purchase for other products of the same brand. This strategy also illustrates the role of packaging for marketing.

Role of packaging - Informative Printing | Kurkure
Image Courtesy: BigBasket

#2 Quality of Packaging Material

Quality of packaging material is also a big factor in consumer retention. The packaging material should be odorless and chemically non-reactive with the product. For example, consumers don’t prefer the taste of paper or pop stick in the ice cream. These days, milk and fruit beverages are packed in the cardboard container. Such packaging are required to maintain the aseptic standards.

role of packaging - Quality packaging | Milk in cartons
Image Courtesy: Custom Design Packaging

V. Role of Packaging Post Consumption

This is the last stage of packaging in the consumer’s journey and by now the consumer has an impression of the product. Now, packaging plays an important role in determining the brand impact.  Like we said before, the consumer will choose your product over the competitors’ when he is satisfied with the ease-of-accessibility. Another way to look at the role of packaging for a customer post consumption is the ease-of-disposal. The consumers today are well aware of the environmental concerns with the use of plastic in packaging. To set a positive impression of your brand, you can incorporate some of the following packaging strategies-

  • Recycled and recyclable packaging
  • Reusable packaging
  • Minimalist packaging
  • Compostable packaging

For example, American Cinema brand- Cinemark distributed reusable popcorn buckets to the customers. These buckets can be refilled and can act as a storage container at homes. The packaging adheres to the ‘3Rs’- 100% reducible, reusable, and recyclable.

reusable popcorn tubs | cInemark
Image Courtesy: Popcorn Bucket
"Our huge sales and refill figures are the best response we could have wished for. Some months, customers refill more buckets than they buy, which is the best evidence that they love and value our reusable packaging and the refill concept." - Loreto Boitano, Concessions Manager, Cinemark

READ: These packaging can be reused. Don't throw them away!

VI. Bonus: Role of Packaging in Winning Consumer’s Sentiments

One cannot ignore the role of packaging to a customer for winning his sentiments. The consumers feel good about their positive contribution to the environment by using products with sustainable packaging. According to a report from the Environmental Leader, “59% of millennials (the generation born between 1980 and 2000), consider packaging sustainability to be important throughout the entire value chain. And 44% of millennials are willing to pay a premium for products with sustainable packaging”

Get your eco-friendly packaging inspiration from these 7 brands!

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