3 fail-safe tactics to create the perfect package

By Warren Becker in Packaging Design on November 06, 2017

Buyers judge a product by the exterior, so be sure the packaging design accurately reflects the brand’s concept and message—and the customer’s needs.

 

Appearance matters, and not just in social situations. When only 20% of the 30,000 consumer products launched annually worldwide each year succeed, manufacturers—especially beauty brands—should take nothing for granted. That includes their product packaging.

In fact, a study by The Paper Worker estimates that packaging—not product—influences one-third of all buying decisions. In other words, no matter how great your solution is, a product’s outer text, material, shape and scent may turn consumers away before they even try it.

Take a stroll down the aisle of your local beauty retailer, and you’ll inevitably encounter many a packaging pitfall. You’ve seen the lovely facial mist with a sprayer that squirts product everywhere except where you need it, or the body lotion in a pump-less glass bottle that makes it difficult to even extract the moisturizer—most customers don’t want the ketchup-bottle experience in their bathrooms. In some rare cases, a formula and its packaging won’t get along, causing unforeseen reactions, which is why packaging compatibility testing is critical.

Avoiding packaging-related missteps begins with understanding what matters most to buyers. For instance, the millennial buyer is a huge target audience for emerging brands; it’s also a demographic in which three in four buyers are willing to pay for sustainable products, according to Nielsen research.

Green packaging is a great example of this. Just a generation ago, sustainability didn’t enter many brands’ stories, let alone their packaging considerations; now, it’s a driving force toward credibility. According to Nielson, more than half of consumers gravitate toward products with eco-friendly packaging, and they won’t hesitate to move away from buying products they feel aren’t made or packaged in a socially responsible way.

 

Pack with your best foot forward

Packaging makes your product’s first impression, so use that exterior to accentuate the product’s tangible or intangible highlights. Want a quick checklist on creating great packaging that enhances the user experience from the moment it’s seen on the shelf or a website? Try these three fail-safe tactics.

 

1. Think functionality and ease of use. It’s hard to believe that a company would seriously create beer you can drink while in the shower, but it happened. Beyond the questionable necessity of this product, a glass bottle in a wet, slippery shower sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Manufacturers can’t overlook functionality and usability when choosing packaging and designing its look and feel. Look at Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream, which uses an airless jar with a pump that users can press for a pre-portioned amount of moisturizer. While open jars work for many customers, others prefer not to dip their fingers into the product, and this brand designed for functionality to meet this common customer need.

If you want your customers to feel comfortable and confident using your product, think functionality, not just artistry. A square-shaped shampoo bottle might be beautiful and intriguing, but it’s tough to hold onto or squeeze, especially with wet hands in the shower. Treat every package as an opportunity to make life a little easier for your target buyer.

 

NEXT: Be clear.

 

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