Consumers to brands: Get a grip

Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

July 15, 2015

Does packaging that is comfortable to hold or has an awkward fit influence consumer product purchases? You betcha. Many hard-to-handle packages don’t get a second nod.

In our exclusive video series in partnership with Watch Me Think USA, we asked Americans to show us packages of products in their household that are easy to hold or hard to handle, and then tell us how that sways their likelihood of buying the product again.

What we found? From foods and beverages to personal care products and household cleaners, products gain favor with consumers when they are super easy to hold, open and dispense.

When it comes to handfit, size matters—both the package size and the hand size. Smaller hands are more comfortable holding smaller packages. But many consumers like to buy in bulk for the better economics. In this video, a number of female Thinkers showed us examples of both big and small packages that they liked. Similar features were grip areas and finger grooves that helped these consumers securely hold the package, giving them and others in their household better control over dispensing.

One woman showed us her mouthwash bottle, saying, “It’s a liter and a half, so it’s a pretty large item. But what makes it so comfortable to use and hold is the fact that it has these two ridges—one on either side of the packaging—with ribbing. So it’s really comfortable to hold in one hand.

“It also makes it easy to use, which is very important. So I’m more likely to buy this kind of product in a larger size because it’s so comfortable and easy to use.”

A universal fit scores well for households with multiple generations. As this mom explains about her Aqua Fresh toothpaste container, “The reason why I like it is because, not only is it easy for me to use, but it’s also very easy for my children to use as well. They are six and four years old. It doesn’t make much of a mess. They can wrap their hand around it easily and hold it and press the button at the same time for the toothpaste to come out. … I like that they can do it themselves.”

The downside to an uncomfortable or mis-sized package could be less control over dispensing, as this Thinker points out regarding her sea salt canister. “It’s very large, very bulky, very heavy for use when you’re cooking and just going to pour some in. It’s very easy to get heavy handed with this because of the size.”

If your package format can’t accommodate hand holds, perhaps adding texture to the material might be a solution, as one participant muses. In talking about a bottle of body wash with a disc closure, she says, “They could come up with a way to give it a little bit more texture, so that when it’s wet, it’s not so slippery and it’s easier to squeeze the soap out to the washcloth. I would buy it more.”

Watch the four-minute video to see what else these Thinkers say about packages they best like to have and to hold.

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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