Product packaging is not what it use to be a decade ago or even five years ago. Consider this: when you purchase a product how often do you make your purchase online? More and more people are purchasing online and more often. And when you purchase online how often do you see the packaging? Rarely if ever. When you purchase a product online the great majority of the time the product is not encased in a beautiful well designed branded package. When consumers decide to purchase a product from an online store their decision is little influence by the packaging. The product must speak for itself. Retail packaging is now heavily impacted by technology and global online shopping is only increasing.
Years ago packaging stood on it’s own, it was independent from social media or ecommerce. Now things are more complex, packaging is just one piece in a larger chain of marketing touchpoints. But what is critical to understand is that all these different marketing channels, social media, packaging, product design, cannot stand alone as mutually exclusive silos. All these different marketing channels must coherently tie together and blend into a uniform marketing strategy. For example some retail products will have an instagram handle printed on the product packaging. This just links the consumer with another marketing touchpoint.
To further the example above let’s take a clothing company. When you make a purchase at a clothing store the cashier will place your new purchase in a paper bag or a box containing the company’s branding. But perhaps the company has also printed their instagram handle on the packaging and on the way home you curiously view the company’s instagram page and decide to follow them. You notice the company posts style suggestions which you find useful and you decide to check back often. The company is probably using data analytics to detect your interest in their instagram page. From this data the company’s marketing team decide to make their instagram handle larger and more visible on the product packaging. They decide to do this because they can see that instagram is starting to become a larger source of customer engagement. By making the instagram handle more prominent more retail consumers are likely to see and engage with their instagram page. As more consumers follow and engage with the company’s instagram page the company decides to add the ability to purchase products directly from their instagram page. Loyal followers now start purchasing directly online and forgo the physical retail space and the company’s revenues start to grow.
This is a simple example of how retail packaging can have an influence on sales. But the main take away from this basic example is how packaging needs to blend into an all encompassing marketing strategy, it cannot stand along. Package designers must work with data analysts and online marketers.