In today’s extremely competitive retail market, you the producer have two challenges to meet. First, you have to be able to persuade the retailer to give your product shelf space, and good shelf space at that, at eye-level rather than on the top or bottom shelves. Then, the customer has to take your product off the shelf and buy it. It’s not enough to put all your time and thought into the design of the product inside the box: you need to also consider the motivations of potential consumers, and tailor your packaging design to maximize sales.
Usually, the packaging design team is brought on board once the actual product design has been finalized and refined after testing. In that situation, the job of the package designer and producer is to secure and ship the product efficiently, and then promote the product to the customer in the store as it sits on the shelf. However, if the package is seen as an integral part of the product’s advertising and retail strategy, it is to the advantage of the producer to bring in packaging design professionals early on in the product development process to help maximize sales once it reaches the store shelves.
Retail data is gathered at the store level, and measures the actual buying habits of the public even more effectively than a telephone or internet survey. Those surveys only indicate the possible buying behaviour of the public, rather than the hard numbers of the in-store sales figures. It is one thing, for instance, to show a participant in a survey a graphic of a package design, and ask how likely/unlikely they are to buy it, but the actual numbers of units sold to customers in the store aisle are a much more accurate measure of how well that package design will appeal to the public.
Measuring the behaviours of buyers at the store level can help your packaging team optimize the appeal of your product once it’s sitting on the shelf. A good packaging designer will look at what sells on the shelves, and what components of the successful designs can be used for your packaging. One of the advantages of keeping an eye on retail data is that once your product is in the store, it’s possible to tweak and refine the packaging to improve sales, based on sales patterns.
Retail data can be used not only to refine the overall custom packaging design of a product or line of products, but can also be engaged to create micro merchandising campaigns based on specific demographics such as age or region. Retailers and suppliers can coordinate for seasonal events peculiar to their region, or develop packaging options that will appeal to different age groups. For instance, older customers will look for packaging designed for ease of opening, whereas younger customers are more likely to be swayed by designs influenced by current fashion such as colour choice. Paying close attention to who is buying what in stores can make the difference between a successful product line and one which is discontinued for lack of sales!