Packaging as the second product

In today's global marketplace savvy consumers are often overwhelmed with choices and decisions that need to be made purchasing many goods. They look for reviews and pricing online, then often venture into retail outlets to touch and feel the products they wish to bring into their lifestyle. Many times retailers complain that the consumers then go back online to find and order the product selected. But in a recent poll by a leading paper supplier MeadWestvaco [1] found just over 60% of consumers made impulse decisions and purchases based on the packaging in the retail environment. Packaging certainly continues to play a key role in attracting and informing consumers about products.

Not only does the package have to attract at the point of sale, more and more the “unboxing“ effect takes on a greater importance as many look forward to this additional aspect of their purchase. The packaging appearance and quality often sets the consumers up to feel confident about their purchasing decisions. Resulting in high expectations even before opening and getting to the actual product. This has the potential of softening any initial perceived disappointments as long as the packaging makes a positive impact.

Apple knows this and now also many “tech“ product manufacturers work hard to follow this standard. The results, while nice and purchase reinforcing, often come at a high price for the manufacturers and the environment. With laminated paper, PVC trays and other materials that cannot be recycled. But that is a whole other topic for discussion. This can still be achieved with an eye towards the bottom line and the environment. 

Within today’s internet environment the consumer does not need to be hit over the head with everything about the product on the box, just the key features. Remember we like the mystery and surprise of discovery. We all enjoy the hidden, what is it and what can it do. When packaging entices the consumer with tactile sensation and colors, it helps to lure them in. The opening or unwrapping is a welcome experience for most, as long as it is intuitive and easy.

Packaging no longer is just a delivery system for merchandising but a critical pathway to today’s informed global consumer. It is the second product that is manufactured, a pre-product if you will.  

Greg Kaats - Vetica Lucerne