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Why packaging can be more important than the product itself?

There’s an oft-repeated quote that retailers must live by: “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”. Everyone knows how important first impressions are and when it comes to retail, packaging is your avenue towards making a lasting first impression. Gone are the days when packaging was simply looked at as a simple box or a carton to transport goods, packaging has become multi-dimensional and it is up to retailers to make sure they’re caught up with the trends. The growing popularity of online shopping, delivery and e-commerce has made packaging an indispensable part of retail. It is no exaggeration to say that packaging can sometimes be more important than the product, especially when you consider some of the psychological effects good packaging can have on consumers and customer acquisition. So, how important is packaging? Here are some stats to help you figure it out:

  • According to Packaging Digest, studies show that 74% of young adults are more likely to share a photo of their product packaging on social media when the product has been purchased online.
  • According to an eCommerce Packaging Survey, 90% of consumers reuse product packaging after purchase. A great way to gain free advertising and exposure.
  • The same study reported that businesses found a 30% increase in customer interest when businesses introduced premium packaging.

Whilst getting your packaging choices right leads to several subconscious effects on the consumer, the importance of good packaging and packaging material has several other advantages. Packaging is a way for a company to express itself, to communicate and connect with its customers and a way to stand out from the crowd. To truly see this phenomenon in effect, take the example of Pepsi and Coca Cola; both have almost identical products, but Coca Cola with their iconic cans and glass bottles have more than double the market share over Pepsi in their segment. It is no coincidence that Coca Cola’s signature red labelling and branding also work in their favour, as it is a well-known fact that the colour red can often lead to impulse buys.

Similarly, retailers must be proactive and consider using every little trick they can to get ahead, consider these reasons for why packaging is sometimes more important than the product itself:

a) Safety and Protection
Building and establishing trust that leads to a loyal customer base is vital for the success of any business. In the era of elaborate supply chains and e-commerce, packaging’s main function is to protect the contents of the package: your product. If products arrive damaged or defective, it could permanently destroy the relationship with a hard-earned customer. However good your products are, if the contents of your package aren’t protected with the appropriate packaging material then businesses could lose the trust of their customers, as well as drive up their own costs.

b) Expressing your brand
In a highly competitive environment, brand expression is becoming a great strategy to connect with customers. An example of this is the growth of ‘Brand Twitter’, where brands take on a persona and try to communicate with their customers. Hence, expression is great for a brand to cultivate loyalty, and what better way to connect with customers than through packaging? Whether it be through easily identifiable packaging like Lay’s packets or premium packaging for jewellery and diamonds, each element of packaging communicates something to their customer. Retailers can create their own signature packaging to help create loyalty and communicate a brand’s values because at the end of the day humans will opt for familiarity. Popular examples are brands that want to express a sustainable image using sustainable and reusable packaging or brands that want to communicate professionalism using minimal, yet appropriate packaging.

c) Stand out from the crowd
If you’re walking through a crowded store and you’re presented with uncountable options of the same product, it’s highly likely you’ll make your choice based on the packaging of a product. Eye-catching packaging will ensure that you will stand out from the crowd. Using packaging to stand out from the crowd is a great marketing ploy as packaging can attract customers through numerous avenues:

  • You could have all the information easily available, such as whether your product is fragile, recyclable and other important information like expiry dates and ingredient lists. If this kind of information is easily available on the packaging, a customer might be less likely to take the time to examine other products for the same information.
  • Using colours and shapes to set yourself apart from your competitors. It is already established that colours can influence a consumer’s decision, for example using green indicates a natural or sustainable product, which will immediately capture the eye of a consumer who looks for a brand embodying these values.
  • Some packaging can be used as souvenirs or memorabilia, and some packaging design is simply cutting-edge, modern and revolutionary that it is impossible to ignore.

Hence, in summary, we can say that packaging can be more important than the product, especially in competitive markets. This is where your company can gain an edge by taking advantage of elite packaging services such as DCGpac. Packaging can bring in customers, communicate with customers, embody their values, excite them and above all do its primary job: protect the product. When packaging works in synchrony with the product, packaging can usually be more important than the product itself.

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