Most new products —up to 95% of new products each year, in fact—will ultimately fail. This is not new news, as you can see in this 2010 Forbes article. And neither is it surprising. Consumers with a lot to do (and little time to do it) will always resort to buying products with their eyes.
Against that backdrop, consider that the landscape of retail packaging design is littered with half-realized ideas and rushed approvals. Packaging often gets pushed until the last minute and given the “form letter” treatment—rapid adaptation of some standardized template with your brand name on top. This makes sense when the number of decisions to be made in packaging can seem both overwhelming and relatively unimportant, taken individually. Among a litany of other things, a thoughtful retail packaging design would require you to consider:
- Brand identity
- Functionality of package shape and design
- Materials used
- Graphic design
- Messaging and purpose of on-package text
- Color matching
- On-site quality inspection
- Differentiating elements from competitor packaging
- BRC/FDA and international certification
- And more
But it’s just the box, right? This flood of decisions is what has led us to The Sea of the Same™, where most brands copy the general format of other products in their space and devote little thought to intentional or innovative retail packaging design. We’re here to tell you: this is a major mistake.
You May Not Focus On Packaging, But Consumers Will
To your company, it’s quite possible that packaging feels like a much lower priority than R&D on product quality, research on the perfect retail price point, or the establishment of strong distribution channels. But what will the consumer think about first, when they look at your product in the aisle? That self-talk might run something like this:
- Why is this company special or different? Why should I trust their solution?
- What makes this product more convenient than the one next to it?
- Does this company care about me and my needs?
- Will this product fit in my cabinets?
- Is it meant to be opened and re-closed, or is it a single serve?
- Is the packaging child proof or child resistant?
- Will it be durable enough to last in my home, car, backpack, etc.?
- Can I recycle the packaging when I'm finished? Will it fit in my trash or recycle bin?
According to figures from Ipsos, 72% of Americans say the design of a product’s packaging influences their purchase decisions. When they’re buying gifts, retail packaging design is even more important, at 81% — a make-or-break inflection point for more than eight in ten consumers.
Think Outside the Box (Pun Intended)
Consider the way that consumers reacted to Kim Kardashian’s KKW packaging on Twitter in 2017. One popular response made an unflattering comparison between her luxury beauty product packaging and government-issued food rations (MREs). The lack of any thoughtful, creative, or intentional retail packaging ideas (just a bland beige pouch) was the culprit.
Compare this with the can-do attitude and proactive, ingenious approach of Method Soap when it first introduced re-fillable, spouted stand-up pouches. At the time, Method’s director of contract manufacturing, Brian Hudson, explained that “One of the things that sets Method apart from other companies is its core values. One of those values is ‘What would MacGyver do?'—the things you have to do outside of the norm to make projects happen, to make sure that the customer gets their products in time. This project was a perfect example of how we used that value to our advantage.” This ‘outside the box’ approach is what helped Method go toe-to-toe with much larger enterprises and eat up the market share that was there for the taking in the Sea of the Same™ over the ensuing decade.
Brands like Method take retail packaging design seriously. If you’re serious about taking an approach that will help you stand out from the crowd, give us a call. We’re ready to show you options, styles, and materials that haven’t been seen on U.S. shelves before. The right retail packaging design will draw the eyes of discerning consumers towards your brand—and away from the competition.