Insights | Powerful packaging design to stand out in a saturated market

Design strategy: Don’t just think that packaging design is just for protecting your product. Powerful packaging design creates connection, exclusivity, and positions you as a market leader.

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How to stand out in a saturated market

For many, packaging design is a means to an end: the materials used to protect a product.

But for companies that care, product packaging is so much more than that.

Standout packaging design offers a crucial opportunity to connect with your customer, deliver a message, and tell your brand story. And because it takes place after purchase, it’s powerful.

It’s a clear message of connection delivered with integrity and sincerity rather than a thinly veiled attempt to close a sale.

Kristo Shivachev is our Founder, Managing Director, and resident guru on all things product development. He believes packaging design is a ‘simple, but highly effective post-purchase marketing strategy’. Read on and you will too.

Set yourself apart

It’s increased year on year, but in 2020 alone, the e-commerce market grew by 22% due to the restrictions brought about by Covid-19.

The e-commerce industry is flooded with thousands of products and retailers on a daily basis. So much so that you’ll struggle to find an entirely unique product anywhere.

Customer loyalty in e-commerce is excruciatingly challenging to achieve as there’s so much choice. The buying process is impersonal and has fewer touchpoints than a traditional in-person purchase.

Recent statistics show that consumers favour convenience over value. On average it takes a consumer five purchases from the same brand until they feel any loyalty towards them.

These are tough barriers for an e-commerce brand to overcome.

With the odds stacked against you, how can you set yourself apart from your competitors?

The differentiator becomes the customer experience

Achieving something genuinely unique is near impossible in a saturated market. The form and function of countless products are remarkably similar, so consumers look for different ways to exercise choice when there are so many brands to choose from.

Every customer will have an expectation of what their experience should look like (what they want and need from the experience). Understanding, anticipating, and exceeding those expectations as part of your product development process positions you as a market leader.

Great packaging design is all about an ‘exclusive’ experience

Exclusivity in marketing works. A little luxury, an exceptional experience, or a limited supply instantly adds value to what you’re selling. You can apply the same principles to your packaging design. You’ve only got to look at Clubhouse’s initial success to see exclusivity marketing in action. Everyone wants to feel special.

Setting the tone for your customer’s relationship with your product and, by extension, your brand

Packaging design, as your customer’s first physical interaction with your product, has the potential to make or break your relationship. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that the right product in the wrong packaging can compromise its overall success.

First impressions count. You have a maximum of 7 seconds to make a good one.

The materials you choose, your aesthetic, and your product presentation say a lot about the experience you want your customer to have.

Think Apple.

No one does product packaging quite like it. The box’s smooth exterior and minimalist design make it instantly recognisable. The lid slides off effortlessly, exposing a beautifully presented product using multiple box layers. The quick start guide fits perfectly in its allotted space, edges rounded, so it’s pristine, never crumpled. Sticky labels and fastenings always release with ease. The assembly process is clean, quick, and straightforward.

Every piece of packaging has its purpose. It’s packaging design engineering at its finest – and as an Apple customer, you’d expect no less.

When designing packaging for your products, anticipate those nuanced little details that make all the difference. Think about the aesthetic presentation, intuitive design and thoughtful added extras that build anticipation and prolong the excitement of the product reveal.

Unboxings are a performance. Triggering an emotional response in your customer while opening your product (like a child at Christmas) is essential because it makes their experience memorable.

Just make sure it’s memorable for the right reasons.

We’ve all experienced packaging design fails and unboxing unpleasantness. Maybe the product packaging arrived damaged? Sticky labels ripped instead of peeled. There were layers and layers of unnecessary plastic, or you needed scissors and brute force. Whatever the design failure, an unsatisfactory packaging experience sets your relationship off to a poor start.

A little extra effort goes a long way in keeping your customers sweet from the outset.

Thoughtful packaging design sends a message

When shopping online, a customer’s path to purchase is very detached from the retailer. Most of the time, there isn’t any direct communication between them. This lack of communication makes the experience very clinical and transactional.

Those small, in-person experiences (like chatting to a knowledgeable sales clerk or supporting a local business) that build trust, a sense of community, and customer loyalty are missing from the purchase experience, making it easier for the customer to disappear into the distance, and never seen again.

As an online retailer, one of your only opportunities to wow your customer is to convert their product packaging experience into an additional touchpoint in the sales process.

For many brands, a purchase marks the end of the journey.

For yours, it signifies the start of your future relationship.

Incorporating user experience into your packaging design demonstrates that you consciously pay attention to your customer’s needs and wants.

It confirms your status as a company that cares about your customers’ product experience.

Most importantly, it adds perceived value to your product.

Exclusivity creates desire and anticipation in potential customers, drives up demand, and gives your product status, setting you apart from your closest competitors.

Exceptional packaging design is an opportunity to connect with your customer

Today, consumers demand more and more from businesses in terms of sustainability, responsibility, and authenticity. An alignment of company and personal values significantly influence Millennials and Generation Z’s purchase decisions. Sincerity sells.

Intuitive packaging design is your opportunity to communicate your brand message and create a sense of community around your product and brand.

How you choose to do that is up to you.

Inviting customer participation in your social media marketing is one sure-fire way to set yourself apart from your competitors. Asking customers to share and review their unboxing experience on social media makes your packaging design part of the brand experience.

The stats on word of mouth marketing speak for themselves.

According to SEMRush, 90% of people are much more likely to trust a recommended brand (even from strangers). On the flip side, 26% of people will avoid a brand if their friend or family tells a negative story about their experience.

Going the extra mile on packaging design to enhance customer experience and encourage customers to shout about it increases your brand visibility, creates a community around your content, and confirms your authority as a company that cares about its product experience.

What message do you want to send?

As an ambitious e-commerce company, the final success of your product, and your business behind it, comes down to your ability to exceed customer expectations and generate loyalty.

Do this by ensuring you have the right product development partners around you from concept through to completion.

If you’re looking for a trusted, knowledgeable partner for your product development journey, who values exceptional experience above all else, get in touch today.

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