2 Seconds of your time

The most valuable trash in the buying cycle.

2 Seconds of Your Time

Packaging is the often overlooked, but hugely pivotal, industry that should be an important step in every product or retail experience design. As consumers, we might believe that packaging isn’t too relevant because we normally just tear it off and cast it aside. But is that really what happens? Didn’t the packaging get you to look more closely at the product in the first place?

In a retail environment, the typical shopper looks at a given product for an average of about two seconds before moving on. If your product doesn’t announce its features or its unique nature any better than the next product, you’ll lose your chance to win over a new customer. Those who are late in the buying cycle – shoppers who have identified their problem and are actively looking for a solution – spend even less time looking at a given package.

Aside from drawing attention, improving positioning or standing out, packaging also serves to reinforce branding and expand on messaging. 40% of shoppers are likely to remain loyal to a brand, while another 37% are exclusively loyal (1). Consistent messaging and good package design can dramatically improve sales in the long run.

Does everyone need packaging?

2 Seconds of Your Time

Packaging drives purchases more than TV ads, online reviews or recommendations from friends. 64% of consumers will sometimes buy a product off the shelf without any prior knowledge of it, with 37% of them owing that purchase to packaging (2).

Packaging is more than just a box. Tags, cards, bags, wrappers, cases and even tissue paper are considered packaging. Any materials that are included with your product are opportunities for brand messaging, loyalty building and customer experience improvement. That goes for ePackaging too. The same precepts that serve physical packaging can serve digital packaging. Products shipped direct to consumers aren’t exempt either. Consider that your customer will pick up and interact with whatever you ship them. If that was assured in a retail environment you’d be glad to put a few more cents into your per unit budget for packaging.

The right packaging can help to create a better shopping experience. Customers who feel like their experience was personalized or otherwise unique are 32% more likely to go out of their way to make repeat purchases (39% of millennials feel this way) (3).

Some manufacturers and designers see themselves as providing a lower cost commodity or consider that their budgets can be better spent on product design and materials than on packaging. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes (or check your persona info). Your customer always has options. Perhaps your competitor has a higher price point, you have a color range that they don’t provide, or you’ve added an innovation that no one else put in that product yet. Your competitors still have something you don’t. For every great idea or unique feature that you have, some other brand can probably boast something of their own. So, how do you stand out from the pack? The short answer is marketing. Packaging is the best way to ensure your brand message becomes attached to your product.

Packaging is more than just a box.

eCommerce Packaging

2 Seconds of Your Time

Online shopping trends continue to increase and consumers grow more comfortable with digital purchases every day. Shipping methods become more advanced and costs decrease. Free shipping and returns is more and more common all the time. Soon, the average consumer could expect multiple packages weekly or even daily. 66% of online consumers will switch to another retailer after a poor delivery experience (4). The need to stand out and be remembered among the infinite choices out there has never been greater.

Some brands and companies are beginning to recognize the importance of eCommerce packaging. The eCommerce giant, Amazon, ironically recognizes this need. They take advantage of loyalty building opportunities with every piece of packing, from their smile logo on every shipped box or bag to the new service announcements on the packing tape they use. Various club stores are also building this trend, creating a positive customer experience, outside of the retail environment.

Product packaging can be costly.

Can you keep up with the Joneses?

2 Seconds of Your Time

Designing packaging for your products can be costly enough. Springing for better finishes, photography or custom features can seem downright ridiculous. Keeping up with the latest innovations might be outside of your wheelhouse, but there are some companies who make it their business to do so. We’re not the only game in town, but we do have a few tricks up our sleeves! One way to combat higher packaging costs is to improve current efficiency. A packaging design expert can help you to streamline your current packaging and lower costs. Reducing the number of dielines you use with more efficient designs, decreasing production cost through color reduction, image optimizing, layout editing and finish comparisons can all save you money.

One of the best ways to ensure the value of your investment, is by using physical or digital mock-ups. Low cost physical samples of your packaging can help showcase your product for shows, events and presentations, allowing you to measure audience reactions and verify logistics or display concerns. Digital mock-ups can go a step further, allowing sales people and presenters to demonstrate a larger range of finished, store-ready products faster and easier. Digital mockups can also extend the value and appearance of your online products. Once mock-ups are well received and any isolated or anticipated issues are addressed, you can confidently move forward with production.

Captain Morgan Packaging


Aside from being tempting for obvious reasons, this product is a terrific example of well-done packaging. If they didn’t get an award for it, they will.

Recently, Captain Morgan released a beverage called the Cannon Blast, meant to be taken as shots, in a round bottle styled to look like a cannon ball (top right). Great concept. Even better, some packaging savant came up with the brilliant idea to use that same bottle to get their foot in the door of a different sector, coconut rum. Maximizing ROI on the bottle production, they just put a different label on it and voila! They went a step further and made this Loco Nut packaging special in its own right, using textured labels to emulate the feel of a coconut shell and then the kicker: the sticker is scented (coconut, of course).

Simple, brand encompassing, unique and eye-catching enough to draw attention on the shelf. Added value in the texture and scent further entices the shopper to move through the buying cycle once engaged.

Digital mock-ups ensure the value of your investment.

Beyond the Edge of What’s Known

2 Seconds of Your Time

The number of available colors and finishes has always been staggering. As different technologies become feasible and affordable in both small and large runs, the choices only grow. Customized techniques, specialty materials and environmentally conscious components further broaden the horizon. Photography and related services are sometimes hugely pivotal (like in legwear), but are historically cost prohibitive and it can be hard to coordinate a photographer, re-toucher and a package designer. Some organizations, (like Intimatology) have expertise in all those areas, as well as being able to design your packaging with your brand message and your customer in mind.

Keeping your packaging in house and sending some creative or design work directly to the printer can cause problems or delays. We’ve vetted and partnered with dozens of printers and packaging manufacturers both domestically and abroad, most of whom can offer design help but also recommend that you finalize your design with a dedicated professional for the best results.

Rich Harris
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