Steve Jobs once said “Packaging can be theater, it can create a story”
And why not?
Packaging is the first point of contact a customer has with their order. Even before you see the product, you see the package. While an attractive packaging evokes good emotions, a poorly packaged product could lead to customer and revenue loss. That’s why it’s important for every business to design attractive packaging to store their products in.
Right from the design to the graphics to the materials used – all have a role in creating that first impression.
And first impressions do count!
Whether you are a new entrant to this field or an established business, it is important to be aware of the emerging trends in packaging in order to stay relevant and make your presence felt while being mindful of what consumers want.
Read on to understand and appreciate some of the packaging trends to look out for in 2021.
Keep the Covid19 factor in mind
The fear of the pandemic and an attempt at minimising human contact has led to an unprecedented growth in online transactions- be it for everyday items like food and groceries, clothes and furnishings to gifts and jewellery – shopping online and having the item delivered home with minimal contact has become the safest choice.
Transporting/ Shipping these from one location to the other has always required protective packaging to keep the items safe from the elements and possible breakage. Now with the virus lurking everywhere, there is the added requirement of introducing additional hygiene and anti-contamination safety measures in packaging that can help keep the product safe from the virus.
Research has shown that the transmission of virus varies across different surfaces and packaging materials. Porous packaging materials like cardboard or mycelium mushroom packaging seems to be less hospitable to the virus and is therefore a relatively safer alternative to non porous materials like plastic. Keep such factors in mind while making the choice of your packaging material.
Introducing specific measures to address such customer concerns and informing your prospective customers about the steps you have taken to keep the product safe can help allay fears.
This helps build stronger relationships with your clients and a strong identity for the business. Apart from highlighting such details at your website, you could also consider placing a reassuring copy inside the package stating the measures that you have taken to ensure hygiene and safety.
What is the Customer Looking for?
One of the fallouts of the Covid situation was that despite the environmental consciousness all around, the sustainability drive took a bit of a backseat. The immediate concerns of cost and affordability by both consumers and sellers took a precedence over their environmental concerns. However, we expect to see a resurgence in eco friendly and sustainability issues in 2021.
Environmentally friendly and socially conscious customers prefer the use of biodegradable packaging materials like bio plastics, corn foam and mushroom based packaging that can be decomposed naturally by bacteria or other organisms.
You could also consider reusable packaging, that is gaining in popularity as this can go a long way in reducing waste generated.
Apart from reducing your carbon footprint and doing a lot of good for the environment, embracing such measures is surely going to improve your brand image and help connect with a wider audience.
Every resource is precious, and wastage must be avoided. Sometimes you receive a package wrapped up and surrounded with a lot of unnecessary packing material that knocks on your sensibilities and makes you think – why?
Businesses need to keep a watch on excessive packaging as it is a waste of resources and also an unnecessary expenditure. Customers also find it totally undesirable and might even stop buying from merchants who are not mindful of this.
In fact, making it easy for customers to remove the packaging and access the product is an important part of the user experience. As a merchant, please use rightsized packaging – ie. use appropriately sized packaging. This is both cost effective and can minimize the carbon footprint while being transported across locations.
Protective and Durable
The primary objective of packaging is to protect the contents from the elements and also allow easy transportation of the product between locations without compromising its quality in any respect. This requires the packaging to be sturdy and strong enough to withstand the rigours of being shipped from one location to the other- maybe even across countries.
Keeping in mind the current situation, such protective packaging should also be able to minimise viral exposure.
It’s the packaging that catches the customer’s eye even before they see the product! Packaging design – the colour palette, the graphic design and even the typography on the packaging has to be clearly, cleverly and aesthetically designed so as to capture the shopper’s attention and stand out from others
It goes without saying that packaging must be in line with your brand identity to build recall in the consumer mind, making your brand recognisable over time.
Unboxing a customised and personalised product is a special experience for every customer. This is not new, but has gained special relevance in prevailing times and has helped people stay connected. A package designed and delivered especially for you is not hard to create and can be a great differentiator for your online store.
For example, a few personal customizations like including a note targeting the recipients’ interest, or featuring the name of the person, or an image on the box, specially gift wrapped and delivered for a small cost can go a long way in making them feel special and enhancing your customer’s brand experience.
Such personalization creates an impression and can be easily recreated for any product that you are selling at your online store without costing a fortune.
In summary, the special hygiene requirements arising from prevailing covid situation, resurgent concerns about sustainability and the popularity of personalized packaging are some the major packaging trends to keep in mind in 2021.
Looks like it’s time for the merchant to impress and win new customers with some amazing packaging now!