Nowadays we can do so much with the help of all the digital devices! Isn’t it weird to think that, only a decade ago, we were all still spending our weekends at the supermarket as part of our weekly routine, because we had no other choice?
Who would have imaged back then that we would be able to order our grocery list with just one click, or even instruct a voice-activated speaker to order something for us?
Given that many of us are now as likely to select our favorite products from a digital image on our laptop or portable device as we are from an actual shelf, design needs to adapt to the virtual world of online shopping to engage with online consumers.
This change in design requirements has forced design teams to consider how colors, logos and images work on screen across varied platforms, making sure that a single design manages to stand out on both a physical shelf and its virtual counterpart.
Meanwhile, we still need to continue to prioritize the role of the tactile in developing packaging design; not only because in-store purchases still account for such a large proportion of total product sales, but also because the consumer’s post-purchase experience of packaging influences their decisions on whether to buy again.
To create packaging design that works both online and in-store, we must consider how the two retail environments differ to understand in which way the packaging needs to attract the consumer’s attention in different contexts.
In a store environment, purchasing decisions are influenced by position in store and on shelf. Products are displayed side-by-side with their rivals on a physical shelf, enabling a direct quality comparison of the packaging’s design and materials.
In an online retail environment, on the other hand, product selection is category or search based, enabling consumers to select a specific product by brand or type. With a reduced ability for consumers to view similar products and compare them, decision making times are faster. Therefore, an online retail environment requires packaging design that encourages excellent product and brand recall. Color and graphics become more important, while clever design touches such as easy opening or re-sealable features are unlikely to influence a first time purchase.
A successful packaging strategy that cuts across both online and in-store retail channels requires a joined up approach that runs through the packaging development process from branding and concept, through design, production and print. Only then can the visual and physical requirements of a product really be addressed.
We all know that it’s almost impossible to predict the future, especially in a world like packaging, where technology moves so fast. However, what we know is that packaging will continue to play a major role in consumers’ product choice both online and in-store.