Judge a Book by Its Cover: Why Packaging Matters in Today’s Experience-Driven Market
We shop with our eyes first. Looks matter. Packaging matters.
Packaging is any product’s first impression on the customer. Contrary to the saying don’t judge a book by its cover, consumers definitely judge based on packaging. Marketers have long known this; it’s one of the classic 4 Ps of marketing. Now, where does packaging fit in today’s digital-first, experience-driven economy? Who has access to high-end packaging? The answer is: we all do. Packaging is an integral part of the new marketing ecosystem. And with the always improving digital press and printing capabilities of a modern print shop, the affordability and accessibility of great packaging increases. These advancements have contributed to the changes we are currently seeing in today’s marketplace.
Market trends have drastically shifted in the last 10 years, changing the landscape and relationships among marketers, professional printers, and consumers. Social media, the popularity of e-commerce, and the rise of “craft” and “artisanal” consumer startups have all impacted the world of packaging and solidified its importance in the buying process.
The quality of packaging communicates the perceived allure or quality of a product itself. Packaging can be a fun and creative way to make a first impression and trigger a response when used effectively. Studies show that up to “70% of all purchasing decisions are made in-store”(Mohebbi, 2014) regardless of whether the buyer had the intention of buying or not. Marketers and major corporations have relied on this for generations! Now smaller businesses can leverage it too. Large manufacturers no longer have a monopoly on customer ‘reach’ or the ability to produce compelling packaging.
With the rise of social media and e-commerce, everyone has the opportunity to sell regionally and globally. Social media can play a strong role in how packaging can affect buying decisions. A simple thing such as an unboxing video can go viral (they often do) and drive sales to a consumer product. Packaging itself is at the forefront of this trend. With so much consumer business happening online, product packaging has become perhaps the only physical contact point a brand has with consumers. This contact point can increase the value and brand equity of great packaging.
How can small businesses afford to create alluring packaging? Historically, high-end packaging has always come at high-end prices, especially in small quantities. In the past, companies would have to print huge volumes to achieve any economy of scale and lower their cost-per-unit. Small businesses do not have production capabilities, space, nor up-front capital for huge volumes. Today’s digital printing technology has democratized great packaging.
Digital print is levelling the competitive playing field. Small businesses can produce high-quality labels and packaging at increasingly affordable rates and lower production volumes. Professional digital print allows any company to print-on-demand and is suitable for small-runs and e-commerce packaging. Not only does digital print offer a competitive price point, but it also eliminates the need for product overstock. This flexibility allows companies to keep their packaging relevant and up-to-date. In-house graphic designers and marketing agencies have more control over the creative process and can test creative ideas or prototypes cost-effectively. The digitization of digital print allows for greater personalized printing, using variable data printing.
Variable data printing affords small businesses the opportunity to personalize all their packaging/marketing material through automation. This in turn can help marketers and manufacturers deliver personalized customer experiences. Imagine being able to personalize any product packaging with the customer’s name… now that is definitely Instagram worthy!
If you’re a marketer, a designer, or a professional printer, you know the power of today’s ever-improving digital printing and labelling technology. These high-quality machines have empowered you to produce affordable, sustainable, high-quality packing. And you know the impact it can have on your business! Want to know more? Click here to learn about our amazing digital print offerings.
Reference – Mohebbi, Behzad. (2014). The art of packaging: An investigation into the role of color in packaging, marketing, and branding. International Journal of Organizational Leadership. 3. 92-102. 10.33844/ijol.2014.60248.