The shop of the future. What does it look like? Who visits it? How do they visit it? And most importantly: how do we persuade people to buy in it?
We have so many unanswered questions but we know one thing: the packaging used to present and protect the goods will be part of the decision to buy – whether online or offline.
It’s crystal ball time. What are the trends that we should be looking at, and what do they mean to you?
1. Draw consumers in
Where do shoppers go when they visit stores? Retailers have been uncovering some interesting facts. It has been shown, for example, in our recent Shopper Trends Unpacked report that 47% of millennials prefer to stay around the perimeter of a store.
What can retailers and brand marketers do to draw them back in? Packaging and POS displays have a key role to play, especially since millennials and younger generations often use smartphones as part of the shopping process. 1 in 3 people use mobile apps while shopping in-store.
So if you’re competing with Twitter and Instagram, you know your brand really has to pop. This is where a perfect creative packaging design brief can make all the difference.
2. Show off your brand online
Consumers’ decisions have always been influenced by other people. Social media has obviously multiplied this effect, so e-commerce companies are increasingly looking at the “unboxing video” as a powerful tool to influence consumers.
Unboxing #fail videos are everywhere and will deter prospective buyers; a common reason for a negative unboxing experience is ‘over-packaging’, as shown here.
Conversely, positive online reviews also influence the decision making of others. If you can create a bit of unboxing #hype, you can be sure it will end up on YouTube. Implement enough “Wow factor” and packaging technologies and your product will be seen by millions: at the time of writing, 935 unboxing videos are posted on YouTube every hour.
Therefore, investing in better and more exciting packaging is also buying you free online advertising.
3. Make consumers feel your packaging
The concept of omni-channel is gradually superseding the binary online/offline world of a few years ago. The lines are blurring and this has prompted retailers to try different approaches such as the “experience store”.
Because the purchasing process can be done very efficiently online (or via in-store self-service kiosks), the physical space can be dedicated to the physical experience.
Of course, this brings the focus back to packaging. Packaging is both an important part of the presentation and the immediate personal experience of a product. It also has to be robust enough to withstand the returns process, which is a fundamental part of omni-channel retail. The perfect balance between unboxing experience and shipping efficiency can be hard to find.
A single packaging solution that is both e-commerce-ready and retail-ready is the holy grail for many brands…
4. Offer consumers a digital extension
In the same way that technology has changed stores, it has changed shoppers. Shoppers are increasingly comfortable with scanning QR or bar codes on packaging – or even hidden tags within the design of a wine bottle label – in order to gain more information. This evolution is partly due to a new generation of smartphones that integrates QR functionalities into their native camera apps.
But this scanning process provides more than just information. Brands now use packaging to give access to:
- Personalised offers – linking the product to data on the customer (shopping preferences, gender,…)
- Authenticity – to re-assure customers that they are buying the genuine article
- Enriched experience – such as augmented reality, where brand messages can be ‘projected’ directly into the shopper’s physical view of the product.
Retailers and brand owners are using these technologies more and more – especially now that digital printing on product packs enables in-store promotions to be changed quickly, depending on demand, seasonality or topical events.
Start shaping consumer behaviour
It’s all changing – and the big question is: are you changing with it? Get a few more pointers from our recent Shopper Trends Unpacked report. Quick, before it all changes again.