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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Son

Is Packaging the New Retail?

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

The new reality of selling products lies in its packaging. Studies and research have shown that sales rates can either drop or increase when a brand changes its presentation, while big companies like Apple have mastered the art of packaging and “own” distinct and unique styles in the market.

Presentation in packaging has shown that it can affect sales. In 2013, MillerCoors’ sales slumped, but saw a 5% increase in 2014 after adopting a retro look for their Lite cans. Nothing changed about the actual product except the packaging, which drew more customers into the same product. In contrast, boring or unattractive packaging can make a product fail on the market. The Australian government recognized this, and had their Tobacco Plain Packaging Act go into effect in 2012. To deter smoking, the new law required cigarette packing to be plain and unattractive. Researchers found the “ugliest color in the world” to be a dark olive green (Pantone 448 C if you were wondering) and this color was applied to tobacco packaging. Ugly images of the damage that smoking does and warnings were also plastered on this packaging. The appeal of the product decreased, as did its success in the market, leading to the largest smoking decline that Australia had seen in 20 years.

Companies with a distinct and unique packaging can also create their own “brand” on the market to attract consumers. Take, for example, the jewelry company Tiffany & Co. Their iconic “Tiffany Blue” is an essential part of their brand, and all of their packaging, advertisements, and social medias boast the same color palette and style. When someone buys a Tiffany ring, they know and expect it to come in its small blue box with a white ribbon tied around it. Tiffany is just one of several successful brands that have created, maintained, and monopolized a packaging style that is unique to that company and draws customers in. Another example, as mentioned before, is Apple, with its minimalistic, stark white packaging that creates a sensory experience for the consumer. The design of an iPhone box is familiar to many, and its distinct style strengthens the branding of the Apple company.

Packaging is especially important for new products. Studies have shown that around 80% of new products fail in the market. The right presentation strategies have the potential to make or break a product’s success. One of the most important features of presentation is knowing the audience. Products geared towards a 10 year old boy has a very different look from one geared towards a woman in her mid-20s. This should be taken into account when marketing experts design a product’s packaging, and companies that properly market towards a specific audience tend to have more success in the market. Aesthetically pleasing designs can also lend to success for new products. Relatively newer brands like Spindrift and Glossier have minimalistic yet aesthetic packaging features that contributed to their success in the market. The science of packaging design is closely linked to sales rates.

This leads us to the conclusion that packaging is the new retail. Brands that want to sell their products know the importance of good packaging that draws in consumers with an aesthetically pleasing interface. Brands that recognize this succeed in the competitive world of marketing.

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