Why packaging is your greatest salesman

Since its invention, packaging has been ubiquitous. In 2020, 131 billion packages were shipped. The number increased by 200% in the past six years, and will likely double again by 2026[1] . It is no exaggeration to say that packaging is the backbone of the modern world. So, with everyone joining the metaverse[2] , one would assume the trend was changing and packaging was in decline. And yet, the industry has never been in better shape than today.

The so-called silent salesman[3] has taken the center stage of internet culture. The amount of time people have spent watching unboxing videos just on their phones is the equivalent of watching the holiday classic "Love Actually" more than 20 million times[4] . Increasingly, packaging is proving to be not just a convenient tool to store, preserve and deliver goods, but a storytelling device through and through, invaluable for brands nowadays.

Its effectiveness has been clear since the 1930s, when marketing psychologist Louis Cheskin proved the existence of what we now call sensation transference[5] . And numerous further studies confirmed the thesis: people tend to transfer - hence the name - positive attributes of the package to the product itself. To use Steve Jobs’ own words, "packaging can be theater, it can create a story."

What stories is packaging going to tell in the upcoming future? That's a hard one, yet McKinsey gives some insight. "Packaging touches almost every person on the planet,” says David Feber, partner at McKinsey. “It affects things that human beings need to survive: food, healthcare, personal care. All of that is packaged. Today, none of that has a lot of intelligence."[6]   Right now, the story told by packaging takes place in the mind of the consumer. What if it could burst into the real world?

"You go to the supermarket,” continues Nick Santhanam, partner at McKinsey. “You decide to buy a bottle of alcohol. You buy it, and you say, «I don’t know what to do.» Instead, think about whether the packaging on it is able to tell you one thing: how to make a cocktail. Two, when you scan it, it tells you, «You can make a cocktail, which suits you this way, because I know this is the type of cocktail you like and make. Here are the two other ingredients you need to buy.» And you’re going to have it. So, it’s becoming a personalized assistant to you."[7]

But packaging plays a special part in the food and beverage market. Thanks to its unique benefits in terms of protection of nutritional and organoleptic qualities of food and beverage, packaging is critical for a functioning global distribution network. At the same time, it must innovate to tackle the important challenges of digitalization and sustainability. Smart and eco-friendly packages are the future so long as they can maintain their vital role in product conservation.    

The four keys to great packaging design

Truth be told, packaging is not the only factor influencing consumer behavior. But it is certainly among the main ones. 72% of American consumers say their purchasing decision is influenced by the packaging design[8] . 35% of consumers report viewing unboxing videos[9] , which typically include plenty of comments on packaging. Even more surprising, 55% of those who watch unboxing videos claim the video convinced them to buy the product[10] .

So, what makes good packaging effective? It comes to four elements:

  • Color: Color is crucial for two reasons. Number one: brand identity. Consumers tend to associate certain brands to a specific color. Also, specific colors convey specific feelings.

    Graphic designers have a name for this: color theory - a set of rules that are essential to speak the language of emotions with the consumer. And it's effective. Recent studies show that the buying preference of a customer is relatively more dependent on the color scheme than on time constraint[11].
  • Imagery: Every day we are exposed to an exorbitant amount of images. Only those that truly leave their mark make a lasting impression. Because of this, imagery is paramount in branding. People perceive brands through imagery, which is a critical factor to consider when crafting the packaging solution.
  • Design: in his experiments, Louis Cheskin placed the same two products in two different packages, one circular, one triangular, asking the customers which they thought was the best one. Unsurprisingly, 80% of the participants favored the circular one[12]. Once again, this is proof that design truly makes the difference, both in supermarket and digital shelves.
  • Ergonomics: design is not synonymous with fanciness. Design is functionality. When people say that something is well designed, what they really mean is that it is easy to use. Convenience is a byproduct of user-friendliness. Or, put it another way, ergonomics.

When working together, these elements create a story in the mind of the buyer. A story that not only boosts sales, but also strengthens the brand and increases customer satisfaction. Color, imagery, design, ergonomics - these are not boxes to tick when making the package. These are plot devices.

Why IPI packaging is what you are looking for

A long-time leader in packaging, IPI is a household name in the aseptic industry thanks to its top-quality, sustainable, cost-effective solutions that create value for millions of consumers worldwide in an environmentally responsible way. Not for nothing, IPI is an expert in a data-driven methodology called LCA - short for Life Cycle Assessment - that measures its environmental impact over the entire life cycle, taking into accounts a tangle of interconnected factors and evaluating tradeoffs and correlation from a scientific point of view. Today, such data is a necessity for any reliable sustainability claim and, most importantly, it's a great opportunity to engage consumers and start a conversation with them around the brand’s values and vision.

In relation to the four keys to packaging design, IPI is one of the best in the whole market.  When it comes to storytelling, in fact, IPI carton bricks come with a large printable surface, allowing for more information to be written and colorful brand imagery to flourish, also thanks to IPI's great artwork support service and quality printing. IPI knows the importance of being noticed - and it shows, in terms of graphic design, colors, brand name, brand recognition and brand enhancement.

The large surface is especially important if we take into account the ever-growing importance of product labels in today's market. Green-conscious consumers are no longer content with vague claims of sustainability: they demand traceability and full transparency in the supply chain. Even more: they want to know where each ingredient was sourced from and how. Sustainability starts from the label. According to new findings by Cargill[13], more than half (55%) of global consumers are more likely to buy a packaged item labeled as green. Among the 550 US survey participants, 37% admitted that sustainability claims influence what they buy, marking a six-point increase from 2019. In light of this, a larger printable area offers a golden opportunity to showcase how eco-friendly your product is.

IPI provides a wealth of design and brick-shaped options, ranging from classic aseptic-carton packages - great examples are Square, Standard and Slim - to more innovative, curvy and uniquely-shaped solutions, designed to quickly catch the eye in the most crowded shelf, such as  SuperSlim and Caliz - the latter recently selected by Vermuyten. Thanks to this wide variety, the company can help your brand meet any kind of production need, even under rigid time constraints.

Last but not least, IPI carton bricks are crafted to optimize convenience. Thanks to their peculiar ergonomics, they are user-friendly and comfortable to carry around, making them ideal for on-the-go consumption and those who are seeking a more active, easy-going lifestyle - a trend that is coming back in full force as the world reopens. And all this without compromise. Indeed, IPI packaging is perfect for household use thanks to its high convenience in terms of transportation, product conservation and storage.

Ultimately, great packaging is storytelling, and we are masters at it. Let us tell your story to the world. Contact us.

[1] Source:Statista
[2] The term metaverse is commonly used to describe a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence. More information is available on The Verge and Motley Fool
[3] Source:Packaging Europe
[4] Source:Google
[5] Source:PhD Essay
[6] Source:McKinsey
[7] Source:McKinsey
[8] Source:Ipsos
[9] Source:Dotcom Distribution
[10] Source:Dotcom Distribution
[11] Source:Nanjing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics
[12] Source:PhD Essay
[13] Source:Food Dive
See all news See all news