How to package up a purchase

With research being completed almost daily on buyer behaviour, one standout fact is most people don’t list brands on their shopping list.  More and more, shoppers buy categories, not brands, raising the need for any brand to influence the shopper’s decision at shelf, writes Tim Rozea from shopper marketing agency Channel 5.

In the cut throat world of FMCG the way we think about packaging needs to evolve.

Traditional approaches to packaging are very much consumer-led – informed by how they interact with and consume the product. But are we missing a trick here?

In a world where we’re all talking about fragmentation of media, consumers being harder to reach and messages just not cutting through anymore, the supermarket shelf is without a doubt the single biggest reach communication medium for your product.

So what are you doing about it?

As consumer goods marketers, the ultimate question we try to answer is how do we get someone to buy our product? And if we’re getting a little more focused – why would they buy it over another product?

So here’s shopper marketing 101: get the packaging working properly. You own packaging, that’s your real estate, your space to say what you want, how you want. Too often, the shopper is the last person you think of when designing your perfect packaging. The futility of finessing that last five words of back-label copy when the rest of your packaging blends into the rest of the category is one of the most frustrating things to witness.

Here’s a packaging tip: if you want people to first find, then choose your product over the one sitting next to it – start with the shopper and the shelf. It’s as insight lead as any other part of the marketing process – but that insight comes from the shopper.

Remember the number of purchase decisions shoppers needs to make in a single trip. If your product is hindering – not helping –  that process, then watch out. Can a shopper clearly find your product? Does your range have a shopper-led decision hierarchy? Is it in any way distinctive on shelf versus its competitors? Does it clearly communicate its reason to buy?

Smith’s Chips took the initiative and shifted their variety packs from bags to boxes, a classic example which resulted in a more space-efficient offering that was easier to find, easier to shop, and easier to store at home. They sold so well that Smith’s initially couldn’t keep up with the high levels of demand. This is a classic example of a simple packaging idea creating a new reason to buy.

Suppliers in the flour and rice categories have used a similar approach to sell more products, placing their products into plastic tubs, making the product both easier to shop and store. Shoppers happily paid a premium in what was a heavily commoditised category.

We might all laugh at the stripped back world of private label products – but where a product almost by definition receives no other support – the packaging does all the heavy lifting. There are many categories where premium, well supported, name brand products have been caught with their pants down by some private label product trumping them through shopper insight-led packaging.

So get in the shoes of the shopper. Browse the shelves. Think about who’s doing it well. And how well you’re doing it.  Above all – remind yourself that what’s on your packaging ultimately has one primary purpose – to ensure a shopper picks it up.


Send this to a friend