Thinking Inside and Outside the Box
OnLine ordering has quickly evolved the product packaging and shipping industry while altering customer experiences and expectations. Likewise, the direct selling industry has shifted to an online ordering experience, delivering orders directly to a customer’s door. Product and shipping packaging have become integral cogs in the overall marketing strategy to surprise and delight customers and increase retention. Recent worldwide supply chain issues have caused companies to rethink packaging budgets and strategies and to evaluate emerging trends.
“With millions of packages delivered every day, making packaging an experience is more important than ever. As packaging designers, we have to bring the excitement and adventure of shopping to your door—when you, the customer, open that nondescript box you have one foot in the door of a brand,” says Justin Hamra, Art Director at 99designs.
Here are seven key packaging trends and innovations on the rise that direct selling companies should consider.
1 / Digital Printing
Digital printing is nothing new, but switching from analog to digital printing can be a big overhaul for packaging companies. And some may not yet be fully integrated with digital. Still, this is a trend that can’t be ignored—according to PackagingStrategies.com, the global digital printing packaging market will reach $28 billion by 2024.
Digital printing offers more flexibility, speed and customization. Since digital printing can print all colors in one pass, this has revolutionized print-on-demand, reducing time for color matching and allowing for lower print quantities when necessary. Advancing technologies has greatly reduced the need for stick-on packaging labels, saving companies money and time for redesign.
2 / Personalized Packaging
Adding another layer to the positive customer experience, customizing product and shipping packages promotes the brand and makes the customer feel special. Trends include packages with unique messaging, QR codes to verify the contents, customer names and more. Personalized packaging lends itself to innovative marketing approaches like scavenger hunts that reward customers who find rare packages or labels. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign included names on bottle labels and encouraged people to give a Coke to someone with the featured name.
3 / Fun Designs and Gradients
According to data research company Ipsos, 72 percent of American consumers say their purchasing decision is influenced by the packaging design. Minimalistic designs have been a rising trend. Using colorized gradients against a light background is both subtle and striking. Gradients add complexity without the “busy-ness.” Color mists are another popular example of gradient use.
“Many companies recognize how well strong colors, designs and dramatic effects stand out. They also see how well this trend results in increased sales volume,” an article from York Saw and Knife Company mentioned. “Strong colors like neon green and bright yellow quickly attract a person’s attention. So do effects like shining metallic sheens and reflective surfaces.”
4 / Flexible Packaging
The days of choosing between three or four rigid cardboard box sizes are long gone. Technological advancements allow for flexible packaging material, helping reduce storage space and saving shipping costs. These include wraps, bags, pouches and envelopes. Smithers Pira predicts the flexible packaging industry will reach $269 billion in 2024.
Flexible packaging materials made of polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate or polypropylene break down easier and deteriorate faster than traditional shipping packages and packing material. Other advantages include easier storage, resealing, less material, lighter weight, eCommerce friendly and the ability to ship individual products.
5 / Minimalist Package Designs
In an era of information overload, people appreciate simplicity. Too much information on packaging can get ignored, while a minimalist approach can make a bigger impact. Packaging that tells the customer what’s in it for them is key. Focus on results and how you want the customer to feel about your product and brand. Think of ways customers can use the packaging after opening, like including a coupon code on their next order or including pro tips for using the product.
6 / Recyclable and Sustainable Packaging
Online ordering has put recycled packaging top of mind for people who experience deliveries almost daily. Many people avoid purchasing items not packaged in recycled materials. More than 1,000 companies and organizations (including Walmart and PepsiCo) are part of the New Plastics Economy global commitment that aims to increase recycled packaging by 25 percent by 2025. Sustainable packaging made from paper or hemp has greatly increased in popularity. Adding messages on packages indicating a commitment to sustainability is a great way to communicate the mission to customers.
7 / Unboxing Videos
Unboxing videos have never been more popular on social media. According to Google, 90 percent of people say they discover new brands or products on YouTube. Everything from initial experience to longform product reviews are seen as trustworthy and authentic. Some companies are practically begging influencers to review their products. The design, feel and quality of product packaging are some of the first aspects of a product that are closely examined and considered in the overall experience. The rise of virtual reality technologies could make this trend even more relevant.
From the September 2022 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.