Research, Design, Test, Optimize, Repeat

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Research, Design, Test, Optimize, Repeat

PACKAGING IS THE SEO OF RETAIL - PART 3 OF 3

By Dr. R. Andrew Hurley
Contributing Editor, Packaging World

As you think about optimizing your package for retail, there are a couple things that you should think about:

1. Research→Design→Test→Redesign (Repeat)

It’s important for consumer research to be a focal point in the package design innovation process. You should engage your target market to provide real consumer data to your design teams. How else will you know if your products command attention?

2. The power of eye tracking

We use a variety of techniques for brainstorming and discovery with consumers, but we favor eye-tracking technology for evaluating package design. Eye tracking gives you the ability to observe consumers without being obtrusive in the process. When considering this technology, ensure the following: Use an unbiased resource, real consumers, and an in-context environment (an actual store with real products is better than a computer screen). Tracking consumer eye movements also gives you the advantage of comparing what consumers think they see with what they actually see. The technology is truly amazing, because it allows you to track a consumer’s eye 50 times per second in the actual retail environment and deliver comprehensive analysis in just a few days.

Embracing these methods and types of technology is not as time consuming or expensive as most companies might assume, but it does require some forethought and purposeful action. If you have questions on how to best approach the SEO process for your products or your company, we’d love to hear them.

Dr. R. Andrew Hurley is Assistant Professor of Packaging Science, Clemson University, and founder of Package InSight and The Packaging School.

Reference Links:

“Packaging is a key driver in sales at retail,” GreenerPackage.com

“Winning at the Two Moments of Truth,” Perception Research Services

“3 Fs of Retail Execution for Winning the First Moment of Truth,” Repsly

“Packaging Playing the Leading Role.” Design Force, Inc.

“Moment of Truth?” Retail Packaging magazine

“Unseen is Unsold: An Interview with Dr. Andrew Hurley,” Package Insight

 

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The First Moment of Truth

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The First Moment of Truth

PACKAGING IS THE SEO OF RETAIL - PART 2 OF 3

By Dr. R. Andrew Hurley
Contributing Editor, Packaging World

The First Moment of Truth

  • 70% of decisions are made in the store

  • 28% of shoppers with a plan still leave brand decision to the store environment

  • 10% of shoppers will switch brands in the store

  • 20% of shoppers buy impulsively in categories they had no intention purchasing in

What does this all mean? That attention is critical. Unseen is unsold, and if your packaging does not grab and hold attention, the probability of a favorable decision to select your offering approaches zero. Imagine the last time you were in a retail store looking for a new product; how did you make the decision of what to purchase?

As a brand owner, you need to understand the subconscious decision processes going on in the consumer’s mind that ultimately lead to a final decision.

The First Moment of Truth is when consumers are ready to buy and are zoomed in on your product category. How do you entice the subconscious of consumers to choose your product over competitors? The underutilized answer is packaging. Package design is essential to communication with the subconscious. Through a multitude of consumer research studies, we have found that the First Moment of Truth in retail is influenced more by packaging than many brands had before thought possible.

It’s critical for brands to fully understand the product category from a consumer standpoint to be able to optimize for the retail environment. For example, if your product sits in an unfavorable position on the shelf, don’t sweat it. Did you know that good design can impact the time to find a package? You can employ a quantitative assessment of your packaging to learn how to drive attention your way. Some product categories are established as habitual purchases where consumers rarely change brands, but other categories are affected by small details that can influence purchase behavior. Your package, encompassing your choice of labeling, material, and branding, influences the subconscious of consumers at the shelf.

Unseen is unsold

It’s obvious that unseen products are unsold, but the message can be applied at a much deeper level. We have conducted dozens of research studies on the effects of physical product disclosure, and the results overwhelmingly demonstrate that viewable products sell. Consumers purchase packages that show the product inside more frequently than the same packaging without the benefit of product display. Product visibility is critical for package optimization in the retail store. Are you more likely to buy a kitchen utensil after holding it? A suit after after trying it on for size? Think about the difference it makes when you get the chance to see desserts versus just reading the menu. As marketers, we tend to focus on market trends and on our competition more frequently than on the consumer and their need for attention and understanding.

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Packaging is the SEO of retail

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Packaging is the SEO of retail

PACKAGING IS THE SEO OF RETAIL - PART 1 OF 3

By Dr. R. Andrew Hurley
Contributing Editor, Packaging World

How do you entice the subconscious of consumers to choose your product over competitors? The underutilized answer is: packaging.

The package is often an under-appreciated piece of the product marketing puzzle, especially in retail. Have you ever thought of the retailer as a search engine for products? Whether you are on Amazon or at the local Publix, your packaging is the last line of defense to grab a consumer’s attention. Brands must place more emphasis on optimizing the package for the search engine of retail.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. The term is widely used among Internet marketers as they continuously improve and optimize their online content. But, the same principles can be applied to packaging. When you think about the package at retail, it communicates your brand and product to the consumer at the First Moment of Truth.

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Leveraging anthropomorphic aspects in packaging design

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Leveraging anthropomorphic aspects in packaging design

By Dr. R. Andrew Hurley
Contributing Editor, Packaging World

To me, packaging is a canvas, and when I look at canvases, I expect to see art—something fun, something interesting, something...disruptive.

I was in the Fresh Market the other day, and Fred Water in its plastic flask drew my eye. In the sea of bottled water choices, Fred stood out and demanded to be noticed. Fred is a real disruptor on the shelf, and the creators utilized simple aspects of design to achieve that disruption. I won’t get into typography, use of space, or the leveraging of a symbolic structure today. I want to talk about Fred—just “Fred.”

Fred is a person, a neighbor, that guy you know. Fred is an existential, anthropomorphic character.

As a society, we have been doing this type of stuff since the beginning of time—fashioning vessels that resemble people. Our brains are wired to seek out the familiar human form and engage with it. And when anthropomorphism is applied structurally, it’s awesome.

Psychology researchers have done thousands of studies showing the links between appeal and the human form. Humans find humans attractive; this is not a novel concept. Marketers and designers have latched on to this connection. Is your car smiling at you? Yes, yes, it is. Is Siri your best friend who can also do math? Apple sure hopes so. And how many times have you been tagged on social media when a friend came across your name on a soda can? We all want to share a drink with Heather.

There are clever ways to pull this off without major investment. Designing your package with a human form gives it the ultimate appeal and can serve as a huge return on investment.

People are doing some wild things to apply this concept. Even little hints of anthropomorphic forms make a difference. They’re clever, fun, and as familiar as the self.

But let’s get back to Fred. Fred embodies all of this with one simple thing: a name. Naming is the most impactful thing you do as a parent. Fred’s parents explain it this way: “The truth is, we wanted to present water for what it is. Water isn’t some exotic product from a far away land. It’s not an elixir made from diamonds that will cure all your ails. It’s water. It keeps you alive. And it should be with you all the time. Like a friend. Like a friend named Fred, for example. Fred is water and water is Fred. Nice to meet you.”

By anthropomorphizing a simple water bottle, they are engaging the consumer in a relationship from the get-go. Fred has a personality, simply because his human name makes him stand out from the rest of the spring-fed crowd. Because humans innately seek a relationship and connection with the world around us, we feel a sympathetic attachment to Fred.

Fred Water may be a superior-quality product in comparison with the other guys on the shelf, but you won’t know that until you take him home. Have him for lunch, or introduce him to the rest of the family.

The next time you’re thinking about a new packaging project, consider how you can integrate an anthropomorphic aspect.

Dr. R. Andrew Hurley is Assistant Professor of Packaging Science, Clemson University, and founder of Package InSight (www.packageinsight.com) and The Packaging School (http://packagingschool.com).

Editor’s Note: In a recent conversation I had with Dr. R. Andrew Hurley of Clemson University, I realized that as the founder of Package InSight and The Packaging School, he has a unique perspective on all things packaging design. So I asked if he would provide editorial content on the subject of design six times a year, content that we could use in this Shelf Impact! department. I’m happy to report that he heartily approved of the idea, and so what you see here is the first installment of what we plan to bring readers every other month. Welcome aboard, Andrew!

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Biometrics: When science is applied to packaging design

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Biometrics: When science is applied to packaging design

By Rick Lingle in Packaging Design

Biometric research, including eye-tracking and facial expressions, is a useful tool to lift the veil on the truth of packaging at the point of sale—and help guide effective designs.

Biometrics refers to metrics related to human characteristics. Biometric identifiers are the distinctive, measurable characteristics used to label and describe individuals.
-Wikipedia

The average new product launch costs $1 million and 22 months’ development. Yet, after two years, only 6% of those new launches remain on the shelf. Many brands still evaluate their packaging through focus groups with their target market, friends, family or employees. According to Sara Shumpert, director, The Packaging School, this approach is less effective because decision-making is "nonconscious.”

Humans simply are not aware of why they like something, and ultimately what triggered their purchase decision, she explains. Thus, biometric research such as eye-tracking and facial expressions are a useful tool to "lift the veil" on the truth of packaging at the point of sale.

It is important for brands to utilize packaging to help consumers visually interact with their products faster and longer than the competition. Ultimately, effective product packaging enables the consumer to quickly find the brand and specific product or other variant they desire to make a swift and safe decision. To design effective packaging, research must be performed to discover what will resonate with the target market.

Shumpert will be presenting on the application of biometrics in packaging and more during her presentation, Designing with Shelf Space Strategy in Mind - Packaging Trends in Industry Categories, on Tuesday, June 14, at 10:30AM at the Packaging for Food & Beverage conference during EastPack. Shumpert responds to our questions in this preview of the topic:

What remains the value of focus group studies in new product/package development?

Shumpert: For many brands, focus groups are seen as a valuable tool for acquiring direct feedback on new products and packaging from the target market. Focus groups, like most research methods, do have their downsides. “Groupthink” is a common phenomenon that can occur when a group of people make irrational decisions based off of their desire for harmony or conformity. There’s moderator bias, where a facilitator may incidentally move people to a predetermined idea. It’s also not contextual, meaning the consumer is not at the point of purchase. What someone thinks they will buy, and what they will actually buy in those seconds at the shelf are two completely different things.

What’s a brief overview of what biometrics are about?

Shumpert: Biometrics are tools—devices, sensors, hardware, etc.—that measure human activity. Like a calculator, these are tools that can be used to answer questions. Also like a calculator, they can be used incorrectly. They provide data and answers to questions on the intersection between humans and activity.

What companies can benefit from using biometrics?

Shumpert: Everyone can use biometrics, whether brand owner, packaging supplier or design agency. Anyone interested in how people interact with objects needs to be informed on biometrics. Eye-tracking technology can now be used to effectively collect quantitative data on the effectiveness of point-of-purchase marketing in a controlled environment with a set methodology.

How can companies with smaller budgets benefit from biometrics?

Shumpert: Pricing is completely based on the questions you want to answer. The more detailed the question, the less-expensive the study. Cost is related to the number of participants, the location, the number of samples tested, and what insights need to be extracted. The more refined the list, the cheaper the study. Exploring data and sifting through things is time intensive and costly.

What’s new in biometric studies?

Shumpert: It’s an emerging market, similar to rapid prototyping. Eye tracking was used prior to the 1960s. However, new technologies, such as lighter weight devices, advanced code, cloud processing and computer vision are big topics for biometric device manufacturers and users.

What one sentence piece of advice do you have for brand owners?

Shumpert: Design, test, and redesign every single time.

About

As director of The Packaging School, Sara Shumpert provides training and continuing education to professionals looking to advance their career or companies interested in developing training solutions for their employees. Over her young career, she has worked with multiple consumer good brands on marketing and package design. From packaging innovation brainstorms to digital marketing plans, Sara has seen first-hand the vital role packaging plays in the marketing mix. She may be reached at sara@packagingschool.com.

For biometric study inquiries, please contact The Packaging School’s partner company, Package Insight, via drew@packageinsight.com

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Infographic: Pregis Emotional Response to Packaging Study

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Infographic: Pregis Emotional Response to Packaging Study

 

In 2016, the Package InSight team worked with Pregis, a trusted leader in protective packaging solutions, on an emotional response study. The study deployed a facial camera apparatus which measures and codes 40+ facial muscles to determine human emotion on a 7-point scale. The study evaluated traditional protective package material types (loose-fill “peanuts”, paper, square-pattern bubble cushioning and air pillows). Self-report survey data was also collected and analyzed for correlation between the qualitative and quantitative data. 

Below is an infographic that showcases the main findings from the emotional response packaging study. 

Key Consumer Insights

  • The emotional reading (or value) for packaging peanuts indicated participants were approximately 10 times more likely to be categorized as frustrated than not frustrated.

  • Bubble cushioning and air pillow packaging create the least frustration.

  • The participants were the least irritated when disposing bubble cushioning materials.

  • Protective materials within parcel packaging should be a deliberate consideration for all brands delivered to the home. The study illustrates that packaging has an impact on consumer perception and human emotion. Bottom line, materials matter.

 

Interested in the Case Study?

Click the button below to download the Pregis Emotional Response Case Study.

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"Flowing Treasure" for Recreate Packaging 2016

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"Flowing Treasure" for Recreate Packaging 2016

“Luxury is Tactile” is the catch phrase of the Recreate Packaging 2016 design competition. For this competition, the finish paperboard manufacturer, Stora Enso, is looking for the most innovative, smart, luxurious packaging idea from around the world. With a primary focus on shape and function, the design should create an unforgettable user experience.  

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3 Beverage Packaging Trends Taking Over

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3 Beverage Packaging Trends Taking Over

Beverage companies are at an interesting point in the product life cycle. Packaging is more important than ever for beverage manufacturers to grab the attention of consumers and meet their changing demands. 

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The Demise of Müller Yogurt

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The Demise of Müller Yogurt

Theo Müller Group agreed to cut their losses and decided to exit their five-year-old joint venture with PepsiCo to take over the yoghurt business in the United States. The major cause of their demise was a lack of consumer insights and attention to package design.

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Graphics of The Americas 2016

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Graphics of The Americas 2016

We are excited to be attending this year's Graphics of The Americas show in Miami, Florida. At this show, we will be co-hosting an event and co-exhibiting with our close friends at The Packaging School. Dr. Andrew Hurley and Drew Felty will be in attendance to support and discuss the efforts of Package InSight for the packaging graphics industry.

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Essentialism: 4 Emerging Packaging Design Trends in 2016

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Essentialism: 4 Emerging Packaging Design Trends in 2016

The Dieline released 4 key emerging package design trends surround essentialism in 2016. We have analyzed the trends and it seems the consumer is overwhelmed. They are in search of solutions, products, and packaging that simplifies the complexity of buying. In this post, we examine the four main trends for creating an authentic, simplistic packaging design that will attract and delight customers.

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Yale Finds Kids are Influenced by Characters on Packaging

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Yale Finds Kids are Influenced by Characters on Packaging

In 2010, the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University released a study that found kids preferred packaging with famous characters over packaging without them. The study showed a causal relationship between the types of snacks and food that kids prefer and the licensed characters on food packaging. 

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Nielsen Debunks the Declining Center Store Myth

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Nielsen Debunks the Declining Center Store Myth

So we don't know if you have heard the rumors at the water cooler, but supposedly the center aisles of the grocery store are dying. Well, Nielsen is putting those rumors to rest with their center store analysis. They say that while the perimeter of the grocery store is seeing increases in sales, the center of the store is proving to be the key to overall growth. 

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