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  • John Green

How Packaging Increases Sales by Influencing Consumers

Updated: Jan 7

One of the quickest ways to increase sales is by changing consumer’s perception of your products. It’s a competitive market out there. If your product is not a recognized brand, how do consumers differentiate between your product and other similar products? If consumers don't know your product it generally boils down to price, and that’s not a good situation to be in. However, if you change consumer’s perceptions of your product, either through better packaging or product positioning, or both, your sales and profits will increase.

Using a multi-faceted strategy that works simultaneously on packaging and product positioning works best, but each on their own will improve your sales. You’ll also be expanding your brand in the process which is critical to long term success. It’s not difficult, and it doesn’t have to cost much, but it does require rethinking how you market your products.

Here are 5 takeaways about how packaging and positioning influences consumers:

1. Attracts Attention

  • Product packaging that attracts is a powerful sales tool and differentiates you from the competition.

2. Creating a Premium Brand

  • Puts you in a better position to compete by elevating your product and brand.

3. Creates Strong Branding

  • Creating premium products that resonate with consumers sell product and build brands. As consumers become more aware of your brand, they actively seek your product out.

4. Increases Perceived Value

  • Packaging can subtly imply qualities about your product; luxury; high-quality; elegance, fun, etc. Customers attach these qualities to your product producing all kinds of benefits.

5. Results in Higher Sales and Increased Profits

  • Influencing consumers through packaging can change their perceptions of your product. This results in higher brand recognition, more sales, and increased profits.

These are a few of the highlights of better packaging and product positioning. So, keep reading to find out how to start increasing your sales.

It Might Be Time to Rebrand Your Products

Do you view your products as a premium brand? You should be, and your approach should be to market and price them as such. Premium can mean a lot of things. You don’t necessarily need to be the highest-quality product in your class, in this context we’re just talking about the next level up from your current perch. In this new position you’re now pitching to a more affluent clientele not afraid to spend for a higher quality product. Of course, in this new stratus you’ll need to explain what makes your product superior and worth considering.

While better messaging on your product packaging pointing out superior benefits certainly helps, underscoring it with packaging that implies the qualities and attributes you’re sending to your target audience can be a powerful combination in driving sales. Consumers for years have been conditioned to equate premium products with higher price points, and this is something you can take advantage of, especially if your packaging underscores the message you’re trying to send. This adds value to your product without really changing the product, instead you are influencing consumer perceptions of your product. And in the process, you are building a strong brand.

So let your packaging implicitly do the work for you, which is what the next section is all about.

Creating Value Added Packaging that Attracts Customers

Value added packaging is all about creating product value through your packaging. A very persuasive, low-cost marketing tactic designed to increase sales, it’s a bit of sleight of hand. Package designers have a lot of options at their disposal to create truly stunning packaging, and they use it to good effect. Not only do they create packaging that is aesthetically pleasing, but they also appeal to our preconceived notions about what constitutes quality, luxury, beauty, and other attributes that tug at our emotions by cleverly implying these qualities through their packaging.

How Product Packaging Affects Buying Decisions

You want to create packaging that hints at luxury? Add a soft touch UV to your box – it has a soft, velvety feel that oozes luxury as you pick it up. Want to add a touch of class? Consider a simple embossed image. It adds dimension, and it just looks high-end! How about a metallic or holographic foil? There’s nothing like it, and it certainly attracts attention. And used sparingly it adds a special elegance to packaging. In fact, as you layer different effects on your packaging, you’re sending implicit quality cues to your audience about your product. And it works! Consumers subconsciously transfer these qualities to your product. It is a subtle and effective way of increasing the value of your product.

Here are a few examples of how packaging persuades by implying product qualities:

Apple’s Product Packaging Strategy

We get more requests for “Apple style product packaging” than we do anything else. Apple uses simple white product boxes with minimal text and subtle embossing and complements the design with a lightly textured matte finish that transforms the look and feel of a plain paper box into something more refined and elegant. There are no gaudy colors to distract; just a simple, austere beauty that stands out. And if you notice, this is exactly how consumers view Apple’s products – simple to use; elegant in design; high-quality; luxurious and sexy; in short, all attributes that result in a product that is highly-desired. In Apple’s case, since Apple is already a well-known and loved brand, the qualities implied by their packaging simply underscore what consumer’s already feel about the Apple brand.

The Cosmetic Industry’s Dirty Little Secret

Cosmetics companies have taken the value-added packaging concept to the extreme. Cosmetic product boxes are adorned with special printing inks, metallic foils, exotic film laminates, soft touches and UV finishes – anything to grab our attention and engage us and create emotional connections. Implicit in their designs are subtle cues about quality, luxury, exclusivity, and other attributes that appeal to their audience. The secret is their product packaging typically costs much more than the product itself. Yes, the packaging is expensive; however, the resulting increase in sales and profits more than pays for the higher packaging costs.

Does Packaging Make a Difference?

Imagine Apple running a test for its latest iphone to see if packaging makes a difference in sales. Two identical phones are priced the same, and they are placed side by side in a retail setting. However, one phone is packaged in the traditional Apple product box, and the other in a plastic bag with Apple’s logo printed on a folded header card and stapled to the top of the bag.

While I don’t believe this test was ever run, it shows how we’re influenced by the product’s packaging. Both phones and price points are identical, however there’s a cheapness quality to the iphone packaged in the bag. It’s not logical, but the product’s packaging has changed our perception of the product. I believe Apple would find the boxed phone outselling the bagged version by at least 3-1. It would take a relatively good discount on the bagged version – a lot more than the cost of the product box - for consumers to overcome their negative view of the bagged phone.

A Couple of Other Considerations to Think About:

Printed Product Boxes – The Canvas of Choice for Quality Product Packaging

While there are many packaging options to select from, no other product packaging medium gives you the ability to enhance and complement your designs like custom printed boxes do. From specialty inks to metallic and holographic foils, embossing, soft touches, film laminates and UV finishing coats, printed boxes give you a larger palette of decorating options to choose from than any other packaging solution.

Paper product boxes also give designers large canvases to work with, and with lots of decoration options to choose from they can shape just the right message that resonates with their audience. Custom printed paper boxes are also a very eco-friendly, sustainable packaging solution. With all these benefits it’s no surprise that custom printed boxes and sleeves are the medium of choice when it comes to printing high-end product packaging.

One final note on using custom printed boxes for your product packaging. While there are a lot of packaging enhancements you can add to dress up your box packaging, simply adding a matte UV or soft touch coating is all you need. This low-cost solution will dramatically change the look and feel of your product boxes while differentiating your product from the competition, and is the fastest and easiest way to increase sales.

Getting Products into Retail

You’re looking to get your product into stores. With limited shelf space, retailers will only take on so many products in a given category. Retailers will be evaluating whether your product has the potential to bring in higher sales and profits than what they currently have. This is where branding comes in. If both your brand and product sales are increasing year over year, and it should – it shows the retailer the type of growth they’re looking for. Another consideration is brand recognition among their customers. Retailers know familiar brands sell better – and they’re looking out for that. Find out more about retail marketing here.

Retailers also want to know how your packaging will attract customers and increase sales. While the standards for getting your product into Target or Walmart may differ from that of Sephora, they will all want to see how persuasive your packaging is and how it will help generate sales.

Now the Payoff

Better positioning and packaging not only increase sales and profits, but it also creates something just as valuable, if not more so – product branding. Branding is how consumers perceive you, and it differentiates your company from your competitors. A brand can represent many different things. You may be known as a sports brand that manufactures cool and hip products, but your brand can also represent quality and luxury. As you create a stronger, higher-quality brand, you also become a recognized brand that consumers look for.

Brand awareness is a big advantage if you’re competing in retail against similar unbranded products as consumers tend to select the brand they’re familiar with. Another advantage of being a recognized brand is being able to charge more for your product. If consumers recognize your brand, or better yet seek it out, they generally won’t give it a second thought if it’s priced higher than the competition.

Creating a strong brand doesn’t stop at retail; product packaging is just as important in on-line sales too. A consumer’s perception of your product, and by extension your brand, is influenced by how the product is packaged regardless of where and how it was purchased. While packaging on its own doesn’t drive a brand, it does exert a subtle influence in how consumers perceive your products, and it's these perceptions that shape a company’s brand. If you'd like to find out more about how branding affects sales and consumer behavior click here.

So if you're looking for an inexpensive way to increase sales and build brand awareness, try repositioning your product as more of a premium brand, and use your product packaging to influence consumers in this direction.

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