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Packaging Design | May 11, 2013

How Can Your Product Packaging Work Harder for You Online?

A very interesting blog post by an Indian packaging company points out that online retail makes far too little use of the hard-working assets that make packaging such a key influencer of shopper decisions in-store. With recent studies suggesting that packaging influences roughly three-quarters of all in-store grocery purchases, why are influential package assets rarely seen online?

In “Packaging for Online Shopping – Issues and Solutions,” Jainsons Packers states: “The online system presently does not provide adequate support to the impulse-buying techniques. The role of packaging is virtually nonexistent in this space [and] is heavily dependent on the discounts and special offers in order to generate impulse buys.”

Jainsons offers suggestions on “how a pack would work if designed only for online” – including 3D interactive product photography and the option to visualize and choose the type of packaging, for gift-giving or sustainability purposes.

Some of Jainsons’ suggestions involve a distinct extra production/creative step for retailers, with clear cost implications. But how can a retailer get the most cost-efficient benefit from offline packaging in the online setting?

Where the package itself is relatively practical – such as a small carton containing a bottle of sunscreen, the original digital dieline artwork could be displayed in a streamlined form, with the four main panels contiguous in a single image. This would require a modification from the dieline artwork, but it could easily be integrated into the premedia process and even automated to some extent.

What about where the box is more about shape, colors and style – like a hip sneaker or a stylish pair of heels – and less about a familiar brand logo and detailed product information? This could be shot from a single, appealing angle when the product itself is photographed – clearly a cost element but potentially usable across many SKUs within the line.

Those are the practical considerations, but the shopper marketing impact is too intriguing not to consider. Packaging represents a tremendous effort on the part of a brand; it embodies all of the brand/product key attributes; shoppers depend on it and enjoy it; and once the file is prepared for printing, it’s nearly ready to be deployed online.

Wouldn’t it help your bottom line to leverage your packaging more fully this way?