According to Walmart’s corporate website, Wal-Mart Discount Stores offer 120,000 items and their Wal-Mart Super Centers offer approximately 142,000 different items in-store. That creates a very competitive environment in terms of shelf-space, and attracting consumer attention.
Package design is one way to draw eyeballs to your brand, leading consumers to select your item over the countless other options. Your branding, and packaging design specifically, can either make you or break you in a retail environment. To avoid collecting dust on the shelf, here are five must-dos when creating a package design that appeals to the masses.
1. Portray Products in an Honest Manner
A brand is going to want to portray its product in the best possible light, which is completely understandable, but it’s important that you show them in an honest manner. “If you enhance images or show products in a drastically different light, all you are doing is deceiving the consumer,” says Russell Nicolet, attorney at Nicolet Law. “This leads to disappointment, poor brand image and ultimately, horrible sales.”
It’s possible to present a product in a positive way without completely misleading the consumer and outright lying. It’s something that has undoubtedly happened to all of us before — that feeling when you open a box and think to yourself that the product looks nothing like the box. Consumers are a very intelligent, and if they sense any deception in your packaging they will look for an alternative option.
2. Be Practical
A great logo, wrap, label and graphics are all great, but if the actual packaging of a product isn’t practical you aren’t going to win over consumers. The actual packaging — box or container — needs to be the right shape and size.
When a product’s packaging is functional, it will sell better due to an improved customer experience. A brilliant example of practical packaging is Apple. The way their packaging opens and how the products are laid out inside is something that really connects with the consumer.
It’s important to focus on practicality first, as this will often lead to a product that is not only more appealing to the consumer, but also one that displays better for the retailer. Leading with this thought process will eliminate other package design obstacles.
3. Have Clarity
Your packaging must clearly answer two questions, within seconds of the consumer glancing at it — what is the brand behind the product and what is the product for, and more importantly, what problem does it solve.
“While there can be a bit of mystery for some product categories, being unable to identify a product in terms of brand identity is a practice that will result in poor performance,” explains Dr. Steven Shapiro, creator of Shapiro MD, a patented hair loss shampoo and conditioner company whose products are purposely minimalistically-packaged.
Be clear about your product and brand, as it affects buying decisions. Aside from looking good, your packaging must explain what’s inside. A clever and beautiful design won’t convert unless the consumer is clear as to what’s found in the box.
4. Radiate Shelf Appeal
Your product is never going to be seen by itself and a consumer is never going to see 100% of your packaging’s detail. Not all shelves position products at optimal vantage points and there is competition surrounding you — 141,999 competitors if your product is located in a Wal-Mart Super Center.
Packaging that is distinctive will sell better, and if your packages create a noticeable pattern when stacked together, it will attract additional attention. There is no secret formula for success when it comes to shelf appeal. You will need to test several concepts and designs until you physically see how you stack up surrounded by competing products.
5. Be Authentic
Being authentic is the most effective way to secure consumers’ attention that every single brand is competing for. In any category, there are hundreds of brands all after the same consumer.
While there isn’t a how-to guide on being authentic, you can do everything within your power to ensure that you don’t have boring or generic looking packaging. Think outside the box, and if you are in a stale industry, be innovative when it comes to creativity and make a packaging change that makes your brand impossible to ignore. Layouts, images, colors, fonts, etc. — these can all be changed to make you stand out.