Consider Your Potential Audiences and Where You'll Reach Them.
A good consumer experience starts with audience awareness, and audience awareness includes the contexts in which they’ll purchase and use your product. A retail consumer will likely have different needs than an e-commerce consumer, and a private label consumer may have different priorities than a name-brand consumer. These considerations can help you start to go beyond function and into experience.
As you begin to rethink your packaging design and features, consider questions that you typically would in other marketing contexts:
- Who are my primary customers?
- What are their needs, beliefs, fears, dislikes, and motivations?
- What feeling do I want to create when a customer experiences my brand?
In other words, don’t think of packaging as separate from your product. Consider it part of your product—and an extension of your brand.
And, don’t forget that retailers are also customers who have unique needs (and constraints) when it comes to the products and packages they sell. Expanding your definition of “customer” will help you create consistent experiences with (and feelings about) your brand, regardless of who is encountering it.
Think Functional, but Elevated.
The above questions can also provide insight into functional considerations of your packaging. While the main functions of packaging include transportation, product protection, and security, you’ll also want to consider product integrity, visual appeal, package usability, and other factors. Each of these elements ultimately influences the features you’ll need to add or remove.
Consider what you want to communicate with your packaging. For example, maybe you sell premium, small batch coffees and want consumers to perceive your product as hand-crafted, specialty, and limited edition. You want to communicate quality, distinction, and care.
In this scenario, you’d want the packaging to be visually appealing. But, you’d also want to elevate the functional features, incorporating components such as degassing valves to communicate freshness, press-to-close zippers to signal shelf quality, or tactile finishes to reflect the premium quality of the product, down to its packaging.
It’s these kinds of touches that make your consumers feel seen and understood, without you having to say a word. Function—not just the visual design—is key to the consumer experience.
Add Bells and Whistles if They Make Sense.
That said, the features you add to your packaging should fit your audience and context. A coffee consumer in a hotel, for instance, isn’t going to need (or want) the same experience as a consumer buying premium whole bean coffee to grind at home. They’d likely instead be looking for convenience—easy opening, product use, and disposal. However, they might value other features, such as sustainability, in a single-use product. That means you’d have the opportunity to engage a consumer in a unique way, or even help the retailer illustrate its own values. Taking the time to understand your audience gives you the opportunity to connect with them in authentic, sincere ways that can leave a lasting impact.
Tell a Story.
Audience awareness and packaging features are implicit signals about your brand. Don’t forget to add more direct storytelling, too. Whether it’s brand messaging, QR codes that direct consumers to more information about the product, or the story behind a product, packaging offers you prime real estate for communicating with your customers. Better yet, it can invite consumers into your story, or even become a spotlight in theirs (think unboxing experiences).
Find a Packaging Partner That Understands Consumer Experience.
Because packaging is one of the main drivers of the consumer experience, it’s crucial to find a packaging supplier that knows how to create unique, positive experiences with packaging. Strategic partners can guide you through the decisions—from function to features—that will resonate with the many audiences of your product.
At Belmark, we pride ourselves on our rich history of working with brands to create memorable experiences with their products—and the packages in which they come. Talk to us today to learn more about the options available for your product and market. We can bring your packaging to life from a high quality mockup to scaling to full production, we’ll work with you to find a solution that works for your consumers and deliver it on a timeline that works for you.