10 Packaging Trends That Will Make Consumers Buy In 07

People are sick of conventional advertising. Let’s face it, most of today’s ads aren’t working or, at best, aren’t generating sales. So marketers need other methods of communicating the product’s worth to the consumer. The package becomes an obvious and valuable means to that end. The point is if someone doesn’t pick up your product they are never going to buy it. That’s where the packaging as an advertisement comes into play. How can you engage the consumer at the beginning of the product relationship? The package is your silent salesperson and it better have the right message delivered to the right audience — no matter what product is inside. It’s all about the package (or should be) and who buy’s it and why is it purchased.

Understanding and cultivating the consumer is an ongoing task. Consumer preferences can change on a whim. When it comes to product packaging, it’s important to understand the mindset behind consumer decisions. Each year new trends move into the foreground. Yet, while some are here to stay others move on as quickly as the came in to being. Some trends become mainstream across all industries, ethnicities, and generations. Trends have power. Use them wisely and you will reap the rewards. Here are 10 packaging trends that will impact whether the consumer will purchase your products or not.

1) The Trend – The Alpha Female.
She is the primary shopper and 80% of the time the decision maker. Companies are finally waking up to the power of the purse. She’s your primary target no matter what her age bracket. Fortunately, we have passed the “Age of Pink” where marketers believed that anything pink would sell. Now companies are looking at what women really want and not just what advertisers think they want. There is a new generation of pink packaged products, but the color is now utilized in a way that makes sense. It is not used simply because marketers consider it feminine.

What To Look For And Do:
Solve her problems. She is overworked, overstressed, time-crunched, multitasking and in a hurry. Offer her a solution. Most of all make it easy with simple instructions and virtually a no-brainer to make the purchasing decision. Fulfill these needs and you will have a packaging winner.

2) The Trend – Baby’s Got Bling.
The luxury market is on the rise. Whether its designer bottled water or pet care products, consumers are willing to pay a premium. Nothing is too off the wall in the luxury market. If it’s packaged right, it will pique the customer’s interest. Consumers are on the lookout for that one unique product that they just have to own. A good example is the recent introduction of clear vinyl handbags. This spawned off of the clear bags used to display toiletries to security at the airport. Now consumers are spending hundreds even thousand of dollars to own one. Will it last? Who knows, however, some designers are making serious bucks.

What To Look For And Do:
Trade up on existing products. Move them out of mainstay categories and into the luxury market. More luxurious packaging on commodity items will make them seem special. The middle of the road packaging market is declining. People are either buying on price or paying a premium to satisfy a need.

3. The Trend – Brand Slutting.
Forget about brand loyalty. Those days are gone. Marketers have spent big bucks trying to ensure product commitment but consumers are moving from loyalty purchases and trying new products. One thing that is driving this trend is the growth of private label packaging. PLMA President Brian Sharoff presented these findings at a recent trade show. According to the survey, 41% of shoppers say they are “frequent” buyers of store brands, up from 36% five years ago. When the product looks as good and works as well as branded products, consumers are willing to take a chance. If their needs are met, chances are they will never go back.

What To Look For And Do:
Opportunities abound in private label packaging that transcends traditional categories. Look at the growth of the tea industry. Virtually every conceivable tea is on the market today and this market is growing. Consider how you can take an existing product and create something consumers will desire to try.

4. The Trend – BOOM.
Who will be the biggest future purchasing demographic? The 50+ generation. The numbers are amazing and it’s a continued growth market too. Earn this customers TRUST and you will retain their purchasing power for 25 years. So why aren’t we getting products packaged for this market? Many of the seniors’ issues are the same as other consumers, they just need more of it: Easy to open, easy to read, easy to handle or store.

What To Look For And Do:
Don’t ignore ways to improve existing product packaging: larger type, ergonomic capabilities or even products that are easier to hold onto. I’m amazed by the lack of innovation in this category. When we brainstormed at the FlexPack Conference about senior friendly product concepts, the audience offered lots of great ideas about how to serve the market sector.

5. The Trend – Greenwash Me.
It’s all about the “green” or lack of it. This time I think it’s going to last. Consumers are being bombarded with messages about the environment. We all are media creatures and the media loves anything “green.” You may not be aware that consumers are on their third wave of environmental awareness. The last two influences died out once the reality set in that it cost the consumer more to be “green.” But retail drivers such as Wal-Mart and Tesco are holding fast to their line in the sand. The standards they established and are trying to implement will drive “green” initiatives down through the entire retail chain. Whether it’s a true mandate or a political ploy, consumers are awash in a sea of “green” information. Additionally, the packaging of products with environmentally friendly materials is being scrutinized.

What To Look For And Do:
Explore ways to “green” up your product packaging. Whether its eco-friendly, bio resins, bio plastics, recyclable, post consumer waste or whatever works for your business, explore these options in your product packaging. Be wary of trotting out a so-called environmentally friendly package just to capture a trend. Consumers will see through this ruse.

6. The Trend – Make It Mine.
Personalization or customization is hot. Consumers want products uniquely theirs. Treat them special and not just as one of the masses. Make them feel like you understand their needs. Offer them ways to expand their brand loyalty through a product with which they are already comfortable.

What To Look For And Do:
Don’t overlook ways to engage your consumer though personalization of their favorite products. Many major marketers have already jumped on this bandwagon. Personalized catsup, cereal and candy are a few examples. Ask how you can create a personal bond with this consumer through product packaging.

7. The Trend – WOM – Word of Mouth Marketing.
Do you have a satisfied consumer? How can you persuade them to pass the word on to other potential customers? The key is to create a buzz about your product that is so strong a consumer needs to tell someone about it.

What To Look For And Do:
How can you turn a customer into an evangelist for your product? Offer them something special in return for their loyalty or support. Offer them other products made by your company. Set up a rewards program. Don’t just offer a few cents off. That doesn’t work. Give something of real “value” to the customer and not necessarily money.

8. The Trend – Your Nose Knows.
Smell has been one of the least used senses incorporated into product packaging. That is changing. Companies are figuring out ways to “connect” to the consumer through the sense of smell. Look at the success of the of Verzion’s “Chocolate phone” (incorporating the scent of coca) into the product marketing. The continued growth of scent marketing is more than just an odor; it’s a way to reach consumers through a sensory relationship.

What To Look For And Do:
Integrate smell into your product package. Not just a fragrance but a smell that is integral to the marketing concept. Look for continued advances in packaging that smell like the product within.

9. The Trend – Se Habla Chinese?
I recently read a staggering statistic. China is now the world’s largest packaging market. It’s relative to disposable income and the demand for increased consumer goods as incomes increase. In the US we are already well established in marketing to the Hispanic consumer. Virtually every packaged product is bilingual, but what about markets outside the US? We are no longer the primary player. It’s important not to overlook the globalization of consumer product packaging. Your product may be delivered to a consumer halfway round the world

What To Look For And Do:
Think global. Think about customers from all countries; not just the country of manufacturer. Be sure and study the cultural ramifications too. What works for product packaging in one country might not work in another.

10. The Trend – Code Orange.
Consumers are worried. Look at the recent e-coli and salmonella product recalls. Consumers are leery of what they buy, what it’s made of, how it’s processed, and where it comes from. More importantly they are beginning to question its security through the distribution channel.