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The pandemic has thrown a massive curveball at CPG brands worldwide. Consumers don’t look at product packaging the same way anymore.
Packaging is now seen as a gateway to reinforce consumers’ trust in a brand.
According to McKinsey’s reports, we can expect these major behavior trends to stick even during the post-pandemic era – price sensitivity, higher digital engagement, a rise in attention to wellness and hygiene, and a redefinition of brand purpose.
At this point, brand managers plan to tailor their approach to cater to the evolved consumer needs, win back their trust, and improve retention. That brings us to the importance of digitalized packaging, which transforms the business model into an omnichannel one.
CPG brands should leverage smart packaging technology such as QR Codes and NFC to digitalize their product packaging and transform the way consumers interact with them.
Unilever, one of the leading CPG brands in the world, promoted sustainability through the launch of their Cif ecorefill. This product allowed consumers to reuse their spray bottles with the use of an ecorefill.
A QR Code on the product demonstrated product activation along with tips on how consumers could recycle the packaging and reuse the bottle.
#2. Share your brand’s story through product packaging
Brand storytelling through product packaging is a great way to reconnect with your consumers.
Sharing your narrative of how the brand has adapted in the face of new challenges and pivoted to accommodate ever-evolving needs along with how employees and customers are being kept safe is crucial to a brand’s reputation.
A brand’s purpose and prospects don’t change during the pandemic, but rather how they tell their story is what changes.
And what better way to do that than through your product packaging?
New Zealand’s Made with Care campaign in the United States is a stellar example of brand storytelling. The campaign intended to raise awareness for New Zealand’s food and beverages industry and highlight how the country is a viable and trusted global food source. The campaign incorporated QR Codes on the packaging of their free-range grass-fed meat to direct consumers to farmers’ stories and the farm of its origin.
While the pandemic prevented consumers from physically traveling to New Zealand, this campaign let them enjoy the food and wine experience virtually.
Böen Wines, a California-based winery, used NFC tags on its bottles as part of its connected packaging program. Customers could tap the cap using their smartphones to access in-store information about the brand, along with its history and food pairings.
Besides implementing smart packaging technology such as QR Codes and NFC in your packaging, you can also modify the packaging design to reflect your brand’s story.
Story-driven packaging brings your brand’s story to life right from the get-go. With the help of fun, quirky mascots, engage with consumers on a higher level and improve brand recall 10-fold.
#3. Use product packaging to establish supply chain transparency
The World Economic Forum indicates that there’s now a whopping increase in consumer demand to understand the product’s journey; from its manufacturing to point of sale.
A lack of supply chain information cultivates long-term suspicion, and if not handled immediately, can cause major risks to businesses.
On the other hand, establishing supply chain transparency ensures the quality of the product, puts consumers’ minds at ease, and helps them make informed purchase decisions.
For instance, Princes, one of the leading UK-based food and drinks brands, introduced QR Codes on their tinned tomatoes. The QR Code drives consumers to a dedicated landing page where they can view the product’s journey at every stage of the supply chain, from the farm to the supermarket.
David Mcdiarmid, Princes’ corporate relations director, stated that this approach aimed at broadening the transparency of the company’s sourcing decisions for the benefit of the consumers.
INI Farms, India’s leading Ag-Tech fruit company, launched a program called FruitRoute, which enables traceability for all its fruits in the international and domestic markets. Beaconstac’s dynamic QR Codes on fruits under the Kimaye line allows consumers to trace the fruit back to its source of origin and track its journey from farm to table.
#4. Leverage product packaging to drive e-commerce adoption
The pandemic accelerated the adoption of e-commerce. Most customers now prefer to shop online given the convenience and safety.
To broaden their market, adopt omnichannel marketing strategies, and cater to consumers’ mobile-first needs, CPG brands should also hop on the e-commerce bandwagon and make their products available online.
Research by IRI says that e-commerce CPG spending is growing rapidly and will account for more than $60 billion of spending by 2021.
However, online shopping takes away from the in-store experience. To make up for this, brand managers and packaging designers should rethink the product packaging design.
Be it vintage packaging, fine art, color blocking, or anatomical ink drawings, switching up your packaging design adds value to the e-commerce experience and improves the brand image.
An article by OneSpace indicates that more than 50% of adults in the United States now regularly purchase CPG products online. This fuels the need for CPG brands to adopt e-commerce as part of their marketing strategy.
For example, Marina Larroudé, creative director of her brand Larroudé marketed her new line of footwear by adding QR Codes on each shoe style. Consumers passing by that notice someone wearing these shoes can scan the QR Code and purchase the same pair seamlessly.
#5. Use product packaging as a channel to collect feedback
MYcustomer states that consumers’ insights are of paramount importance now more than ever. It is crucial for CPG brands to understand their customers better and prioritize their concerns above all else.
While collecting feedback has always been a priority for CPG brands, the key differentiator is the requirement to digitize the process of collecting customer feedback. The push towards safe, contactless experiences doesn’t accommodate the physical channels of using forms or touch screens to collect feedback.
Once a user activates the product by scanning or tapping the QR Code or NFC tag, an automated workflow can be set up that nudges customers to voice their opinion after they’ve had a chance to use the product.
#6. Turn product packaging into a consumer engagement channel
Due to the behavioral shift in consumers worldwide, CPG brands are rethinking their consumer engagement models. An article by McKinsey states that the primary requirement is for businesses to deliver services and experiences with the utmost care and empathy while being mindful of consumers’ needs.
CPG product packaging can be leveraged to gamify the consumer experience. Share exclusive content, games, and quizzes to spike engagement levels among consumers. Make social media handles from platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok accessible on the product. Have consumers post reviews and tag your brand online, thus augmenting online engagement and brand visibility.
For instance, Pepsi’s ‘Gift it Forward with Pepsi’ holiday campaign printed QR Codes on specially marked Pepsi beverage packages. Upon scanning the code, consumers would be directed to a digital scratch card. If they found three Pepsi globe icons, they would win a cash prize within the range of $5-$25. Consumers could either gift it to their friends, donate it to a charity organization, or keep it for themselves.
LYFT, a Scandinavian nicotine brand, launched their Tap the Can campaign in the Swedish market. The campaign entailed embedding NFC chips on their limited edition cans to drive mobile consumer engagement. Consumers could tap the can to unlock experiences, rewards, and personalized music mixes.
#7. Utilize product packaging to establish authenticity
A report by Frontier states that the value of trade in counterfeit goods could reach a staggering $991 billion by 2022. This largely impacts CPG brands worldwide, affecting their business profits and brand reputation.
Consumers are aware of this growing issue and are looking for concrete information that proves a product’s authenticity during the pre-purchase stage of the buying process. In fact, an online study by Elementum indicates that 34% of respondents believe that it’s the brand’s responsibility to protect them from counterfeited goods.
To safeguard your brand’s reputation and revenue, brands should make essential product information available through digitalized product packaging, coupled with the relevant certifications. This proves the product’s authenticity and improves brand credibility. Not to mention that it provides a stress-free buying experience for consumers.
Ralph Lauren, a luxury retail brand, had its manufacturers sew QR Code tags into their Polo line’s garments. Shoppers could scan the tag to access authenticity information, product details, and styling tips for the same.
These QR Codes also helped the brand’s supply chain managers track and manage inventory through the supply chain, leading to improved product distribution and increased traceability.
PearlCBD, a brand that produces hemp-based CBD oil, used NFC tags on their product labels. Consumers could tap the products to verify authenticity and access batch-specific lab results and educational content.
#8. Transform product packaging into a loyal customer generator
Traditionally, loyalty programs require consumers to carry a physical card, often plastic, that they must swipe to redeem or receive points. In light of the pandemic and the detrimental effect such cards have on the environment, CPG brands should switch to digital loyalty programs.
Use your product packaging as a medium to let consumers join your loyalty program. Enable tier-based or point-based programs to promote repeated purchases. Personalize discounts and deals for specific tiers of customers. This proactively promotes your contactless loyalty program, nudges consumers to make more sales, and refer your brand to their friends and family.
Pret A Manger, a UK-based foodservice chain, launched their YourPret Barista program, a barista coffee subscription service in the UK.
QR Codes were leveraged to promote their loyalty program. Personalized digital vouchers, incentives, and rewards were shared with consumers, which developed stronger relationships, increased the frequency of sales and the customer lifetime value.
6 packaging design trends for 2021
The design aspect of your product’s packaging plays a vital role in how consumers perceive your brand, especially for first impressions.
In the midst of these unprecedented times, consumers increasingly have concerns about the products they purchase and are even more willing to switch to brands that meet their requirements better.
In order to persuade your existing consumers to stay and acquire new ones, brands need to switch things up and incorporate new designs as per the latest trends we’re witnessing so far.
#1. Let your packaging tell your product’s story
It’s no secret that consumers love a good story. Better yet, they love a story that engages them visually.
Explorer Research’s article mentions that people recall only 10%-20% of the information they read. On the other hand, on receiving information visually, the memory recall is a whopping 65%.
This goes to show that transforming your product packaging into a storytelling medium not only increases brand recall but allows consumers to connect with the product emotionally.
Storytelling via packaging with the help of visually engaging characters and illustrations grabs consumers’ attention and catches their eye. It drives them to check out your product and increases the chances of them purchasing it.
Botanical Gin, an alcohol brand, used the old story of a botanist named Fossman to inspire the design of their packaging. The logo on the bottle features an illustration of the botanist amidst plants to share the story of how he went missing during an expedition while searching for new species. The packaging design is very minimalist but serves the purpose of visually sharing the botanist’s plight to consumers.
With so many modern trends in packaging design, it’s always refreshing to revisit old roots and use vintage fonts and designs for your product packaging.
It creates a sense of nostalgia among consumers and causes them to think of simpler and easier times in the past. This packaging design trend can apply to all sorts of products, from shoes to confectionary, and so much more.
American Girl, a popular toy brand from the United States, celebrated its 35th anniversary by reintroducing its six original character dolls from their initial release. These six dolls were styled in their traditional vintage wear coupled with the historical vintage packaging from back in the day. This instilled feelings of nostalgia among long-time consumers of these dolls since they got to revisit valuable memories from 1986.
There are a variety of ways you can engage with consumers via packaging design. One such method is using tiny illustrations on the packaging to give a hint on what’s inside.
It could be something as simple as dried coconut chips with small illustrations of coconuts on the packaging. These product-specific illustrations appeal to the consumer’s eye while they’re shopping in-store or online.
It’s a simple approach that reaps vast benefits. When consumers see different miniature illustrations on the packaging based on the product inside, they get a sense of your brand’s aesthetic. This leads to a positive brand image and aids consumers in their purchase decisions.
#5. Enhance brand messaging using solid colors on packaging
A single color is all it takes to evoke an emotion in consumers. Every color is associated with a particular feeling, and brands can utilize these solid colors on their packaging to display the essence of what their product is all about.
For example, let’s say you own a brand that sells ghost pepper sauce. Due to its intense spice level, you could use a single bright tone of red to indicate the same while also capturing consumers’ attention.
Although minimalist in nature, a solid color with an attractive font on packaging works well towards building brand awareness. Not to mention that it’s a stark contrast to the packaging equipped with large illustrations and abstract shapes. So this type of design makes your packaging stand out.
#6. Display authenticity with transparent window packaging
Since the pandemic began, consumers are more wary of the products they purchase, especially food and beverages. There’s a lot of mistrust towards what the packaging contains.
To ease consumer concerns, use transparent window packaging to give a hint to consumers of the product inside. This shows how authentic your brand is and lets consumers confirm what’s inside the packaging.
Transparent window packaging lets consumers see the product as is, eliminates all doubt, and helps them make quick decisions towards buying your product.
3 beauty packaging trends for 2021
According to ReportLinker’s report, the personal care packaging market is expected to reach $31.9 billion by 2026.
Beauty packaging continues to evolve over the years. It’s an essential aspect of any beauty brand.
The pandemic has caused significant disruptions to the personal care industry and has changed consumers’ expectations. Beauty packaging now holds a brand new objective – to win consumers back and cater to their needs.
It’s up to beauty brands to adopt new measures to transform their packaging to adapt to the latest trends this year.
#1. Appeal to environmentally conscious consumers with eco-friendly packaging
With consumers more heavily focused on the environment, beauty products with recyclable packaging score extra points and promote a circular economy.
Refillable bottles or containers prove useful for consumers and help them reduce their carbon footprint. These sustainable initiatives help consumers adopt eco-friendly practices and aid your brand in attaining more repeat purchases.
Consumers’ focus is on sustainable living now more than ever, and they’re willing to pay to protect the planet. This presents brands a real opportunity to impact purchasing decisions by offering environmentally friendly options for their consumers.
Michael Mapes, CEO, Trivium Packaging
For instance, Cocokind is an organic beauty brand that launched a new secondary packaging for its products, focusing more on sustainability.
Each product’s label contains information related to the brand’s sustainability efforts called “Sustainability Facts”. The information entails tips on curbside recycling, what materials were used for the packaging’s manufacture, and what portion of the packaging is recyclable.
A QR Code on the beauty packaging links to the brand’s online store, where they can view more sustainability information.
#2. Adopt shipment-friendly packaging for online deliveries
The pandemic has plunged consumers into the world of eCommerce. Since beauty products are a valid necessity, online orders are a safe way to go for consumers.
Beauty products should have the ideal packaging suited for shipments and deliveries. Products such as perfume bottles and serums are subject to breakages without the proper packaging.
The last thing you’ll need is breaking consumers’ trust due to product damage and experiencing higher churn rates. So it’s recommended to use shipment-ready packaging that safeguards the beauty product while it travels to reach your consumers.
Once the consumer receives the product intact, they’re more likely to purchase from your brand again, hence driving the number of repeat purchases and reinforcing trust.
Nivea, a popular skincare brand, partnered with Amazon India to launch their ready-to-ship packaging called the “Nivea Care Box”. The packaging is 100% recyclable and prevents the breakage and leakage of the brand’s products while in transit. There’s no bubble wrap used in the packaging, and its minimal nature makes it 10%-15% lighter than regular eCommerce-ready packaging. This also makes the unboxing experience quicker and easier for the consumer.
The beauty industry is a thriving one, with a myriad of products for consumers to choose from. To stand out and grab consumers’ attention, eye-catching beauty packaging does the job.
Add embellishments to your beauty product’s label to enhance its design and make your brand name more prominent to the consumer.
You can add embellishments using colors such as gold, silver, bronze, or rose gold to give your beauty product a luxury look and feel. Use embossing or debossing to raise or lower the brand name or image on the packaging for a textured effect.
This design element will surely make your beauty packaging more noticeable to consumers while they’re scrolling through the aisles in a shop or the plethora of beauty products on eCommerce stores.
Make your packaging ‘smart’ to keep up with the trends
The digitalization of product packaging is what ties all of the above trends together and helps CPG brands stay relevant. Added functionality to your product packaging using technology such as QR Codes and NFC tags makes your packaging ‘smarter’. Mordor Intelligence reports that the smart packaging market growth is expected to reach $46.26 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 4.19% over the period of 2020-2025.
Through smart packaging with QR Codes and NFC tags, CPG brand managers can keep up with the above-mentioned trends and achieve higher ROI for their business. Successful incorporation of these technologies will help companies achieve product transparency and authenticity, supply chain visibility, elevated CPG consumer experience, and many more positive outcomes.
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