What is the role of packaging on digital shelves?
Understanding the role of the packaging in the era of easy, fast and profitable online shopping.
The reason why? Faster and cheaper delivery, online exclusive deals, easier returns and 24/7 availability. Even if many people still prefer the hands-on approach of shopping in a store, high street outlets are starting to suffer as more and more people chose the comfort of online shopping rather than bothering to leave the house.
The leading actor of the offline shelves is undoubtedly the pack, one of the first touchpoint with whom we get in contact with the brand. When we switch channel and we find ourselves surfing on digital shelves, what is its role? How does it change?
The colors of packs, their fonts and call to action, pounce upon us from offline shelves redirecting our attention and our choices. On the other hand, when we’re on the online shelf, the pack often loses completely its function and it becomes a search engine support, a slideshow that over and over portrays the product with little effect on the user. If offline I can touch, see and read the pack, online I just can “recognize” it (from far away).
To deeply understand how the role of packaging changes online and how does it influence customer experience and purchasing choice, we went out in the field and talked with consumers. We did this in order to understand their purchasing behaviors and then we identified opportunity areas for brands and retailers as well as actions aimed at strengthening the relationship with their consumers online.
Offline, the packaging has always been crucial in the first stages of customer journey, where it orientates the products search, and in final stages, when we use the product and we store it in the larder. Differently from grocery offline shopping on the e-commerce platforms we can’t rely any more on packaging to attract and inform the customer on our products. On the other side, the central stages of customer journey - the using and the conservation of the product - are the first and unique phases in which online customer comes in contact with the packaging.
Goal number one of all the brands today is to be visible, easily recognizable on the platform and to be chosen among all the other products. Working on a strategy based on the creation of a series of emotional visual assets, varying from pictures to videos, to better visualize and understand the product. This will help the consumer’s navigation on the platform towards your product. This is what FLAVIAR proposes, alcoholic drinks brand, that presents users with visual depictions of the flavors associated with particular alcoholic drinks.
Collaborate to improve the experience on the retailer platform, in order to make your brand more visible than the others. When purchasing, online platforms are the ones taking the lead over products and packaging. There are several brands that, with specific agreements, get higher visibility on supermarkets’ online platforms. For instance, on Auchan’s e-commerce there are brands like Mulino Bianco, Granarolo, Citterio and Mutti that stand out on the homepage. Or on Carrefour website home there is a “magazine” section where brands like Rio Mare explain how to prepare the best tuna salads.