Do products sold online still have to compete with shelf products?

What part does packaging pay in online purchasing?

A chair is a chair, whether it is purchased online or from a retail outlet, so how important is the information we receive in assisting our decision making? Do online retailers have to try twice as hard to gain our interest, compared to the physical experience you gain in stores? In our latest blog we explore the methods employed by online retailers to ‘draw us in’ and what impact, if any, there has been on the packaging ...

How important are product aesthetics to our online purchase decision making?
ZMOT versus FMOT.

There are several schools of thought when it comes to product design and the online retail industry. Firstly, elaborate packaging is not required in the same way as retail because online purchases don’t have to compete and once a sale is made no further effort needs to be made to attract the consumer, Secondly, well executed designs and graphics will have a crucial part to play in capturing and engaging interest and thirdly, packaging design for the ecommerce market can reinforce branding and provide consistency, thus, it drives sales up rather than down.

On a shop floor we are driven by our senses and the first five seconds of your shopping experience will decide whether you engage or walk away. This is called the FMOT (First moment of truth). Online there’s the ZMOT (Zero moment of truth); we scan and click our way through copious images and statements but ultimately we must call upon other sources of visual information, such as reviews, to make an informed decision to purchase. Ecommerce must rely on visual representations to sell, therefore, can the role of packaging design really be diminished? Truthfully, I think not, in fact I would go so far as to say that the role of packaging has never been stronger.

As an online shopper, expectations are maybe higher than in store because you don’t have all the  information to hand; you can’t ask a store assistant and you can’t pop back when something goes wrong. So, how do online retailers make it easier for us to purchase? They provide us with bright clean graphics, price incentives such as voucher codes, videos, 3D photography and more detail than might be available in store. Choices can be filtered which makes it simpler to shop and with alternatives, benefits and up to date imagery (front, side, back views and zoom options) immediately accessible your selections are time efficient.  If you are hooked in those few seconds, you may delve further and read the top three reviews, looking for information about quality, delivery and how easy it was for other customers to get replacement parts or return goods. Do I expect my product to arrive looking good, so I get that same buzz of adrenalin I get when I purchase on the high street? I sure do! I want to feel good; show my product off and boast about the great deal I got. Will I do that if the product arrives damaged and in packaging that doesn’t shout ‘HERE I AM!!’....No I won’t!

With smartphone technology, you have ‘branding in your hand’ and packaging design and quality are a cost effective method of introducing or maintaining branding consistency online; that’s identical packaging, model numbers, images and costs.Consumers want to see that brand promise in every aspect of their shopping journey and packaging plays a large role in that communication, offering another way to harness the emotional connection we have with our purchases. Consistency is the name of the branding game. Big brand names have now been challenged to adapt  their traditional packaging designed for instore purchases, to the online, delivered to your doorstep market.

Will there ever be a good time for online retailers to change the packaging and design for ecommerce purchases? Well, in some instances high volume supply might influence a change, because it no longer becomes cost effective to reinforce a brand or provide identical packaging. You may be launching a new range designed specifically for the online market or like many big brands, you may want to revitalise a tired brand and bring it up to date. Whatever the reason for change, the unique advantages of the online market should really be exploited to the max to ensure that consumers want to buy your product.

How can allpack® support ecommerce businesses? We have a bespoke design service that can boost your brand giving you greater online branding and consistency. We can review your packaging processes to ensure that the packaging you use is cost effective and offers the best protection possible for your clients; this will reduce your damages and help to create a streamlined returns process for customers too. Our knowledgeable customer service team can signpost you to shelf ready stock items and with our fleet of delivery vehicles, we can guarantee we’ll never slow down your packaging line, even in peak season.

Allpack® are the team you can trust with your online business, so contact us for a free no-obligation consultation and start changing the way you view packaging today.

Source: How will ecommerce affect package design? Anne Marie Mohan Senior Editor: 28 June 2016