In 2010, Gap launched a redesign of its logo that failed so spectacularly with customers that the brand reverted to its old look within six days. Gap has stuck with the original ever since. All told, the misstep was speculated to have cost the company $100 million—a substantial sum even for a large corporation.

Package redesign is no different. When it comes to CPG products, there’s no shortage of flops and missteps from brands hoping to make a splash. These are expensive, humbling lessons to learn.

The good news? They’re also avoidable. Leveraging mixed reality (MR) technology designed for retail applications can help you sidestep a similar catastrophe the next time you’re considering a redesign. Here are three specific strategies that will help make sure your new packaging concepts hit the mark every time.

1. simulate and test the new design in a store environment

Gap’s logo debacle illustrates an important lesson to keep in mind: Even an update that looks great on paper may not perform well with customers. The problem can be because consumers have emotional ties to existing designs or because the design simply doesn’t stand out as well among its competitors.

MR technology provides insight on how a new design might perform in the wild. Brands and retailers can:

  • Create or upload a digital version of the product in its new packaging design.
  • Set up a simulated store environment that includes the new packaging on the shelf next to real-world competitors.
  • Test with real shoppers through virtual shopping exercises within the context of the store. 

Observing how actual shoppers interact in near-real conditions gives you a wealth of data about how likely they’ll be to reach for the newly designed package in the real world. It also provides actionable insights so you can make decisions that will boost your bottom line.

2. consider the larger context of the design: shelf placement + signs

Of course, packaging is only one factor that impacts shopper behavior. When leaders at Kellogg invested in virtual reality solutions in hopes of improving their products’ in-store performance, they found that adjusting shelf arrangement and in-store signage had a noticeable impact on shopper behavior.

One of the great features of mixed reality retail software solutions is that they let you test many variables with little effort and cost when compared with rearranging an actual physical store and bringing in test shoppers. If and when you identify concepts that positively impact shopper behavior, you can work with retail partners to adjust real-world layouts for a win-win situation.

3. tweak and retest before launch

One reason many brand redesigns fail is that the brand changes nearly every element of its packaging in one fell swoop. That’s a risky maneuver, especially if a brand has been performing well and has a loyal customer base.

With MR retail applications you can avoid paying big money for a flop by digitally evaluating shopper response, getting feedback from leadership, making tweaks and then retesting before you actually print new packaging.

Because you’re doing it all digitally, the process is faster and less expensive than it would be otherwise, meaning you can get real data on your new packaging before it’s too late. This iterative process lets you go to market confident that your new design will perform better than what it’s replacing.

mixed reality lets you decide with data, instead of chasing trends

In any industry it can be tempting to follow trends to avoid being left behind or viewed by customers as old-fashioned and out of touch. But trends offer at best a broad, top-level view, and they don’t apply to all demographics in all retail settings.

Virtual simulations let you make decisions based on real data gathered from actual shoppers interacting with digital versions
of your product. Leveraging this data can mean the difference between investing in an expensive flop and spending wisely and confidently to improve shopper engagement and increase revenue.