In the competitive retail space it is imperative for brands to stay on top of evolving trends and consumer behavior. Today’s shoppers demand experiences that heighten their senses. Packaging can easily satisfy their needs by establishing an emotional connection based on sight and touch. Thanks to technology, businesses have access to greater freedom and flexibility, enabling them to optimize packaging for a better customer experience. However, because trends are constantly changing, it can be difficult to pinpoint which ones to adopt. The following trends will help narrow the choices and provide useful tips on how packaging can efficiently reflect modern consumers’ behavior, values and desires.
THE NEW ECO
Sustainable packaging was once an option, but today it is a requirement. The current environmental crises have significantly changed the way businesses operate. Consumers expect companies to be accountable, so failure to recognize this may have some detrimental effects since consumers expect companies to help improve the environment. This passion for corporate social responsibility is shared across gender lines and generations. Millennials, Gen Z and Gen X are the most supportive, but their older counterparts aren’t far behind. As such, companies and brands need to communicate their efforts to minimize their carbon footprint by focusing on recycling methods and reducing packaging elements and unused box space.
Multi-use packaging is becoming highly desirable because of its ability to add value and an element of thriftiness. In the past, this type of packaging was applied to almost everything from biscuit tins to bottles and jars. Convertibility innovations are appealing to consumers, and companies are paying attention, offering attractive and sturdy second-life packaging that can be upcycled for storage or other applications. Conversion instructions can be included to allow customers to convert packaging into items such as cat houses, serving trays, soccer balls and even projectors. Creativity has no limit when it comes to developing unique ideas. With some brainstorming, anyone can craft a branded, winning solution that will dazzle.
The print industry has undergone some dramatic changes over the last few years. Rapid advances in digital technology have allowed for faster, cheaper and more flexible printing. Digital printing has eliminated the need for costly plates and lamination, which permits rapid turnaround and high-quality short runs that can be continuously updated to help reduce inventory and allow businesses to adapt strategies based on demographic needs, promotional campaigns or content revision. With the added flexibility of digital tech, companies can satisfy individual market needs while maintaining trends and monitoring economic fluctuations.
Consumer buying habits are swayed by premium design. No longer reserved for the elite, premium packaging has become a hot trend in today’s market. To communicate a sense of luxury, emotive and sensual cues can be used. Reflective surfaces, high-gloss spot coatings, metallic sheens, foil stamping, embossing, pearlized finishes and soft-touch coatings can be applied to everything from beer cartons to cereal boxes. Every component, from the way the surface feels to the manner in which the lid is opened, should convey comfort and delight. Opening a box should be likened to opening a special gift, with each element placed in a perfect and refined sense of order.
The continued success of restrained and spare design demonstrates that minimalism is timeless and endures in contemporary aesthetics. Because minimalism is devoid of pompous sentiment, it can be especially useful in packaging to help express a brand’s true authenticity. A simple design is the result of precise, contemplated choices, not a product of failed creativity. This type of strategy speaks to modern shoppers who seek clean, calm and smooth unboxing experiences that are free of clutter and frustration.
DESIGNED FOR SOCIAL SHARING
An unboxing experience that satisfies consumers’ desires for adventure will inspire social media sharing and interaction, so it is essential that companies get this right. Packaging should do more than protect a product; it should have that quintessential wow factor that renders it Instagrammable. Creating a mesmerizing, one-of-a-kind unboxing event will increase consumer engagement through word-of-mouth buzz and result in positive user-generated content. Social media is a powerful tool used by shoppers to add value to the products they purchase.
THE ESSENTIALS OF TRANSPARENCY
Modern shoppers value trust and transparency. Many of them will conduct research to make sure a brand’s philosophy aligns with theirs. To convey authenticity, businesses need to do more than disclose a product’s ingredients. The right brand message will reflect a company’s values and ethics through the revelation of information such as product sourcing, ultimately crafting an emotional connection with consumers based on shared beliefs, principles and trust.