Packaging: The marketing advantage in an online world

by | Feb 8, 2017 | Blog

Beginning to see product packaging as the marketing advantage in an online world

In a world beginning to be dominated by online purchasing, brand marketers must begin to use their product packaging as a key marketing advantage & use it to influence consumer buying behavior.

There are a number of changing trends in shopper habits and buying behaviour. It’s no secret that the trend towards buying online and mobile phone shopping is having a massive impact on bricks and mortar retailers. With such a huge chunk of the consumer purchase decision making process having moved online…what can the brand marketer do to influence the purchase and get the consumer to buy their products? What can they do besides jumping online or to social media platforms to distinguish their brands? Brand marketers must start seeing their product packaging sitting on a retail shelf as a strategic marketing advantage.

 Are the bricks-and-mortar stores really in decline?

A new movement in grocery shopping is on the rise. Bricks-and-mortar stores are in decline, and as with many other markets in this age of information, grocery stores have also been forced to pick up a greater online presence .

Online grocery shopping is the edge of another new frontier with the promise of more ease and simplification in the busy, modern life. Interest is high according to a report collected way back in 2014, by Mi9 which stated: “over a quarter of Australians have tried grocery shopping online and another 25% would like to try it in the future.”

However, there are some key things that are still  holding the consumer back from buying their groceries on line. Whilst nearly two thirds of people want the autonomy to choose their own produce and products, believing that they get better in-store value,still about a third still have concerns about the freshness of their products when ordering online. As a result, the vast majority of consumers are still frequenting the grocery store, albeit they may be researching online either during or before their purchase. So the opportunity for brand marketers lies in grabbing the consumers attention on the retail shelf and converting them to their brand.

 Consumers are researching more of their decisions online

A study conducted by Pragma Consulting found that, “As predicted, consumers now prefer online channels for all aspects of research on the path to purchase, with 84% preferring to browse products online” Interestingly enough, the same study shows that, 53% of shoppers said they prefer being in-store to make the final decision when making a purchase, and 76% head specifically to the high street for after sales care and support.

Consumers may be researching more of their decisions online, but that has not fully actualized into a change in shopping habits in their lives. According to a Woolworth’s Trolley Trends report (2013)  “ Australians are opting for more frequent visits to the supermarket. For many busy households, it’s impossible to plan meals seven days in advance as our frugal grandmothers did,” (2013).

Grocery shopping tends to be a habitual part of people’s lives, and many people enjoy the experience, so moving the practice completely online will still take a while to completely change. Did you know that over two thirds of the population have a fixed routine around the primary grocery shopping outing, with one in four shopping on a Saturday?

 The in-store marketing advantage

According to Woolies, “On average, Australians spend just 34% of their weekly food budget on their primary shopping day,”. So herein lies the HUGE marketing advantage for brand marketers. The more trips that are taken to the grocery store, the more opportunities marketers have to affect consumers along their path of purchase.

70% of grocery shoppers have a fixed routine around their shopping habits. READ MORE HERE

If brand marketers can break their targeted consumers buying habits, and if they are able to lead these new consumers to form new buying habits, they can become future brand advocates[3].

In-store Point of Sale, discount coupons, old style paper or digital and promotions, are all marketing efforts at the store level to get the shopper to stop, look at a brand and hopefully put it into the trolley.  All of that is part of the larger movement called “Shopper Marketing”. One of the biggest in-store marketing opportunities lies in utilizing the product packaging design to interrupt, the consumers purchasing habits and get them to look and impulsively give your brand a try.

Yes consumer’s shopping habits are moving more and more online. Yes shoppers are using their mobile phones more and more in the shopping experience…But all of that said, the bulk of the buying decisions are still being made at store level. This means that brand marketers still have have a great opportunity to influence in-store decisions, and use their product packaging as an effective way to engage shoppers with their brands.