Why The Store Shelf Still Matters To CPG Marketers

The hardest-working brand message is what people see on the shelf. CPG brands should consider these top design packaging tips.

Why The Store Shelf Still Matters To CPG Marketers

From Facebook to Twitter and beyond, consumer packaged good (CPG) marketers have more options than ever to tell their brand stories to consumers online. But amid all the well-deserved hype around digital marketing, let’s not make the mistake of forgetting about the real world.

To see what I mean, just visit the beverage aisle of pretty much any grocery store in the nation. It rapidly becomes very clear just how important point of sale continues to be in our industry.

I believe the hardest-working brand message is what people see on the shelf. Faced with today’s seemingly unlimited options and unending market fragmentation, consumers are looking for options that connect with their priorities and create lasting value that goes well beyond price.

In this cluttered landscape where supply literally meets demand, the right packaging is as important as the contents inside. As CPG brands seek to attract new customers and retain existing ones, they should consider these top design packaging tips:

Tip 1: You’ve Got To Stand Out From The Crowd

What’s the old saying about first impressions? It’s even truer for consumers staring at endless rows of packaged goods. CPG companies have just a few seconds to make an impression, so it had better be bold.

The solution to this problem goes beyond a single container or package. If we want to make a consumer’s purchase decision as easy as possible, let’s start by having a strong visual discipline. Thinking bigger may be better. Imagine a shelf stacked with the same product, each one labeled for individual sale. Nothing wrong with that if you like a sea of sameness.

Now, imagine that same product forming a larger design when dozens of them are stacked together. Suddenly, consumers see a miniature billboard at eye level instead of one lowly product. And the visual impact you’ve created? It just made their purchasing decision a no-brainer.

Tip 2: Be Smarter And Think Beyond Individual Packages

Creating a compelling billboard effect works much better if you have packages that can easily snap and stack together. Think about how much easier square or rectangular packages line up versus cylindrical containers. When combined, such packages can easily form a grid, the perfect canvass for bold, multipackage designs. These comparatively large surfaces also allow for an endless array of compelling and creative designs that can visually tell your brand story to consumers.

Tip 3: Functionality With Purpose Matters

More and more people are looking to eat and drink on the go. That’s why packaging options that provide functionality and convenience with purpose are more likely to stand out on the store shelf.

Take coconut water. It’s a healthy option for fit consumers, but think about how they may be using the package throughout the day. If they’re going to the gym, it should be easy to hold and carry obviously. But why stop there? How about making it resealable so it’s spill proof and can be used later? Why not make this happen with a large twist top cap that’s easy to open and close?

According to Deloitte’s 2015 American Pantry Study, today’s consumers are willing to pay more for products with the right attributes, including innovations and improvements, customization, and convenience. It’s easier to stand out from the crowd if consumers can plainly see these functional improvements.

Tip 4: Sustainability Can’t Be Just A Buzzword

Today all the talk in marketing is about Millennials, and rightly so. This group of consumers, ages 18 to 34, has more spending power than even the vaunted Baby Boomer generation. What’s really interesting about Millennials is their yearning to have stronger connections with brands that promote sustainability and corporate responsibility. They want real substance about the environment, not just quippy remarks.

Our own research shows Millennials look for five key attributes when picking a single portioned package off the shelf: how the package looks, how easy it is to hold and carry, how easy it is to drink from, whether it can be resealed, and how environmentally friendly it is. Consumers are trying to win a more sustainable life, so winning brands will show them how their products can help them in their efforts.

Why not put that right on the package and make your brand’s sustainability efforts clear? The store shelf is the perfect opportunity to tell consumers–Millennials or otherwise–your brand story.