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3 tips for packaging research success

by: PLAY

Packaging research and design is a delicate and often bewildering journey. Shopper behaviour is usually underestimated and changes to packaging can cause enormous disruption.

So, how do you create a plan for success without leading to mass customer alienation and drastic losses in sales? Or worse, a new product that completely flops? 

Do not fear, PLAY has the answers. Read on to discover our tried-and-tested tips for taking your products further with packaging research - or even identifying new opportunities!


1. Compare in context

It’s time to ditch the beauty contest by assessing your new packaging in the context of the shelf, rather than directly comparing it to previous designs.

Even with qualitative research, introducing the packaging in this way means that the participant is engaging with it in its true-to-life role - and that’s what really counts.

You might need answers to questions like:

  • How effective is the new pack in an in-store environment?
  • How will this competitive setting impact my consumers’ experience of the product?

(P.S. Since we’re friends, you’re welcome to use the Smart Wall at our Sydney facility to display a digital shelf of up to 3 bays. This is the perfect solution when budgets won’t stretch to physical shelf testing.)


2. Don't forget your day ones

Few meaningful changes will immediately drive up sales, but packaging refreshes can encourage consumers to “look twice”, which drives trial. This is one of the main reasons we see brands getting excited.

But a little word of warning (at the risk of sounding boring!): When running a packaging refresh test, you must measure the risk of current customers being unable to find it. You’d be surprised how many times brands opt for radical changes that break continuity and result in diminished market share.

If you’re a well-established brand, don’t throw away the strong recognition you’ve earned amongst your current customer base. Consider more subtle, gradual changes and support anything major with a comprehensive marketing campaign.


3. Aim for a home run

Have you thought about how your product’s package will be used in a shopper’s home? This is something that brands often fail to consider.

Of course, if you sell plain pasta and people will just stick it in a storage tub, then this tip may not be all that helpful. However, for objects that often remain on display - like sauce bottles and dishwashing liquid - getting creative with engaging or interactive packaging ideas can pay off. Think family quizzes around the table with breakfast cereal boxes - and beyond!

Considering the impact of your packaging in the home can offer additional marketing opportunities for your new design. And at the end of the day, it’s all about getting the most bang for your buck!

Over to you

Packaging is powerful, and it’s particularly influential at the point of sale. So, if you want to ensure your packaging research delivers answers and results, don’t forget to follow our top tips.

With a proven process, PLAY can help push the boundaries of what you believe your packaging can achieve: from testing completely new concepts to updating existing designs.


Get in touch here or via hello@playinnovation.com.au or 02 8097 0200. We can't wait to hear from you.

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about the author


As the experts in consumer-led innovation in FMCG, we partner with manufacturers and retailers to lift the productivity and effectiveness of their NPD. It’s all in how we blend innovation advisory with tailored consumer insight using an agile, consumer-first approach. Think of us like the connective tissue within your innovation process. We guide you at every step of the journey, helping you align, focus and develop ideas and products that sell.

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