The Role of Packaging in Buying Decisions

Packaging plays a major role in the buying decisions of consumers, especially when the purchase decision is made in a retail environment where competing products are available side by side. The influence of packaging in the consumer decision making process can be divided into two stages… at the moment of purchase selection and post-sale consumption. Each stage can be broken down into the components that can be controlled in the planning and production process.


Purchase Selection Packaging
  • Technical components – material utilized (size, shape, material)
  • Product Information on packaging (attributes, how it compares to competitors, sales information)
  • Sales Information that is conveyed on the packaging to help make the sale (special offer, bonus quantity)


Post Sale Consumption
  • How product is stored and used – how consumers will use and keep the product
  • Information on product use, ingredients, disposal, manufacturer contact
  • Customer satisfaction and potential for repurchase or referral (provide incentive)

Carefully planned packaging that considers the product sales channel, retailers’ involvement, competitors, and interaction with user can have a dramatic impact on purchasing decisions by target consumers.


Brand Recognition

Brand recognition is one aspect that is built up over time. Many companies spend a great deal of time and money establishing and promoting their brand. A well-established brand can reduce the need to advertise, may improve retail positioning, and can allow for premium pricing. Establishing brand equity is not done overnight, but the lasting value in developing consumers who are loyal to a brand is immeasurable to maintaining repeat consumers who also become spokespersons for the brand in their sphere of influence (e.g. family, neighbors, friends, co-workers).

Once the brand logo and imagery are established, assuming the quality of the product meets consumer expectations, it is important to include a consistent branding in all packaging, promotional material, and advertising. Over time, the consumer will begin to look for the brand rather than making purchase decisions at the retail display. Consistent packaging, labels and all marketing material being seen by target consumers will slowly build the brand image.   


What can be done now to impact purchase decisions?

Beyond branding, packaging must be appropriately matched to the retail display format for the product. Determining how the product will be displayed to consumers is the first step in determining the type of packaging that will best showcase your product. Do you want your product to blend in with competing products available to the consumer in a retail environment and allow the product attributes to provide the differentiation to the consumer, or do you want unique packaging that will separate your product from the other choices?

Sometimes packaging provides an extra layer of protection from damage, tampering or access prior to purchase. Other times packaging can improve the stability of the product depending on whether it is going to be sold on a shelf, a rack or free standing display. Proper packaging can also protect the product during shipping and clearly identify the product to the consumer if it is sold in an online channel.


What is the role of labels?

Regardless of the packaging, properly designed and formatted labels can enhance the package to tell the story about the product and motivate the purchase by the consumer. Consumers have short attention spans, which allots about 5 seconds to “grab” the initial attention of the consumer. Drawing the consumer in to investigate your product further will allow more time to “sell” the consumer to purchase the product. The initial attraction and more detailed product attributes can be communicated through the proper planning and placement of labels on the product and packaging.

In summary, the message being conveyed to consumers to help increase sales can be detailed on both a customized package and/or a label that is fixed to the product container after production.


Excel Print Pack can guide and counsel you in the selection of the best packaging and labeling for your unique product and sales channel needs. Once the decision on the best packaging and labeling is made, Excel manages all aspects of the production on a turnkey basis allowing you to focus on running your business, making sales and servicing your customers. For more information on how Excel Print Pack can help your business, contact David Joseph – or 732-364-7736.

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