Five seconds and counting: using product packaging to influence purchase decisions


Research has shown that it takes under five seconds for a consumer to decide which product they’re going to buy and with consumers making countless quick decisions during every shopping trip, eye-catching product packaging is absolutely essential.

With big brand names focussing more time and resources into the design of their product packaging, finding innovative, attractive ways of packaging products has become a crucial element in the never-ending battle to win new customers.

The main aim of packaging is to use graphics, images or shape to entice consumers to buy. This can be done in a variety of different ways including unusual shapes, bright colours, unusual materials or finishes but it’s worth noting that many long-established, popular brands such as Heinz, HP or Colemans have used the same logo and similar packaging for many years.

If you have a new product to sell you’ll need to come up with some pretty innovative packaging ideas to help your product stand out from the rest. You’ll need to think about the brand image you want to convey and the type of consumers you want to attract: for example, ecological household products are often packaged in fairly simple packaging made from recycled materials, whilst high-end luxury products should be packaged using only top-quality materials.

The average supermarket stocks many thousands of product lines and if you’re going to make your product stand out, you’ll need to eliminate cluttered labelling. A wealth of research has been carried out into product packaging and the results routinely show that consumers are unable to focus on a particular item if the graphics are over-cluttered. Studies have also shown that when graphics are ‘cleaned’ and improved then sales will improve.

A good example is this: if you imagine going to a wedding where all the male guests, including the groom, are wearing identical black suits and all the ladies are wearing identical white bridesmaids dresses. You’d have to spend time scanning around the room to find the real bride and groom. The very same thing will happen if the graphics on your product packaging are too busy: the extra scanning that’s required to find your product will lead to frustration or consumers turning to the next product on the shelf.

Product packaging comes in all shapes and sizes these days and is only limited by your imagination. The power of packaging should never be underestimated and if you’re new to the world of retail, it’s well worth working with a specialist contract packaging company to find the most appropriate packaging for your products. When done well, packaging can boost your sales and ensure the long-term popularity of your product but when done badly, can result in poor sales and the ultimate failure of your brand.

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