Packaging: the last mile for in-store conversions?

26th Oct 2016

When retailers discuss the last mile, so often it is delivery that comes to mind. But with the resurgence of physical retail as a vital part of the omnichannel shopping environment, are we misunderstanding the critical conversion moment in the buying process?

A great deal of attention has been placed on the battleground for quick delivery options, with retailers like Amazon introducing 1-hour express services in order to secure more transactions.

However, 90% of sales still take place in the store, and the compulsion to buy is completely different when it comes to bricks-and-mortar.

Mintel research shows that shoppers are highly influenced by their surroundings, with 40 percent of consumers changing their minds about a purchase because of something they see, learn, or do in the store. This makes the shelf edge the last mile of physical retail – and therefore brands and retailers need to shift focus from overall brand positioning to targeting the moment of purchase.

One major influence on consumers’ compulsion to buy is the packaging.

The aesthetics of packaging design can have a decisive influence on whether a customer converts or not, yet the performance of an item based on its design is often not given the weight that it should.

When it comes to impactful packaging design, all too often brands and retailers are battling disparate agency and supply chain deadlines to get the product to market, which can impact upon the end product’s look and feel. Equally, these disconnected partners make it difficult for changes to be made promptly or cost effectively. So how does the packaging process need to change in order to produce a more attractive, agile design faster, cheaper and designed to capture shoppers’ attention?

Stripping down the siloes

Brands create better products when they involve every relevant department. This means breaking down siloes to involve every stakeholder within the business, in order to improve consistency and brand recognition providing real-time daily interaction to live projects when required.

With brand teams often working over multiple sites, if not across continents, and usually with various agency partners involved, a management solution that offers a single view of the live project – both in terms of reporting and approvals – means that time can be spent on more valuable creative collaboration, rather than chasing other members of the company and the usual administrative challenges.

Build in the basics

Too often a design concept gets to the final stages only to be rejected for branding inconsistency. By storing all project elements and approved assets data on one central portal, designers and project teams can focus on delivering a product that speaks to the customer. Equally, all parties can be confident that they are on brand, an integral part of consumer recognition and therefore conversions, once the product packaging is on the shelf edge.

React to changes quickly

From a competitor launching a new similar product to a change in legislation, there are many circumstances that necessitate a rapid roll out of a new product and a requirement for range change that an expedited packaging process underpins.

Intelligent workflow management tools can reduce the NPD and PLM management time by as much as 60%, allowing brands and retailers to get to market more quickly, smartly and cost effectively, whilst equipping them to deal with digital disruptions and external innovations.

Packaging investment: the pay off

For brands and retailers, the benefits of better packaging management are clear. In the bricks-and-mortar world, beauty is in the eye of the (potential) beholder, and having the agility to get an appealing product to market quickly gives them the power to convert more customers.

With more effective NPD & PLM processes, brands and retail organisations can collaborate closely across departments, streamline the procedural parts of the packaging process, reacting quickly to the changing market. Fundamentally, this will deliver better, more targeted products to the consumer – driving sales, reduce time to market and reduction in costs.

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By MatthewB
29th May 2017 15:38

Great, write up on the challenges of last-mile packaging. One of the primary functions of last-mile packaging is product customization on a massive scale. Mass customized products and promotions enable brands and retailers to capitalize on trending consumer demands. I did some research on the best way to do this, my write-up on effective mastery of last-mile packaging can be found here, I hope it's useful!:

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