Will E-Commerce Affect How Packages Are Designed?

Most packaging is designed to look attractive on store shelves. But we all know that consumers aren't just going to brick-and-mortar retailers anymore for their shopping needs. They are also increasingly going online.

In 2016, Statista predicts that about 211 million Americans will browse or buy something online at least once. By 2019, this number is expected to reach 224 million. It seems likely that as online shopping grows more popular, physical retail will decline. Will this influence the look and feel of package designs? Anne Marie Mohan, senior editor at Packaging World, believes that it will.

"Online retail is driven more by customer reviews than looks."

Mohan argues that the product packaging of the future will have to be designed to grab consumer attention in a different way. Currently, physical retailers compete for what she calls the "First Moment of Truth" – that initial several-second period in which package design can win over a customer.

Thanks to the internet, however, that concept has now morphed into the "Zero Moment of Truth." According to Mohan, this is a term coined by Google to describe how consumers will research products online before deciding whether to buy them.

This means that online retail is driven more by customer reviews than looks. However, that doesn't mean that package design plays no role. Instead, companies will use their labels to reinforce brand loyalty after that first purchase.

"You will never be able to get away from the graphics, because that's still what people are going to recognize," Madeline Haydon, founder and CEO of nutpods, told Packaging World. "You want the product to look nice in their refrigerator or on the shelf, so that they remember and have an affinity for your brand."

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