Sourceful Blog

Four signs your business needs a packaging overhaul

September 24, 2021

Online spend in the UK increased by 48% in the last year, and businesses continue to move online. As the physical and digital retail model continues to fuse, packaging plays an increasingly important role. It's not only a physical representation of your brand but also a way for you to share your business values. So it's important to get it right. Here are four key reasons why your business might consider a packaging overhaul.

Changing customer values

Customer values are constantly shifting, which is why it's essential to keep track of them. By keeping up to date with your customers' habits, pain points and spending habits, you can develop packaging that's designed to align with their values. If your packaging isn't aligned, you run the risk of alienating customers which could impact their trust in your brand.

Increasing awareness of climate change is one example of changing values. Sustainable packaging is now one of consumers' top five values when it comes to choosing between brands. So, if your current packaging doesn't reflect this, it's probably time to make some changes. The good news is you can do this in small steps. Compostable mailers, for example, are a good alternative to poly mailers, and gummed tape is a sustainable alternative to traditional poly tape. Even adopting more environmentally friendly accessories for your packaging such as recyclable stickers is a step in the right direction.

Consumers are also caring more about brand transparency, with 70% of consumers saying that trusting a brand is now more important than in the past. To meet this change, companies need to be upfront about their products, materials and processes. And also what improvements they're making. Overhauling your packaging is one such improvement that you can communicate to customers.

Brand messaging is lost

As a business develops, so do its core products. But packaging is often left behind. When this happens, your packaging no longer reflects the product inside, and you risk losing a key branding opportunity.

If you're an e-commerce business, most of your customer touchpoints are online, through newsletters, social media and your website. This means customers already know more about your business than someone who finds your product in a shop. But when your customer's order arrives, your packaging will be the first physical brand touchpoint. This is why it's important to ensure your packaging aligns with your product, brand identity, and brand values. Otherwise, your brand messaging will be lost.

E-commerce customer touchpoints

Packaging standards are rising

With the rise of new innovative materials, packaging standards are rising. Fortunately, many of them are more sustainable than their older counterparts. PLA, for example, is a great alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastic. It's a bioplastic made from plant-based sugars and is often used in compostable mailers. This is good news, but as more companies adopt such materials, those who continue to use unsustainable materials stand out.

Alongside materials, packaging design standards have also risen. Unboxing videos — online videos of people unboxing products — bring even more visibility to modern packaging. Now, 55% of people use videos to help make purchasing decisions, showcasing the good, the bad and the ugly. If your packaging is well designed and up to date, unboxing videos amplify its impact and can help you reach a new audience. But if it hasn't been revised for some time, the effect may not be so positive. In short, good packaging today is seen more than ever, but so is bad packaging.

Competitors have changed

Earlier this year, Burger King announced a new green packaging pilot programme to make its packaging more eco-friendly. They redesigned eight of their most-used items, such as cutlery, napkins and food wrappers, using sustainable materials like PLA, 100% recycled fiber and renewable, unbleached virgin paperboard. They also reduced the amount of paper used to create their food wrappers. This is just one example, but more and more companies are overhauling their packaging to meet consumer demand and stay ahead of the competition. As they do, there's a risk of being left behind for those who don't move forwards as well. The takeaway? Overhauling your packaging can be a competitive advantage — don't miss out.

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