Damned if they do or don’t
Canadian Packaging editor George Guidoni looks at how packaging innovation is snuffed out, but informs how former photography leader Kodak says we can develop ways to avoid the backlash.
Ever get the feeling that the packaging industry just may be the victim of its own success? It seems every time the industry makes a significant breakthrough in packaging design or material construction, one can foresee a wave of inevitable backlash aimed at discrediting that innovation’s value, vilifying its environmental impact or even questioning the right of that package to exist at all.
Given that any perceived shortcomings are bound to be magnified to the Nth degree on social media these days, making a package that will please everyone all the time can feel like an impossible task.
And yet that is exactly the kind of goal that suppliers of packaging materials, machinery and design expertise must constantly strive to achieve for the greater good of the industry and society at large.
With consumers having more purchasing options at their disposal than ever before—in large part thanks to the so-called Amazon Effect unleashed by the burgeoning e-commerce sector—a package has to work harder than ever before to capture the consumer’s interest and attention.
For major consumer brands long accustomed to the old six-second rule stipulating that an average shopper will spend an average of six seconds scouting the retail shelf before making the final purchasing decision, the new reality of consumers finalizing their shopping list online before actually going to the store to pick up their stuff, or simply have it delivered to their door, can be unsettling.
And while there is no neat one-size-fits-all solution for each and every brand to overcome this challenge, market research experts at the once-mighty photography giant Kodak have identified a few promising market and consumer trends that just may point some of the FSMG (fast-moving consumer goods) brand-owners in the right direction:
- Using smart packaging to strengthen connection to consumers. According to Kodak, flexible packaging printers must “continue to push the limits of innovation by seeking ways to enhance their packaging to be more appealing to consumers’ physical senses in the retail environment.
“This will include having packaging join the Internet of Things, so think of using packages to facilitate brand loyalty programs or to trigger offers to instantly repurchase products when sensors indicate they’re nearly used up.”
- Growth through variety, not volume. Brands should look to expand the product lines they sell, according to Kodak, but not necessarily the amount of product going on the shelves. In fact, packaging run lengths are decreasing.
“This creates an opportunity for printers to become more valuable partners by offering digital printing options to brands and packaging printers needing customization and efficiency.”
- Modern packaging for small and local businesses. With consumers increasingly looking to “shop small” and support local businesses, many of these businesses don’t have the volume to justify printing smart, customized packaging on newer technologies.
Says Kodak: “Basic digital capabilities, however, will now allow these printers to take on these short runs and bring smaller businesses into the world of smarter, more customizable packaging that will help them stay successful within their communities.”
Nothing wrong with that we say, nothing at all.
Image at top purchased via www.thinkstock.com.