The right packaging design creates brand identity and lets your product stand out in the sea of competition. In a poll conducted by Ipsos on April 13–18, 2018, they found that 81% of American adults agreed that packaging design could influence their purchasing decision when buying gifts. Quite a high number, right?
Sure, you can create new designs that will capture your customers and differentiate your product from the competitors. But how do you know when it’s time to get a new look? When should you change your packaging, and what signs should you look out for?
If you find yourself wondering all these things, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we go over some of the most telltale indicators that it's time to update your packaging. We also lend some of our expert packaging tips. Read on.
What Are the Benefits of Updating Your Packaging?
Changing your packaging often redefines your brand but also brings other benefits you would not want to miss out on. Ultimately, changing your packaging can be an important sales driver for your business.
- To draw attention and make the product more recognizable
Making the right changes to your product packaging helps draw attention to the product and attract new customers. When deciding on a new design, you should keep in mind the target demographic you want to attract — since this will significantly impact how they perceive your product. Something about the packaging needs to pique their interest right off the bat — may it be the colors, graphics, or patterns.
For example, if one of your brand values is sustainability, it would be best to limit the use of single-use plastics, especially when it is bound with other materials as it would make it nearly impossible to recycle. This way, those who are environmentally conscious would be able to relate to those values. Also, in general, women prefer warmer tones, whereas men go for cool tones. These design elements are crucial if you want to attract new buyers.
2. To adapt to the latest trends
Customer preferences change and evolve over time. Designs don’t live forever, and trends come and go. What looked so glorious ten years ago may look dated now. As a result, businesses need to update their package design to appeal to these ever-evolving preferences and get into the newest trends.
Packaging also needs to keep up with the times and seasons. This means considering seasonal factors to help keep your brand relevant and attractive. For example, if it’s a holiday or spring/summer, a packaging design inspired by such a theme can get people excited when receiving packages.
Top Signs It's Time to Change Your Packaging
It's not always obvious when it's time to switch up your packaging. Customers may get confused, and they may even lose the ability to identify your products altogether. If done correctly, though, changing your packaging may skyrocket your sales and boost the public's perception of your company.
Here are four indicators that it may be time for a packaging upgrade:
1. You’re rebranding or refining your message.
If you're considering rebranding for any reason, you should probably invest in some new packaging as well. There has to be uniformity across all of your goods. So whether you've introduced a new product or enhanced an existing one, the package labels must reflect these changes.
Your brand needs a fresh and modern take on the packaging that reflects who you are and what you stand for. You want it to be a symbol of the updated message you're delivering and a means of increasing familiarity with your brand.
2. Your design feels outdated.
At some point, designs, logos, and any visual elements of a brand will feel outdated. If you feel the same with yours, it’s time to refresh your package and make it feel new again. By doing so, you can recapture your consumer’s attention.
However, it should be done slowly to avoid disrupting the customer-product relationship. Do not stray too far from your original design as your loyal customers may not realize it’s the same brand. You don't need to do a complete overhaul — it could be just a matter of adding a few new relevant elements.
You can tell whether your product's package design has become outdated by comparing it to newly released versions of comparable items or by looking at the current packaging trends in your industry. You can also see the popular colors using Pantone Institute’s colors of the year or check out Coolors for inspiration.
3. You’re releasing new products.
Products may change in size or shape, and you could even have new product lines. And with new products, there should be a new packaging look to launch them or show how they have changed.
For example, if you have added new flavors to your food product, you could add the text “Try Our New Flavors” on your food packaging. An update on your color scheme could also work as long as it maintains the same layout.
Changing your packaging with the release of new products is a good way for customers to notice them.
4. You have a better approach to packaging.
With time, new materials, technology, and approaches to packaging may become available on the market. If you find a smarter and better approach to your product's packaging, then it may be a sign to do an update and change your design.
For example, Apple has revised its iPhone box with a special design without plastic. It is now all paper, and the cushioning is provided by a clever folding design of cupboards inside the box.
The plastic wrap is removed, and it’s replaced with a tear-off paper tab that’s glued to the box lid. This plastic wrap-free packaging keeps the box content safe from potential damage as it stays in place without sliding. Also, the paper seal can ensure the buyers that they are getting a new phone as it indicates whether the box has been opened before or not.
Another great example is the use of biodegradable packaging, which is increasing in popularity these days. Biodegradable packaging, together with compostable mailers, is a more environment-friendly option. Even packing tape can be recyclable! Its price is also quite affordable, so it's perfect for small/startup businesses.
Reasons to Update Your Packaging Design
Aside from the signs that you need to update your packaging, there could be other reasons why you need to do so. Here are a few of them:
1. You’re expanding the brand.
When you’re expanding into a new market, you need to reinvent how your product looks and see which packaging works with your new target customers. It helps develop brand recognition in the market and loyalty among customers.
2. There are market changes.
The Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory bodies aim to protect consumers. This is one reason why they are constantly reviewing and modifying their labeling regulations. Whenever new changes are enacted, manufacturers or business owners are given a certain period to update their packaging labels.
For example, in 2016, the nutrition facts label on packaged foods was updated so as to reflect up-to-date scientific information, such as the information about the link between chronic diseases like heart disease and diet. This helps consumers in making better-informed food choices.
3. You want your brand to stay fresh and relevant.
As the customers’ needs change over time, so do their preferences. What once worked may not be effective now. Also, if your packaging design is outdated, it might give a negative impression.
Nevertheless, while you need to keep your packaging fresh and relevant to the current times, you don’t have to change it completely. Using a different material or even simplifying your design can already give your packaging a fresh look without losing the original look or the essence of your brand.
4. You have environmental considerations.
According to Statista, 45% of consumers surveyed in 2020 stated that they were interested in purchasing from environmentally responsible or sustainable brands. With many consumers becoming more eco-conscious, businesses are also making environment-friendly options and using greener approaches. This reflects particularly on using environment-friendly or recyclable packaging like our biodegradable mailers at Impack.
Eco-friendly packaging refers to using renewable, reusable, ethically-sourced, or sustainable materials like tree-free label stock or recycled materials. It could also mean reducing your label or packaging size to use fewer materials. New packaging technology and eco-friendly materials are also now available to help businesses reduce their plastic waste or packaging waste and, more importantly, their carbon footprint.
Considering these packaging changes will appeal to consumers whose purchasing decisions are influenced by social and environmental considerations.
How Often Should You Change Your Packaging Design?
It could be hard to know when it’s time to make the change. And there’s no one-size-fits-all rule regarding how often you should update your packaging design. While the signs and reasons we’ve discussed are helpful, you always have to consider your customer’s point of view when deciding on this matter.
That is, if you change your packaging too often, your customers may not recognize your product easily and switch to your competitors. So, when changing your packaging design, make it consistent so they will spot it quickly and recognize the brand.
Other considerations to help you plan how often you should change your packaging are the current trends and budget.
Tips for Changing Your Packaging Design
So, have you decided to change your packaging? As mentioned, it’s important to be cautious to avoid the risk of losing customers. You wouldn’t want to learn it the hard way.
Consider Tropicana. In 2009, Tropicana changed its packaging for Tropicana Pure Premium, its best-selling product in North America. However, their customers criticized their new design, and the company experienced a 20% decrease in sales after that change in packaging design. This prompted them to return to its original design.
Here are a few tips to consider to help you gain a positive impact from your packaging update:
1. Clarify your goals. Do you need a complete overhaul or will a small upgrade suffice? Know your reason for making the change, and consider it throughout the entire process. And whatever it is, make sure to keep your established customer base in mind and make your design still recognizable.
2. Know your target customers. When you have a complete grasp of your target market, it will be much easier to work on the packaging change you want. What are their lifestyle and interests? What are their hopes and goals? As you research and brainstorm about these, you can better create a design that can connect with them.
3. Make your design appealing. Upon knowing your goals and your target customers, it’s now time to create a package design that will satisfy your goals and appeal to your target customers. You can find many design tips, but here are a few to remember:
- Consider a clean design by utilizing negative spaces.
- Be mindful when choosing a color palette. Think about color psychology and its impact.
- Evoke compelling emotions with the right imagery and meaningful symbols.
- Use simple words so your customers will understand the product easily.
- Make the design consistent with your brand.
- Opt for a convenient solution, thinking about how customers will need to use your product.
4. Be sure to make a prototype. Making a prototype helps you understand how it will look and feel once it’s on the shelves. It also enables you to evaluate the details and see what needs to be fixed.
5. Gather feedback. Once your prototype is up, you can ask your team members for input or arrange a focus group with your target customers. Their responses can help you evaluate and rethink your design choices.
Indeed, successful packaging changes can help you draw attention to your brand and increase your sales. We hope that this article has helped you decide whether you should update your packaging or not and how frequently you should do it. However, it’s also good to remember that changing your packaging design may take time, so plan ahead to get the look and feel you want for your packaging.
Are you ready for a packaging revamp? Here at Impack, we're all about eco-friendly packaging that can help boost sales and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. Check out our mailer designs here!