The Importance Of Packaging In Engaging An Online Audience

On Tuesday the 1st of October 2013 The Beauty Symposium in association with Red Tree Consultancy provided a seminar at Packaging Innovations London 2013. Part of Luxury Packaging 2013, the innovative event intends to provoke thought and provide insight in packaging for luxury brands. The focus in this year’s event was on standing out in a retail environment to increase growth and build a successful beauty brand.

Selling Beauty Online

Amongst the speakers was Barny Macaulay (Founder and Creative Director of The Barn and The Future of Luxury), who talked about how important it is to be innovative when packaging for an online purchase. Of course there are still to this day many doubts that beauty products can be sold online because of the lack of ability to get close to the product. As explained by Macaulay, with innovative and unique packaging the brand is able to fulfill the customer experience from the website to the customer’s door (as explained in this flow diagram):

Elements of Innovation

Macaulay highlighted a number of elements of packaging innovation that can increase the quality of your customers experience, in turn making that experience something unique and owned by you.

Personalisation – This was quite a key point and is seen in as a general method for consumer engagement. However packaging can really fulfil the promise of any brand. Amongst examples highlighted was the elegant way that Mr. Porter’s packaging has a personal note (with a commissioned unique script font) on the inside, addressed to the customer.

Individuality – This meant giving your customer the opportunity to have a say in the outcome of a products packaging design. 3D printing was highlighted and though in its infancy, is seen as a medium that could really transform how brands can be the guardians while the customer becomes the creator.

Simulation – If used well, augmented reality packaging can add an extra layer to the customer’s experience. Allowing the customer to use their smart phone or computer to view a virtual unpacking of their product can be used to both entertain and educate the customer about the brand values.

Sustainability and Ethics – Showing your conscience and goodwill provides a good corporate image which can build levels of trust with your customers and may incentivise them to buy from your brand again. One example is in the packaging for shoe brand TOMS. The bag in which the shoes are kept contains a promise from the brand saying “For every pair of shoes you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need”.

The general takeaway from the talk was the brands that are brave, that pioneer and are not afraid to make mistakes, are the ones who are creating interesting content that can be shared online. Packaging does not always have to be the quality of the materials. It’s also about a process of uncovering the product within and making you feel that you own that moment. There is no better place to demonstrate this idea than online.