Despite all of the admonitions to not judge a book by its cover, it’s nearly impossible to do. Our brains are programmed to judge by our senses – originally as a protective mechanism of the more life or death type than the type of situation we run into on the library shelves, no doubt. Just as authors and publishing houses put large amounts of thought and resources to cover design, this is not a place to skimp if you are putting out a product or an envelope or any type of packaging.
According to 99designs, 4 seconds is the MAXIMUM time the average consumer will dedicate to a product sitting on a shelf. 4 seconds. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, and it isn’t. It really is just enough time to get an initial positive or negative take on something – in other words, does the look of the packaging inspire more or less interest. Test it for yourself. Our attention spans are shrinking and you might be surprised by how antsy you get after a full four seconds.
Another reason to pay attention to packaging is what I’m calling ‘shop by cell phone.’ Have you ever been in the store looking for something for a friend or spouse or partner and you’re not sure which one they want? The answer – take a photo and text it to them. Or, buying something for yourself and you want some feedback? Take a photo and post it on Facebook to get feedback from your friends. Doesn’t sound probable? According to an infographic by The Paper Worker, 40% of consumers said they would share a photo of packaging if it is interesting or gift like.
Other interesting points on that infographic include 90% of consumers reuse packaging and bags after a purchase. Think of all of that unpaid advertising compounded by the implied positive recommendation by the person reusing the bag or packaging and the continued positive sentiment and reminder of their shopping experience. A 30% increase in consumer interest has been reported by businesses after they start paying attention to their packaging. 52% of consumers who purchased online said they were likely to return to a business for another purchase if they received the original purchase in premium packaging.
And don’t just stop with product packaging! The same holds true for envelopes, gift card holders, etc. There is a lot to pay attention to – not only the visual senses, but also the sense of touch are activated when it comes to packaging. There is no guarantee that your packaging will be appealing to everyone who looks at it on the shelf, but chances are if you’ve taken some time and care in your packaging design it will be noticed and you will see a difference in customer response.