The Consumer Psychology of Product Packaging Shape, Style, and Label

Product Packaging

Packaging psychology can seem a devious science when pursued as an academic science. But without the market forces fueling scientific pursuits, we wouldn't enjoy many of the conveniences civilizations tend to take for granted today.

Let's have a look at a few recent popular studies shedding insight into human psychology and custom product packaging design as it relates to sales.

The Crossroads of Product Packaging and Self Identity

Do you know that when it comes to indulgent treats like candies and chocolates, small packages trump regular-sized packaging: design-wise?

People tend to eat more of the treats when the sweets were placed in smaller packages. This was according to the results of a University of Alberta study, which appeared in an issue of the Journal of Marketing about packaging.

As an online seller, you likely are not selling goods with expiration dates on your site. Thus displaying your packaging to showcase your brand in custom boxes is a great solution for retail and online business.

So what can you take away from this packaging insight?

The takeaways, other than becoming aware that nearly every subtle cue matters in upping sales conversions, are that packaging design and presentation are much more important than would meet the eye, along with, an appreciation of the science that proves what sellers intuitively know.

How to Get Your Product Design to Standout with Custom Product Packaging [Video]

When your target customers are body, weight, and appearance conscious then design your product packaging solutions in such a way that the product specification appears on the front and the packaging material is either transparent or translucent.

Compared to average shopper, body, weight, and appearance conscious people demonstrate a strong propensity for consuming foods when they can see the edible product through the packaging and when they are greeted by labeling on the front that touts the product being low in calories.

Package designs tend to stand out for their perceived quality according to an industry survey seeking to discover effective tobacco warnings printed on product packaging of cigarettes. Interruptive graphic images with negative design appeal get the packaging experience coupled with a wide variety of creative helps sustainable solutions to smoking problems.

​​Related: How to Choose the Right Product Packaging Solutions for Your Brand

According to the University of Alberta researchers, Jennifer Argo and Katherine White, body, weight, and appearance conscious buyers are easily swayed by packaging design cues such as product visibility and prominent calorie information--which both create a "false sense of belief" that the food product supports their weight-management endeavor.

Relative Size and Perception in Packaging

Meanwhile, a paper that appeared in an issue of the International Journal of Management Practice and was authored by Lawrence Garber (Elon University in North Carolina), Eva Hyatt (Appalachian State University), and Ünal Boya (Appalachian State University) detailed how shoppers perceive product packaging sizes based on the number of displayed product packages

The natural tendency of an average shopper is to pick the "larger" product among its equal-volume counterparts. You can take advantage of this inclination by skewing how product volumes are skewed with respect to the number of products being presented.

According to the study, product packages with simple shapes seem larger than those with complex shapes when nine or more of a product are shown.

The opposite effect happens when the display consists of eight or fewer retail products. For complicated packaging shapes presented in groups of eight or fewer, their sizes seem to dwarf those of simple packaging shapes. This should help you in arranging products on your e-commerce store's product pages.

Packaging Psychology and Buying Behavior [Video]

It All Comes Down to Influence

Sales and market savvy are the engines that drive all other parts of your business.

So, when designing your product packaging it may be worth keeping in mind Cialdini's famous tools of influence and how you can incorporate these tools into your product's packaging so your brand 'pops' amongst array of boxes to choose from.

See the video below to learn the key tools of persuasion to apply to packaging.

Wrapping Up: Design Custom Packaging Solutions for More Conversions

What these packaging studies and video presentations show is the subtle art of influence, affecting the choices made, i.e. the buying decisions of customers, by packaging products in way your customer can relate to: be that on a conscious level, for example - identity - or a more unconscious emotional appeal.

People buy for reasons deeper than the obvious; thus, it's worth it to study how your audience make their choices in relation to product packaging design and how that can inform your product's sales and marketing to improve your brand bottom line.

Get with it for a powerful packaging offering even your shrink would scan a QR code to know more product packaging hacks.

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Once you have your site optimized, from guests checkout options and pricing to images and user generated content, your sales will start to climb. Prepare to keep your customers happy and yourself sane by taking advantage of the full suite of Fulfillment Bridge Ecommerce solutions.


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Kais Khadhraoui
Kais Khadhraoui
I'm the CEO & Founder at Fulfillment Bridge. I spent more than 12 years providing cutting edge financial solutions to global banks and stock exchanges and running successfully Multimillions projects at global scale. I decided 8 years ago to start my entrepreneurial adventure in the eCommerce industry. I discovered similarities in both fields which made it easier for me to provide high quality eCommerce related services inspired from the Fintech world. My ultimate goal is to create a leading eCommerce solution following the high standards adopted in the financial industry. When you are looking to take your ecommerce to the next level and partner with a logistics provider that specializes in global ecommerce solutions, you can get in touch with me on LinkedIn.