is a study that reveals the reaction and perception of the buyer to the new packaging of a product.
In most cases, the decision to buy is made in the store itself and the appearance of the product attracts attention or, on the contrary, repels it. Studies show that the buyer spends an average of no more than 12 seconds to select a product in the “food” category. So, to keep consumers from passing over your product, it is advisable to test several packaging options.
The research determines how consumers react to the appearance of the product. However, it is necessary to analyze not only the design, size, shape, material, and usability of the package but also the product concept, brand name, price category, etc. Only in the study of the totality of factors can the real picture be revealed and a product package that will “sell itself” can be created.
Packaging test parameters
In the course of the study, the information value of the inscriptions is determined, and such parameters as the consumer’s attitude to the design and the compliance of the packaging with the brand positioning are analyzed.
The functional characteristics of the packaging are also studied: how safe and comfortable it is to use, store and move around. Another important parameter is the image of the package. The product’s appearance should match the brand image. In this case, consumers’ emotional perception of product packaging, its memorability and associativity are tested, and it is possible to identify whether the packaging stands out on the shelf compared to competitors’ products.
When a packaging research is conducted:
- Launch of new products on the market;
- Updating the design or shape of the packaging;
- Changing the format of the product line;
- Reduction of packaging costs;
- Introduction of the product to a new market;
- Change of equipment or production technology.
In all these cases, packaging testing requires an answer to the question: should something be changed in the packaging? The developed layout (or several variants) is tested on the perception of the target audience, compared with competitors’ products, after which the strengths and weaknesses of the packaging are identified. As a result, the best design concept will be selected and recommendations for package improvement will be given.
There is an important nuance to packaging design renewal: the new design must be continuity (so that consumers can identify a brand they are familiar with at a glance).
The consequences of poor packaging design
Sometimes companies decide to save money on testing and choose packaging, relying only on the opinion of marketers and management. However, their perception can be very different from buyers’ tastes. We should also not forget about the so-called “professional deformation”. As a result, the product can “blend in” with the rest of the products on the shelf, remain unnoticed by the consumer, or other significant aspects may not be taken into account.
When updating the design of packaging that has already found its customers, the following can happen:
- The product will lose its recognizability;
- The brand will lose credibility, sometimes consumers in the new packaging may suspect a fake;
- Temporary decrease in demand, as regular customers are used to the old packaging, and the new packaging may scare them away.
These are not all the factors that can alienate customers. It is good if the company guessed the package design, but if not, it is fraught with significant financial losses in the long run. Pre-testing packaging allows you to avoid risks, release a product that best suits the tastes of consumers, and increase sales.
Packaging test methods
The methods vary depending on the product category and product of the research. An individual research algorithm is selected for each client. As a rule, qualitative and quantitative methods are used.
Qualitative methods are usually the first stage of research. They include focus groups and customer development. Focus groups include selected respondents. They should correspond to the characteristics of the target audience of the studied product (gender, age, social status, marital status, experience of using the product etc.). The participants are shown the variants of packaging, and tests are conducted. The focus group communicates with each other, compares the product to the competitors, answers moderator’s questions about the product, offers solutions. When conducting customer development respondents separately from each other express their opinions about the packaging. As a result of these research methods, it is possible to get detailed information about the advantages and disadvantages of packaging, as well as to predict the demand for the updated product.
The second stage is quantitative methods. They are not always required, but they help to make a choice of the final packaging option. When testing packaging, the most popular and effective quantitative method is the hall test. A product shelf is recreated, where the sample under study is placed along with samples of competing products. The interviewers ask the respondents questions according to a formalized questionnaire, where they can evaluate the product according to the criteria provided.
Even though the two-step approach is more costly, it gives more reliable results and allows making managerial decisions without errors. Send an application, and Smart City Enterprise staff will undertake a packaging study within a few days.