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Shopper marketing’s secret weapon

When brand marketers and agency executives gathered in Chicago recently for the annual Shopper Marketing Summit there was plenty of talk about mobile, social and digital, but there was one thing no one talked about.

Mobile is the hottest thing going right now so hardly surprising there was plenty of discussion about myriad ways apps can be used to engage, influence and activate shoppers on the path to purchase. Mobile continues to transform the path to purchase, overlooked in discussions of the shoppers’ evolving journey was the role of packaging.

It is a huge miss for brand marketers looking to close the sale because among the din of marketing messages packaging is now an even more important differentiator at the point of purchase. It also plays a huge role in customers’ usage experience and contributes to repeat purchase behavior, according to Sonoco, the nation’s largest provider of customized packaging solutions. Conversely, a poorly designed or inappropriately constructed package can have a detrimental effect of shoppers’ brand perception. A bad packaging experience can negate the best efforts of product development teams and marketers.

To ensure that doesn’t happen, Sonoco has created the i6 Innovation Process, a step-by-step approach integrating insights, ideation, invention, interaction, integration and iteration into the packaging decision-making process in order to develop an optimal solution. Based on the knowledge gained during the i6 Process, Sonoco then recommends a packaging solution unique to the customer’s needs.

To illustrate the importance of the consumer insights phase of the i6 Process, Sonoco recently conducted research on a mainstay of the packaging industry – the composite cans. The composite can, which has gained favor with shoppers in recent years, helps marketers achieve their objectives while also performing the primary function of packaging and can contribute to repeat purchase behavior. Consumer insights show 97% of shoppers who bought a product packaged in a composite can would likely buy the packaging format again.

That is welcome news in a CPG world where fickle and deal conscious shoppers are prone to switch brands and the market is awash with new items. According to Sonoco, over the past 29 years, the average supermarket has gone from carrying 9,000 products to nearly 47,000 today. Additionally, the average consumer in the United States is exposed to more than 1,000 advertising messages and impressions each day. Even so, the average shopper chooses less than 1% of the available SKUs in a typical supermarket over an entire year of shopping.

Sonoco’s view is that those behaviors can be changed through well-designed packaging that serves a much broader role than its primary function of protecting contents. Packaging should engage shoppers, inspiring purchases and service the end user. Sonoco elaborates on the process for achieving those objectives in recently published a white paper available by clicking here.

 

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