Producers relish the omnichannel packaging challenge

Think about the packaging you’re surrounded by day to day. What might that look like five or ten years from now?

Today’s luxury packaging needs to succeed in an omnichannel space. While sustainability will still be high on the agenda, it’s likely that design, in terms of aesthetics, haptics and technology, will have a renewed role.

Fuelled by rapid advancements in e-commerce, distribution and print, it’s time to put the scroll-stopping design back in the spotlight.

As smart devices and tech increasingly bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds, packaging design is becoming more distinctive and creative. As a result, creators truly benefit from the power of a blank canvas, so the boundaries are naturally being pushed.

We no longer live in the simple transactional world where products are packed and bulk-shipped to brick-and-mortar stores. Today, there’s a great deal more to consider. We’re in an omnichannel world, where packaging must perform no matter the sales channel, looking as good on screen as it does in hand. The pressure is on to develop packaging that ticks all the boxes: good for business, desired by the consumer, and good for the planet.

This year’s London Packaging Week comes at the perfect time to explore today’s innovation, with dozens of top brands re-looking at their packaging portfolios. From tightening environmental legislation at home and abroad and significant pressure from rising costs to rapidly changing consumer behaviours, technological advancements, and ever-increasing competition, everything is up for discussion.

With most of our purchases now happening with a few clicks from the comfort of our sofas, packaging is under increasing pressure to bridge the gap between businesses and consumers, going far beyond product delivery to becoming part of the marketing mix and shaping the customer experience. For e-commerce packaging, it’s the initial physical connection with the brand, leaving a lasting impression on the customer’s mind.

To win, retailers must learn how to serve customers equally well on and offline. This means integrating the physical seamlessly with the digital to create an omnichannel-ready design. The rationale is clear. Customers seek convenient, personalised, and unified shopping experiences, regardless of when or where they engage.

Catching the eye… and holding it

Good packaging is not just a box or an enclosure. It’s your make-or-break brand ambassador, a new-age shop window, and the customer’s first tangible touchpoint with your product. Packaging design isn’t just another checklist to tick for brands desperately battling for customer attention – it’s the secret weapon that grabs eyeballs and leaves a lasting impact.

As shoppers increasingly turn toward online sales channels, brand managers must consider the new digital world when choosing packaging solutions. Premium product presentation as the consumer opens the box is essential – it must look neat and convey that it has been packed with care.

The packaging sector has grown very quickly in recent years, particularly around the sustainability story. But just as the industry gets a handle on one issue, another is making a rather emphatic resurgence.

Right now, shorter production runs prioritising personalisation are coming to the fore, as brands endeavour to create product packaging that looks as good as consumers want. The balance between aesthetics and functionality has never been as delicate or as important to get right, and it largely depends on each brand’s values. 

“How can I make my product unique?” is the question many brand owners are grappling with. And the answer lies in packaging innovation. While anyone can have an idea, turning that amazing concept into a commercially viable reality isn’t easy. Innovators put their passion, energy, and resources into developing their ideas, focusing on designing and marketing from the inside out.

While several factors continue to shape the direction of travel, more and more of those tasked with creating the future of packaging view these constraints as a source of creativity, not an obstacle. No longer is the product exclusive in consumers’ purchasing decisions; instead, eco-credentials, interactivity, and personalisation are increasingly coming to the fore – and so much of this plays out in product packaging.

As the bar continues to be nudged higher, innovation will be key and opportunities to connect and collaborate with industry leaders, innovators, and suppliers will become more crucial. One event at the epicentre of all this progress is London Packaging Week; a chance to dive into dedicated networking sessions and exchange ideas and insights with movers and shakers in the e-commerce space.

No longer shelf-explanatory

In the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it environment of omnichannel retail, success means connecting with consumers wherever they are. Adapting packaging to fit the omnichannel experience has become vital, requiring a huge emphasis on value creation and sustainable packaging design.

Traditional retail packaging has long catered to in-store displays and shelf presentations, but the landscape has shifted dramatically in e-commerce. E-commerce packaging prioritises product protection during transit and creates a memorable unboxing experience, all while maintaining visual appeal. It effortlessly navigates the twists and turns of modern supply chains while keeping pace with the ever-changing consumer journey.

Amidst a sea of products clamouring for coveted shelf space, brands previously had a mere moment to seize the consumer’s attention and imagination. Nowadays, brand owners set out to create standout packaging that prioritises shareability and fosters lasting, unforgettable impressions. This is where the value of packaging is truly felt.

While customers may have paid little to no attention to their packaging a few short years ago, packaging matters more now than it arguably ever has. Whether reaching off a retail shelf and speaking to potential customers or encouraging end users into a digital nod of appreciation, there are innumerable ways to ensure your packaging meets your customers’ approval, and your key business objectives.

Packaging design teams are at the forefront of driving innovation, shaping brand identity, and captivating audiences. That’s why you’ll find representatives from some of the biggest brands in the world at London Packaging Week, in search of a supplier who can manufacture tailored solutions that work in the supply chain and provide sustainable and fit-for-purpose packaging solutions. 

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