Think about packaging for a moment. Does packaging matter to you? Will you pay more for a product based on how it is packaged?
Packaging plays an extremely important role in the consumer market. According to Iacobucci (2014), marketers constantly utilise various senses to stimulate consumer interactions. The consistent use of design and colours in packaging, for example, can help customers recognise products from a particular brand.
A great example of the use of packaging is Apple products. Apple invested a lot of time and money into their packaging concepts. According to Lashinsky (2012, p.67):
“To fully grasp how seriously Apple executives sweat the small stuff, consider this: For months, a packaging designer was holed up in this room performing the most mundane of tasks – opening boxes.”
Apple considers packaging as part of their products and not a separate component. Ultimately, Apple is concerned with the complete customer experience and has therefore taken customer behaviour into account seriously. Lashinsky (2012, p.67) confirmed this:
“That’s right: hundreds of boxes whose sole function was to give the designers… the ability to experience the moment when customers picked up and held their new toy for the first time. One after another, the designer created and tested an endless series of arrows, colors, and tapes for a tiny tab designed to show the consumer where to pull back the invisible, full-bleed sticker adhered to the top of the clear iPod box. Getting it just right was this particular designer’s obsession.”
By creating packaging that is unique, Apple would have infused its customers and targeted consumers a certain feel. No one would probably disagree that the consistency and simplicity established in Apple’s packaging do create profound impressions. Essentially, all these help to build brand associations, where specific attributes are stored in consumers’ memory (Iacobucci 2014).
To this point, you may think, “yes, all that you said make sense, but will I ever pay more for a product based on how it is packaged?”
Packaging allows the same or a similar product look more or less expensive. At the end of the day, it is about consumer perceptions. While the primary function of packaging is to protect a product, research suggested that good packaging designs actually help to create desire for a product (Agariya et al. 2012). In other words, the ideal packaging would be one that not only helps to build on brand image, but also helps to create desire for a product and encourage repeated purchase.
In Apple’s case, packaging has not only been part of its brand construction, it also enhanced customer experience. Many would resonate this when it comes to unboxing Apple’s products (Lashinsky’s 2012, p.68):
“For the first time in history it was a spring-loaded box. It opened slowly. It continued to evoke that emotion and that feeling of anticipation, that you are about to see something beautiful, something great, something you had been reading about and hearing about, and had watched Steve talk about and demo.”
If this echoes with your mind, it is likely that you don’t mind to pay more when it comes to choosing your next gadget where Apple competes in, because a positive perception of Apple is now in your memory.
Now think again, does packaging make a difference to consumer’s behaviour? Will customers pay more for a product based on how it is packaged?
References for this article:
Agariya, A. K., Johari, A., Sharma, H. K., Chandraul, U. N. S. & Singh, D. (2012) ‘The Role of Packaging in Brand Communication’, International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, Volume 3, Issue 2, February 2012, < http://www.ijser.org/researchpaper/The-Role-of-Packaging-in-Brand-Communication.pdf >
Iacobucci, D. (2014) Marketing Management (MM), 4th Edition, Cengage Learning, Mason, Ohio: South-Western.
Lashinsky, A. (2012) Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired – and Secretive – Company Really Works, Business Plus, New York City.
Apple iPhone Packaging, photograph, retrieved 25 March 2015, < http://www.coloribus.com >