Sharings insights from Global Packaging Summit - part 1

Published 20 June 2017
The 6th Global Summit gathered packaging professionals from across the globe in Amsterdam 19-20 June 2017. Stora Enso’s Essi Lauri and Björn Thunström were there to share consumer insights into packaging – in-store and online.

As we know from Stora Enso’s consumer study in the UK, Germany and China, people do not always know themselves. Though they claim that it’s only the content that matters, in reality packaging has enormous power on purchase decisions. And depending on the wanted impact, there are different ways how to deliver the message! Essi Lauri from Stora Enso shed light on how to make the right impact in-store.

So, what is the message you want your packaging to communicate? Is the message your packing sends aligned with your product? How should packaging for a bio product look like and how to enhance the natural perception? Or how about luxury packaging, does it need be enhanced with special effects such as foiling and embossing? Besides the visuals, don’t forget the physical connection, which is not only about the strength of packaging but also how the surface of the material feels to one’s hand. Is it smooth and shiny or more rustic and raw?

What is being perceived as a quality or being premium has changed over time and for sure it will evolve from now onwards, too. What stands for premium today, can be bulk tomorrow. Today the brown colour trend has gotten bigger, driven by the fact that the sustainability, food safety and health trends are prevailing over the world – but some designers believe that the shiny surfaces will be making a comeback. One thing is sure: if both the visuals and the physical feeling of packaging are aligned, your message is consistent – and that’s what makes a strong positive experience at the moment of purchase.

But how does this work in online retail (AKA e-tail)? Online shopping starts from one’s habits and pictures online, and the journey of the product to the consumer is different. Does the packaging still matter or not? Björn Thunström, SVP Marketing & Innovation, Division Packaging Solutions at Stora Enso, showcased the findings of a study made by Stora Enso in Sweden and Poland in December 2016, with 120 consumers and more than 20 e-tailers.

Many etailers are startups going from nothing to large volumes in very short time period. Their focus is typically on their products, IT platforms and the fast growth. Packaging is often neglected – typically they use just the usual off-the-shelve boxes. This is now starting to shift for two reasons: the cost of packaging is becoming significant and the interaction with consumers is becoming a key competitive advantage.

Online retail requires new logistics solutions with optimized packaging from both protection and transport perspectives. Consumers expect shorter delivery times, pressuring all players in the retail value chain to provide fast and flexible deliveries. E-etailers can no longer overlook packaging since consumers see packaging as an important part of the buying experience.

The study reveals the pleasure and pain points of online packaging – and the opportunities and challenges along the process. About 50% of surveyed consumers state that the packaging does not live up to the quality of the ordered product. So, what can e-tailers do? We will look into this in a follow-up article soon.

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