The one thing your packaging needs to sell better online.

I was doing some online shopping the other day (okay, full disclosure, lately I’m doing some online shopping EVERY day), when I came across an adorable package in one of my Google searches – I just loved the colors and the unusual graphics really drew me in. But after a couple of seconds of scanning the front panel, I started to wonder, “what in the world is inside this box?” No matter how much I zoomed in on the image, I couldn’t make out ANY of the copy. Is this candy? Perfume? A screw driver?? I’ll admit, the last guess was highly unlikely given the design elements, but it was still a possibility since EVERY bit of copy was quite tiny and completely impossible to read.

After some annoying clicking around, I was finally able to determine it was, indeed, a chocolate bar. Although the package was quite lovely, the fact that I had no idea what was in it was a BIG problem, especially these days, when so much shopping is being done online and you have about a nanosecond to grab someone’s attention. No brand can afford to get passed over because a potential customer can’t tell what’s inside the package! And assuming you’ve spent lots of time and money developing a killer brand story, what good is it if your target consumer can’t read it? (For more on how to make sure your packaging is telling your story, check out our post here.)

So how can you avoid being an incognito brand online? When you’re working on your next packaging design project, make sure you evaluate the work-in-progress concept in a mocked-up search results page, alongside competitive products in your category. Can you clearly make out your brandmark? Is it easy to read the product name? Flavor? If you have a product photo or illustration, can you tell what it is? How does it look against the competition? Is the messaging on your product easier or more difficult to understand? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” it’s time to rethink your design strategy.

Another common problem is creating enough differentiation between products in the same product line. If the product name isn’t large enough, it can cause enough confusion that customers could accidentally purchase the wrong flavor or formula and no one wants to invite an increase in online returns. I once accidentally bought dog treats instead of cat treats because the only point of difference on the packages was a tiny dog or cat icon that was completely indistinguishable on my phone.

That brings me to another good rule of thumb – remember to review your package design on your mobile phone. This is the way many people will be seeing your package for the first time and as they say, first impressions matter. It’s amazing how different your packaging can look on different devices. And another point on first impressions – invest in high-quality product images or renders. Notice that many products are using a straight-on front angle as their primary image as it’s the easiest to read.

Have a lovely package (and a lovely package image) and you might get someone’s attention. Have a lovely package that clearly tells your brand story with clear imagery, copy and design elements and you’ll have a much better chance of getting a customer.

If you’d like to know more about how to grab attention with your packaging, schedule a free, 30-minute introductory call today!