product packaging effects buying decisions

How Product Packaging Affects Buying Decisions

In our consumer age, a products’ packaging often defines the success of its entire line. Products sit on a shelf alongside many — sometimes dozens — of competitors. Consumers make product purchase decisions in around seven seconds. They also weigh around a third of their purchase decision on the packaging alone.

Packaging must therefore allow a consumer to rapidly differentiate between products. This requirement can mean making a package that objectively stands out from others by way of brighter colors or more eye-catching designs, but it can also mean packaging that communicates values to resonate more with that consumer’s niche tastes. For instance, a consumer’s eye might be drawn to the only brown, drab product on a shelf if it reminds them of old-timey products they once enjoyed.

You can learn more about consumer psychology and how packaging can make or break a product line by considering the points below.

Color Tells a Story

One of the first things that jumps out a consumer is the color of a package. Certain dominant colors can instantly communicate ideals about a product. For instance, white is often seen as a “simple” or “clean” color, leading to its use in a lot of cleaning products. White’s simplicity also stands out alongside more colorful packages, so an adult-oriented cereal can contrast with the bright colors of children’s cereals by simply taking most colors out of the palette.

Color combinations matter, too. While red and blue can create feelings of national pride or official-ness, red and green instantly triggers memories of Christmastime. Think about the selective palette you want with a product to evoke certain emotions in this way. Jewel tones can signify a rich but exciting product, for instance, while muted earthy tones indicates a more back-to-basics approach that some may love.

Make Your Package a Gift

Over the past century, mass consumerism led to innovations in affordable yet sturdy packaging. The crinkle of a chip bag or soft sound of flat cardboard being unglued is now familiar to all. But more sophisticated packaging, while having a higher overhead, can pull in consumers and make them assign more prestige to the status of a product.

For instance, the foldable oven-shaped cardboard cupcake container from designer Claudine Hellmuth would add significant costs to a product while making shipping in bulk considerably less efficient in terms of space use. However, in a social media-obsessed age, offering a cute, photogenic package could compel people to not only buy the product over competitors but to also share an image of it with friends, creating free earned publicity.

Other examples of package embellishments that add appeal include embossed foil, boxes shaped in cube-like cartons, packaging windows, and glass or metal materials instead of the ubiquitous paper or plastic.


Coca-Cola raised some eyebrows when they invested millions into variable data printing for their “Share a Coke” campaign, but the results speak for themselves. Millions upon millions of customers discovered newfound delight in a ubiquitous product because it featured their name or a friend’s name on it. Suddenly, a multinational conglomerate brand was able to feel like it was talking directly to just one or two consumers.

With online ordering and variable data printing controller systems, companies can allow purchasers to rapidly personalize their products on-the-fly while introducing minimal added overhead per-order once the initial investment is made.

Step Up Your Product Packaging Game With the Best Equipment for Your Operations

Your process line deserves to be efficient, fast, and cost-effective regardless of how prestigious or unassuming you want your packaging to look. Make the optimal choice for the needs of your market by talking to a manufacturing equipment consultant, who can help you discover solutions for your process line that reduce costs, increase automation, and increase control while making your packaging truly stand out.


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