How Do We Decide How to Package Retail Items?

Clamshell packaging

Have you ever wondered what drives decisions about how things are packaged? When it comes to retail packaging, why are some things in a box, while others have thermoformed clamshells? Read on to learn more about what?s behind America?s packaging choices.

Consumer Preference is the Main Driver

You might have thought that finding a way to save money would be the most important factor driving whether a company uses a custom clamshell packaging or a simple box. But actually, the preferences of buyers is paramount. After all, if the customer isn?t happy, they likely won?t buy. So what are consumers concerned about when it comes to their packaging?

  • Looks:
    A lot of us, if asked directly about, say, the thermoformed clamshells used on theoretical purchases, might cite environmental concerns as our main reason for considering packaging. But when we leave the realm of the theoretical and actually look at a specific item, research shows environmental concerns are important to us; but they aren?t as important as how the thing looks.

    Research conducted by West Rock Consumer Insights shows that 66% of buyers were willing to buy a product just because the packaging attracted them; the same research showed 45% bought something because it had green packaging. That’s a significant enough difference that companies take notice.
  • Environmental Impact:
    We care about looks, but we do also care about the environmental impact of our packaging; and retailers are listening. In 2013, 78 million tons of packaging got produced around the world, and a whole 32% of that ended up polluting. It is estimated that our oceans currently contain about 150 million metric tons of plastic, causing as much as $13 billion in damage every year.

    This is driving increased interest in reusable packaging and packaging that efficiently protects items using the least possible amount of plastic. Some of the solutions include blister or clamshell packaging, which is basically a plastic blister that folds onto itself. Thermoformed clamshells can be made specifically to size, thus using as little plastic as possible, and can even be made reusable.
  • Other Smaller Concerns:
    There are a few other things that seem to be driving our decisions. Not only do we want products that look attractive and seem environmentally friendly, but we are also concerned about things like buying Made in USA clamshells, and we want our retail packaging to be tamper evident, user friendly, but also genuinely protective of the items we buy. If we invest money in something that arrives broken because of inferior packaging, we are likely to not care much about its environmental impact!
  • There are a lot of factors that go into any decision regarding retail packaging. Consider how your choices reflect your values, but also how your choices might be influencing the choices of others!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Sarah Todd

    Sarah Todd

    Sarah Todd, an investment banker, is a reporter and researcher for one of London’s leading media outlets. Formerly a trader and market maker at FTSE, she turned to media during the global recession. This website features some of her best and favourite articles, from all parts of the business world. Please let her guide you and your enterprise along the path to prosperity.

Leave a Reply