Even before the challenges of 2020 and 2021 hit all of us hard, the world of retail was competitive enough already. Every single retail operator knew that while product differentiation, customer service and engagement, branding, and so many other factors would be their hawk-like focus each and every day – but now, focusing just on the bare basics would simply not be enough. With physical retail outlets facing an uncertain future, and small operators scrambling to improve their online offerings, it is now all about bringing those little details to greater and greater prominence. And the big standout amid those little details? It’s your retail packaging.
Think about those moments when you were looking forward to your product – and you finally have it in your hands. Like a kid at Christmas, the physical packaging itself is often just as much of a treat as the cool thing that is inside – or at least it should be. But while in the past the small operators would have to be content with second best to the big brands who stun and impress with their powerful packaging prowess, it’s now within everyone’s grasp thanks to truly impressive retail packaging innovations that are fit for our post-2020 world. Let’s explore a few of the most important:
With so much of retail moving into the online realm in 2020 and beyond, this convenient trend that keeps business moving and customers consuming is only speeding up. For some of the new online adopters, the realisation that extra packaging protection that complements even the slickest and most innovative packaging ideas or needs is only just hitting home – to protect not only the customer’s precious buy, but also the business’ precious reputation.
Take some of the latest double-sided tapes as just one example. While it’s always been a great packaging solution for a seamless look and performance, it wasn’t always fully up to the job in terms of the aesthetics, the materials, the strength, the durability, the contaminant resistance and the user-friendliness. Some of the latest double sided tape offerings, though, are truly fit for this impressively technological world, featuring innovations like carbon nanotubes for powerful, flexible, self-cleaning properties that stick to any packaging surface just the way you need them to.
Another big buzzword in our post-2020 world is ‘green’ – and the retail packaging innovators know it all too well. The good news is that while recyclable, re-usable, ethical packaging may sound a little limiting, in the real world the sky is actually the limit.
For instance, some retailers are turning packaging into return envelopes, while others are creating fun folding activities for customers to do with your packaging, or adding something like a mirror or a more widespread practical design to make it usable around the house. There are wine boxes you can use to hang a plant, video game packaging you turn into a board game, interactive packaging to make your customers smile – and the list never ends if your imagination takes the trip with you.
As you can no doubt tell, the message is pretty much just as important as the packaging itself – and perhaps even more so. So while it has to impress in terms of protection, differentiation and quality, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you also boasting that you’ve achieved all of that with your packaging whilst remaining committed to – for example – recycling and the environment.
Even items as apparently niche as those double-sided tapes we mentioned earlier no longer have to be derived solely (or at all) from fossil fuel materials, and the prices for those eco-credentials like biodegradability or recycling-friendliness are also now highly competitive.
Never forget: retail packaging is not just how you hand over custody of your precious products and services to your invaluable customers – it’s you wearing your brand’s very image, reputation and heart on your sleeve. Is it time to bring your packaging up-to-date with our rapidly changing world?