Mintel, a leading market intelligence agency, believes that 2016 will be a battleground for customer engagement as brands intensify their efforts to connect with shoppers through packaging. The company recently identified six key packaging trends that will have a global impact in 2016 for consumers and brands alike.
“There’s a parallel path between brands striving to engage consumers on a more personal level and consumers’ expectations for packaging to deliver that experience,” explains David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel. In the face of stiff competition, brands are leveraging these packaging trends in their effort to engage shoppers.
As brands strive to make product packaging more personalized, watch for more local, special event, seasonal or even emotional messaging that speaks directly to consumers. This year, Mintel says, will be a tipping point as brands look beyond using digital printing for short production runs and utilize it for mainstream packaging decoration.
Time-pressed shoppers are demanding more straight-forward information about the product they are buying and less on-pack clutter that impedes their purchase decision. Mintel says to watch for more “clean labeling and clear on-pack communication.”
Next Generation Rigid/Flexible Packaging
No longer an “either/or” decision, brands are now adopting hybrid packages which effectively combine elements of both rigid and flexible packaging. One of the key drivers for this trend is e-commerce, which is requiring single packages of food products to survive the rigors of being shipped individually for home delivery. At retail, additional benefits include a terrific shelf presence and better stacking.
Packaging to Resonate with Increasingly Eco-Conscious Consumers
In spite of efforts by brands to offer recyclable packaging as well as to reduce packaging, the recycling rate for post-consumer packaging is still disappointing. Given comparable product quality among competing brands, Mintel believes that shoppers will be swayed by environmentally positive attributes such as an alternative use for the package.
A Greater Range of Sizes
Brands will offer a greater range of pack sizes to meet best the needs of shoppers to right-size their purchase, depending upon their use-occasions.
Although still in its infancy, Mintel believes that the next frontier will involve the introduction of mobile phone-engaged packaging that utilizes near-field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth low-energy (BLE), technologies. The goal is customer engagement through customized point-of-sale information and offers that speak personally to shoppers. At present, just a small percentage of mobile phones have NFC capability. By 2017, this will increase to one-third of handheld devices.
What About RPCs
While the discussion above focuses on consumer packaging, RPCs, as secondary packaging, can also play an influential role in boosting consumer engagement. Consider these RPC attributes:
Speaking Directly to the Customer Just as digital printing can target local, seasonal or event-specific audiences, did you know that IFCO offers exclusive merchandising tools to help customize your point-of-sale displays?
Clear Product Information When it comes to stripping the clutter from product communication, what could be more straightforward than fresh produce openly displayed in an attractive RPC display?
Environmental Sweet Spot As for environmental benefits, the positive record of IFCO RPCs resonates with shoppers once they find out how they how they stack up against corrugated container alternatives. RPCs use 92 percent less water, create 82 percent less solid waste, and use 49 percent less energy.
A Range of Pack Sizes Supporting a variety of consumer pack sizes is no problem for RPCs, which come themselves in a range of standard sizes. They can be readily stacked and cross-stacked to build solid and stable loads for delivery to the DC or retail.
Mobil-Ution As for mobile-ready NFC communication, certainly RPCs will have the potential to work in unison with such systems, as the market continues to emerge. 2D/QR barcode marked reusable containers have proven successful in an initial NFC marketing test by a soft drink producer.
Bottom line, customers increasingly not only for great value, but also a personalized experience, clarity about what they are purchasing, and confidence that they are buying products that have environmentally responsible packaging. IFCO's RPC and related merchandising solutions combine to deliver just that.