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"WeListen" Blog

Common Packaging Mistakes: Research Reveals Consumer Pet Peeves

cpgpetpeeves.pngimage credit: SocialIsBetter via flickr cc

1/6th of a second. Based on a Proctor & Gamble survey, that’s all the time customers spend looking at product packaging in grocery aisles before moving onto the next item. Your product’s visual identity; including packaging colors, font, and materials, plays a crucial role in shaping your customer’s perception of your product and brand.  

Creating packaging that works is the product of time and knowledge. However, even with effective designers and testers, CPG brands can still launch packaging that just doesn’t have the ability to appeal to their target buyers. Avoiding common packaging mistakes can be crucial to the long-term success of your product. In this blog, you’ll learn what research states about the most annoying packaging mistakes, and how to avoid them. 

  1. Too Little Practicality

We’ve all encountered really creative CPG packaging. Abstract bottles or boxes that were a visual treat, but difficult to use. As Packaging Innovation writes, “even creativity has its boundaries.” 

Your packaging must make sense to your consumers. If it appears impossible to open or store, your product might not make it into their carts. If they do purchase a weirdly-packaged item and proceed to spill it all over their kitchen floor, a repeat purchase is pretty unlikely.

  1. Excessive Packaging

Consumers loathe packaging waste. In fact, the phenomenon even has a name, “wrap rage.” Research by British supermarket chain Tesco indicates that 33% of consumers are actively taking steps to reduce the amount of wasted packaging they purchased on a regular basis. An additional 44% are using moderate efforts towards the same goal.

What’s defined as “excessive packaging” to one demographic might not be obnoxious to another buyer segment. Priorities can vary, and many customers are willing to sacrifice some waste for the convenience of single-servings or sturdy packages. However, CPG brands should almost always keep eco-friendliness and minimalism in mind when designing solid product packages.

  1. A Lack of Function

Research by Harris Interactive reveals that 51% of consumers loathe CPG packaging that doesn’t work as intended. This includes “zip locks that don’t reseal properly, plastic films that are impossible to remove...and jars you can’t get the product out of.” If your product is designed for a certain function, it had better work.

Packaging includes a promise, which may be a promise that your consumers can conveniently reheat a frozen meal in their work break room without having to battle the meal’s plastic film cover. Thorough testing is necessary to avoid function errors. 

4. Poor Portion-Size Control

It probably comes as no surprise to CPG marketers, but today’s consumers want convenience and health. Harris reports that “portion control” is a bigger factor than cost savings when it comes to buying single-serve food items versus bulk items.

If your food packages are family-sized and don’t reseal effectively, CPG brands are at risk for a product that's doubly-irritating to consumers. 

  1. Prepared Foods are a Sticking Point

When surveyed on the food items that were most likely to include annoying packaging, “ready meals” came out on top. Between excessive packaging waste, non-recycled materials, and poor function, consumers are least likely to be happy with how microwave meals and single-serve snacks are packaged.With 32% of consumers reporting annoyance over convenient food items, laundry fared far better at just 14%. 

By understanding modern customers’ priorities and pain points, marketers can ensure their packaging is attractive, eye-catching and unlikely to annoy their buyers. By considering ease-of-use, function, and convenience, you can avoid many of the most common packaging mistakes.

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