Packaging Consistency Key To Consumer Trust In CPG Brands

Each time a new package is designed for a food or beverage product, brand leaders must ask themselves if they’re giving shoppers what they want. Is this package what shoppers expect? Are they meeting shoppers’ desires?

As shopping behaviors and the path to purchase have been disrupted by online and mobile shopping, shoppers’ expectations of the product experience are also changing.

A recent report, “Packaging and the Digital Shopper: Meeting Expectations in Food and Beverage” asked shoppers about their expectations. Forty-seven percent expect that the item they ordered online will look exactly the same when they see it in person.

And although 37% say that it’s OK to have “minor variations” between the online image and the package they receive in the mail, only 9% are fine with a package that arrives with different colors or imagery.



If consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies fail to meet shoppers’ expectations, returned products are the outcome. Thirty-four percent of shoppers surveyed had returned a product that they had purchased online because of the packaging.

These returns can be costly; according to the “2017 Customer Returns in the Retail Industry Report” by Appriss Retail, $351 billion worth of products were returned in 2017. To put that number in perspective, there were $4.99 trillion in retail sales in 2017, according to Statista; this means more than 7 percent of all sales were returned. 

But why do consumers shop for food and beverage products on the internet?

Nearly half of shoppers buy online because they want a better price, while a third want to avoid store lines or simply can’t find a product locally. About a quarter of shoppers buy online because the item is too bulky to carry out in person, while about 20 percent say that they don’t have time to go to the store.

Mintel believes that a big barrier to online purchases is the shopper’s desire to see the product before they buy it. This means that brand leaders must work closely with design, marketing and ecommerce to ensure high quality imagery of product and packaging are readily available on ecommerce sites.

Implications for collaboration

Above all, to ensure shopper satisfaction, the packaging must be aligned with ecommerce and marketing. The best way to do this, I believe, is through adopting the best tools and practices for collaboration. When companies digitize their communication and tools, they can start automating tasks to remove errors and save time and cost.

For example, linking the text from packaging files with the data that feeds ecommerce sites, instead of simply uploading a picture file, allows shoppers to better “see” the contents of the package and allows products to be more searchable online. The ingredients and nutritional facts do sell the products for the brand, but only if they are legible by humans and computers.

CPGs can also leverage print quality solutions and programs to catch errors, ensuring that no low-quality packages enter the supply chain. Many companies still rely on the human eye for this, but digital tools are not susceptible to human fatigue and can eliminate embarrassing mistakes to make their way into shoppers’ hands.

After considering the research in packaging report,  CPG companies must ask themselves some important questions: Are we being consistent? Are we giving shoppers all of the data they desire? Are we using the best technology to make our company more productive? To leave any of these questions unanswered is to risk leaving shoppers unsatisfied and missing the high mark of their expectations.  


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