Packaging Makes or Breaks Brand Loyalty

Retail packaging is the first impression you make with a consumer, so make sure you build a strong branding by choosing a clear and unique design, this will lead to brand loyalty.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” is a wise proverb, but it is not a principal that consumers use when looking for new clothes. As you shop in a retail store, you make snap judgements about the items you see, letting your eyes guide you towards or away from certain items based on their texture, colour and shape.

Consumers have limited attention spans and time, so they rely on sensory cues from packaging to make a decision when buying products, particularly clothing.

According to Forbes Magazine, “Eye-tracking studies show that consumers read on average only seven words in an entire shopping trip, buying instinctively by color, shape, and familiarity of location.”

So since consumers shop instinctively, it is critical to create effective packaging that lets consumers know who your brand is, and why they should choose you at glance. Effective packaging is clear and unique. It builds an emotional connection with your consumers and in-turn if the product inside the package delivers on the package’s promises the packaging can produce a repurchase.

In North America, the packaging industry is worth a whopping $118 billion according to Packaging Distributors of America. It is a big business and for good reason.

Think about some of the world’s most iconic brands — Coca-Cola has red cans and curved bottles, Starbucks has white cups with a green mermaid logo, and Nike has bright orange shoeboxes. The top-selling companies all have something in common: Good packaging is clear and memorable.

Here are the key principals to build brand loyalty through packaging

 1. Make it a simple design

Packaging that has too many colours and words is distracting. As we discussed earlier, consumers are scanning for products and often only read seven words per shopping trip. An overload of text can confuse consumers and deter them from choosing your product.

2. Make it unique and distinctive

There’s a test called the ‘five-year-old test’: the idea is the packaging should be distinct and clear enough that a five-year-old could go and pick the product off the shelf. For example, if you were to ask your young daughter to grab you the cereal with the yellow bumble bee on the box she would come back with Honey Nut Cheerios.

Similarly, if you wanted to buy orange juice, you could ask your five-year-old son to pick up the orange juice with the curved bottle and orange lid, and he would be able to identify Tropicana.

Three major branding trends that are affecting the global packaging industry

Beyond the principals mentioned above, it’s worth noting that globally three major trends are affecting the global packaging industry according to a 2014 Euromonitor International Limited study:

  • Greater consumer awareness of health and wellness: Consumers know how packaging can affect the product’s safety, particularly when it comes to food and are doing their research.
  • Stronger influence of recycling and environmental issues: Consumers value eco-friendly products and consider if the packaging is recyclable when making a decision.
  • Increasing Disposable Income: As disposable income for consumers rise, especially in emerging markets, buyers are more likely to be swayed by luxurious packaging materials and attractive designs.


Packaging is the first impression you make with a consumer, so make sure you build a strong connection and turn first-time customers into repeat buyers by choosing a design that appeals to their sensory cues and follows the principals mentioned above.