Packaging design in digital transformation

pixelated cola bottle

A guide to successful packaging design in e-commerce

“We live in a rainbow of chaos!” This motto has accompanied us since Syndicate was founded more than 25 years ago. It seems more appropriate today than ever before, as the colourful consumer chaos has increased since then: Our world has become even faster, even more colourful, even more confusing – full of the most diverse products from all over the world. The range of products consumers can buy seems limitless. The Internet has made a significant contribution to this fast-paced and diverse world – and presents packaging designers with new challenges.

This year the concept of the supermarket has already turned 60 years old! Since the beginning of self-service, we have been used to choosing products from the shelves. The decision to buy is significantly influenced by the packaging design. In the course of digitalisation, however, we are ordering more and more products on the Internet which are loaded into the virtual shopping cart instead of the shopping cart and delivered directly to our home. The result: new criteria for purchasing decisions.

See, understand, click

Online trading in Germany already has a volume of 49 billion euros. While computer accessories (41% online share), toys (34%) or photos and books (29%) are already routinely bought on the Internet, the online share of food is currently just over 1%. But at the latest since Amazon has announced that it will also supply food, online trading in edibles is gaining momentum. Experts expect this share to rise to 5% soon – making food one of the most dynamic e-commerce segments. So the time has come for marketers to think about the design of their brands in the digital shopping world.

Design in times of e-commerce

The supermarket shelves with products that can be touched are usually transformed into uniformly white tiled lists with miniature product images in the online trade. On a smartphone, the images shrink to fingernail-sized or at best stamp-sized product images. The problem often begins with the identification of the stamp and ends with the legibility of the packaging texts.

Creatives, get to work!

As a design agency we appeal: Adapt the design to the digital change! In many cases, the packaging design should be completely overhauled, because it must function across all channels: In the web shop and supermarket, but also on social media. We have therefore compiled a few tips for good packaging design in times of online trade.

10 tips for e-commerce friendly packaging design

E-Commerce-friendly packaging is characterized by the following features:

1. The categorization and product description should be consumer-relevant and unambiguous so that the customer can quickly find the product using the search function. It should be noted here that in the future the search will be carried out even more via the spoken language.

2. The brand must be recognizable at first sight! All further information can be found in the product description. Brands with learned visual codes such as colour, shape and layout have a big advantage.

3. A striking and impact-strong packaging design is also of great advantage in the online shop, in order to attract attention at all.

4. prominent and meaningful (variety) descriptions, in a font size that can also be read digitally, are a must.

5. The use of simple, straightforward fonts is an advantage.

6. Generally, high-contrast fonts, illustrations, symbols, graphics and icons should be used. A high color contrast, for example between background and text, increases attention.

7. The packshot should be adapted to the tile shape of the respective online shops of the trade, often squares.

8. To ensure that the uniformity of the images is maintained in line with the corporate identity of the retailer, the retailer usually requires product photos on a white background. The white space should be filled as much as possible in order to optimally display the size of your own packaging.

9. it would be conceivable, as usual in advertising spots, to offer a packshot reduced to the essentials for use in e-commerce.

10. In order to be recognizable as a miniature image on the smartphone, retailers should also be offered an additional, greatly simplified “responsive packaging design”.

In the real world of supermarkets, but also in the virtual world of e-commerce, brand and packaging design is decisive for the purchase decision. In order for consumers to discover their own brand at all, to understand it in terms of positioning, and finally to end up in the shopping cart or shopping basket, a simple and relevant brand message as well as a clear and unique design are required.

The opportunities offered by e-commerce can only be exploited by those brands that know how to make the most of it. For this reason, many brand profiles should be sharpened and product packaging redesigned. The reduction to the essentials is more in demand than ever in the age of e-commerce with regard to positioning and design. “Catch me if you can” is the motto in times of online shopping. Good design can do that!

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