More than 48,400 attendees and 2,352 exhibitors participated in the 2014 PACK EXPO International that took place in Chicago this past November. On November 5, Jeff Lukas, National Sales for IML North America, presented as part of the Innovation Stage at McCormick Place in Chicago. During his presentation, Igniting Sales with Market-Leading Packaging, Jeff discussed how product packaging can create change in the marketplace. The type of change could be as simple as a company reinvigorating a tired brand or as dramatic as a company creating a new market where one did not exist before. The key take away – companies that are willing to lead by being the first to innovate with new packaging can realize tremendous benefits. “You don’t ignite sales by just striding water. You are going to be trapped in the water, trying not to drown. We are not talking about incremental changes but being a market leader.”
“The risks of change are high. You will have equipment to change over, a new marketing message, a new shelf space configuration, and sales team to re-engage. It is expensive and risky to do anything different. However, if you do not change, the consequence is far more expensive. Your competitors will go after your shelf space. Then you will need to defend the market you already have by discounting the price that your operations are not prepared for,” says Jeff.
Jeff adds, “You need to ask these questions. Does your current supplier bring you new ideas? Are they a market leader or follower? How fast they can they bring your new products to the market? Doing this exercise is imperative before making any changes. As far as lead time, for a custom designed container, we can have prototype done in about 3 weeks and a complete plastic part done within 10-12 weeks. We are quick to market and in taking ideas to fruition.”
Jeff Lukas also illustrated a few key points about consumer purchasing behavior that food manufacturers and brand owners should consider. “What is an impulse buy? A typical consumer passes through thousands of items within a 30-minute shopping trip in a grocery store. More than 50% of the items they buy will probably be an impulse purchase. Finding the emotional tie connecting to the consumer is the key. Packaging is by far one of the major factors to influence the consumer purchase,” Jeff says. Additionally, what stands out? Different products will be shelved in different sections. Color, shapes, graphics, and fonts on your packaging are definitely key components to make your products stand out. Multiple flavors that occupy a wider shelf space is another key to attracting consumer attention. It is also a good branding strategy to add slots incrementally. The first to be in the market will have higher chance to grab the first-mover advantage and maintain the market share longer. Consider, for example, Apple and Facebook. This trend happens in the food packaging market as well. Even with a commodity product like butter, Land O’ Lakes stepped outside of the traditional packaging and has done a tremendous job of standing out in the butter aisle.”
“Finding what features speak to your target customer is important too. If your product needs to be shake, you can enhance the enjoyment experience with a shake lid. If your products are for people on-the-go, you should design the packaging for car travel convenience with portion control feature. If the products need to be cooked, you should add an insulation feature to help customers use the packaging all the way through the whole enjoyment experience and not being afraid of an overheated container burning their hands. In addition, providing options with different sizes of product benefit consumers too. Family value packs and personal meals with portion-control help meet the needs of the consumer,” Jeff says.