Whether it’s a new launch, an expansion of the product range or the relaunch of an existing product for which new packaging has been developed and designed: The packaging of a product plays a decisive role in its market success.
Before any pack test, it is important to set certain objectives and criteria as benchmarks:
What is the exact goal of package development?
Action standards result from the target definition (e.g. conspicuousness, identification of the brand, impression and aesthetics, product expectation, purchase attitude).
Inclusion of the current pack and competitor packs
Development of several packaging alternatives
Consistency with the brand core
In all pack tests, it should be borne in mind that new packs have a hard time gaining equal acceptance compared to the current, familiar pack. At least equal performance would be desirable. For this very reason, it is important to compare all results with the previously established benchmarks. Only then will it become clear that the new pack is likely to succeed more successfully and meet the objective.
1st step for successful packaging: the impact on the shelf
Around 70% of purchasing decisions are made at the point of sale. In the half hour we spend on average in a well-stocked supermarket, we perceive about 11,000 products. That’s six products per second!
The decisive factor for a package is therefore initially its ability to stand out in the competitive environment, i.e. on the shelf. During the test the shelf situation should be as close as possible to the real market conditions, i.e. the number and brands of the surrounding products and the shelf structure for a shelf test must reflect a situation that is largely in line with the market.
This naturally means a relatively large amount of work for the construction of a “real” shelf for a studio test, not least in terms of the cost-intensive creation of dummy packs. For this reason, virtual shelf simulations are increasingly used to save cost and time.
Whether tested real or virtual, one thing remains the same: the new pack has to catch attention on the shelf. It has to be recognized and trigger a buying impulse.
2nd step for a successful package: its expressiveness or communication power for the product and its overall appeal.
After the impact measurement in the shelf test, the test package is presented individually, i.e. without the competitive environment (a good photo may also be sufficient here). In accordance with the Action Standards, standout, likes and dislikes, evaluation of individual aspects (logo, colors, images, readability, comprehension, product expectations, image effect and purchase attitude) are evaluated.
To get a more detailed assessment marker tools are used: With this, certain areas of packages such as the logo, designations, texts, visual elements, etc. can be defined in advance and scaled separately according to liking, and the rating can be substantiated with an open answer.
Within the framework of package testing, price estimations can of course also be carried out, for example by means of a Price Sensitivity Measurement.
3rd step for a successful pack: The implicit measurement of emotional impact and brand fit.
The classic analysis measures the explicitly perceived package impression. This means that respondents make their judgments more or less rationally. However, it’s equally important to do an emotional evaluation.
In order to enable the emotional package evaluation, the respondents are presented with pictures and terms against the background of the test package, which they assign to the package as suitable or reject as not suitable in the shortest possible time. In combination with the classic analysis, this method of reaction time measurement enables a holistic image analysis of the pack, brand and product.
Eye tracking is another method used in packaging research which analyzes whether the essential information of a package, i.e. brand recognition, information content is perceived sufficiently and quickly.
CARES for Packages – The packing test for the ideal packaging
In this conjoint-based method, package features such as shape and size, color scheme, placement of logo and text, and the use of pictorial elements are combined in a specific composition in such a way that their individual importance and benefit for the purchase can be calculated. The respondents see and evaluate complete packages. From the preferences of the respondents, it is possible to infer the benefits of individual package features and their characteristics, so that the “ideal” package can be put together.
A package test provides a holistic analysis of the effectiveness and performance of the individual design alternatives and can benchmark them against each other, as well as against existing in-house and competitor products, and thus determine the best variant for a successful launch.