Here we go again, Christmas is fast approaching and the shelves are bursting with seasonal packaging. Are you planning (or hoping) for a spike in sales?
Let’s face it, changing your packaging can be an expensive gamble. More often than not this aspect of product marketing is a last minute idea and implementing can be stressful. In the end of the day will it really get your product in the trolley?
The first time Toblerone replaced the brand name with ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ sales went up by 400%. The trick to seasonal packaging is to do it well. Clever ideas such as this capture the consumers heart. It was a simple, seasonal and profitable promotion.
Not all consumers will be lured with this technique but many are looking for help, overwhelmed with the chaotic shopping environment. Seasonal packaging can be split into two categories: giftable items and impulse purchase.
Likewise seasonal times have two groups:
A. Gift giving occasions: Christmas, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Valentines Day and to a lesser degree Easter and Halloween
B. Prompting occasions: Winter = cold and flu season, January = back to school, December = summer holidays, Spring = spring cleaning
Throughout the year there a few occasions when your product may capture the attention of a consumer outside your target audience. On these occasions the product is primarily purchased for a gift. These times can create a spike in sales and also convert new customers who had previously overlooked your product. When used as an efficient marketing tool products with seasonal packaging can increase sales.
Some seasons in Australia are not well received and many consumers turn off when they feel overly sold to. It is a fine line between appealing to the consumers senses and shoving it down their throat. Consumable gifts are trending more as people become saturated in ‘stuff’. This is marvellous for anyone whose product can be consumed.
Packaging, whether it is a label on box, sachet, bottle, or a printed shrink sleeve or film pouch it is the products ‘silent salesman’. The last opportunity to grab the consumers attention.
For small and medium producers the key is to keep the costs low in creating a packaging alteration. A strategic approach is the best way to make the most of the seasonal packaging opportunity. Firstly, give yourself the edge by planning ahead for the season/s your product is most suited to and offers the biggest opportunity to increase sales. I would say just choose 2 to start with and experiment with different ideas.
Here are my 8 gift ideas to help you lure customers:
1. Use an interchangeable promotion for your existing packaging: ending up with excess stock is NOT the goal
2. Group a 3 products together to make a value pack – this is a beauty industry ‘go to’ but there is no reason it won’t work with any product.
3. If your packaging is a regular format (like a bottle or a box) a sleeve that can be easily removed after the event/season is an inexpensive format
4. Here is a simple one…. take your product and put it in box with a window – instantly it feel like a gift.
5. Neck tags or a sticker can work wonders and allow you to stay true to your brand values. Try to add value with your promotion not add to the seasonal commotion.
6. Even a bow may be enough. Think about it – a gold bow at Christmas, a red bow for Valentines day and pink bow for Mothers Day.
7. You may use the opportunity to introduce a new line in theme with the season to test a new variant
8. Limited edition custom printed seasonal packaging. This is an investment that can give you an edge, just be mindful that you may want to keep the overs and use them the following year.
In addition, humour is a great way to capture the consumer. Think about your target audience and appeal to there sensibilities. Messaging that hits the heart and minds of your consumer can be great tool or hook to getting the purchase over the line. Pay attention to tone of the message. For example, ‘Happy Valentines Day’ is rather dull. A better idea for Valentines Day would be a heart shaped sticker that says ‘You are the apple of my eye’ (let’s say the product is a pear cider or orange flavoured chocolates). Really simple sweet messages that communicate a feeling do attract consumers. Not only that but when you can make a consumer smile they are more likely to remember your product next time.
Consumers like shiny things, not only do they sparkle and they catch the eye, they also look more expensive. It is good news then, that foil and metallic printing has become more affordable over the last few years.
Embracing the seasonal packaging opportunities should be done with gusto and caution. Gaining a competitive advantage from packaging and labelling is not a new marketing trick but it can be a lucrative part of your marketing plan.