Tactile Packaging Increases Engagement and Value

April 08, 2015

Textured packaging used to be reserved for luxury brands, but it's increasingly being utilized in more products to increase engagement. There are a number of unique attributes companies can add to packaging to increase its desirability. Companies are discovering the intrinsic benefits of investing in new innovative techniques and materials.

Packaging elements that introduce a new sense into the customer experience increase engagement with the product, whether it's the sense of touch or even scent. Cathy Barnes, director of Faraday Centre for Retail Excellence, a research center based in the U.K., told Packaging World that a brand's impact increases by 30 percent if more than one sense is engaged in packaging design, and by 70 percent if three are integrated. Despite this, roughly 80 percent of marketing budgets only focus on visuals in packaging.

As new tools and materials enter the market, printers are able to add greater dimensions to their products. In an environment where SKU production is rapidly increasing, finding a way to set products apart from competitors is often a challenge. Embossing, adding texture and other techniques give customers more of a reason to interact with a product, which increases the likelihood a they will make a purchase. In addition, unique packaging elements often increase the perceived value of a product.

Value-added enhancements demonstrate ROI

A new survey from Executive Synopsis took a look at 16 different types of value-added packaging techniques, including UV and special effects coatings, UV and EB-curable inks, embossing, and scented inks. Between 2013 and 2016, the fastest growing enhancements are expected to be spectral databases, metalized substrates, tactical coatings and scented inks. The report found that 93 percent of printing service and trade service providers agreed these techniques increased profitability in 2013. In short, these products increase sales and revenue.

Not only are companies seeing revenue increase as a result of implementing these techniques, studies show that they really work, especially in the personal care market. According to a separate study from California Polytechnic University, customers respond very positively to these attractive extras. To gauge response, the researchers created a mock $50 skin care product and questioned customers about their purchasing behaviors in retail environments.

  • 80 percent of respondents said they will pick up a package when evaluating a new product
  • More than half said that high-quality products are reflected in the decorative packaging
  • 46 percent said that decorative packaging indicated quality, and they would expect to pay more for such a product

The researchers applied three different finishes to the fictional product, including standard coating, soft touch and hi-rise UV, to determine the customers' reactions, also testing to determine whether customers would buy at a higher price point. The hi-rise was the most popular option. However, customers actually preferred the soft touch coating at the 5 percent price increase.

Adding a greater sensory experience to packaging can increase perceived value, and sales. Tactile elements are easy to implement and add significant value to packaging by enhancing visual appeal, as well as providing an engaging experience for customers.

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