Why Bespoke Packaging is Key for Brand Elevation and Sustainability Representation in the Retail Sector

Packaging is crucial in every industry but even more crucial in retail. From sanitation to buyer influence, packaging has a strong power to impact and encourage your company’s reputation. In a sector where similar products are on display, rivalling yours, standing out from the crowd is essential. In fact, there’s an average of 29 competitors for each business in the UK market.

Matthew Hall, Marketing Manager at CCS McLays, says: “Packaging is more than the product inside. It is an important marketing tool for your company, as not only does it influence consumer appeal, but it also provides an opportunity to reinforce your branding, providing that the branding is somewhat consistent over time and easy to recognise.

“In the retail sector, being able to stand out has always proved vital, and ensuring you’ve got bespoke packaging that is not only easily identifiable to consumers but also representative of your overall company’s positioning is a must.”

Standing out within the marketplace
Gaining a competitive edge is crucial in this somewhat turbulent industry. Product packaging plays a vital role in gaining brand awareness momentum, encouraging customer purchases and elevating your market share.

Hall states: “As the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute have proven, packaging also can offer buyers a mental shortcut, particularly when they are shopping for low-involvement goods. Products such as Toblerone or Heinz baked beans are easy to notice through uniquely identifiable characteristics such as the shape, colours or copy on the packaging, and this is one of many factors (albeit an important one) as to why both brands have enjoyed significant success over the years.”

It’s not just prior to purchasing where packaging can make a considerable impact. Post-purchase is also a huge opportunity for retail brands to build brand equity. For example, the bold yellow duffle bag has become synonymous with JD Sports, so much so that JD Sports recently developed a marketing campaign titled ‘The Bag for Life’ centring on the famous duffle bag prior to Christmas 2023.

Customer trust
Being a recognisable brand is important for influencing buyer habits. In fact, 46% of customers claim they’d pay a premium for products from a trusted brand. As mentioned, one way to gain this trusted status is through unique, bespoke packaging that customers can easily recognise.

However, trust can also come from finding brands which align with the right values. In fact, 82% of customers claim they’d rather buy from a brand that aligns with their values. Although what customers claim they do and what they actually do may not always match up, your packaging is undeniably an important tool in conveying the values you wish to stand for. For example, your sustainability credentials can be purposefully developed through your choice of materials. With 66% of people considering sustainability when they buy from a brand, this option could ultimately gain the favour of acquiring new customers and even creating loyalty.

Liam Knowles, Director of CCS McLays, says: “Bespoke packaging does more for your brand reputation than you might think. It is an opportunity to both increase your customer engagement and convey the values that you wish to stand for. Sustainability has rightly continued to gain traction for several years within the retail industry, but if you wish for your packaging to be sustainable, make it easy for your customers to recognise that through the choice of materials and supporting copy.”

Drawing online attention
Liam Knowles says: “The magnetism that the right bespoke packaging can have isn’t only useful in-store, but it can actually help your brand identity online too. With online retailers trying to catch customers’ attention through websites, shopping platforms, and even social media, making you stand out is essential.

“You don’t want to use standard, dull packaging that could be indistinguishable from the next. Instead, investing in unique packaging that elevates your brand could make attracting online audiences easier.”

Data shows that 80% of customers in the UK make e-commerce purchases, with this number expected to rise to over 86% by 2027. With new platform shops such as TikTok shop and other e-commerce creations becoming a reality for many, finding ways to penetrate the online market is crucial. Again, it comes down to recognisability. If your customers can easily recognise your storefront, social media, and packaging as all belonging to the same brand, you’re more likely to attract attention.

The retail sector is highly competitive, with similar products coming onto the market all the time. To stand out from the crowd, you need to make it more than just about your products. Your brand needs to be recognisable and consistent for continual customer engagement both online and offline.