When you dress the part, customers will be attracted to you; talk the talk, they will pick you; walk the talk, they will always choose you.

 Make Your Product Iconic

According to Simon Preece of Elmwood,  modern retailing and brand design is wrongly predicated on the notion that shoppers make rational, informed decisions; in truth, the majority are purely instinctive and reactive.

Shoppers buy what they see. Packaging accurately represents your brand and gives your product the best possible chance of being selected by letting you engage customers at the most critical moment: point of purchase.

So, how do we package our products to ensure that they end up in the customer’s basket? Always keep in mind the Rule of Three:

Attract, Engage, Reassure.

From entry of the retail space to the point of purchase, a shopper’s experience is largely visual. Consumers instinctively respond to certain stimuli generating emotion and action before their brains consciously respond.

Ideally, brand marketers should be able to trigger a response at this primal level by designing these instinctive reactions into packaging.

Understanding these shifts, consumer triggers, and the all important role of packaging can help brands create powerful emotional connections with consumers and enhance brand equity – the premise of product design.

Dress to Impress

Shoppers are attracted to products that reflect their personality. Dress your product to impress your audience by leveraging on two of the most powerful visual tools – colour and shape.


Usually the first thing to be noticed by consumers. Choose your colours to set a mood.


Use of attention getters:

Cusps – sharp pointy shapes that get our attention signalling fear, danger, caution and even excitment.

Curves – imply safety, softness and comfort evoking feelings of security and encourage interaction.

Tempt Touch

Attraction isn’t enough, shoppers need to engage with your product. For meaningful connections, the package must make consumers feel something; is there eye contact? Can they feel, smell, taste or even get a sense of its functional experience?

Where applicable, provide testers or strategically cut out areas within your package that will evoke senses. Alternatively, use attractive visuals on the pack.

Less is More

Lack of time, limited attention span, and convenience of location are some of the aspects that must be considered when designing your package. Product placement must be within arms reach. Consider size and shape. Fonts must be legible with key benefits and features having prominence.

You literally have seconds to speak to customers. Tell them what the product is, as well as its benefits and features. If they don’t understand all this in less than five seconds after picking your product, it will be put aside and an alternative will be chosen.

Keep it simple and easy to understand at a glance.

Happily Ever After

Now that your product is in the shopper’s basket, how do you ensure that they will pick it everytime they are in the store?

Many factors come into play but like all relationships, lasting connections can only be achieved through constant communication. We must seek to always understand the retail environment, changes in our target demographic and technological advancements .

This will provide the much needed strategic direction for continous innovation efforts that will ensure you attract the right audience and speak their language.