While home delivery and pick-up has provided consumers with new convenience and efficiency, retailers are facing increased costs, and decreased margins, to pick, pack, and deliver those orders to a consumers’ home or trunk. These costs are being passed on to brands who are already facing increased expenses for higher shipping and material costs.
Brands are now faced with the delicate balance of creating lighter packaging to help reduce shipping costs as well as utilizing sustainable materials - all while also creating packaging that will appeal to their desired consumer audience.
How AI can help brands strike the cost, implement sustainability, and visual appeal balance
Consumer expectations around online brand and retailer experiences have never been higher, in part because ecommerce activity has dramatically increased, and many more brands are selling online. Algorithms and machine learning have made consumers accustomed to personalized experiences when they stream content, scroll their social media feed, and visit online marketplaces such as Amazon.
To get an indication on how consumers will react to a new or redesigned packages and products, traditionally brands have needed to invest in expensive research projects that often take months to complete, have limited options for respondents to review, and are subject to bias.
Predictive AI-based image analytics provide brands with the ability to quickly understand consumer expectations at the speed and precision of ecommerce. It gives brands, marketers, and insights professionals the capability to test and optimize packaging designs in real-time, allowing them to assess the effectiveness of potential packaging designs and visual concepts for a consumer audience in a matter of seconds.
Using machine learning based on millions of real-world interactions with visual content online, new predictive image analytics can assess how an image will perform across channels – giving brands the ability to select packaging designs that are most likely to motivate their target audience to take action. This technology advantage also gives brands the ability to understand what cost and material trade-offs are needed before they ever begin to manufacture.
Visual packaging trends across consumer goods categories
When it comes to packaging, brands must implement innovative ways to secure the attention of consumers within saturated and competitive markets. To understand the types of insights brands can expect from predictive AI-based image analytics, current trends across distinct product categories can be observed.
Online snack shoppers, for example, prefer product packaging with highly saturated and vibrant colors and designs compared to product packaging with desaturated background colors. Brands including Fruit Roll-Ups, Gushers, Funables, and Betty Crocker all use vibrant colors within their fruit snack product packaging.
When it comes to the spirits and liquor industry, brands whose labels contain detailed black and white illustrated graphics capture more online consumer attention and have a higher likelihood of converting digital shoppers. Brands including The Kraken, Espolon, and Captain Morgan currently utilize these product packaging design techniques.
While it’s particularly important for food and beverage brand packaging to attract consumers, all industries are faced with competition. Take the pharmaceutical industry for example - it's critical for product and packaging designs to outshine competitive offerings. Online Over-The-Counter (OTC) shoppers prefer blue packaging elements, and high contrast or highly stylized product bottle caps. Products with high contrast or highly stylized caps include Robitussin naturals, Vicks Nyquil, Mucinex all in one, and Kroger brand daytime severe cold & flu cough syrup, while products with blue packaging elements such as Mucinex Day & Night Children’s Cold Liquid and Vick’s VapoShower, are also deemed highly effective.
Bringing new agility, precision, and collaboration to consumer good design and supply chain teams
With consumer goods organizations charged with bringing products to market faster, and cheaper than ever before, a deep understanding of customer preferences and how those preferences translate into costs and profit margins is required. AI-based predictive image analytics make conversations between design and supply chain teams more productive, and packaging selections more informed. Using data to back decisions, both teams now have a shared understanding of how consumers will react to packaging materials, shape, textures, and composition. With this shared understanding, supply chain and purchasing teams can more accurately estimate packaging costs while having the ability to quickly re-test concepts in a matter of seconds.