Retail Packaging Trends and Future Forecasts
A Q&A with Glenn Grosskopf, Vice President of Packaging Innovations, Colbert Packaging Corporation.
By: Elisabeth Cuneo, Editor
Packaging Technology Today: As a leading manufacturer of folding cartons and paperboard products, what can you tell me has changed in this segment over the years? And how will it continue to change and adapt to industry trends?
Grosskopf: Paperboard packaging has become more complex as companies are looking for new and creative ways to distinguish themselves. This requires higher demand on packaging development and equipment functionality. Companies want more than a traditional straight tuck carton today. They want innovative paperboard packages with interesting features, specialty inks and coatings, and holographic and other special effects that provide higher appeal. This trend will continue, and it will evolve. In order to remain competitive in the marketplace, companies will have to adapt to the changing needs of their customers.
The other big trend we are seeing now is the instant gratification in today’s “Amazon world.” As a society, we want everything NOW, which requires packaging converters to reduce lead times and increase throughput. Creating efficiencies is crucial to meeting customer demands.
PTT: How important is an eye-catching package to the retail space?
Grosskopf: This is extremely important. To expand upon above, everyone is looking for attention and market share. Package design is often just as important as graphic design in helping products stand out in the retail aisle and draw attention away from competitive products. If your product position is on the bottom shelf, how do you draw the customer’s attention to your package? You need an eye-catching package with a great design that is going to grab attention and make them look down and pick up the product.
PTT: In your opinion, what are the top three things a packager should do when considering developing (or updating) their package?
Grosskopf: Again, it’s critical for companies to ensure the package will help their product stand out in the sea of competition. It’s also important to design a package that won’t cause frustration or injury to customers in the process of opening the package. I would say the top three things to consider are an eye-catching design, the user’s experience with the package, and in the pharma space, it’s all about adherence.
PTT: Speaking of adherence, how does compliance packaging help consumers use the product more accurately?
Grosskopf: Government compliance and patience adherence sometimes combat each other, making it difficult to develop a package that is user-friendly but also meets the stringent government regulations placed on the pharmaceutical industry. We have a lot of experience in developing packages that accomplish both successfully. When we’re developing new patient adherence solutions, we’re always looking at the package from the customer’s perspective. User experience is so important with adherence packaging. The customer needs to understand precisely what they need to do and when they need to do it.
PTT: Since you mentioned Amazon, will brick and mortar stores ever go away, and if so, how will that affect the packaging of common goods?
Grosskopf: I hope not. That could ultimately be the demise of the economy. What happens to all those employees, where do they go? We hear and see of more and more brick and mortar stores closing their doors every day, but I can’t see a day when they’re all gone, at least not in my lifetime. Brick and mortar stores still play an active role in our society. However, as an increased number of consumers turn to online options, packaging requirements are certainly reconsidered. That’s when we start looking at packaging that plays dual roles, both housing the product and serving as the shipping container. In this case, it’s all about compact, self-contained, frustration-free designs that are sturdy enough for the shipping process but also easy to open. It has to be more than just a plain brown box, though, since companies still need to be able to leverage the package to promote their brand and message. Many online retailers also need to consider the return process, and how their product will be re-boxed and shipped back to them.
Comply pak: User experience is so important with adherence packaging. The customer needs to understand precisely what they need to do and when they need to do it.