The packaging of the future will need to adapt to the demands of sustainability, innovation and ever-changing design trends, in addition to rising to the challenge of omnichannel packaged product sales.
Let us take a look at some of the challenges that packaging will have to tackle over the next few years, focusing in particular on the blending trend, towards which the future of packaging is undoubtedly heading. At SP, we are not just manufacturers of high-performance materials and packaging; we aim to find the answers to delivering packaging that can shape purchase decisions.
THE CONSUMER TRAITS THAT WILL SHAPE HOW THE PACKAGING OF THE FUTURE IS DESIGNED
Omnichannel solutions are no longer just an option; they are a must for any business that wants to sustain its sales figures. As consumers traversed the toughest months of the Covid-19 lockdown, many of them turned to digital channels for the very first time, prompted by concerns for safety.
Now, those customers have not entirely deserted the digital channel; they continue to use it in conjunction with more traditional ones, and this means extra work for brands. On the one hand, companies need to deliver uniform solutions for all their customers, irrespective of the channel, even in key areas such as aftersales support. Messages need to be coherent across the board and must not obscure the brand image.
On the other hand, customers demand commitment to sustainability, proximity, a circular economy, recyclable packaging and much more. Access to smartphones means that potential customers have all the information they need quite literally at their fingertips and companies need to take a wide range of factors into account.
No matter how hard a task it may be, packing necessarily has to be designed to reflect all of this because, over and above the quality of the product itself, packaging is the predominant physical brand ambassador.
PHYGITAL PACKAGING: THE HYBRID PHYSICAL AND DIGITAL EXPERIENCE
Phygital (physical + digital) is the term used to describe the fusion between digital and traditional channels. The Australian design agency Momentum came up with the term and, like everything else, the packaging of the future will need to be aligned with this physical and digital fusion.
Phygital packaging can deliver hybrid experiences, providing customers with endless advantages and benefits. When we select our purchases, we need to experiment with our senses, we need to touch and smell and we want the ease and freedom of doing so online.
How can we satisfy both needs? This is where phygital comes into play. Phygital packaging needs to gives purchasers everything they are looking for from a sensory and emotional point of view, and also giving them quick and easy access to all the product or brand information they can get online.
When the phygital concept is integrated into marketing strategies, packaging can give users access to a wide range of information (and entertainment) whilst also accounting for the emotions implicit in walking down a shopping aisle or receiving an online purchase delivery. The packaging of the future must master blending but avoid sending out incoherent messages about the brand, its image or its values.
THE PACKAGING OF THE FUTURE WILL BE MORE SUSTAINABLE
In addition to the intricacies of phygital packaging, packaging sustainability is now on trend. Moreover, it will become a necessity underpinned by regulations to ensure that, in the not too distant future, all the plastics on the market have a range of characteristics that make them more environmentally friendly.
At SP, we have developed bio-based, compostable and biodegradable materials. They feature components such as vegetable fibres and, when they disposed of in the right way, they decompose and return to the Earth as nutrients. However, if businesses want the customers in shops and the ones filling their virtual trolleys to perceive all these characteristics, the packaging needs to work for both channels.
Designing and integrating features such as QR codes or augmented reality (on product or brand social media, for example) can give customers the chance to truly understand what they are buying, how it has been made (including the packaging) and what the company is doing to be as environmentally friendly as possible. The purchasing experience of the future is phygital and, at SP, we will continue to keep tabs on all industry updates. Find out more about this and other upcoming packaging trends in our posts and news updates. Find us here!