How to Lead Holiday Shoppers Down the Path to Purchase
By Jodi Sawyer

Recent research from Deloitte proves that more consumers than ever (50 percent) are planning to shop online this holiday season. With consumers spending less time in physical brick-and-mortar stores, brands will need to work even harder for their attention and loyalty while they are shopping in-store.

The ultimate goal is to capture the technology-savvy, mobile consumer who is spending an increasing amount of time online and multi-tasking across several different devices.

To be successful in this highly competitive retail environment and increase basket size as well as time spent lingering at the shelf, in-store brand promotion must grab the attention of shoppers through unique and creative ways. The more meaningful, informative and engaging, the more effective the promotion will be in motivating shoppers to select your brand.

While walking the aisles and checking out products on shelves, consumers are consciously and subconsciously influenced by their overall shopping experience, which directly correlates to their purchasing decisions. While consumers are walking up and down aisles, brands can stir up emotions, engage consumers, gain their trust and eventually build brand loyalty through the entire brand experience.

Brands are continuously evaluating ways to redesign the general look and feel of their products’ packaging to attract new consumers, improve ease of use, be more sustainable, reduce waste, as well as generate and retain brand loyalty. Increased customization and rapid fulfillment of labels and packaging is required for these products.

When attracting new consumers, brands must first focus on the packaging. The package can be equated to the “first impression” for the consumer – what does your brand stand for? What is your unique brand voice or personality? Why should the consumer choose your product over the many other options?

Through digital printing, brands can leverage unique substrates that deliver sparkle, shine and glow to bring a product to life even while it’s sitting on a shelf. This allows the packaging – and therefore the product – to stand out amid a sea of other advertisements and brands fighting for consumer attention; it differentiates a brand name or product from the rest of the pack. From holographic to glitter-filled and glow in the dark, there are many different substrates brands can use to promote their brand voice to appeal to their target consumer.

Packaging that engages the senses is key when appealing to consumers. When it comes to the sense of sight, two packaging trends stand out: Holograms and black packaging. While holograms are not a new technology, the quality and appeal factor are stronger than ever. Holograms diffract light and can help capture the attention of consumers, drawing their eye directly to the product and away from other products.

The other – and perhaps competing – trend is black packaging. Black packages allow designs to offset the image on the packaging, making it pop. What’s more, with the newest developments in film technology and the design and printing elements, brands can ensure that black does not feel cold or bleak, but rather warm and intriguing.

Specialty substrates like holographic, glitter-filled, glow-in-the-dark, or metalized substrates can provide the same dramatic impact once limited to screen-printing. Rather than using an ink to create a glitter or metalized appearance, printers can instead select films that provide the same aesthetic qualities. For example, films can be color matched to meet specific targets. Similarly, digital printers can use a variety of opaque and translucent inks in conjunction with these base films to create a specialized appearance. In many cases, the most striking results involve covering much of the specialty film with ink, leaving key areas exposed for the effect to show through.

In addition to packaging, there are several other marketing strategies that brands can use to gain the consumer’s attention. One of the first things an observer in a retail environment is bound to notice is that consumers are no longer looking up. Dependence on mobile phones and tablets means that it’s a natural inclination to always be looking down (at devices) and, therefore, the floor. As such, one of the smartest moves a lifestyle brand can make is to brand the floor around their product with the use of attention-grabbing floor and carpet graphics that tie back to the product on the shelf.

In fact, the floor is not the limit. The latest in packaging trends is all about the branded zone. That means branding everything from the floor, to the windows, to the walls, to the shelf, and then (finally) the product. By creating a full immersive and visual experience, brands are creating a store-within-a-store experience that draws consumers’ attention and pulls them toward their packaged good to help generate some serious sales traction.

When used in conjunction with specialty packaging, these methods will further emphasize the brand message as well as complement the look and feel of the packaging. The more a brand connects with each person in its target demographic, the more likely it is that the brand will win the loyalty of consumers and benefit brand owners, brand marketers and film converters alike in the form of increased revenue and business growth.

Through leveraging unique materials in packaging while also implementing complimentary marketing tactics, brands will not only gain, but also retain, new customers. Brands will also have the chance to illustrate and promote brand messaging, prevent competitor encroachment and ultimately lead the consumer down the path to purchase.

Jodi Sawyer is Market Development Manager at FLEXcon, a provider of coated and laminated films and adhesives used in graphics applications, manufactured goods and new products.

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                                                                   December 2016