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Ignoring the “Retail Realities” at your peril

October 20, 2015

One of the most commonly used advice pertaining to marketing is “Breaking through the Clutter”.

The clutter that mostly they address is the clutter in various mediums of advertising. But over the last decade, the Brand Owners have started considering the “Retail Shelf Clutter”.


Walk through any kiosk, supermarket or hypermarket in any part of the world and you can find various brands crying for your attention. To ensure success, marketers should address

  1. Visibility
  2. Shoppability
  3. How Packaging “actually appears on the shelf”

Along with the marketers, Packaging Designers know that Packaging rarely appears as we would like it to be, at the retail shelf. They are knocked over, upside down, facing sideways, partially obstructed due to careless stocking, poor lighting or due to both.

But most of the marketers ignore these as “beyond our control”, “Not our responsibility”, “Cannot help”. With most of the shopping decisions happening at the store, ignoring these retail realities is at the brand’s peril. But how do you tackle these?

Packaging (Shape) Issues

Consider rounded containers. They look great in a controlled environment but in the retail shelf, they could be rotated, which could compromise what the brand wants to communicate. Sometimes, products like Toys have a clear window so that the shopper can have a peek at the product before he purchases.

Also, is your packaging structure in such a way that other products (Worse, your competitor’s brands) cannot be stacked on top of yours?

A typical store shelf is presented below. From the sea of options, how does your brand stand apart? Sometimes the best looking design will simply blend in and become invisible, while a simple design “pops up” better.

Shelving Issues

Do the brand owners & package designers know which part of the shelf their brand will be occupying?

They have to know the answer due to the following factors:

  1. A Package’s location on the shelf has a direct impact on how it is viewed by a shopper. If it is placed in the lower shelves, then the shopper would be viewing the top panel ( lid) of the package.
  2. If the package is stacked along with the private brands, how do you ensure that the package communicates the price premium to the shopper? And how do you differentiate so that you pre-empt the competition at that point?
  3. Often, retailers stock as much as possible to avoid stock-outs and so the side-panel might end up facing the shopper. Is your package ready for this?
E-Commerce: A different ball game

Consumers are spending a lot more money over online-shopping than outside. The days of internet shopping being “just a fad” are over. According to the State of Industry Report, 2017 from PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, 28 % of consumers reported they were willing to pay extra for additional conveniences, creating new opportunities for e-commerce but adding certain complexities as well. 

1. Customers’ priorities have changed

They now want:

    • Safe product delivery 
    • Cost effective shipping 
    • Sustainability (including secondary and tertiary packaging) 
    • Ease of opening the package 
    • Innovative design 
    • Packaging sturdiness 
    • Unique supply chain logistics 
    • Positive customer experience

          There’s a chance of competitors leap-frogging ahead using AI solutions. 

    2.  9 of out 10 people say product images  affect their purchasing  decisions

The image resolution of your products directly affect your ability to generate sales. Don’t be too conscious about investing in a good camera phone. Don’t skip on adding a zoom-in feature. Prospects invest a lot of time in minutely observing the little details of your product before making a call. 

Showing your product based on context is a super-useful tool for a customer to be completely sure about what he’s signing up for. Offering a size chart makes leads to prompt decision-making by your customer leading to quicker order placements. A lot of beauty companies use different skin tones to give buyers an idea of what the product will look like against their complexion.

Less is not more here. No customer has ever complained of being given too much information about what his potential purchase looks like. The more clarity you provide on what your product looks like, higher the chances you have on making a sale.  

Not only are more consumers turning to e-commerce, but they are also spending more money, more often. Suppliers can use social media trends like unboxing videos to keep up with the consumer experience.



ManageArtworks is a Packaging Artwork Management Software that helps regulated industries like Pharmaceuticals and CPG to ensure regulatory compliance of their pack labels. It connects all stakeholders into an automated workflow, empowers users with sophisticated proofing tools that reduce errors and speed up the process, and gives complete transparency to the entire process with approval request tracking, audit trails, and dashboards.

ManageArtworks is available as a ready to use cloud product or as a configurable on-premise solution. Click here to know more.

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