Retail is a fast-moving and constantly changing space. Keeping up can be the difference between gaining a critical inside edge and falling behind. A large part of this movement — both reflecting it and driving it forward? Retail packaging.
Today’s retail packaging doesn’t just need to meet consumer expectations. It must also differentiate brands from their competition while building familiarity, trust, and loyalty. This matters — a lot. In fact, the right retail packaging strategies can help brands turn discerning shoppers into repeat customers.
All of these begs the question: What’s happening in the world of retail packaging, and how can your brand use that information to position your business for success in the crowded marketplace?
Read on for a closer look at five of the most important retail packaging trends of 2022.
Earlier this year, Sustainability Magazine rounded up its ten picks in global sustainability trends for 2022. Claiming the first-place spot? Consumer consciousness regarding the environmental impacts of their behaviors. Retail packaging is front and center within this movement.
Due to the many benefits of sustainable packaging for brands and their customers, more companies are shifting to adopt sustainable packaging practices. Recyclable cardboard and paper are just the start. Fewer packaging materials, right-size packaging, and water-based inks are just a few more sustainable packaging tactics.
This isn’t exactly news. According to 2020 research from McKinsey, more than half of American consumers are “highly concerned” about the environmental impact of packaging, and many are to pay more for sustainably packaged products.
However, there’s also a caveat. Consumers don’t just want a wider availability of sustainably packaged products; they’re also demanding more transparent labeling of these products, such as sustainability certifications.
Another 2022 trend that goes hand-in-hand with the sustainability push? Minimalism. While this may seem contrary to the imperative to catch consumers' attention, the “less is more” aesthetic appeals to the human desire for simplicity. (Need proof? Look no further than Apple’s sleek, chic product design philosophy.) In fact, on shelves crowded with products screaming for attention, minimal packaging cuts through the noise.
Additionally, minimalist packaging often involves fewer add-on materials and labels, making it a more eco-friendly choice.
Keep in mind that minimalist doesn’t mean obtuse. Your packaging must still convey resonant messaging about the product and your brand.
3. Social Responsibility
A staggering 70 percent of consumers say they’re interested in how brands contribute to addressing social and environmental issues, while 46 percent “pay close attention” to brands’ social responsibility efforts when making purchases, according to one recent survey.
The takeaway for brands? Prioritizing social responsibility is mission-critical. But on its own, that’s not enough. You must also let buyers know about your efforts. Packaging is an excellent opportunity to bridge this gap in several ways.
For starters (and as mentioned above), minimalist packaging demonstrates reduced impact throughout the supply chain. Corporate social responsibility can also be conveyed through packaging using graphics, symbols, and text, such as instructions for recycling the box.
As with sustainability, it’s not enough for brands to adopt more socially responsible packaging initiatives. There must also be clear messaging regarding their social responsibility efforts. Ensure it’s correct, as inauthentic or inaccurate information can do more harm than good as consumers avoid buying from brands they don’t trust.
4. Frustration-free Packaging
Gone are the days when packaging had the singular purpose of protecting products. Today, it's expected to do much more than that and be easier to handle. Driving this trend? The concept of delivering an excellent customer experience means delivering unboxing opportunities that aren’t annoying, stressful, or downright dangerous.
As with all the trends included here, moving toward frustration-free packaging has many benefits for brands, including fulfilling consumer demand for more accessible (and more eco-friendly) packaging, contributing to their own sustainability goals, reducing transportation costs, and decreasing damage rates and returns.
5. Retro Design Elements
Retro design is also having a major moment. With consumers craving simpler times, many brands are responding with a return to their roots.
In addition to giving customers a feeling of familiarity and nostalgia, reverting to vintage designs or incorporating retro elements can be a wonderful reminder of a brand’s rich history. Your brand doesn’t need to date back a century to get in on this trend. In fact, the “90s revival” has been heralded as the biggest design trend of 2022.
Updating your packaging design with retro flair also helps your brand maintain a fresh presence while maintaining familiarity.
To learn more about how Bay Cities can help your business make the most of your packaging to achieve your goals, request a quote today.