Packaging is much more important than you might think. It is the link between the product and the customer, and presents a sort of preview of the content. It’s not for nothing that when launching a new product, research agencies make sure of the quality of the product itself by carrying out blind tests, in which consumers evaluate the product without seeing the packaging. This is because the outward appearance of the packaging can so strongly condition the customer’s experience, even when it comes to a product that is not yet widely known and that has not yet been advertised.
What is packaging and its function?
Packaging has “transitive properties”, which means that the qualities of the packaging are “passed on” immediately to the product. Let’s look at it with a practical example. The difference between a sandwich in cellophane and one in recycled paper is clear to everyone. The latter type of packaging suggests that the sandwich will be artisanal, less “industrial”, and more natural, like the paper. This is why sustainable packaging is now so widespread in the food sector, not only because of things related to current legislation, but also and above all because the products end up more attractive.
What are the most suitable products for sustainable packaging?
Sustainable packaging can be relevant especially for products that are purchased on impulse, such as consumer products. Things like a high-end smartphone or diamond jewelry require careful consideration before purchase and so the appearance of the packaging does have the same effect. But out of an unbranded shampoo and a branded one with an attractive design on the bottle, which one will the consumer choose?
The psychology of the consumer.
Therefore, before “dressing up” a product, let’s ask ourselves: what is the buyer of a cosmetic product looking for? They’ll definitely be a person in search of beauty and harmony, who loves to feel good and receive the approval of others. These are excellent reasons to think that they will appreciate sustainable packaging.
The importance of social proof.
Among the kinds of leverage available in contemporary marketing there is social proof, or the enjoyment of making universally endorsed choices. This is a phenomenon that affects small businesses, as has been well described by Forbes. In the present era, sustainability is a strongly trending topic, and has currency in all social strata and generations, especially the young. It is therefore worth taking this into account.
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What are the functions of sustainable cosmetics packaging?
There are at least three situations in which it is a good idea to use eco-friendly packaging for cosmetic products.
- It is a natural choice when a significant proportion of the product’s ingredients are naturally sourced, when it is directed at a young audience, or when it presents itself as a novelty
- It helps during transition periods; for example, when the formula is still improving, but the company wants to show its positive intentions with respect to environmental issues.
- Finally, sustainable packaging is an excellent help to products that cannot yet claim a high percentage of naturally sourced ingredients, precisely because of the transitive property that we described before (if the packaging is natural, the product probably will be too).
What is the difference between normal and sustainable packaging for cosmetics?
Given that packaging is the main source of leverage, being visible to everyone, sustainable packaging represents a higher-level choice, which can bring additional benefits to cosmetics companies.
- Sustainable packaging can be used in the online shop or in delivery sales. Receiving a package made of cardboard or some other environmentally friendly material immediately gives a positive impression. Remember that the recipients will have to dispose of the packaging in sorted waste bins, . Finding themselves with sustainable packaging will facilitate this positive impression.
- Another interesting point is on delivery to points of sale. Today, thanks to social media, it is now possible to show everyone the green process “behind the scenes”. For the reputation of the company, it will be great to be able to show that all deliveries are made with respect for the environment.
- All people who come into contact with the packaging can see what it is and draw (positive) conclusions about the image of the company. Each of them is a potential customer. For this reason, the importance of sustainable packaging should never be underestimated.
Taking into account the collective outlook.
According to a study reported by Repubblica 46% of consumers are influenced by the environmental impact of packaging when choosing products. Another interesting fact: 48% have stopped buying products with too much packaging.
From a Nielsen survey reported by the same article, 46% of Italians think that the design of the package can be dispensed with, while 40% believe they will always change brands in favor of green packaging.
Is sustainable packaging visually appealing?
When a company wants to evoke an atmosphere of pampering and luxury, recycled cardboard seems the last choice. In reality, sustainable packaging does not mean giving up on aesthetics or a sense of luxury. Today there are innovative materials and advanced techniques that facilitate great aesthetic results and at the same time allow the company to boast a commitment to the environment . In short, it is possible to satisfy customers’ desire for both beauty and eco-harmony with the same packaging material.
What words to use on sustainable packaging.
When the company takes action beneficial to the environment it is good to communicate that fact, even and especially if this commitment is not immediately perceptible to the public. To emphasize the choice of sustainable packaging it is important to communicate it on the packaging, and to follow 3 rules:
- Truthfulness. For example, do not write “100% recyclable packaging” if the percentage is 99.5%.
- Precision. No to generic phrases such as “eco-friendly packaging” (or “green packaging”), which could come into conflict with legislation. Communicate specific information and use your imagination on different matters.
- Completeness. If the eco-sustainable packaging boasts certifications, use the symbols provided by the certifying body .
- Recognizability. Pictures are understood faster than words. For this reason, including professional graphic design can communicate the product’s benefits for the environment in just one symbol. By creating several icons, you can indicate various things about the packaging (for example that a bottle is recyclable or made of recycled plastic), but also any positives of the product (for example that it’s made of 98% naturally sourced ingredients). Using such icons, the company will have a code to quickly communicate its commitments.