21 February 2012
Role of packaging in an online world focus of U.S. study
TORONTO—An award-winning design firm based in Toronto has released a white paper on its own U.S. research study to determine the role of packaging as part of the online shopping process.

The report, Packaging in an Online World, was based on research from Sept. 2011. Shikatani Lacroix, a branding and design firm, conducted the U.S. web-based study of 1,000 consumers who had purchased an online product in the last three months. "The study identified that once the purchase is complete, the role of packaging changes dramatically, and its primary purpose is to protect the product during shipment," reads the report's executive summary.

While the paper states consumers still rely on packaging to make online purchases based on brand, "with the continued growth of online sales, having a prior offline experience with the brand is becoming less relevant."

As part of the survey, respondents were asked what role packaging graphics/structure plays in their online purchasing process. The two most important factors were that the correct product was being delivered (60%), and that the product was being well-protected (64.9%).

The firm also found that packaging does not play a critical role in the post-purchase online experience [in most product categories]. "Although respondents ranked packaging as an important element prior and during the online purchase ... the study identified that in most instances, especially for music and software where the respondents can download these online, packaging that arrived in the home did not play a critical role."

The report concludes that while packaging remains important in an electronic world, "marketers will need to effectively monitor how online shoppers' needs are modifying their reliance on branded packaging as part of their pre, during and post-purchase decisions."

The author of the white paper is Jean-Pierre Lacroix, president and founder of Shikatani Lacroix founded in 1990.

To download the full white paper, visit Shikatani's Design Lounge page here.
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