Packaging for the Whole Experience

Written by Bill Tanzer


Whole Foods Markets, founded in 1980 when natural food groceries were far and few between, has the specific purpose of offering unprocessed, healthy ingredients free of additives and preservatives. Would it make sense to bag those groceries in plastic, for a company striving to protect its community and the planet in general? The grocery chain actually banned plastic bags outright, back in 2008.

Does your business cater to an earth-minded market? How are your products packaged?

The Chanel store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago is a high-end boutique. There aren’t any no-frill products to be found here. In fact, even impulse buys will cost minimally $350. So the typography chosen to display products is of course, an elegant serif. If Chanel decided on a clunky, futuristic font or comic bubbles, would the image and the idea match? Even though knockoffs can be found on street corners, no one associates Chanel with the term “inexpensive” or cheap.

In addition, bags should always bear your company’s logo, image or name. Simply stamping your company’s initials on your shopping bags means little to anyone except the company owner. Unless your business is well established, well-known by most consumers, the initials alone don’t make much of an impact. If you took the time to choose a company name or product name, why shorten it or expect someone to decipher the anagram? The market will do that for you when the item or company in question is routinely recognized. (Take IBM or GE. Neither company became famous prior to its well-known initials today. Another example is Hewlett-Packard, a leading innovator when it comes to printers and computer products. No one called it HP until fairly recently.)

Also keep this in mind: many consumers don’t just bring bags back home and keep them hidden forever. Shopping bags are routinely used, for everyday tasks, to shop at other retail outlets and grocery chains, perhaps even your competitors. Not only is this serving a purpose for the consumer but for the original store, as bags with your company logo are a walking advertisement.

Good looking shopping bags are not a luxury, but a necessity, especially if that is what your retail establishment is offering to customers.

May 11, 2011

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