Standing out on the Shelf

Mon Oct 01 2018 /
Andrew Hurley

Standing out on the Shelf

Walk down the grocery store aisle and you’ll find many similar products. Their differentiating feature is their unique packaging. The primary display panel, also known as the PDP is the portion of the package that is most likely to be seen by the customer at time of purchase. The PDP tells the customer everything important about the product to persuade a purchase. In this product, for example, the primary display panel tells the customer they are looking at Tide detergent pods with 3 in 1 power. This allows for product differentiation. Let’s look at a few things that should be considered when designing your product to stand out.

Did you know that when a consumer looks at a package they immediately look in the upper left hand corner, then work their way to the bottom right? This is because we typically read from left to right. It is important to showcase your product and include the most important parts of the PDP in the following areas: primary optical, strong follow, and terminal area. The lower left portion is the blind portion of the diagram as the user does not give much importance to the content in this area of the display panel. Cereal box designers typically apply the principles of how we read to their products. They grab your eye and lead you to the information they want you to see.

In the US alone, there were 21,435 new food and beverage products introduced in 2016. All of these products are competing for consumers dollars. In the sea of packages the key is to signal your consumers amongst all the noise. This is known to designers as the signal to noise ratio. The signal is the information you want to communicate to your audience and the noise is everything else that does not help communicate your message. The higher your signal to noise ratio, the more clearly your message is communicated to your audience. In order to improve signal to noise ratio in designs, you can increase signal, reduce noise, or both increase signal and reduce noise.

To maximize the signal, keep communications clear and have everything in the design work together. Information that is not communicated clearly lowers the signal and adds noise to our designs. Make sure to emphasize your most important design elements and develop a design strategy to make sure all the elements work together. The more you try and fit in a primary display panel, the more the design becomes a lot of noise with low signal. Remember less is more when it comes to effective communication. The rule of 7 states that the prospective buyer should hear or see the message at least 7 times before they buy it. Your marketing message should be repetitive and consistent as:

  • 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact

  • 3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact

  • 5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact

  • 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact

  • 80% of sales are made on the 5th – 12th contact

The PDP is the first interaction a consumer has with a package so it is important for your package to capture someone’s attention before any of your competitors. Design is a key element to get your product flying off the shelf. Ready to learn more about package design? Click here.

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