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Preparing your brand for a ‘new world order’
Engage Research | August 1, 2012
The times, as Dylan once sang, they are a changing. Waitrose has just reported record sales of product via its click & collect service, whilst industry bible, The Grocer, have been reporting that supermarkets have not only been ramping up their Click & Collect services but are also now looking at extending it to non-food items. The publication suggests this could herald the dawn of the grocery drive -thru. This may seem a peripheral development for brands, being as it is more closely connected with the relationship between retailer and shopper, but there are implications and factors to consider. If there is an increased or steady move away from in-store shopping towards delivery or click & collect, product packaging may need to be adjusted to take this into account. Implicit in packaging design at the moment is the combination of front of pack short cuts with more detail on the side and back of pack which are intended to be more actively read and consumed by people who want to know more. If you are not physically seeing the product, you will not have access to this greater detail, the absence of which could influence your choice of brand. This is unlikely to have much of an implication for products that either do not require considerable thought or brands so instantly recognisable as to need more detail (e.g. Kit Kats, Whiskas, Tiger beer...). However, transfer this to a pro-biotic yogurt or a cholesterol-reducing low fat spread, where the choice may require more active thought, then the way the product is presented online versus on-shelf may well impact on how people shop in these categories. By replicating on-pack information but purely as text on a web page, makes it appear strangely out of context and leads to interaction with the brand, without actually seeing any of the branding. More often than not, all you get is a picture of the front of pack. This lack of product shots is a missed opportunity when you are dealing with consumers conditioned by Amazon and Ebay shopping to expect photographs of every single product component from every conceivable angle. We constantly hear from consumers that they like see-through packaging because they like to see what they buy. And often clients can't deliver that because of cost and technology constraints of making that sort of pack. But online they can do it every single time. Yet few do. And then there’s the unpredictable way products are described. A search of salad dressings produces this enticing product description for a Mary Berry product : “While every care has been taken to ensure this information is correct, food products are constantly being reformulated and nutrition content may change. We would therefore recommend that you do not rely solely on this information and always check products labels !”. Whilst other brands (e.g. Green & Black chocolate) have OTT product description essays which surely no consumer will ever read. So brands will need to give active consideration to how their products are being represented in the online shopping environment (size of the image, product details, juxtapositions) as new rules will emerge about how consumers’ respond to new brands or even brand extensions.
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