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A major office supplies company embarked on a packaging innovation initiative to help modernize and optimize the look of their products in stores. 

Due to a sudden rise in private label options, and competing national brands entering the category, taking a prominent place on shelf, it was particularly important to develop new packaging that stood out on shelf and clearly communicated unique product benefits. And, given the potential investment required to redesign and revamp all product packaging, it was critical to understand how a potential packaging change could impact sales and product findability versus what’s currently on shelves.

The client wanted to understand how shoppers would react to the current and new packaging designs when in-store, but they needed a large sample size to help support their key business decision to invest in the package redesign across multiple products in the category. Additionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, they were unable to conduct in-person research so the research team developed a quantitative online survey to mirror in-store purchase behaviors.  

Problem

An office supply company wanted to gauge the impact of a potential packaging change but needed robust data to support the initiative and have a clear understanding of any potential impact on sales. Additionally, they were unable to conduct research in person due to lockdowns and social distancing restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Research needed to mirror shopping behaviors in-store to help support (or debunk) the need for new packaging. The team was particularly interested in understanding how new packaging would impact overall sales as well as determine ease of findability (or lack thereof) of key products on shelf. The team also wanted to understand how new packaging might affect purchases of key competitors’ products.

The team also wanted to understand if new packaging would be successful at communicating key product claims compared to competitors and the current packaging, or if the new packaging hindered communication of product features.

Result

The research supported that a new packaging innovation initiative could increase sales of the product category – and take share away from key competitors – while still communicating key product benefits.

Research results showed that shoppers spent significantly more time on our client’s key products when shown on a virtual shelf with the new packaging versus the current packaging. Additionally, both revenue and total units purchased for competing products were lower when the new packaging was part of the virtual shelf. This finding supported the team’s need for understanding the impact of potential packaging innovation on category revenue.

Another key finding from the research indicated that the new packaging was more unique than the current version and fit well with the brand. The new packaging also garnered strong positive perceptions of being attention-grabbing, modern, and easy to understand. Category shoppers also agreed the new packaging made it easier to find the key products on the virtual shelf versus the current.

These findings allowed us to provide the client with the recommendation to move forward with the new packaging given the incremental revenue, findability, and ability to clearly communicate product benefits.

Solution

The analytical team developed a robust online quantitative survey that mirrored in-store shopping behaviors to understand the impact of a potential packaging change. 
 
Recent category purchasers “shopped” a virtual shelf with 21 products that included a mix of competitor items as well as our client’s key products. Category purchasers only shopped one of two potential virtual shelves – either a shelf with the current client’s packaging or a shelf with the new packaging. Category purchasers were asked to purchase a specific number of items from the shelf. Once they finished shopping the shelf, category shoppers also had to find a specific product on shelf to determine ease of findability. 

Through an interactive survey, we were able to create an engaging survey that allowed category shoppers to feel as though they were in-store making decisions. Additionally, this interactive survey also had advanced functionality for analysis that allowed the research team to track the number of minutes it took for category shoppers to peruse the shelf and correctly find an item.

Ultimately, using a gamification approach to develop an interactive survey, we were able to confidently recommend a move to the new packaging based on the results of the virtual shopping exercise and findability evaluation. 

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