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Analysis of Packaging Design Form Under the Experience Consumption Behavior in The E-commerce Era

In the current era of e-commerce, various brands exhibit cultural differentiation, yet their products are becoming increasingly similar in terms of attributes. To break away from this trend, packaging design serves as the primary means to create surprises and novel consumption experiences for consumers. Packaging design is evolving to incorporate experiential consumption and social interaction attributes. This article aims to explore how experiential consumption guides the development of new trends in packaging design, taking into account user perspectives and needs. It delves into the underlying logic of experiential consumption and its relationship with packaging design while offering solutions and fresh ideas for packaging design in the e-commerce era.

In the era of e-commerce, consumers exhibit diverse preferences, making their choices elusive. With numerous products suffering from severe homogenization, capturing consumer favor requires satisfying their curiosity through packaging design that incorporates social interaction as its most significant selling point. Social interaction within packaging design brings about enhanced experiential consumption. When consumers utilize or enjoy products or services, they develop understanding, emotions, and psychological connections with the object, thereby generating experiential value. Experience often outweighs the inherent attributes of the product itself, making experiential packaging design equally crucial. According to Nielsen’s “Top 10 Trends in China’s Consumer Market 2019” survey, 64% of consumers decide to try a new product based on its packaging, and the consumption impact triggered by new packaging is 50 times greater than the effect of advertising. These findings highlight the evolving trend of packaging design towards experiential consumption and social interaction.

  1. New Trends in Design Guided by Consumer Experience Behavior

1-1. Packaging Transforms into a Product Fostering Experiential and Social Interaction

In the past, packaging design primarily focused on visual effects and attributes, with designers investing significant effort in creating visually appealing images, layouts, colors, and presenting brand culture. However, as the way people shop has changed, particularly in the thriving e-commerce realm where best-selling and popular products reside, packaging design has evolved to encompass social interaction elements. It has transitioned from merely designing the packaging to designing interactions.

With the development of the e-commerce industry and the consumer market, online consumption has revolutionized the concept of time and space, empowering consumers with greater initiative and enthusiasm. This shift has enabled consumers to actively explore consumer products and content that were previously inaccessible. Consumers are drawn to products with packaging that offers a multitude of new features, transforming them into experiential products that facilitate interaction. Packaging design now incorporates innovative opening and closing mechanisms. Consumers no longer merely open the packaging to retrieve the product and subsequently discard the box. Instead, they engage in an experiential consumption process, relishing the joy of unboxing, savoring the element of surprise, and embracing the product’s usage. These experiences create lasting memories of the brand and foster brand loyalty.

Analysis of Packaging Design Form Under the Experience Consumption Behavior in The E-commerce Era

Tomonori Saito’s packaging design for Shinanji Ishii Garden sweets draws inspiration from Japan’s Zen philosophy, specifically the serene Kusansui gardens. The sweets themselves are crafted to resemble stones, while sugar and black sesame seeds are used to represent sand. To enhance the consumer experience and evoke a sense of Zen beauty, consumers are provided with small lozenges to create ripples in the edible Kusansui garden, allowing them to unwind and relax their minds. This innovative packaging design not only showcases creativity but also offers a unique and immersive sensory experience for consumers.

1-2. Segmenting Target Users in Packaging Design for Experiential Consumption

The concept of the entire e-commerce industry has undergone a significant transformation, shifting its focus towards understanding and harnessing the essence of user traffic. Rather than treating traffic as a mere quantity, the emphasis now lies in refining the user experience within specific contexts and scenarios. The primary objective is no longer to drive traffic indiscriminately but to segment the flow and establish personas that represent “an individual and their consumption scene.” Building on this foundation, continuous optimization of promotions and strategies can be implemented to provide more comprehensive and high-quality services.

Previously, the logic of e-commerce revolved around selling a product and pushing it to reach as many people as possible, with an emphasis on the large number of clicks that ultimately led to purchases. However, with the advent of big data analysis, the sales logic has shifted. It is now focused on understanding the persona behind each purchase, unraveling the individual’s characteristics, consumption scenarios, and associated needs. This analysis allows for speculation on whether consumers have additional related demands. For instance, if you buy an iPad online, subsequent promotions may include accessories such as keyboards, styluses, and protective cases. Over time, the floating banners on your screen will also display information related to your preferences. This approach is a key strategy for e-commerce sales, reducing traffic costs and increasing operational efficiency.

Capitalizing on this opportunity, packaging design in the e-commerce era no longer caters to a broad customer base but rather focuses on segmenting target users, understanding their consumption habits, and creating consumer profiles. Tailored packaging designs can then be launched to cater specifically to these user segments. For example, Crown Danish Cookies segmented its target customers to understand the consumption needs of the young “Generation Z” group and capitalized on their affinity for music by launching the Octave Box gift set.

By aligning packaging design with specific target user segments, e-commerce businesses can deliver customized experiences that resonate with consumers, ultimately enhancing brand loyalty and driving sales.

Analysis of Packaging Design Form Under the Experience Consumption Behavior in The E-commerce Era

2. How Packaging Design Forms Build Experience Consumption

2-1. Creating Packaging Designs that Resonate with Consumers

To truly engage consumers, packaging design must possess value and tell a compelling story. Value reigns supreme, and packaging that compels consumers to keep it even after the product is purchased represents a success in terms of value. By utilizing packaging design to showcase creative ideas and convey the power of design, packaging can transform into a captivating story that attracts consumers. Designers serve as storytellers, and through design, they weave a narrative that connects the product with the consumer. The elements of this story need to be meticulously crafted and enriched, appealing to the consumer’s senses—sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. By leveraging a multi-faceted approach, packaging can capture the attention of consumers.

For example, the honey brand Stabilization from Spain employs a captivating story through its packaging design. The product’s story unfolds on the label, using die-cutting techniques to reveal wings that can be unfolded to recreate the image of a honeybee. This creative design approach reflects the brand’s personality and philosophy, making it an intriguing and memorable experience for consumers.

By infusing packaging design with value and storytelling, brands can establish a deeper connection with consumers. Packaging becomes more than a mere vessel—it becomes a medium for evoking emotions, curiosity, and a lasting impression, ultimately enhancing the overall consumer experience.

Analysis of Packaging Design Form Under the Experience Consumption Behavior in The E-commerce Era
Analysis of Packaging Design Form Under the Experience Consumption Behavior in The E-commerce Era
Analysis of Packaging Design Form Under the Experience Consumption Behavior in The E-commerce Era

22. Interactive package design

Interactive packaging design focuses on the emotional connection between the package and the user, as well as the functional aspects of interaction. Packaging serves not only the basic functions of protection, accommodation, and circulation but also utilizes interactive design concepts to provide personalized and innovative uses. This approach not only elevates the artistic level of the product but also enriches the design language and methods, enhancing the overall consumer experience and promoting consumption.

Interactive packaging design breaks away from the traditional inertia by altering the structure and form of packaged products. One popular form of interactive packaging design is intelligent packaging design, which incorporates intelligent technologies such as barcodes, QR codes, trademark information systems, and sensing elements within the packaging. These elements enable the tracking and monitoring of products, actively intervene to ensure product quality and safety during circulation. The packaging is equipped with feedback mechanisms for temperature, humidity, pressure, and case sealing, among other important parameters. The collected information is utilized, controlled, managed, and processed to optimize the packaging system.

Another example of incorporating new technology in packaging design is the use of Augmented Reality (AR). AR transforms static packaging into a dynamic experience, engaging multiple senses such as vision, hearing, and touch, thereby enhancing product interaction. An instance of this is Coca-Cola’s launch of urban modern cans, which incorporate AR elements into the packaging. These cans exude a high-tech and intriguing aura, with each bottle representing a different city culture. By exploring the secrets and stories of these cities through AR, Coca-Cola provides a captivating and interactive experience for consumers.

Through interactive packaging design, brands can create immersive experiences that captivate consumers, foster brand loyalty, and facilitate cultural communication through packaging. By embracing intelligent technologies and incorporating new technologies like AR, packaging design becomes more than just a static container—it becomes a medium for dynamic engagement and a source of enjoyment for consumers.

Intelligent packaging encompasses the utilization of new packaging materials, structures, and forms. The interactivity of materials focuses on selecting appropriate materials that align with the attributes of the product while considering recyclability and practicality. The processing and production processes should also be taken into account. Intelligent packaging structure involves designing, adding, or enhancing specific aspects of the packaging structure, particularly highlighting innovative opening methods that allow consumers to actively participate and interact with the packaging. Packaging forms with unique and intelligent features can incorporate automation and reliability, enhancing the convenience and safety of the product. It is evident that the experience is a key aspect of interactive packaging design, providing an array of engaging elements that cater to the product experience and the experience of interacting with the packaging itself.

2-3. Lightweight packaging design

One of the major challenges in packaging design is over-packaging, which is a widespread issue in the industry. To avoid over-packaging, several factors should be considered, including the suitability of materials, material costs, environmental performance, and the sensory experience of consumers upon receiving the package. Environmental consciousness has become a fundamental aspect of modern society, and packaging design must incorporate environmentally friendly considerations. Concepts such as “minimization,” “carbon neutrality,” “low carbon,” “recyclable,” and “sustainable” have emerged as mainstream trends in socially responsible packaging design.

Currently, the most easily achievable and widely implemented environmental concept in packaging design is lightweight packaging. Lightweight packaging reduces the use of raw materials, particularly in e-commerce sales channels, where it helps reduce logistics and transportation costs. By minimizing resource consumption and packaging waste at the source, lightweight packaging contributes to a more sustainable approach. Moreover, lightweight packaging offers consumers a new sensory perception and enhances the experiential consumption aspect. It aligns with the trend of consumers seeking environmentally friendly concepts in their shopping choices, making them aware that their decisions can contribute to carbon reduction and benefit the planet. Many well-known enterprises have already developed successful examples of lightweight packaging design. For instance, McDonald’s reduced the use of Pantone spot color by 35% in the design of its drink cups through oil alliance reduction, resulting in significant cost savings of millions per year.

By considering and implementing lightweight packaging design, businesses can not only reduce environmental impact but also improve the consumer experience while achieving cost savings. It demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and reinforces the positive contributions individuals can make through their shopping choices.

2-4. Packaging Design under Experience Consumption

Packaging styling design aims to provide consumers with a physical experience and is characterized by three-dimensional spatial design that combines form aesthetics and practical functionality. The forms presented in packaging design are artificially created after design and production, and they can be classified into two categories: realistic forms and abstract forms based on their characteristics and principles. In this context, we will focus on the experiential aspect of natural forms.

Natural forms in packaging design, also known as bionic forms, are inspired by various forms found in the natural world. This category includes biological and non-biological forms as well as natural phenomena such as plants, mountains, seas, rivers, humans, animals, and more. Materials used in natural forms are often sourced from nature, evoking a sense of primal and pure natural connection. Experience-driven packaging design has a particular affinity for natural forms, and many intriguing bionic forms emerged in the 2020 Pentawards Packaging Design Competition. For example, healthcare products based on mushrooms may adopt packaging designs that resemble the shape and appearance of mushrooms, offering a visually appealing and immersive experience.

By incorporating natural forms in packaging design, brands can create a connection with consumers by tapping into their inherent appreciation for the beauty and authenticity of the natural world. This approach not only adds aesthetic appeal but also enhances the overall experience of the product, making it more engaging and memorable.

3. Cross-border integration of packaging design under experience consumption

To cater to the personalized needs of consumers in the e-commerce era, it is essential to establish an all-encompassing, omnichannel flow that caters to their preferences. By employing omnichannel promotion, products can be marketed through various channels, allowing for consistent brand messaging and standardized services across different platforms. This approach eliminates the constraints of time and place, ensuring that consumers can access the brand through different technologies and channels, creating a seamless and uninterrupted experience. Packaging design plays a crucial role in meeting the requirements of omnichannel e-commerce marketing. It involves cross-disciplinary collaborations and integration, aligning with the concept of providing a comprehensive consumer experience. By adopting a cross-border cooperation approach, packaging design can seamlessly bridge different channels and platforms, resulting in a cohesive and immersive experience for consumers. This approach not only embraces the characteristics of omnichannel marketing but also aligns with the experiential nature of consumer behavior in the e-commerce era.

3-1. Brand cross-X packaging

Driven by the influence of new media, packaging design is evolving to incorporate multiple brands and cultural elements, creating a platform for marketing purposes and offering consumers a new interactive experience that satisfies their curiosity. The collaboration of brands enhances their brand influence and cultural identity, resulting in a larger consumer base with increased loyalty and trust. Furthermore, it may even lead to the creation of new product series. The fusion of different brands and cultural subjects expands the creative possibilities in packaging design and provides diverse interactive forms for experiential consumption.

For instance, to evoke emotions, the popular Big White Free Milk Candy brand engages in cross-branding initiatives. They have collaborated with various brands, such as a joint venture with a cosmetics company to launch the Big White Free Lipstick, a partnership with a fragrance brand like “Smell of the Library” to create a co-branded fragrance series. In addition, they have collaborated with Bright Dairy, a renowned dairy company, to launch a flavored milk product with the slogan “Seven Big White Free Milk Candies equal to a cup of milk.” They have even collaborated with a beverage brand like Happy Lemon.

These collaborations demonstrate the power of packaging design in creating unique and memorable experiences for consumers. By combining different brands and exploring cross-promotion opportunities, packaging design becomes a medium for storytelling and cultural exchange. It not only captures consumers’ attention but also fosters a sense of excitement and anticipation, leading to increased brand engagement and consumer loyalty.

3-2. Packaging for emotional communication

Cross-border integration in packaging design involves creating a deep emotional connection by combining emotional selling points with cultural elements. It aims to evoke consumers’ emotional memories and resonate with their experiences. These emotional elements can be conveyed through the use of typography, graphics, colors, or even specific elements associated with a particular time or occasion. An exceptional cross-border fusion packaging design goes beyond a mere symbol or visual flip; it understands and caters to the preferences of a specific target audience, employing emotional strategies to design packaging that effectively communicates and showcases emotions.

An example of this is the 2021 Pentawards Platinum Award winner in the sustainable category, the redesigned packaging for Xiaomi Yuping’s Zhengda luncheon meat. The visually striking pink color, imagery of meat, and the iconic pig’s nose against a black background create a memorable and recognizable design. This packaging establishes an emotional connection with consumers, facilitating swift communication and interaction, and evoking joyful moments.

By incorporating emotional elements and cultural references in packaging design, brands can create a powerful and lasting impression on consumers. This approach taps into consumers’ emotions, triggering positive associations and enhancing the overall consumer experience. Through effective cross-border integration, packaging design becomes a vehicle for emotional storytelling, fostering deeper connections between brands and consumers.

Design plays a crucial role in product development, serving as a significant component and, in the realm of experiential consumption, moving towards social interaction properties. In the e-commerce environment, the most successful products integrate social interaction attributes into their design. Packaging design has evolved from merely designing the appearance of packaging to designing interactions with consumers. The guiding principle of new experience consumption behavior is to enable consumers to actively participate and establish emotional communication. By creating designs that facilitate interaction and engagement, brands can foster deeper connections with consumers, enhancing the overall consumer experience. The evolution of design towards social interaction and consumer participation reflects the changing dynamics of consumer behavior in the digital age.

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