As you walk down the aisle of your local retail store, pharmacy, or supermarket, you are bombarded with options. It makes what should be a simple task – the purchase of goods and services – more complex.
The way companies design product packaging is just one of many techniques used to influence a consumer’s decision-making process. Done right, it will engage and entice multiple senses. While the sight, sound, taste, or smell of a product may come top-of-mind when you consider what senses attract shoppers to products, touch may be the most overlooked – and most important – in the subconscious influence of consumers.
Touch is an important element used by packaging designers, but rarely understood by the consumer. The tactile element of packaging is important because we often like to handle a product before purchasing it. Research has shown that many unplanned purchases are the result of other senses such as touch. The more you handle the product, the greater chance you will purchase it. When you pick up a product, you are most likely feeling the package and the packaging material, which has been designed by a team engineers.
Consider the concept of soft-touch, a type of film coating that is then converted into flexible packaging. By adding soft-touch coatings to the packaging film, it creates a subconscious emotional reaction, making the product feel more valuable. Consequently, the consumer is more willing to pay a premium for the item. This technique has been successful for personal care products, as companies look for new films, laminates, and chemistries to differentiate packaging.
Another method to create a tactile experience is to create a raised surface on packages and labels. The traditional method used to create a raised surface is embossing packaging film and label film. It is a technique that is widely used in the wine and spirits industry, and is often used for high end products. Another way to produce a raised surface is accomplished through the use of raised tactile coatings on packaging film, which are often called Hi Rise coatings or profile coatings. These coatings applied to packaging film simulate embossing, which is a more cost effective solution.
As you go about your consumer shopping, keep an eye out for packaging that seems new or innovative. Be sure to note that the science of making products more appealing to touch continues; incorporating new chemistries, new methods, and new sensations to our everyday goods and services.