Packaging that enhances cosmetic value

Creating the desired emotional connection with the consumer is one of the critical goals brands need to achieve in order to attract consumers for initial and, more importantly, repeat purchases. For beauty and cosmetic purchases, key attributes that engage the consumer are perceived value, performance and style. But how can these factors be supported and advanced by effective packaging solutions?

Enhanced value through packaging 

“Along with the quality and reputation of the beauty or cosmetics product itself, packaging is critical to the perceived value of the product and the buyer’s brand perception,” says Jason Roberts, Business Development Manager, UK at IPL Packaging. “Very often the initial engagement with the product (enhanced by the packaging and its visual appearance) is critical to determining whether a consumer makes a purchase or not.” 

“This means that the outer, secondary packaging needs to be ‘on brand’ and reinforce confidence in the core product. When our packaging designers are able to work with detailed brand guidelines, it allows for more creativity in the packaging design process with the packaging more likely to enhance the core product as intended and attract the intended consumers at the point of sale, or digitally – as is now often the case,” says LB Odendaal, Head of Design at IPL. “If the guidelines are not as detailed as they could be, it might be prudent to relook at these before launching into the actual packaging design process.”

One major consideration for many cosmetics brands is how to create value through enhancing the brand’s sustainability credentials. “Sustainable or eco-friendly packaging will become increasingly important for cosmetic brands as we enter the second decade of this century,” says Roberts. “Value perception for many brands will be improved if care and attention are given to this growing consumer requirement,” he says. “This has led many packaging designers to look at options for dual-purpose, refillable and recyclable components and to re-evaluate what were common material choices.” 

La Mer packaging by IPL

“It isn’t just about how the products are displayed to clients, it is also about the story that the brand is telling their clients. As a supplier we’re consistently being challenged to deliver the ‘wow factor’, as well as a sustainable story,” says Odendaal, Head of Design “But that doesn’t mean doing this without an air of luxury: transparent cellophane made of biodegradable wood pulp, for instance, can add some shiny metallic glamour to the packaging.” 

The environmentally friendly mega-trend has caused a significant shift in packaging design and a move, in many cases, toward simpler, streamlined forms that use eco-materials, mono materials – or fewer materials,“ he says. “Packaging shapes are also resembling more organic, natural forms playing with unique tangible and tactile textures.” 

“Whilst beauty brands will continue to explore refillable/reusable options and post-consumer use materials until these options find long-term positions in brand houses – the simplest path to lessen the environmental impact will be options that utilise less plastic,” continues Odendaal. “At IPL, for example, we’ve investigated and utilsied options such as thermoformed paper pulp and starch-based paper injection moulding.”

“The need to reduce plastic content is easily recognised, understood and celebrated by all levels of the eco-conscious consumer.”

IPL Packaging paper based box

Packaging and product performance 

One can look at the performance perspective from two aspects:

Firstly, in order to be successful, the product itself needs to perform as intended, this goes without saying. However, the packaging also needs to take into account the different environments in which the product will be used. On-the-go consumers require cosmetics packaging to be both easy to use and transport. As global travel resumes and online delivery grows, solid product protection will become ever more important.

Secondly, when it comes to performance in this fast-paced world, one of the highest priorities is to launch products as quickly as possible. “In the fast-moving beauty industry, concept to shelf-ready delivery is increasing in demand in order to capture the latest trends and consumer needs,” explains Roberts. “Speed-to-market has become one of the overarching trends in the beauty world when it comes to product launches and is a major influencer in product and packaging design and development.” 

“Achieving optimal pace of performance requires smartly planned packaging that allows for flexible production and delivery. To achieve this, it is vital to have close collaboration between suppliers, manufacturers and those who handle the packaging,” he continues. “Dealing with a supplier who can vertically integrate all processes from design to delivery is very helpful in making the process more efficient”.

“The speed-to-market factor has definitely altered how brands develop their products and packaging,” agrees Odendaal. Packaging development and innovation processes are moving at the speed of light in today’s market.” 

“This demand for speed is causing brands to think outside the box when it comes to packaging decoration, particularly in the cosmetics industry,” says Odendaal. “A wide range of decorative techniques and customised components can help to effectively express a brand’s personal DNA. But these processes should be effected quickly and efficiently.”

IPL Packaging cosmetic box

Style and substance

On the one hand, brands are exploring a distinctly sustainable directive, on the other hand, the luxury market is booming with unique custom designs and highly decorative packaging that tick the other consumer requirement: style.

“Sustainability in the luxury packaging sector is about quality and truth to material, and less about embellishment – a more minimalist ideal. The idea is that the high value of the packaging comes over in a more subtle way, and the branding is less opulent.” 

“Increasingly, luxury brands are also using iridescent surfaces that shimmer in different colours depending on the viewer’s position and where the light falls,” says Odendaal. “Unique packaging with visual and tactile features such as also offer beauty brands an easy way to create buzz and excitement online via social media. This can be really important for a new brand entering the saturated market we see today.”

Roja Maison box by IPL Packaging

Conclusion

Consumer demands in 2021 are now, more than ever, based on value, performance, style – and packaging that benefits the wider environment. These trends will only continue to gain strength leading to a re-think in design and material choices for cosmetics packaging to be more sustainable, recyclable and refillable; designed and manufactured in ways that fit perfectly into both the sustainable beauty movement and the speed-to-market movement.

Looking into and revising further; we can help major brands to pursue their sustainability goals in terms of their packaging solutions. IPL can assist with guided discussions on how to improve packaging to meet corporate goals.

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