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Within the Lines

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: October 3, 2008, from the May 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 7

Pfaff adds another piece to the function/fashion equations—quality, and states that it is the symbiosis between those elements that yield a high-end package.

Evolving Markets and Distribution Channels

Market data shows that sales for color cosmetics remain flat in mature markets and are growing in developing regions. At the same time, distribution channels evolve to include outlets well outside the realm of department stores, boutiques and chain outlets—Gap, for example. Although these factors may not force wholesale packaging changes for brands as they explore new markets and distribution channels, they do require consideration. “Of course, packaging with its shapes and colors is a fashion and, therefore, a cultural thing,” said Pfaff. “What (works) in Germany is probably out in (the the United States). Just we Germans wear leather pants.”

PolyOne works with its international associates when considering a global brand. “We will ask for their input, because culture plays a role in sales,” said Prusak. “I worked on a global brand seven years ago that contained a color that would be deemed the ‘color of death’ in a specific culture. Needless to say, we changed the package.”

According to Pearlman, the differentiator of a color cosmetic product in developing markets is usually through graphics and not function. Colors and graphics also seem to be the package differentiators for non-traditional distribution channels.

“Most outlets such as Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Body Shop use fairly simple packaging (usually stock, differentiated—once again—by graphics),” said Pearlman. “Once again, you generally do not see revolutionary packaging at this channel of distribution because quantities are relatively small, which prevents high level of investments.”