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Making the Brand/Consumer Connection (and sale) Online

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: July 6, 2009, from the July 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 4 of 9

GCI: What is the impact of online retail on packaging and brand identity? On physical shelves, packaging helps communicate the brand message and make that first sale. Do brand owners need to consider packaging differently when a product is retailed online? If so, how?

Kathleen McNeill: A brand can keep the same packaging. Every detail of the package is clearly visible for our customers online, and we highlight each brand in a custom brand store. This is a great way to create a brand atmosphere and seasonal marketing message without printing costs. To further enhance the shopping experience, brands can also offer advice through video how-tos and demos.

Shawn Tavakoli: The design and experience of a good retail Web site needs to be consistent with the brand identity and packaging. Online, the look and feel of the site needs to communicate the brand message. Beauty Collection goes to great lengths to make sure that consumers have the same experience online that they do at the store level.

Lawrence Mortenson: Packaging for brands being sold online should be the least of their concerns. Brands are in the business of telling and managing a story. They need to be thinking much bigger than packaging if they want to have any degree of influence over their brand. That isn’t to say that packaging isn’t important—it is. But it’s just one piece of the puzzle.

Laura Kenney: Online, it’s the inner packaging that counts. The outer packaging, not so much, as it is often removed to shoot the product. Color also becomes an issue, as colorful packaging tends to pop more online than more ethereal, spa like packaging. On the upside, kits are easier to depict online, as it’s easy to shoot the products outside their packaging so clients can see how much bang they’re getting for their buck. Where as on the shelf, all they may see is the outer packaging of the kit.