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Tapping Consumer Instincts for the Holidays

Contact Author Lisa Doyle
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  • Great seasonal packaging must be more than simply beautiful; it also must offer extra value.
  • Premium packaging for the holiday season brings strong visibility to brands, which use the opportunity to present different products from a line in a single package.
  • Packaging should be attractive and provoke an impulse purchase, and the design must be legitimate and reinforce your brand.
  • Packaging trends are evolving into a new type of luxury that is less ostentatious and more subtle, with very sophisticated printed décor.

You can expect that shoppers will judge a product by its package; this is even more evident during the holiday shopping season.

Previously: A Different Face for Different Seasons

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“A lot of consumer behavior during the holiday season is driven off impulse and instinct,” says Chip Meyers, sales manager of Imex Packaging. “Making the effort to stand out and deliver a message of differentiation and value in a split-second will move product in a reactionary buying environment.”

He adds, “It is not enough to have a better product or even more attractive packaging; everyone is raising those bars. The battle for shelf space is not getting easier.”

So, how can savvy beauty brands translate this knowledge into more gift set sales during the holiday season?

Further reading: Packaging as Added Value

Added Functionalities

Great seasonal packaging must be more than simply beautiful; it also must offer extra value. “Brands are asking for packaging that has added functionalities, that creates strong perceived value for money, like eco-friendly and reusable packaging that has a second life or another use,” says Karen Vogt, director of creation, Cosfibel Premium.

One example of a package offering a true second purpose is Lancôme’s Beauty Box, a sophisticated red, mod-inspired vanity case filled with cosmetics and fragrance, and perfect for the giftee to use as a travel make-up case in the future.

“Our promotional luggage enters this realm in that we make spectacular, esthetically attractive and reusable containers that really reinforce the brand visually,” explains Vogt. “These can be reusable toiletry bags in which the products can be presented, or bags or pouches that contain a make-up offer.”

Reusable and Memorable

When it comes to eco-friendly packaging, there are a few different qualities that make it so. It can be made of sustainably-sourced, green or post-consumer recycled materials, and be recyclable or reusable, thereby eliminating the need for waste. Both of these categories have been gaining traction over the years, and you can expect to see them in full force this holiday season.

Ticking both the green and reusable checklist is Imex’s C126 Custom Bag, featuring clear PVC in the front of the bag and natural hemp in the back.

“Gift with purchase and reusable packaging—especially when branded well—allows companies to continue promoting the name after the conveyance of goods and even after the product is consumed,” says Meyers. 

Elegant Extras

Premium packaging gives the shopper a sense that she’s getting what she’s paying for—and the importance of this can’t be underestimated in a competitive holiday season.

“Premium packaging for the holiday season brings strong visibility to the brands, which use the opportunity to present different products from a line in the same packaging,” says Philippe Declerck, general director, Ileos Graphic.

The company offers offset printing, graining, laminating, and hot and cold foil stamping, all of which can make a package stand out and convey luxury. One prime example is an offering from the company’s Alliora division, which produced a sophisticated coffret for a holiday gift set for L’eau de Chloé, featuring a bottle of fragrance and two coordinating body lotions.

For a substantial package that brings a touch of class, Chicago Paper Tube & Can Company is now offering an actual wood veneer to round packaging for a tactile, high-end presentation.

“While this material isn’t altogether new to packaging, you will rarely see it offered in a turned-edge box, and almost never in a round package, because the grain can make it difficult to work with,” explains Jonathan Dudlak, general manager. “We’ve been able to work it into our Rolled Edge line, though, so it’s opened up some new options for people who don’t want plastic or metal in the packaging.”

While the package should be attractive and provoke an impulse purchase, above all, the design must be legitimate and reinforce your brand, according to Vogt. In the Yves Saint Laurent holiday pack for Black Opium, Cosfibel has created an elegant, shimmery black coffret that perfectly matches the fragrance bottle, mascara and skin care package inside.

“Packaging trends are evolving and we are witnessing the arrival of a new type of luxury, less ostentatious and more subtle, with very sophisticated printed décor,” says Vogt.

Indeed, keep an eye out for luxury brands to continue to raise the bar when it comes to gift set packaging this holiday season and into 2016—their innovations of today will become the trends of tomorrow.

Beautiful Music

Multisensorial packaging is a popular way to convey luxury, as evidenced by the premium feel of a heavy glass bottle or wooden box. Parfums Givenchy has taken multisensorial packaging to the next level with its Dahlia Divin “Le Parfum en Musique” gift set, created by Cosfibel Premium (pictured).

The outer cardboard pack already impresses with its hot stamped, elegant silhouette in white and gold; however, what’s inside is unforgettable. The fragrance bottle rests on a music box podium with a winding mechanism, engraved with the brand’s 4G logo.

A golden cord, comprising 22 meters of thread, meticulously curves around this podium, like a reel of thread that echoes the neck of the fragrance bottle. The whole sits on two metalized ABS disks placed on a wood-effect paper-clad base.

When it is wound up, the music box plays a melody inspired by an original composition by Alicia Keys, the fragrance’s muse.

A Package That Pops

Don’t forget stocking stuffers—they’re a great way for your beauty brand to capitalize on the season of impulse shopping. Bert-Co created the carton for Whole Foods’ holiday cracker set trio of bath bombs this holiday season.

The matte, holiday cracker-shaped carton comes in pastels decorated with snowflakes, conveying the seasonal aspect and staying consistent with the health food retailer’s brand identity.

“The shape is eye-catching and fun, and motivates impulse buying, maybe even inspires the shopper to buy one for their gift list and one for themselves,” says Suzan Kerston, executive vice president, Bert-Co. “When the shopper says, ‘One for my gift list, one for me,’ it’s sure to be a hit.”

Lisa Doyle was formerly the associate editor of GCI magazine and is a freelance writer in the Chicago area. Her work has appeared in Skin Inc. magazine, Salon Today, America’s Best, Renew and Modern Salon.