A Sharp Focus on Design When the Package Is Part of the Product (New York Times)
In the Product Decisions tutorial we discuss how most consumer products are categorizes as either convenience, shopping or specialty products. Of these product categories, convenience goods tend to be the most competitive with consumers often seeing little difference between competing brands. Consequently, pricing is often considered the key marketing decision for convenience goods. Such pricing is almost always relatively low with marketers obtaining extremely small margins on each product sold.
Some marketers feel the only way to effectively compete in the convenience good market is to be the low-price leader. But, can you effectively compete if you do not want to be the low-price leader? Yes, you can. One approach is to study consumers closely and see whether there are any other factors that influence purchase decisions besides price. By engaging in such research, marketers may discover consumers are drawn to other product or company attributes and not just price.
For example, as this story notes, Kleenex has been searching for ways of building revenue during the summer, which traditionally is a slower selling season for tissue products compared to the winter. To grow sales during this slower time, Kleenex is using packaging as a way to spark interest. In particular, the company is tapping into a trend in which consumers are displaying tissue dispensers in their living space as a decorative item. To address this trend Kimberly-Clark, makers of Kleenex, has introduced colorful fruit shape boxes that have caught the attention of a large number of customers who see the package as aesthetically pleasing and are willing to pay more to obtain it.
Another indication that the brand is striking a design chord: consumers are less inclined to shroud tissue boxes with either handmade or store-bought covers. According to Kleenex, which tracks such behavior, today only 12 percent of consumers cover tissue boxes, down from 19 percent in 1986.
In addition to the packaging graphics and form, what other elements of tissue dispenser packaging do customers feel is important?
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