Taking products from the store shelf to the virtual shelf changes what packaging can and should bring to brands and to end consumers.
Packaging paper supplier Neenah specializes in luxury-grade materials that meet the needs of some of the most discerning cosmetics companies. That company’s director of premium packaging-East, Dean Marabeti, calls online retail “the megatrend” impacting the cosmetics packaging market today.
As retail moves online “how a consumer gets the product” is changing, he tells Cosmetics Design. For end consumers in all CPG sectors, ecommerce means there can be a disconnect with packaging, says Marabeti. And secondary packaging that covers a product during shipping can compound that disconnect. Though Marabeti sees the industry (fragrance in particular) taking initiative to move away from plastic secondary packaging.
These are challenges that Neenah helps clients meet with distinctive materials options like brand-specific customized colors, calipers, and (often visible) textures. Big brands in beauty and fragrance, says Marabeti, are pushing for customization.
Neenah clients have also been asking for pearlized folding board, an option the company is launching at LuxePack in custom calipers, in large and small runs, and with the company’s usual custom color and embossing options too, Marabeti tells Cosmetics Design.
Design for the future
In the next 5 to 10 years, the volume of cosmetics and personal care business transacted online will increase dramatically from its current level, believes Bryce Rutter, founder and CEO of Metaphase Design Group, an ergonomic design firm specializing in hand-intensive products.
This means cosmetics and fragrance products will commonly be shipped as single units and in the case of retailers like Amazon in boxes with dissimilar consumer goods. Packaging, purports Rutter, will need to be more durable to meet this ecommerce model. Good news: “smarter design doesn’t necessarily require more material,” Rutter tells Cosmetics Design.
“Trends drive beauty packaging more often than design strategy,” says Rutter. But, he believes, good design brings customers back to a brand. And good packaging (and tool) design takes not only shipping requirements and function into account, but also people, hands, fingers, and fingernails.
Rutter works with packaging companies and beauty brands alike; and, using synesthetic research and design, develops tools, mechanisms, and containers that have a look, feel, and sound that will connect with the right consumers.
Both product containers and the layers of packaging they come in are evolving to meet the needs of the industry and the expectations of consumers. If Rutter has his druthers, experiential cosmetics and fragrance packaging will be this industry’s answer to ecommerce.