How Packaging Can Impact Consumer Choices

Karolina Borak
Karolina Borak | 5 min read

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"Never judge a book by its cover” — this wise saying definitely does not apply to product packaging. On the contrary, packaging plays an important role in how customers perceive products and can even urge them to purchase.

Businesses worldwide recognise the value of good packaging and are finding innovative ways to package their products. The packaging industry shows distinct growth and is predicted to reach $1.05 trillion in 2024.

But how does packaging affect consumer buying choices? In this post, we are going to determine the role packaging plays in customer engagement and discuss some best practices for making packaging that sells.

Read on and find out:

  • How can packaging influence the way people buy?
  • Is packaging an important component of a brand’s marketing strategy?
  • What should you pay attention to in your packaging design?

How packaging affects purchase decisions

Visual appeal is the main factor influencing buying decisions. If we're looking for luxury soap, we won't pay attention to low-end brands. But how can you differentiate between them?

Sure, you might just choose the higher price.

But more often than not, you'll be judging the look. The touch of packaging material. The quality of design. Finally, the smell.

the elements of packaging that influence consumer behaviour


Packaging is not only a utilitarian tool used to bind and protect goods. It speaks to potential customers and encourages their purchasing decisions in more than one way, as it's one of the key performance marketing trends.

Let’s look at what packaging can do to convince your customers to buy from you.

Creates the first impression

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Doesn't that perfectly describe the role of packaging? It is the first thing that meets and greets your customer. 

With the right first impression, you not only catch the attention of potential buyers - you make them want to stay and inspect your product. They might not be ready to buy, but they surely are interested.

Get them hooked with packaging that stands out. It makes even the simplest product unusual, encouraging customers to explore further.

For example, look at Heinz’s upside-down bottles. While everybody else sells condiments in upward-facing bottles, Heinz turned the ketchup bottle the way we use it — upside down — and made it noticed.

photo of heinz ketchup standing on the table

Attracts attention

In many cases, packaging is what makes the product interesting. When customers see something different, their natural impulse is to examine it closer.

However, you only have a couple of seconds to grab their attention, and here, the role of packaging is crucial.

There are many ways to make packaging stand out. To choose the one that works for you, start with researching the competition, as it is highly likely that your products will stand next to each other on the supermarket shelf.

You can be bright when others are monochrome, tall when others are short, and functional when others are simple. Anything that singles your product out will work.

oase custom rigid boxes

Luxury supplement boxes. Don't you feel like popping them open?

Inspires spontaneity

Impulse shopping is a powerful commerce driver.

Statistically, 64% of shoppers buy something else besides their intended purchase. 

Many factors can urge customers to buy something they did not plan to — a special offer, a desire to try something new, or remembering the thing you forgot to put on your shopping list. In many cases, packaging can trigger impulse purchasing by attracting attention and “speaking” to the customer.

Coca-Cola does it with its Creations series of zero-sugar drinks. Everyone knows a red can. But what can possibly be inside a mint-coloured one? Even if you did not plan to buy a can of Coke, you might be tempted to try a new flavour.

a mint-coloured can of coca-cola creations

Makes the product stand out

Packaging strategy must make the product easily recognisable so that customers have no problem finding it among others. If you are used to a particular brand of pasta or yoghurt, you will look for their brand colours, packaging shapes or sizes on the supermarket shelf.

Packaging can boost customer engagement by maintaining a visual image of a product people are used to and making it easy for them to find the items they need quickly.

Wine labels_packhelp

Communicates with the customer

In addition to the required information, such as ingredients or manufacturer details, product packaging can communicate other messages to customers.

For example, for food products, there may be recipes; for skincare — application instructions; and for cleaning products — the approximate number of uses.

Communicate your branding through high-quality packaging labels

Besides, packaging is an ideal medium to display relevant company information. If the brand participates in an event or runs a special offer, announcing it on the product packaging allows the company to reach thousands of customers.

Resonates with the current needs

“Never shop for groceries when hungry”.

Why? Because good-looking packaging can entice you to buy more! Smart packaging design can “reach out” to the customer looking for something to snack on or drink on the go.

Look, for example, at the design of a Perrier can — it practically speaks for itself. The water inside must be cold and bubbly. Just what you need on a hot summer day.

a green can of Perrier water


How packaging boosts brand awareness

Packaging is a rightful component of the brand’s style and image. It carries the same brand message as all other customer communication channels the company is using — advertising, marketing campaigns, social media, customer service platforms, or official press releases.

Packaging design following the general branding concepts increases brand awareness among customers, strengthening the bonds between them and the company. Packaging helps you pass on your brand message in more than one way.

Highlights branding

When you display your brand name and logo prominently on your product packaging, you target both your regular customers and your prospects.

For loyal customers, it's easier to find your product among competitor goods. For newcomers, clearly-branded packaging says all they need to know about your product without much investigation.

And that's good. The easier it is to figure out your brand, the faster the potential purchase!

convenient can packaging with handle
Packhelp x Djuce custom box with handle

Expresses a vision or brand values

Nowadays, many customers appreciate not only the product’s quality but also the values the company maintains. If they resonate with them, they are better inclined to trust your products, too. 

For instance, many people find environmental concerns essential, and sustainable packaging earns points for the brand. Packaging can carry your vision forward, informing of such achievements as organic produce or your support for local farmers.

A wonderful example of vision-bearing packaging is used by Divine Chocolate. This farmer-owned company is on a mission to help farmers sell their cocoa so that they're not exploited by large corporations. Each Divine bar displays the company’s statement:

“Every bar directly improves the lives of farmers.”

divine chocolate marketing


Tells a story

Your packaging materials, shapes and designs can tell customers almost everything there is to know about your brand. 

Is your business you eco-friendly? Traditional? Tech-oriented? Creative? Minimalistic?

All that and more can be showcased by your custom box or bag.

Narrative-driven design creates a customer experience that remains in their memory. Next time, when they need to purchase the same product, this memory will surface and may influence their buyer behaviour.

an infographic about what shapes consumer behaviour


Emphasises functionality

Functional and efficient packaging upgrades customer experience.

Boxes may have elements that turn into convenient handles, a takeout container lid may double as a beverage holder, and a snack pouch may be resealable for easy use on the go.

Learn more about convenient takeaway packaging here

Check, for example, Yoplait yoghurt and cereal snacks for kids. The package consists of a yoghurt cup and a portion of cereal in the lid. This design turns it into a ready snack that is easy to handle even with small hands.

yoplait yoghurt packaging


Promotes a special offer

If you are running a special offer campaign, packaging can be an effective channel for its promotion.

A bright and prominent message advertising special conditions may be sufficient to attract customers. Or, if they were looking for your product anyway, they might buy more. 

Imagine you've popped to the grocery to get some crisps. Wouldn't a "3 for 2" label on Cheetos convince you to buy more than one package?

women buying some crisps in the shop

Another great idea is to add a dynamic QR code leading the customer to a page with all relevant information about your special offer. Give interested customers a chance to learn more and fast.

Be agile, interactive, or just eye-catching with your promos - it'll be worth it.

What makes an effective packaging design

When designing your packaging, consider not only the physical characteristics but also the psychological effect it will have on the customer. 

Colours and fonts

Packaging colours are never random. It is well known that colours have an emotional effect on people, and as packaging is the first thing a customer perceives in a product, its colour sets the emotional tone.

Choose colours that match the sensations you wish to inspire:

  • Red or orange grabs attention and creates a feeling of activity, positivity, and happiness.
  • Green is the colour of nature, sending the message of eco-friendliness and sustainability. 
  • Black and white monochrome hints at elegance and style.
  • Blue or turquoise sends the message of safety, calmness, and purity.
  • Pink is often the choice for brands that want to create an image of femininity and youth.

Other colours create different sensations in customers setting specific moods and activating various purchase triggers.

Packaging typography also has its role in engaging the customer. The font and size you select define if people just skim over your product or stop to have a better look.

Typography leads the customer from the most important information to less significant details. Using large fonts for the brand name and product description makes them stand out, while a smaller font for ingredients makes them a lower priority. Check out the line of Kettle Chips — this is precisely how their packaging typography is designed.

kettle chips multi pack



The images you place on the packaging must serve the common goal of attracting customers and strengthening brand awareness. Of course, the graphics need to include your logo, which may also contribute to inspiring impulse shopping.

The graphics must not clutter the packaging and prevent a clear perception of your main message. On the contrary, it should highlight and support it, showcasing the product. Try to avoid too complex designs that might crowd the packaging space and distract the customer’s attention from the main message.


The shape and size of product packages affect consumer behaviour, too. Unique shapes make the item visible even from a distance ensuring high brand recognition. Large packaging shapes can help to reach the same goal. However, make sure that the item size matches that of the package. Otherwise, you might face backlash for overpackaging, which is considered anti-sustainable.

Shapes can also communicate your message. A drop-shaped shampoo bottle hints at moisturising, and a pack of cigarettes shaped like a coffin speaks of the grim consequences of smoking. 

As an example, let’s look at Stillhouse whiskey. It comes in stainless steel cans that “go where glass can’t,” suggesting an adventure. The can itself is shaped like a petrol can making you think of the fire and heat the drink will ignite.

stillhouse whiskey cans special design



The goal of packaging material is not limited to ensuring the protection of the product during transportation and storage. The choice of material can support the brand's vision and message to its audience.

With environmental protection and sustainability being major concerns nowadays, a lot of attention is given to materials that brands use to package their products. Many companies were shamed publicly for excessive use of plastic. On the contrary, recyclable packaging, such as paper or cardboard, is very appreciated.

A smart choice of packaging material can not only influence customer’s buying decisions but also help the brand to save direct costs. Tropicfeel, a travel gear brand, opted for a redesign of their boxes achieving a 20% reduction of production costs. Moreover, due to the smaller packaging size, the company optimized its logistics, which led to a 50% reduction of its carbon footprint.


Packaging design is one of the most effective ways to influence consumer buying decisions. It is much more than a cover to be ripped off and thrown away.

As part of your brand image, packaging maintains it along the entire journey of your product from the assembly line to the customer. As such, packaging should not be designed as an afterthought, but given the same care and creativity as other components of your marketing activities.



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