5 Key Metrics to Measure in Your Package Design Testing

Karolina Borak
Karolina Borak | 5 min read

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When you design a new product, you’ll put it through rigorous testing - and the same should apply to its packaging.

Your product packaging can determine whether or not your product is moved to the back of retail shelves or whether it’ll become the star of unboxing videos on Youtube.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What metrics to consider in your package design test
  • Steps to conduct a successful test
  • The advantages of package testing

How to evaluate your package design test: 5 metrics to consider

Every business and industry is different, so your goals for package design tests may vary. However, there are standard benchmarks that apply to most businesses. They include the following: 

 1. Purchase intent

Whether or not your product loses shelf space depends on its initial and repeatable sales. This is why purchase intent is critical. When assessing the success of your package design test, consider how it impacts buying behaviour. 

Data analysis, surveys, and customer observation are some of the common ways to gauge buyer intent.

However, if you want to analyse these results using large consumer datasets, a technology like Apache Hive can be useful. It allows companies to store and query large amounts of data, including historical sales figures, consumer demographics, and market research studies.  

2. Aesthetic appeal

Packaging design can influence how consumers view a product. Let’s face it, a lot of people do judge a book by its cover.

A visually appealing, well-thought-out package immediately catches attention, creates excitement, and tempts shoppers to further explore the product. 


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In addition, consumers typically view well-packaged products as more valuable than products packaged in plain, unremarkable boxes and bags. 

Consumers are happy to spend more on products that are packaged in high-quality, visually appealing packaging.

During the package testing process, make sure to ask about colours, graphics, and information layout. 

Some of the questions can be framed in the following manner:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how visually appealing do you find this package design? Please state the reasoning behind your rating. 
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, to what measure is this new packaging visually appealing?
  • What would you improve/change about this packaging?

3. Relevance

Your package design needs to grab the attention of your desired audience - and then keep it and encourage them to buy. This can only happen if it meets the needs, wants, and tastes of your customers.

label on square box

For example, if you sell kids’ products, it might make sense to use large, bold typography, a colourful style, and exciting packaging materials. In contrast, if your products target career-oriented adults, a more elegant typography with a minimalist design would be more appropriate. 

More complex products might require incorporating elements such as QR codes or other interactive elements to link to additional information. The point is for the packaging to resonate with your target group. 

But how can you be certain of this?

Make sure to start by researching your target audience and competitors' products. This can be accomplished via market research, surveys, and analysis of consumer behaviour. 

You can also leverage customer relationship management (CRM) data for ID resolution to tailor packaging information to specific customer segments. 

blue box by tiffany co


4. Standout

Another metric to evaluate in package design testing is standout or shelf visibility.

With so much competition out there, how does your product fair? Does it stand out on the shelves or get lost among competitors?

To measure this metric, simulate store shelf setups and deploy eye-tracking programs. These tools can reveal how well your current packaging stands out and retains the attention of research participants compared to category competitors. 

One undervalued tip to make your product stand out is simplicity.

Many brands will go all in - trying to make their product stand out by using bright colours and dizzying graphics. However, this approach can overwhelm customers, making it difficult to focus on the product’s actual features. 

So, keep your design simple and striking. Some ways to accomplish this include using fewer colours, minimising graphics, and labelling them with clearer messages. 

Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as if your target market is specifically drawn to flashy designs. For example, a younger audience might respond positively to vibrant visuals. 

But overall, simplicity is the key to effective communication. 

apple phone and headphone boxes

5. Functionality

So, you have an attractive package design, which is great. But that doesn’t mean shoppers will want to buy your product.

Packaging design can hit all the right notes in terms of aesthetics, but how functional is it? How easy does the packaging make it for people to access the product and how well does it protect it?

Functionality in packaging design is key to ensuring your product arrives safely and that a customer’s first experience with it is positive.

You don’t want their initial impression to be coloured by the fact they couldn’t even open the packaging, for instance. 

Testing this is slightly different to the other four metrics we’ve listed here. You’ll need to test physical properties such as:

  • Vibration testing
  • Drop testing
  • Ability to handle lowered and elevated temperatures
  • The effectiveness of package cushioning
  • It’s ability to hold up in air shipments or shipping containers

Plus, it needs to meet any regulatory requirements for the type of product - which is particularly important for perishable goods.

Kraft pizza boxes with white print

Learn more about convenient takeaway packaging designs

How to conduct a package design test

Now that you know what to look out for when evaluating your package design testing result, you’re ready to carry out one. Here are the steps to success. 

Pick one or more packaging options to test

Firstly, you need to have multiple designs ready for this - and if you’re in the early stages, AI image generators can quickly create mockups of package designs, saving time and resources.

This enables faster iteration and testing of different design elements, meaning you can quickly narrow in on what your audience wants.

Once you have the designs, there are two survey options to consider.

The first one involves separating your participants into different groups and presenting each group with a survey asking for feedback on a single package design. Then, after gathering enough feedback on each design, you can select the packaging option that received the most positive responses.

This technique is called a monadic survey design

The advantage of this method is that you can ask more questions about each option. You are also more likely to get more quality feedback and survey completion rate because the questionnaire will be relatively short.

However, you will need a large pool of respondents since you’re only showing each group one option. This can be costly.

new look of honest to goodness passata bottles


The other option involves presenting every participant with the same survey and asking for feedback on multiple designs. Once you have gathered responses from a statistically significant number of participants, you can pick the most popular design among respondents.

It is called a sequential monadic survey design

This approach is more cost-effective because you don’t need to divide participants into groups. So, you work with a small audience. The downside is that you can’t ask as many questions about each option so you risk getting less detailed feedback.

Tip: You can save costs on package design tests by adopting advanced technology like machine learning for predictive analysis. For instance, a Bayesian neural network in machine learning could be trained on past packaging designs and consumer behaviour. 

This data could include material type, colour, shape, and demographics. The network could then analyse a new virtual design and predict how consumers might respond.

This way, you can conduct tests that are more likely to yield positive feedback, saving time and resources on product development. 

Choose the appropriate metric(s) to measure

Your goal for the test will determine the metric(s) you will settle on.

For example, if you want a package design that will improve sales, purchase intent might be an important metric. If your objective is to ensure your product is noticeable in a competitive market, you’d likely place more importance on visibility.

Consider what matters most to you and select the metric(s) that align. 

Execute the test

It is now time to conduct your package design test. There are a few ways to do this, such as:

Organise a focus group

This allows you to collect in-depth feedback on various questions. The caveat is that a focus group can be expensive to assemble - though, with the rise of remote communication options you no longer need to rent a space and provide travel.

focus group

Focus groups can be a great way of gathering detailed feedback, as well as being more open in their format, meaning points may be raised that set questions wouldn’t account for.

However, it can be difficult to ensure you have a group that accurately reflects your target audience, so it’s worth doing this alongside one of the other options.

Send out an online survey

This is often the easiest way to get a large range of responses, especially if you have a regular marketing list with decent response rates. Plus, all the data can easily be saved for future reference.

However, online surveys tend to have better completion rates when they’re shorter, so you may find it harder to get detailed feedback.

One way to encourage people to engage with longer surveys is to offer rewards - an entry to a raffle, or points towards their next purchase, for instance.

Poll participants by phone

A CCaaS platform can be useful here - but what is CCaaS?

CCaaS stands for customer centre as a service. It is a cloud-based customer experience solution that often comes with options like CRM integration and auto-diallers. Advanced ones may include tools like AI-powered sentiment analysis, making it easier to analyse the response to your packaging test.


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A post shared by GLOSSYBOX UK (@glossyboxuk)

Analyse results and make adjustments

After a successful execution, it is time to analyse the responses from participants.

Ideally, you will look into your heatmaps, eye-tracking data, and survey for insights. Sometimes, handling large amounts of data for analysis can be a challenge, especially for a non-technical team.

Take a look at this Delta book for some ideas on how to manage the information you’ve gathered.

If you find your analysis suggests you need a lot of changes, you may want to repeat the process and gather opinions on the redesign. However, if it’s just a few minor tweaks, you may be able to jump straight to production.

Tip: This is where the metrics you settled on earlier in the process become useful. Use them to decide the next step in refining your package design. 

The advantages of package design testing

If you have followed the steps provided above, you should enjoy the following benefits: 

Find the best package design

Perhaps this is the most obvious benefit of conducting a package design test.

It allows you to identify the design that resonates with your target audience. A successful test will reveal what’s not working and give you tips on optimising the accepted concepts.

history of toblerone chocolates
If you pick the right packaging, it’ll last you for years to come


Reduce costs in the long run

One of the worst things that can happen is to realise your package design failed after going to market. All that time and resources put into it will be a waste.

This is why conducting a package design test is worth it. It allows your team to spend more time working on the right things and less time reworking what’s been done. 

Conducting a test means you will have to provide more funds for R&D, but you will avoid spending more to correct mistakes. 

Promotes faster decision-making

A product design test produces valuable data that can help you make faster decisions. Instead of relying on your gut feeling, you have objective metrics to guide you.

As a result, you can iterate more quickly.

Time saved on back-and-forth can be redirected towards implementing improvements based on the test results. The most competitive brands use data to move quickly and satisfy market demands.

Warehouse worker sorting and packing

Go to market with confidence

Lastly, a package design test gives you certainty in your decisions. Knowing that your final choices are supported by real numbers and public opinions gives you reassurance. 

It also helps to know you have other packaging options if the need arises.

You can be confident that your designs stand out from the competitors and convey your product’s functional and emotional benefits. 

Over to you

Package design testing eliminates the guesswork with how you present your products. In turn, this saves you a lot of money and time.

But to conduct a successful test, you must identify the right metrics to evaluate. Some of these metrics include appeal, function, and purchase intent. 

We also discussed the steps in a packaging testing process. If you follow them, you can make faster decisions, save costs, and go to market with confidence.



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