Face It, Your Package Looks Different On-Screen


In brick and mortar, products have always been the main attraction. The aisles, the shelves – dazzling dioramas displaying what the shopper needs, wants, and even what they didn’t know they wanted – but now are certain they need. Bright lights reflect even brighter primary colors as fluttering shelf-talkers wave-in a closer look at a chorus line of product variations.

It’s a game of polished skill, daring, and innovation. To win is to impact shopper behavior. To influence a single, simple decision: This item belongs in my cart.

When your package is reduced to an inch tall, shouldn’t you reconsider your package design?

No question, the eCommerce environment isn’t the same as brick and mortar. Yet, in many cases, the same packaging/imagery that is used on the physical shelf is also used online.

For both environments (in-store and online) the front of the package is a critical communications lever and an important billboard for brands. However, the challenge of getting noticed is even greater online.

Keeping it Simple

Online, a product has only few seconds to be noticed. A search for “chips” on Walmart.com yields over 1,000 results. With such a crowded online shopping category, it’s more important than ever to ensure your product image stands out amongst the competition. And, the image must highlight the product’s most important attributes, specifically: Brand, form, flavor, and size/package count. The goal of a new design optimized for eCommerce should elevate these key elements, making them easier to read on a small online image as well as giving the brand a cleaner look. However, the image cannot move so far from what is seen in-store that shoppers are uncertain of what they’re purchasing. Making it easier for online shoppers to find products they seek has almost infinite potential to increase conversion.

Love at First Swipe

In a recent test with a major CPG manufacturer, Decision Insight tested three new packaging designs using our Digital.IQ™ Test and Learn Platform. The CPG manufacturer’s in-store packaging includes a large amount of information – including some required fine print and nutrition details. To optimize the online imagery, they focused ONLY on the most important product benefit elements, using callouts in the white space around the product to highlight key differentiators. Ultimately, all three designs were rated by shoppers as easier to read, cleaner, simpler, and less cluttered. One of the designs was significantly easier for shoppers to locate online, ultimately attracting more buyers.

The Online Opportunity: Brand Storytelling

If a design captures online shoppers’ attention, enticing them to “click” and learn more by navigating to the product page, there is great opportunity, far beyond what can be shown on a package in-store, to elevate the brand’s story. The product page content should use high quality graphics, detailed product descriptions, and evoke an emotional experience with the brand, communicating key messaging, to tell the brand’s story. This not only provides shoppers with valuable information needed to make a purchase decision, it can drive cross-selling opportunities, and is critical in helping products achieve higher placement in search results.

What Can Digital.IQ Do for You?

Decision Insight’s Digital.IQ™ solution tests digital packaging strategies quickly, efficiently, and effectively — producing reliable, projectable sales results and shopper metrics without the risks associated with A/B testing. Participants enter a simulated website where they shop as they would in real life, interacting with digital store pages and available products. The virtual shopping experience measures what shoppers buy, so you can predict and understand the impact of various online strategies on sales. Then we follow up with rich diagnostics to provide an understanding of specific elements that drive success and those that may be improved. Ultimately answering:

  • What Shoppers SEE – Do shoppers notice your products? Does key messaging capture their attention?
  • What Shoppers THINK – Is the site easy to shop? How satisfied are shoppers with the experience? What specifically do they like/dislike?
  • What Shoppers DO – Does the enhanced imagery increase conversion? What do they buy?

For more information about Digital.IQ™ – Decision Insight’s eCommerce testing platform – or Shopper IQ® – Decision Insight’s suite of proprietary virtual shopper research methodologies – contact Leslie Downie.



Jordan Henderson is Director of Client Solutions at Decision Insight.
He can be reached at jordanh@decisioninsight.com or (816) 221-0445.