Packaging in China’s retail industry: A magic factor to influence the buying behaviour?

When launching a new product, not only the consumer preferences and perceptions towards the product itself are crucial. Also, the exterior design is important. Hu Yuwan, the project manager at Daxue Consulting, states: “In retail, the packaging is essential to attract consumers’ eyes among millions of products and brands existing today. It gives the first impression and influences a consumers’ decision process”. Especially in China, where naming or colours, as well as usage habits, differ from those in the western world, understanding your targeted customer is essential to transmit your brand’s message. Thus, the right packaging in China indeed can be one of the magic factors to influence the purchase behaviour towards your brand.

Daxue Consulting’s client: an international retail brand eager for information about their different ‘Moments of Truth’

The client approached Daxue’s team to assess the customers’ perceptions and reactions associated with the products’ packaging in China. The major goal was to uncover strength and weaknesses as well as customers’ interaction related to the exterior design. Hu Yuwan explains, “The first moment of truth can be described as the point of time when the consumer gets the first impression and feeling about the product while seeing it presented in front of him. It includes the design but also information about ingredients, origin or functions, as well as the perception of cleanness, for instance.”

What did Daxue’s team do to help the brand establishing the perfect packaging in China?

Phase 1: Social Listening: Daxue Consulting started with analysing comments on social media as well as large e-shopping platforms in China to identify consumer insights – negative as well as positive remarks, expectations, and experiences from both, potential as well as previous buyers.

Phase 2: Online survey: As a next step, Daxue’s research team conducted a questionnaire, which helped the team confirm data from the first step. Besides, the consultants used the survey to determine purchasing and usage habits as well as storage practices and attitudes towards competitors’ packaging in China.

Phase 3: Shop-alongs: By applying shop-alongs Daxue Consulting could spotlight spontaneous reactions of the participants by observing their packaging journey. The team also made use of pre- and post-interviews to obtain the most valuable results.

Phase 4: Mystery e-shopping: As the last step, Daxue’s research team invited and tracked eligible candidates from different platforms to test the ease of the shopping experience such as delivery time, packaging condition or the intended usage.

How could the retail brand benefit from the research?

Daxue Consulting helped the company gain clear insights on targeted consumers’ likes and dislikes toward packaging in China considering visual elements, but also issues such as safeness or cleanness, as well as practical aspects, such as convenience with regards to handling. Our team gave recommendations of how to design the packaging and how to present the product to best match the expectations and preferences. The result was an appealing design and a clear message which differentiated our client from their competitors and represented the brand’s characteristics and the product itself.