BY PHIL BAGDASARIAN
Today’s pet owners have high standards when it comes to the products they purchase for their beloved fur babies. To satisfy modern preferences and demands, which have greatly evolved over the past few years, retailers must not compromise on quality and safety standards. As such, many of the current trends in packaging and design can be applied to pet products. Vital components such as ingredients, quality, sustainability and authenticity must be clearly identified and expressed through a package’s design elements. Furthermore, to convey complete transparency and important core values, retailers must incorporate a story into their brand’s message—one that establishes trust and an emotional connection with consumers.
The following are some of today’s top trends in pet retail packaging:
The modern digital world can be intense and overwhelming. As a result, more individuals are seeking natural experiences that transcend their typical technology-heavy environment. This also holds true in the pet industry. Natural and wholesome products that uphold moral values and support an environmentally friendly lifestyle have become major selling points for pet owners. Pet nutrition, in particular, has warranted much attention in recent years, with pet owners seeking top-quality ingredients that promote better health and longevity for their fur friends.
In packaging, it is absolutely essential to effectively showcase key ingredients and nutritional benefits. Highlighting these components can also be accomplished by using creative elements that are inspired by the natural world. Graphics and illustrations of landscapes such as forests and mountains can be used, along with a rich color palette of natural hues, to highlight a product’s natural features. Since most pet owners believe that quality pet food ingredients should mirror their animal’s natural diet in the wild, it is crucial for product packaging to reflect this important requirement.
Consumers tend to gravitate toward premium products because of their belief that high-end goods are held to stricter safety standards and are healthier for their pets. Choosing to promote a brand as one that is of premium quality is an effective way to stand out from the competition. To achieve this, packaging should project a luxurious vibe that stimulates the sense and conveys extravagance. Using a soft-touch matte varnish can easily give packaging a premium finish that will enhance a product’s value. Likewise, using spot matte or gloss in a strategic manner will help draw attention to detail and enhance specific design elements. Premium-type packaging will make pet owners feel as though they are spoiling their fur babies in a decadent yet responsible way.
When it comes to products that are marketed to humans, customization has been employed for some time. In the pet market, this strategy is relatively new, but it is growing exponentially. Personalization opens the door to limitless ideas. With creativity and ingenuity, and thanks to the ease and flexibility of digital printing technology, brand owners can develop concepts that cater to pets’ unique needs. From pet subscription boxes to specialty food, designers can use variable data printing options to print personalized packaging. It is also possible to create specialized labels and boxes using photos and names of pets—a strategy that can be especially useful for e-commerce orders.
Consumer trust has been shaken by a recent slew of safety and quality incidents involving pet food. False or misleading information has contributed to a growing mistrust of the industry. Consequently, pet owners are now performing online research before making a purchase. Companies who are completely transparent about their product’s ingredients will score high points with consumers. With the right design and content, packaging can help build customer trust and establish a sense of authenticity. Brand owners should make transparency a top priority, working hard to reassure their clients that their products are safe, ethically sourced and sustainable.
Today’s consumers want their favorite brands to offer a human connection. For this reason, home-style pet products are becoming increasingly popular, with companies creating products that contain healthy and simple ingredients from local or small-scale sources. To reflect this wholesomeness, products can be boxed or presented in a gift format, with each item packed in a tidy and organized manner. For e-commerce channels, it is a good idea to include thank-you notes, which help provide a human touch. When brand owners craft a sentimental experience into their unboxing design, they are evoking a sense of warmth and nostalgia, making consumers feel good about their purchase and their desire to spoil their loving fur babies.