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Q&A: How to close sales at the shelf

Creating contrast in packaging should be at the forefront of every brand's strategy.

Hannah Esper, Managing Editor

February 24, 2017

3 Min Read
Q&A: How to close sales at the shelf

The tiny but mighty team of Nucleus Maximus helps clients understand where critical packaging decisions will lead them. Here, Founder Adam Spriggs gives us a preview of what he'll discuss at this year's Natural Products Expo West as he leads brands along the "Universal Shopping Journey" and helps diagnose if their packaging is inviting, or costing them sales at shelf.

How much of a role do you believe packaging plays in a brand’s success?

Adam Spriggs: Success in grocery hinges on so many factors, but everything an entrepreneur puts into their grocery business ultimately boils down to whether or not shoppers decide to buy their products at shelf—and packaging is there 24/7, 365 to influence the sale. Particularly for early-stage brands, there's nothing more pivotal and sustaining to their business than packaging that competes for and wins sales at shelf, day in and day out.  

What are the phases of the "shopper journey" you speak of—and at what point does packaging really come into play?

AS: There are three phases that are a part of every purchase decision that we study in the shopper journey.  

Packaging plays an immediate role in phase one, "winning the eye." When a shopper shows up to shelf and scans the category at a distance of 3 to 4 feet away—packaging's role is to create contrast that pulls the eye in. If it's not seen, it can't be sold.  

Phase two is what we call "winning the heart." As shoppers, once something catches our eye we make a snap judgement about whether or not we want to interact with it more. We move toward design that appeals to our aesthetic and emotional sensitivities. So the question for brands becomes: what art styles, themes and design cues should our package embrace to elicit an emotional attraction at shelf? 

Phase three is "winning the mind." At this stage, we're one-on-one with a shopper, and in a matter of seconds, they want to know what's for sale, how it fits into their lives and what the benefits of using the product are. In this rapid exchange, packaging has to master the art of efficient communication and appeal to the logical side of the buying process.

For a brand that is competing for attention in a crowded category, what’s the simplest way for it to create contrast on the shelf?

AS: The simplest way depends on the shelf environment; every category is different. The most common pathways we explore are through color differentiation, big iconic visuals that draw the eye in, a unique pack structure that breaks the mold, and white space that provides visual relief to a shopper overwhelmed with visual clutter. It's a case-by-case basis, but the question of how to create contrast should be at the starting point of every package design concept being built.

Catch Adam Spriggs at Natural Products Expo West.expowest17-logo-2.png

What: Closing Sales at Shelf: A Package Design Discussion & Workshop
When: 10:15 a.m., Saturday, March 11, 2017
Where: Marriott, Grand Salon G

About the Author(s)

Hannah Esper

Managing Editor, New Hope Network

Hannah Esper is the Managing Editor for New Hope Network’s Nutrition Business Journal. She’s an editorial professional with more than 10 years’ experience of creating content strategies and overseeing their implementation process.  

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