Amongst consumer behavior researchers, a common thought is that consumers are great at comparison and awful at the abstract. Consumers can make decisions, and good decisions, when products within the same realm are being compared.
For example, a consumer can tell which grape they like the most, but the decision could get more difficult if they are asked which fruit they like the most.
It seems that same kind of decision bias shows up again in terms of product packaging and consumer perception.
Researchers out of Elon University and Appalachian State in North Carolina studied the effects of simple and complex product packaging, and how it affected consumer's perception of the product.
The results were interesting.
Products with nine or more packages, according to the report, appeared larger in a simple package than in a complex package, even though they contained the same amount. On the other hand, with products that included sets of eight or less, the complex packages looked larger than the simple packages.
So, what does this mean?
First, something as simple as redesigning your product package can help you differentiate your product from your competitor's. Second, knowing that consumer choice can be so flimsy, encouraging your smarter consumers to look at volume versus design could help save you your audience. And third, for your less inquisitive consumers, designing the package in a way where they think they are getting their money's worth could be greatly beneficial, though they might be getting the same amount as before.
Something to think about.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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