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Why Purchase Intent is the Most Important Metric for CPG Brands.

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Packaging Design Purchase Intent

The livelihood of any business lies in its ability to take a consumer from interest to transaction. You can win-or-lose shelf space based upon the amount of initial and repeatable sales that a product creates. The metric most vital to moving the revenue needle is purchase intent.  

You can’t control the number of consumers that pass your product on the shelf, but you can control the percentage of them that find the product and buy the product.  

Purchase Intent Defined

Purchase intent is when a customer takes an action affirming that they are choosing your product over the competition. Whether in-store or online, CPG purchase intent is when the customer has grabbed your product off of the shelf, evaluated it, and then placed it in their cart.

But a consumer doesn’t just walk into a store and immediately have purchase intent. There are a series of steps shoppers take before reaching an intent to buy.

Getting to the Point of Purchase Intent

Except for D2C products and marketing that drive consumers into the store, it is the job of the retailer to get shoppers in the door. Once the store has done its job, the shopper is closer to discovering your product.

While end caps, product demonstrations, and POP displays may encourage an unaware consumer, it is in the aisle where the buyer’s journey takes place. Here, it becomes the responsibility of a CPG brand to stand out. This is where the shift from consideration to the evaluation stage occurs.

The package design and messaging must capture the shopper’s attention so that, among the twenty-plus products, your brand becomes one of a few candidates. If the purchase drivers on your packaging most resonate with the buyer, they will put the competitive items back on the shelf, giving your product a full inspection.

Purchase Intent for Package Design

Most of the attention today’s marketers give to purchase intent is through digital shopping portals. But with over 70% of retail sales occurring in brick-n-mortar retail settings, packaging continues to be the primary means of increasing consumer intent for on-shelf purchases. A CPG company should carefully evaluate the package type, design, and copy to determine the impact it will have on driving purchase intent.

Interrupting Purchase Intent

With the heavy competition existing in established CPG brand categories, a new product cannot solely lean on a strong marketing campaign for the success of their product. CPG marketing needs to begin with the packaging to determine the purchase drivers that communicate with their target market. Whether a consumer comes to the store with brand awareness or not, moving them away from an established product is asking them to make a tough decision.

Since our brains look to conserve energy, it is easier for the buyer to return to the familiar, sticking with the brand they always use. Your packaging needs to stand out, your messaging needs to connect, and your design needs to resonate with a non-verbal message. Leaving any one of these three out increases the risk that you will fail at interrupting the consumer’s buying habits.

Retaining Purchase Intent

CPG manufacturers with a household name are not free from potential disruption. Over 50% of shoppers suggest they will purchase another brand’s product if given either a discount, free trial, or a friend recommended the product. It is more than probable that your customers are hitting one or more of these three risk factors.

The adage of “the best offense is a good defense” applies to all consumer packaged goods. Ensuring that your packaging continues to pull the right levers, moving a customer from interest to intent minimizes the distraction from the onslaught of competition.

Testing For Purchase Intent

No matter what method we follow, testing exists among all products in the CPG industry. Even a one-person operation uses subjective means of “testing” when comparing options presented by a graphic designer. So the question shouldn’t be “should you test for purchase intent” but “how do we appropriately test for purchase intent?”

The Wrong Way to Test For Purchase Intent

Any assumptions held in the mind of the decision-maker lead us down the wrong road when testing for purchase intent. What we mean by this is when you test the wrong purchase drivers, the winning option is the least wrong option, not the best option. We go deeper into this topic in our article about subjectivity in package design.

The likes and dislikes of a company decision-maker and those invited into the package design process provide nice-to-know information. Unfortunately, they do not represent the actual buyer persona or the environment in which customers make a purchase. Even a small business with little access to capital has opportunities to move away from these subjective methods of testing.

The Right Way to Test For Purchase Intent

While it may seem obvious, companies rarely apply these best practices when testing for purchase intent when making a package design decision. In order to get the most accurate data about the purchase drivers that lead to purchase intent, you need to mimic the buying experience to the best of your ability. Some ways we create this experience for our CPG clients are…

  1. Put the customer in the store.
  2. Create a realistic, competitive environment.
  3. Monitor the consumer as they make their choice.
  4. Ask them why they made the choice.

Essentially, the right way to test is to map the buyer’s journey, monitor it along the way, and gather context from the consumer after making the choice.

The PREFormance Purchase Intent Process

The SmashBrand methodology for creating maximum purchase intent is a repeatable process, beginning with the right purchase drivers. Through our Brand Foresight Process, we predetermine the packaging, pack messaging, and design elements that most resonate with buyers.

Using a 4x larger consumer data pool than the industry standard, our package design agency tests, learns, iterates, refines, optimizes, and tests again. This ensures we achieve the greatest percentage of purchase intent. Book a time to discuss your CPG project with our team.