The Psychology Behind Product Packaging and How You Can Use It To Your Advantage

Marketing psychology uses consumer biases, habits and psychological principles to answer the million-dollar sales question – what makes consumers choose your products over others?

While the fundamental purpose of good packaging is to protect the product, it also serves as an important point of communication between the brand and consumer.  In fact, marketing teams use psychological principles in packaging design to draw consumers to their product in busy retail spaces.

Subtle cues like design, colour, shape and even typography could mean the difference between products collecting dust on a shelf and flying off them.

There are a few principles that are important to take into account for packaging design.

Use Colour to Connect with Your Customers

For many years, marketers have used the emotional resonance created by colours to sell their products.  Colours have a powerful influence on people and therefore, are used in a variety of ways from being a communication tool to even influencing moods. In terms of packaging design, colours need to fill three key requirements:

  • Draw the customer’s eye: With so many products fighting for attention in a supermarket or a sales platform, the first step is getting people to notice yours, and science says you have less than two seconds to make an impact. Shades of red, pink, and yellow catch a person’s attention quicker than other colours. So, these are frequently used in packaging.

This means that your designs need to go one step further to stand out. This when designers employ the ‘isolation effect.’ This simply means that those designs that are different or ‘don’t belong’ to the same design style as the others, stand out.

  • Create the right emotional associations: Certain colours are often connected with specific emotions. For example, blue connotes trust and red connotes love and yellow is a joyous colour. Choose colours that incite the emotions that you want associated with your products. Beware that connotations for colours change from one culture to the next and in different contexts.
  • Reinforce your brand’s identity: Branding is the best way to ensure that repeat customers recognise your product the next time they see it. The colours of your logo or your brand identity should complement or contrast the colours you choose for your product.

Use Shape and Structure to Stand Out

Designing products with a distinctive packaging is an excellent way to stand out in a crowded marketplace. There isn’t a specific shape that appeals to all, but curves tend to be more favoured than straight edges. Depending on the product, pointed shapes are not preferred and sharp edges can be construed as threatening.  While it is important to make the product’s shape stand out, it should also make sense for the product to be packaged a certain way.

Presentation of the Material

The materials you use in your packaging contributes to the overall design style and branding of your product. For instance, a wholesome, earth-friendly product that’s packaged largely in neon plastic gives the consumer contradictory messages. Or packaging an expensive perfume in corrugated cardboard, which connotes economy, doesn’t fit either.

Textures Add Interest

Once your product invites a customer to pick it up, it’s the right moment to add another layer of interest. Packaging that appeals to tactile sensations or touch makes a huge difference as well.  Encouraging the customer to hold on to the product for even just a few seconds longer activates a sense of ownership and prompts consumers to take the product home.

Don’t forget to match the product to the texture. Because another aspect to consider is that in addition to the way textures make customers feel, what implications does the material carry? For an eco-friendly product, packaging that is raw and earthy fits well.

Typography Matters

Font styles, sizes and even placement all convey certain messages about your product and your brand. For instance, if you want to indicate a sense of prestige or old elegance, fonts with curving letters and scripts convey a sense of antiquity. Handscript fonts tend to give off a more playful and casual vibe while serif prints indicate stability and class.

Don’t Forget Quality and Convenience

While visual and tactile cues may get consumers interested in your product, quality and thoughtful design persuade them to buy your products again. Besides the visual interest of your packaging design, ensure that it is convenient to carry, open and use. A bottle that takes too long to open or is inconveniently bulky will dissuade a customer from buying it or from buying it a second time.

Think About the Environment

All businesses should be thinking about the most eco-positive packaging possible. This means that generally you should consider these points:

  • Glass, as it is heavy to transport
  • Overpackaging, as it adds twice the environmental burden
  • Plastics that are not recyclable in NZ itself
  • Plain clear or white plastic, as coloured is a barrier to recycling

Add information on the package to say the packaging is minimal intentionally and fully recyclable locally.

Design For Your Customers

Effective packaging design uses inherent customer biases to its advantage. While it’s important to know that colours, material and shape of packaging makes a difference to your design, it’s equally crucial to make the right choices for your customers. It pays to understand your customer base and their perceptions well. This way you can tailor your packaging to fit consumer habits and increase your products’ appeal. Contact us to chat about how you can combine packaging utility with excellent marketing strategies to make your product easier to sell.


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What Are the Most Effective Types of Retail Displays?

If you want to amp up your sales, you need to perfect your in-store retail displays. Done well, you can increase sales by up to 32%.

Retail displays are about getting a product in front of a customer. Having a well thought out visual merchandising strategy with a variety of different promotions can increase customer awareness and improve sales as a result.

There are many different types of retail displays. Which one you choose depends on the product, and the physical limitations in-store.

Standalone POP Displays

These point-of-purchase (POP) displays are essentially anything that is separate from aisles and shelves. They could be in any open space, or even aisle ends. Often, these temporary displays give consumers the impression that a product is great value, making them ideal to increase impulse purchases.

Dump Bins

These are large standalone bins where products are ‘dumped’. Ideal for stock that the store wants to stop stocking, odds-and-end items (some customers do love digging through things and finding bargains), consumables close to best-before date, or impulse buy toys or sweets.

These dump bins are typically wire or timber, and can be wrapped in branding if required. They can be an island or tucked at the end of an aisle.

Freestanding Displays

These standalone displays are designed for a specific product. For instance, showcasing a brand of haircare products, or a range of canned soups. They can be a permanent wire shelving unit, or a temporary corflute or cardboard for a specific advertising campaign.

They are highly organised, display the product optimally, and highly branded. Because they can be made from corflute or cardboard, they are highly customisable, and give lots of leeway for experimentation.

Entry Displays

These are ideal if you want a customer to see your product before they get to the competition. They are also incredibly effective for impulse purchases, with products finding their way into the customer basket when they are ready to spend money.

Gondola Displays

These stand-alone, two sided shelving units are typically found as islands in open areas of stores. They are generally made from permanent materials, are unbranded, and are made with adjustable peg boards or shelves. These can be branded if required.

Display Cases

These are the cases you’ll typically see in a jewellery shops with clear plastic closed in on all sides. A great place for high-value items that are small enough to find their way into a pocket. These more luxurious types of permanent displays make the value of the goods seem higher, so a customer could be willing to spend more.

These can also be a great way to create a display in the case, while providing the item itself on top.

Banner Stands

These are commonly found at trade shows or conventions where the organisation unrolls their banner to display a product or announce a promotion. They are inexpensive, mobile, and very easy to fit in with branding. In store, these could be located next to the product in question, perhaps answering questions about the product or how to use it.

Retail Shelving Display Options

These are displays which sit on a store shelf. They utilise the existing space to showcase a product or brand and disrupt the shopper’s journey to grab attention.

End Cap Displays

These are the shelves at the end of a dual sided retail shelf. They offer space to place a product or brand to highlight them. Because they are at the end of an aisle, even shoppers who don’t walk down that aisle will see the display, making them more valuable than in-aisle displays.

Shelf Talkers

These small hang tags are sometimes called ‘wobblers’ as they move around in the breeze. They are attached to the shelf and hang off at the front, disrupting the shopper’s gaze. Easily brandable, use of bright colours can make these stand out.

It’s also interesting to note that customers find horizontal displays easier to process. Because in Western countries, we read left to right, our eyes naturally do that in stores too.

Clip Strips

These hang on the shelving verticals, making optimal use of space. These clip strips are great for hanging small items, or for allowing complementary items to be placed next to something, such as onion soup mix next to the reduced cream.

Best Display Practices in a Retail Environment

  • Change things every month or so. Keeping displays rotated and fresh keep customers interested
  • Make sure everything has a clearly marked price. Shoppers don’t want to ask, and they don’t want to be surprised
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with display props, or putting things together you wouldn’t typically see. In a wool shop, a display of soup bowls alongside beautiful jersey knitting wool, for instance
  • Expensive displays aren’t always the most effective. Simple displays can really help to increase sales
  • Think of the opportunity cost. A marketing campaign that increases sales makes the ROI totally worth it.

At Mills Display, we have a large selection of retail display options. Check out our website or give us a call to chat about the options. We offer custom items too, if you have something special in mind.

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Ideas to Make Your Retail Displays Insta-Worthy

Creating an Instagrammable retail space improves foot traffic and inspires user-generated content which translates to excellent, unpaid promotions for your store. 

One of the key benefits of creating an insta-worthy space is the production of user-generated content or UGC. This form of content is when your customers take photographs or create videos of your store or products and use it to endorse your brand. This authentic content can be equated to a form of word-of-mouth advertising which is invaluable in terms of sales promotions and web conversions.

It’s a trusted form of marketing, entirely free to you, and can be very profitable. So how can you create a display that people will want to post all over their Instagram or TikTok?

Design an Experience

Shopping is no longer just about running to the store to pick up a few bits and bobs. Consumers put a lot of stock in the experience of shopping, even if it’s just going to the supermarket for groceries. For a starting point, understand your customer base and the type of experience that they are interested in. The effort to design an experience involves everything from the layout of the store, the designs of your shelves and display, to the services you offer customers. It could be anything from making the space child-friendly with a play area, having beautifully presented fresh produce, to having a gift-wrapping station.

Focus on the Details but Keep Out the Clutter

In terms of designing your retail space, it’s more effective to create several Instagrammable corners rather than pouring all your effort into a single display. Especially if you have a small space to work with, it’s best to focus on the details rather than on a large, overwhelming display. With a statement display, there’s always the danger that it may miss the mark with many of your customers.

On the other hand, when you have several smaller possibilities, it’s more likely that people will find at least one or two of them worthy of photographing. Keep in mind that you don’t want a cluttered, crowded space as this can also be too much to process.

Keep up With Instagram Trends

Being successful on social media largely depends on participation. Maximise your social media presence by taking part in social media trends, whether it’s hashtags, colours, memes, audios, or something else (including silly dances). To encourage user-generated content, provide opportunities for customers to participate in these trends as well. For instance, setting up a display for the ideal photo-op can be done quite easily with the right props.

Don’t try too hard though; get in on the trend at the start and go all-out. You don’t want the response to be a cringe. If you have staff who are on social media a lot, it’s well worth asking them for ideas.

If ever in doubt, humour works. A hangsell with earplugs on it set next to a noisy child’s toy, for example.

Create a Personal Connection and Cater to the Senses

People tend to remember places and experiences where they’ve created memories or a connection with. Marketing psychology tells us that one of the most effective ways to do this is to appeal to the senses. This is where retail spaces have the upper hand over digital platforms.

Physical stores can give customers a strong sense of the product, prompt engagement, and foster a sense of trust in the brand. Aim to make an impact in terms of senses including visual appeal and scent.

Think about Countdown’s free fruit for kids. How many times has that been Instagrammed? And it’s straight to the target market; mums taking photos of their kids eating fruit, seen by other mums wanting healthy options for their kids… with a bonus of kids that are quiet and occupied in-store (at least for a few minutes). All that Countdown needed was a basket, a sign, and a some free fruit.

Encourage an Interactive Experience

Rather than allowing a passive shopping experience, create spaces that encourage interaction and engagement. This could be with a well-designed display or a backdrop where consumers can take selfies for their social media platforms. A good backdrop has the potential to become an iconic part of your brand.

Strategically placed mirrors are an excellent way to encourage consumers to take photographs of them modelling your products. Temporary photo booths, workshops and influencer events also work, depending on the type of products you stock.

Build a Space that Persuades Consumers to Relax and Lounge

A consumer is more likely to spend more in your store if they spend more time in it. So, give your shoppers a reason to stay. By this we mean giving them a reason to loiter rather than just browsing through your products. Create a seating area or a lounge if it fits with your brand. Offer free samples or photo opportunities. Another way is to provide something quite useful like a charging station.

Even if you’re a big supermarket that doesn’t have space for ‘lounging’, you can ensure that there’s space for people to stand and take photos of your marketing while not getting in the way of other customers.

Don’t Forget to Work Within Your Branding

Your in-store design and displays also contribute to your branding. Since the aim is to set yourself apart from your competitors, this gives you the ideal opportunity to push your unique selling point or your USP. Give your brand an edge by offering your customers a memorable shopping experience. Push your brand by using your colours and aesthetics.

Use Lighting to Your Advantage

Trade in the white lights for warmer hues that not only showcase your products but also prompt customers to take photographs. Good lighting is a crucial element for a good selfie and once your shoppers know that they can take a good photo in your store, they’ll be encouraged to do it more.

Can We Help You Make an Insta-Worthy Display?

Retail displays are more than just window dressing in a store. They are significant to the overall consumer experience and can influence foot traffic and sales. Employing an experienced B2B agency to understand the needs of your brand and your customer base goes a long way in creating a retail space that achieves your end goals.  An agency that has the knowledge and capacity to create customized displays and also understands the nuances of industry-specific marketing is key to levelling up your retail experience.

And, if you need display solutions, give us a call or flick us an email. We have a huge range of poster hangers, beautiful baskets, and almost anything else you can imagine that can help your marketing go viral.

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Displays for Retailers: Strategic and Unique Ways To Promote Products

3 Strategic Ways Retailers Can Promote Products and Get More Sales

There’s a few easy ways that you can increase your sales. And they aren’t expensive, time consuming, or difficult.

If you want to sell more product, you need to make sure your store, and the products themselves, are set up to prime your customers for buying. While there’s some easy display solutions you can incorporate in your layout and shelving, there’s also one very simple thing that many retailers aren’t doing- and it’s free.

1. Scarcity Sells

The less there is of something, the more value it seems to have[1]. That’s why those annoying e-commerce sites have those pop ups saying ‘someone from Christchurch just ordered this!’ or ‘only 2 left in stock!’ It’s there to give you FOMO – the fear of missing out.

While it’s easy to do this in an online store, it can be a bit harder to do in a physical store. Having only one or two items left can make them look bedraggled, like they’ve been left behind because they were unwanted. So how can you sell, using scarcity, without looking like the product is unloved and unwanted?

Dump bins.

These bins are a great way to sell product for several reasons.

  • They are easy to move around and put at the end of aisles, a great place for buyers to see things
  • People love to rummage around and find bargains
  • A selection of items together in a dump bin are not orphans; they are scarce objects you don’t want to miss out on! A sign saying ‘Last in stock!’ is the only call to action you’ll need.

Here at Mills, we have a selection of dump bins to suit your needs.

2. Get in Your Customer’s Face

One of the best ways to get a person to buy a product is to ensure they can’t miss you. Psychologists tell us that people are pretty fickle, and spend mere seconds looking at products before deciding to buy or not, often without even reading a line of text on the packaging[2].

So you need a way to present your product that grabs the attention of your typical speed-shopper. And one step further, you want them to touch it. Once a person has touched an item, they are more likely to buy it; and the longer they hold it, the more they want it[3].

One way of disrupting a customer’s shopping experience and getting their attention is using hangsells. These allow you to display your product in a way that’s easily accessible, it’s able to be moved around the store as desired, and it’s economical.

We have four types of hangsell strips:

You’ll also need some fasteners:

3. Make Sure You Provide the Most Basic Information

Strip away the fancy marketing, the loud excitement, the fluff and frills, and ensure you give people the basic information about your store. Make sure your Google My Business page has your opening hours, and good pictures of the parking, shop front, and some nice photos of the interior.

You can put whatever photos you want up; so if you have a unique product or brand, take photos of it and put them up. Also, list your USP in the description, so if someone is searching for a particular item, your shop will come up in their Google results.

Many retailers don’t update their GMB listing and it’s the easiest way to get customers. After viewing listings, over half of customers then visit the business website, 20% call for directions to the store, and 24% call for other reasons, like to see if a specific item is in stock[4]. Having a great Google business listing that is up to date is an easy way to promote your business and increase sales.

Need Retail Display Solutions in NZ?

Here at Mills, we have dump bins, hang sell strips, and a huge range of other display solutions. We can help you find the ideal solution for your retail display. We’ve had years of experience, we know the retail trends, and can advise you on the best solutions for your space and customers.






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Top Promotional Tactics Using Brochure Holders

How to Create Amazing Collateral and Use Brochure Holders to Drive Sales

Brochures provide potential customers all the time and information they need to make decisions. And, they act as a physical reminder to take action (which will be to buy your product or service, obviously).

Brochures are fantastic for marketing. They allow you to:

  • Add value, such as supplying recipes to go with ingredients or instructions for your products
  • Move high-end merchandise and services by going into depth into benefits, which customers can peruse in the comfort and time of their own home
  • Provide portable reminders, prompting website visits and spurring sales

But you’ve got to get it right; there’s no point just putting any old brochure or pamphlet on a benchtop and hoping it works. That is simply throwing spaghetti on a wall and hoping some of it sticks. So how can you ensure you get the best bang for your collateral buck?

1. Tailor the Content to Your Audience

Who is your target audience? The brochure should be designed with them in mind. You wouldn’t use dense text for toddlers, instead you’d have bright and engaging photos. In the same way, you probably don’t want a lot of jargon if your purchaser is a Jo Bloggs who doesn’t know their horsepower from their gigawatts (or whatever).

You’ll also want a mix of images and text, using headings to make it easy to scan. The whole point of having physical printed collateral is so the potential customer takes it home to read; make it engaging.

2. Choose the Right Form of Brochure

Do you need a large A4 document, or a DLE fold-out brochure? Would a DLE single card be enough, or what about a business card display with contact details? People don’t want screeds of useless information if they only want the contact details of your company IT decision maker; nor is a DLE single sided card any use if you’re trying to explain complex instructions.

3. Provide Extra Value

Whatever it looks like, give the brochure added bonuses. Whether it’s a discount coupon, a QR code to a special online landing page with more information, or real-life value like a recipe or colouring in page for the kids.

4. Distribute the Brochure

But once you’ve designed your beautiful and engaging brochure, you need a way to display it. Countertops are great but a strong gust of wind or enquiring toddler hand and the pile will soon be on the floor. So, how do you display them in a way that keeps them tidy, accessible, and where they need to be?

If you’ve got your product right there, or maybe you’re selling a service that goes with a product (like installing that high-end home theatre system), a free standing brochure holder on a counter or benchtop provides an easy, accessible, and secure way to display your brochures. At Mills Display, we have a selection of options depending on the size of your brochure, whether it’s DLE or A4.

While it makes sense to have informative brochures kept next to the relevant product, there can be instances where that’s not the best place. For example, if you’re wanting to promote a loyalty program, then having a freestanding brochure stand in the checkout queue is a logical place to put it.

If you’re a restaurant wanting people to take your takeaway menu home, then having it right next to the front door or on the outdoor menu stand is ideal. Or, you can run your promotions 24/7 using an outdoor wall mounted brochure holder.

Contact Mills Display for Brochure Holders in NZ

Once the designer has made the collateral, and the printer has created the brochure, you have to display it optimally. Whether it’s inside, outside, bench top or freestanding, we have a wide range of brochure holders and can help you choose the best one for your needs. Contact us on (09) 634 5962 or to chat about our options and pricing.

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Visual Merchandising: New Way of Organizing Products on Shelves

How you present your products on the shelf can amplify sales. It’s a mix of basic shelf psychology, modern display solutions, and a bit of creativity.

If any bricks-and-mortar retail store wants to increase sales, part of the equation is using shelf space in the best possible way. For a long time, we’ve known that simply putting products on the shelf is the bare minimum; there’s so much science behind where, what, and how.

From the basic to the bold, we’ve got ideas that can give your shelving displays new life.

Empty Space on Shelves Deters Customers

Gaps on shelves give the impression that you’re not stocking shelves well. It also, rather conversely, makes other areas with product look jumbled and messy. Empty-looking shelves make people postpone purchases, purchase their items elsewhere, or buy online. An empty shelf can deter up to 46% of customers[1]. Fix this by:

  • Rearranging items on the shelf to give the impression of fullness
  • Make sure there’s space for new items and plenty of growth opportunities
  • Paying attention to the data. How long are products on the shelf for? Which ones move fastest? Use AI to make sure you always have stock when you need it and avoid those gaps in supply
Light Up Your Product

Shops need to be well lit because it can result in higher customer spends. There are four main types of lighting to consider:

  • Ambient- the general lighting around the store
  • Accent – focuses on specific areas to bring awareness
  • Decorative – optional lighting to make things prettier
  • Task – functional lighting, for example, at the cash register

Done well, lighting should encourage people to buy; we know that bright lights make people more likely to impulse buy[1].

Consumers Like Order and Organization

People like to know where things are. Consumers have certain expectations of retail outlets, like deodorants are going to be in the same aisle as the soap, or chocolate is going to be close to the biscuits.

People also like order: labels to the front, products not shoved at the back of the shelf.

Disorganization is a sales killer, with about 50% of people[1] who had a negative experience with messy inventory or broken shelves walking away from a sale.

Keep your shelves organised and tidy using boxes and shelf dividers. Boxes comes in extra small, small, medium, large, and extra large. These boxes help you to create places for everything, and keep everything in the right place.

Another way to keep shelves looking well-arranged is with shelf dividers. Keeping products in nice tidy lines not only helps to ensure no chaos on the shelf, but also just looks nicer. If your shelves have variable depths, try using a breakable divider. These can be snapped to fit any size from 285mm to 485mm long. There’s two heights, 60mm or 120mm. You’ll also need to buy the appropriate T profile strip adhesive.

If the divider will be permanent, you could try these deli dividers, which could be adhered with double sided tape. They come in 100 x 500mm, 100 x 600mm, 100 x 700mm, and 100 x 800mm.

Also, it’s worth having employees educated on standards around front-facing labels. When items are stacked on the shelf, the labels should be facing the front. During general tidying throughout the day, staff should ensure products remain label-facing.

Things You Want to Sell Go at Eye Level

Whether this is an item that’s on sale, a new product, or the ultra-expensive eye cream that featured in some magazine last week, put it at eye level. This means it will be the first thing a customer will see, and we know customers are fickle and will always take the easiest and first option that presents itself.

Sort by Colour

While the whole chromatic ordering vibe isn’t for everyone or everything, it can be super effective. Seeing a whole shelf of one colour or a rainbow of products can be very enticing. It doesn’t make things easier to find, it doesn’t make any particular product the star, but it will draw the eye and slow customers down.

It’s likely something your competitors aren’t doing so can really set you apart. Some people are going to complain they can’t find what they want easily, but to the right customer, this could be fun.

Use Signage

This isn’t groundbreaking; signage draws attention. But, different types of signage do different things.

  • Wobblers/ danglers: These little signs pop off the shelf on a strip of plastic, and can draw attention to a product or item. These are common, but imagine seeing a line of these little guys wobbling in the breeze.
  • Aisle violators: These are the large vertical signs that jut out into the aisle. These can be very effective for signs and directions, but also for a product or special offer.
  • Shelf talkers: These can take a variety of forms, but are generally small-ish tickets that jut out of the shelf and draw attention to a product or maybe provide information. There are also ones that can be made to encompass an entire shelf area, include aisle violators, or even become a façade for a large area.
Need Shelf Dividers or Display Solutions?

In this push for pretty, don’t forget functionality. Keep products arranged logically, accessibly, and displayed effectively. We’ve been working in visual merchandising in NZ for years, and we know Kiwi customers, the products that can work, and we’ve probably got ideas that might help solve your display problems. Contact us to chat about your retail display options.






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