Wine & Spirits

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Posted: September 14, 2009 by
JoAnn Hines

It's true, some industries are keeping current with innovative packaging technologies better than others. Packaging innovation can move your business from a commodity driven product into a premium product category. Not only that, it can build sales and create its own unique niche with little or no competition.

Today, entire new categories of product have been created around a single niche market that may not have existed a few years ago. New packaging innovations can create new categories of product or merchandising.

The long and short of it

Why are so many companies not paying attention to this fact? They rely on the old industry standbys or packaging campaigns that are tired and trite or, in the worst case, copycat packages that parody the competition. Businesses tend to stay with the tired campaign and then wonder why sales are in a slump, or at the best, a status quo.

Competition is fierce in the retail environment whatever the product. It's not enough to just create new product packaging or revitalize one-you have to get it to SELL too. That's where packaging comes must be primary. It is your best sales tool. Today's packages need to capture the consumer's attention and persuade them to pick up the product while informing them about the contents.

A good example of creative thinking in packaging is how the wine industry is transforming packaging innovation into more sales. Wine makers and package designers explored several options and are creating products based around unfulfilled needs. They have redesigned and created new packaging that satisfies consumers' wants and desires.

This is creating a demand in previously untapped markets. The wine industry is creating brands with a synergistic approach combining new bottles, new packaging materials, new shapes, new labels, new dispensing features, and new closures to attract new customers and even targeting new specialized niche markets.

Meeting new needs

Here are a few examples of how the wine industry is meeting consumers' needs through innovative product packaging.

The Trend: Convenience and Portability. Some new wine packages can go places glass packaging can't go. There are a lot of restrictions on glass packaging. Wine has created new packages made from paper and other materials that can be easily transported and are non breakable. They also have developed a whole new market of single-serve package products.

The Trend: Marketing to Women. Wine makers are now marketing to the largest consumer demographic. Women purchase more wine than men, yet the packaging was never geared toward women until recently. Many new offerings have appeared capitalizing on "feminine" appeal.

The Trend: Socializing Occasions. This approach takes wine out of the category of fine dining or serving only at a special occasion. The new packages are adding to wine drinking becoming a fun experience and a part of everyday life by introducing funky labels and memorable characters. Today, the array of wine labels with animal themes is quite astounding.

The Trend: Luxury Appeal. The luxury market is booming. While some brands are down-scaling product packaging, others are moving up to more luxurious packaging. The industry is working to keep wine equated with the luxury experience.

Whatever the trend in your industry, you can capitalize on it with your product packaging. Think about an unfulfilled need and how your product packaging can capture that consumer. Don't get caught with slumping sales by not staying on top of consumer trends. Pay attention to the consumer. They know your business and might be the driver in transforming sales into profits though product packaging. Don't wait until it's too late. Make packaging your first thought-not your last.

JoAnn Hines, The Packaging Diva, is the founder of Women in Packaging, Inc., an international, non-profit, professional packaging organization. If you have an example of packaging that created increased sales through a package design change, contact her at