Good design will help you sell more

Good design will help you sell more

That may read like a self-serving bit of advice but it’s actually simply a retailing axiom. If your product packaging, ecommerce website, or retail store is attractive there’s a very good chance you’ll be more successful.

As emotional beings we make snap judgements about items we interact with on a regular basis. We form quick opinions about the quality and the trustworthiness of objects and our interactions with them. Think about the last time you entered a luxury hotel. The posh design of the space and your interaction with staff probably reinforced its aura of luxury.

Now think about most luxury products. Consider the last time you unboxed a new smart phone. How did it smell? How did it feel? Did every piece fit perfectly and cleanly together to make the unboxing a sensual event? You probably smiled while you opened it and were happy as you explored the device for the first time.

Design elicits positive emotional reactions

What you experienced when you entered the lobby or unboxed your last smart phone was various design disciplines coming together around a product and/or brand. Industrial design, packaging design, graphic design, and in the case of the lobby, interior design. Design played a key role in how you felt and what you experienced. And it likely touched you emotionally – even if you were unaware of it.

Successful companies have come to recognize that good design can increase sales and profits too. Fine craftsmanship has been appreciated since people starting making and trading goods. But for a period during industrialization aesthetics took a back seat to utilitarian forms and patterns. There were always companies or products that continued to invest in design, but it wasn’t the norm generally speaking.

But today design is often an integral part of company’s strategy

As manufacturing turned many former luxury goods into commodities, differentiation proved more challenging. As a result, design has regained its importance and become a premier component in the success of many companies. Many companies tout how they’re “design driven” or strive for “design excellence.”

Of course, any modern discussion about design obviously needs to acknowledge Apple’s significance. Their excellence spans many design realms – from industrial and graphic design to packaging and interior design. And Apple’s influence is palpable and unavoidable.

But design can also impart a feeling of trustworthiness. Think about the last website you purchased from that wasn’t a major brand. Your initial visit to the site made an impression on you. If you purchased from it you felt comfortable doing so; that is, you trusted it. The design may have only affected you subconsciously, but the design undoubtedly impacted your buying decision. Studies have repeatedly shown visitors quickly judge the credibility and trustworthiness of a site in a matter of seconds. Aesthetically appealing sites can help to influence purchasing even before usability and pricing evaluation comes into play.

Packaging and product design are equally inspiring

Think about the last time you walked through a supermarket, or shopped in a department store, or browsed for products online. Can you recall anything that captured your attention? If you can, it’s likely what you’ll recall was something about the display or packaging - in essence the design caught your eye.

Packaging sits on a shelf or exists on a web page - so its design has to quickly and subconsciously connect with you to attract your attention. Bad design generally results in lower sales, even if two nearly identical products sit on the shelf next to each other. We’ve often experienced this after product redesign for our clients - when retailers are sent the new packaging they always want to return the old - since they know having the two sit on the shelf will result in only the new packaging selling.

Of course fancy packaging won’t save a crappy product

It’s worth mentioning that a bad product won’t be sustainable over time if the product itself is inferior or subpar. The old adage you can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse is true. You can create terrific packaging and initial sales might be good - but repeat sales will falter. Moreover, with today’s social networking the reputation of bad products or overly hyped products is generally quickly destroyed. So it’s important to also have a good product, since your packaging and design can only take you so far.

Be smart, follow the leaders

No I don’t mean copy their designs. What I mean is learn from their experience of capturing the consumers attention. Create a quality product and spend wisely on good design. All the aspects of your design will influence your prospects and can win or lose you business even before they try your product. If your packaging doesn’t attract attention it won’t sell well. If your website doesn’t look professional or impart credibility and trust it won’t help you sell. The same is true for all your marketing and advertising and cumulatively your brand - if any of your design is bad, sales will likely be bad too.


Mar 12, 2015

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