Designing Packaging for Consumer Experience

May 26,2023 Category: Packaging Development, Sustainability
Consumer experience is an important consideration when designing packaging for both retail and e-commerce channels. While packaging’s primary function is protecting products as they move through its distribution environment, it also plays a central role in shaping a consumer’s first impression of the product. A positive experience can increase the chances of a repeat purchase and drive strong word of mouth; a negative experience can discourage future purchases and create an unfavorable sentiment with the consumer and their network.

There are a few important aspects packaging teams should keep in mind when designing to optimize user experience:


Packaging should be functional and easy for the consumer to open once they have the product at home, while still including some safety features that discourage retail theft. Packaging teams should consider the process consumers will need to go through to access the product. It’s important to remember that a package that’s easy to open for younger adults may not be easy to open for seniors – the products target consumer play in important role. Some products, especially foods, may call for resealable packaging to maintain freshness throughout use, so ease of resealing and reopening should factor into packaging design for those products.

Just as products should be easy to open, they should also be easy to handle, carry and store. This should factor into the size and shape of the package. In addition to benefitting consumer experience, careful consideration of the size and shape of a package can lead to significant cost savings through opportunities for more efficient palletization.


Though the approaches to each channel may be different, designing packaging that makes a brand’s identity distinct and differentiates the product from its competition is central to the consumer experience both at retail and in the e-commerce environment. Packaging should align with the brand’s overall aesthetic and be consistent with marketing materials and other brand collateral.  Both the design and any print on the packaging should create a cohesive experience.

In many cases, it is beneficial to use packaging that is eye catching and helps the product stand out. In traditional retail environments, engaging and visually appealing packaging can help a product stand out from competitors and increase the likelihood of purchase. Incorporating texture through coatings or embossing can further enhance the consumer experience by creating a visually interesting and tactile package. When consumers interact with the packaging, it increases their likelihood of purchasing the product and sharing their experience with others.

In the e-commerce realm, where shelf appeal is not a major factor, the opening experience still plays a significant role. Brands can create a memorable unboxing experience by using quality materials and well-designed packaging that reinforces the brand image.  

Packaging elements that add to the impression the product is a high-end, luxury item enhance the consumer experience.  Internal packaging components such as bamboo trays can add to this perception. There are opportunities for branding on all packaging elements, including the box or pouch, internal components and even shipping labels.  Consistent branding can make a strong impact on the consumer and add to the perception that they purchased a premium product.

A channel audit can help brands better understand the competitive environment and consumer expectations, providing valuable insights that can guide this aspect of packaging design.


Consumers’ experience with the packaging doesn’t end once they open it and remove the product. It’s important to consider consumers’ experience with the packaging through end-of-life. Consumers increasingly expect sustainable packaging solutions, and meeting those expectations is critical to their impression of a brand. Packaging should be easy to dispose of responsibly.

Careful consideration of consumers’ experience with municipal recycling systems should lead to designing packaging from a single, recyclable material or a small number of recyclable materials that separate easily, both of which make responsible disposal an easy task for the end user. While consumers expect sustainability, they also value convenience. Making packaging from multiple materials that are difficult to separate before recycling increases the chances consumers will put the entire packaging system into the waste stream.

For a more in depth look designing packaging for consumer experience, check out our white paper on the topic. If you’d like to discuss your packaging design options for both the retail and e-commerce environments, get in touch. Adept Group has experts design, e-commerce, sustainability and many other aspects of packaging, and we can help you optimize consumers’ experience with your product.