The First Moment of Truth

The First Moment of Truth


By Dr. R. Andrew Hurley
Contributing Editor, Packaging World

The First Moment of Truth

  • 70% of decisions are made in the store

  • 28% of shoppers with a plan still leave brand decision to the store environment

  • 10% of shoppers will switch brands in the store

  • 20% of shoppers buy impulsively in categories they had no intention purchasing in

What does this all mean? That attention is critical. Unseen is unsold, and if your packaging does not grab and hold attention, the probability of a favorable decision to select your offering approaches zero. Imagine the last time you were in a retail store looking for a new product; how did you make the decision of what to purchase?

As a brand owner, you need to understand the subconscious decision processes going on in the consumer’s mind that ultimately lead to a final decision.

The First Moment of Truth is when consumers are ready to buy and are zoomed in on your product category. How do you entice the subconscious of consumers to choose your product over competitors? The underutilized answer is packaging. Package design is essential to communication with the subconscious. Through a multitude of consumer research studies, we have found that the First Moment of Truth in retail is influenced more by packaging than many brands had before thought possible.

It’s critical for brands to fully understand the product category from a consumer standpoint to be able to optimize for the retail environment. For example, if your product sits in an unfavorable position on the shelf, don’t sweat it. Did you know that good design can impact the time to find a package? You can employ a quantitative assessment of your packaging to learn how to drive attention your way. Some product categories are established as habitual purchases where consumers rarely change brands, but other categories are affected by small details that can influence purchase behavior. Your package, encompassing your choice of labeling, material, and branding, influences the subconscious of consumers at the shelf.

Unseen is unsold

It’s obvious that unseen products are unsold, but the message can be applied at a much deeper level. We have conducted dozens of research studies on the effects of physical product disclosure, and the results overwhelmingly demonstrate that viewable products sell. Consumers purchase packages that show the product inside more frequently than the same packaging without the benefit of product display. Product visibility is critical for package optimization in the retail store. Are you more likely to buy a kitchen utensil after holding it? A suit after after trying it on for size? Think about the difference it makes when you get the chance to see desserts versus just reading the menu. As marketers, we tend to focus on market trends and on our competition more frequently than on the consumer and their need for attention and understanding.

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