How packaging can elevate the experiential retail journey 

Visionary CEO Wizz Selvey of Wizz & Co. explores packaging's transformative potential in shaping remarkable retail experiences. 

Wizz Selvey, a retail industry thought leader, spoke at the London Packaging Week 2023

The retail landscape has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. Gone are the days when shopping was solely about price points and product features. Today, consumers seek more than just a transaction; they crave an experience that resonates with their values and desires.  

In this context, packaging has emerged as a powerful tool to enhance the overall shopping experience in physical stores, and no one understands this better than Wizz Selvey, CEO of Wizz & Co., a thought leader in retail. 

"Elevating packaging is certainly a way to increase the value of the product, and the buzz that surrounds it in a physical store," Selvey remarks.  

"Making a customer feel like they have something special, with packaging that speaks to their values, needs, wants, or taste, as well as housing something they are eager to shop for, can only add to the physical shopping experience; it's about making your brand memorable in the consumer's eyes and being the brand and product of choice over others." 

Packaging has indeed become a key player in the theatre of experiential retail. It's not just a means to protect and transport products; it's a canvas for storytelling, an immersive element that draws customers into a brand's world. 

Selvey highlights the impact of innovative packaging designs and strategies:  

"We have all seen the trending #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, and with over 60 billion views (and counting!) in categories including beauty, fashion, and food, TikTok took advantage of the buzz with their bricks and mortar pop-up in central London this July.  

“Content creators, brand advocates, and merchants alike were sharing content filmed there, and contributing more to TikTok's archives and popular shopper links." 

While TikTok's strategy wasn't primarily centred around packaging, it showcased how a physical retail space could become an experiential hub that amplifies a brand's presence through the content created within it.  

Other brands, including SHEIN and Rituals, have embraced similar concepts, leveraging packaging as a means to create buzz and generate content. 

For experiential retail to truly succeed, it must weave a compelling narrative that immerses customers in a unique shopping journey. Packaging plays a pivotal role in conveying this narrative. 

"Packaging collaborations are some of the most intriguing to customers, particularly collectible or artistic themes, which work extremely well in the beauty and drinks categories," Wizz Selvey explains.  

"Product outer packaging doesn't have to be flat, dull, and functionless, but could add a second life to a product that otherwise would be thrown away." 

Brands that think creatively and captivate with their packaging can encourage consumers not only to purchase but also to return and advocate for their products.  

Packaging becomes a tangible expression of a brand's story, creating a deeper connection between the brand and the customer. 

In today's eco-conscious world, sustainability is a growing concern among consumers. Selvey acknowledges the advancements in sustainable packaging solutions:  

"Sustainability in the packaging world has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Where before there were no solutions to plastic-free shampoo containers, for example, creative solutions are now available, with more and more being developed." 

While there might be an initial cost to brands in adopting sustainable packaging, the long-term benefits are substantial. As sustainable options become more mainstream, costs are likely to decrease.  

This shift toward eco-friendly packaging not only aligns with consumer values but also enhances a brand's image, contributing to a positive experiential retail journey. 

In the digital age, packaging plays a dual role, bridging the gap between online and offline retail channels. Wizz Selvey emphasises that "the packaging needs for digital are different from physical retail, from the product packaging to the delivery options." 

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, in particular, are rethinking their packaging strategies to align with both online and offline experiences. Packaging for digital can be streamlined, emphasising sustainability, while physical retail often demands more robust and informative packaging.  

Providing customers with choices, such as greener packaging options, at checkout has become a powerful way to cater to diverse preferences. 

Ultimately, packaging is no longer a mere vessel for products; it's a crucial element in creating immersive and memorable experiential retail journeys.  

As exemplified by the insights of Selvey, the influential CEO of Wizz & Co, innovative packaging designs, sustainability, and a seamless online-offline transition are essential components in crafting retail experiences that resonate with modern consumers.  

The future of retail lies not just in what's inside the box, but in the box itself. 

Wizz Selvey, CEO of Wizz & Co., is a thought leader and a go-to industry name for market insights and advice in the retail industry.