Posted by Catherine McGavin ● Dec 19, 2017 12:01:00 AM

Retail Moments of Truth, Part 4

Retail Moment of Truth - Fourth Moment of TruthWhether your product is new, improved, or just plain good, it deserves a good presenter—a retail package that’s just right.



The humble folding carton is the hardest working member of your marketing team. When it’s built to shine (a critical “Retail Moment of Truth,”) it takes command of the shelf—as it must! P&G observed that retail’s First Moment of Truth (FMOT) occurs when the consumer discovers our product and decides whether to buy it.

With so many products on the retail stage, yours must connect—quickly and powerfully—with your buyer’s emotions. As consumers move through the store, they shop with their eyes and choose with their hands. The effective retail package taps deeply into their psyche, via their senses of sight and touch. It draws them in—first to discover your product, and then to choose it. Studies have shown this process to be only seconds long, so you need to get it right.

Seattle Chocolates Boxes - Emerald City GraphicsLittle Billboards

This is especially true for “guilty pleasure” products like chocolate, where store shelf competition is fierce. Jean Thomson, president of Seattle Chocolates, noted that, “packages are our best little billboards.” With themed messages, iconic shapes and vibrant colors, the packages that hold Seattle Chocolates are eye-grabbers that have earned prime shelf spots, both in grocery aisles and in boutique displays. Thomson related several ways their packages created a unique FMOT. Each package can be:

  • A beautiful folding carton that sits on the shelf, “gift-wrapped,” in bright colors and textures
  • A candy bar wrapper that doubles as a greeting card, and offers themes for several happy occasions
  • An iconic shape that makes a box of treats a souvenir, and turns a box of candy into a Seattle-themed keepsake


These little billboards bring the Seattle Chocolates brand into consumers' homes, where their great designs help them live on through the Second Moment of Truth (covered in the next blog), and escape the recycling bin even after the chocolates have been consumed.

The Magic of Touch

Consumers who enjoy holding a product in their hands will also enjoy purchasing it. According to Motive Metrics, our haptic (touch) experience with packaging spurs us to create a new, tangible path to satisfaction. For humans, holding an object brings the idea of satisfaction—and magic—to life.

House of Matriarch Perfumery - Emerald City GraphicsTo make its perfume irresistible on the retail shelf, House of Matriarch Perfumery puts it into a package that begs to be touched. Building on rich colors dusted with a subtle geometric pattern, this exotic hexagonal case further captivates the shopper who holds it:

  • An elegant velvet-like surface adds to the look and feel of royal tapestry
  • An embossed, shiny copper badge makes its brand tactile as well as bright
  • A smoothly hinged lid invites a peek inside, to display a hidden message about magic


Holding this prize, the Nordstrom shopper concludes that inside is a rare potion—one that he must purchase for someone very special.  With Matriarch Perfumes, this customer can give that special someone a treasure, and make unboxing part of an exotic, sensual experience.

Plan the Adventure

When planning your product packaging, use shape and color like a tractor beam in the store. Seattle Chocolates and House of Matriarch carefully plan their customers' adventures, and define a premier experience at the First Moment of Truth. These humble folding cartons capture their customer's imagination and beckon to them from the shelf.  Good packaging design, paired with materials that are just right, connects with consumers at an emotional level—just like magic!

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Topics: Retail Packaging, Retail Merchandizing, Packaging As Marketing, Retail Moments of Truth

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