Customers prefer packaging to be the same whether it's online or on a retail shelf, a new Esko study has found.

Titled Packaging and the Digital Shopper: Meeting Expectations in Food & Beverage, the white paper, researched alongside Pantone, X-Rite and AVT, found that only 0.8 per cent of primary shoppers indicated that they have never purchased any food and beverage products online, with 75 per cent planning to purchase more snacks online in the next 18 months.

The packaging and the experience of purchasing a product online need to be similar to buying at a store, however, 47 per cent of shoppers expect the product image to match the packaging that's shipped to them, while 24 per cent who had returned product based on its packaging reported they had done so because it looked wrong, or they suspected it was counterfeit.

John Elworthy, senior director of global brand sales at Esko, said data on what shoppers like is important, but not the only thing packagers need to consider.

"Knowing how shoppers want to receive products is also critical piece of the story,” he said. “Without knowing the means by which shoppers want to receive products, marketers and brand leaders risk losing out on revenue opportunities.”

Udo Panenka, president of Esko, added that by connecting the packaging value chain with new technologies, FMCG companies will be able to better connect to consumers.

"Both premedia and converters will better understand the product standards consumers expect and can work more seamlessly with brand owners to provide them," he said.

"This helps to make packaging the enabler to satisfy consumer needs rather than being a cost driver or a headache.”

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