You judge a book by its cover, or so the saying goes. That is shown in the TV series “Take Me Out” whereby a hapless chap has to choose from a panel of girls of whom he knows nothing other than what they look like and what they are wearing – which is often not very much. And when the girls are asked if they like the chap, they say things like “he’s cute” or “I love his hair” or “he’s got great fashion sense”. Where did the notion go of “it is what is on the inside that matters most”?
When you visit a shop you know what you are looking for. Even in a humble supermarket you know you want to buy a few basic staples; you would not be swayed by something as superficial as the packaging would you? Wrong…!
New research shows that even for things where we have made a prior decision as to what we want to buy, when we get into the shop we are swayed by the packaging. We do judge things by their appearance.
Come on, admit it. When you were faced with a Christmas present recently that was poorly wrapped you thought it was much less interesting than the one that had all the shiny paper and the fancy bows and ribbons. Packaging manipulates your expectations.
So the question for online retailers is what kind of packaging do you use for your products and how do you show that packaging on your website? And if you are not a retailer but in a service business, do you “package up” your service? Simply sending a proposal as a PDF does not have a positive “judge a book by the cover” impact. But if your proposal were placed in a nice box with wrapping, that would be judged to be better than the same proposal sent out in an ordinary envelope.
Indeed, if you operate a service business the whole concept of turning them into “products” and packaging them up is something which has significant success but is largely underutilised. This is something I explored in my newsletter a year ago…!
We might like to think we rise above the superficial nature of the impact of packaging, but repeated studies, like this new one, show that we do not. We do judge a book by its cover, we do judge people by what they look like and we do make purchasing decisions based on what the item is wrapped up in.
Are you sure that your online products and services are packaged well enough?[wysija_form id=”2″]
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+