HAVI helped a global office furnishings manufacturer that planned to introduce a new line aimed at startups and small businesses, but needed functional and appealing packaging reflective of the brand. HAVI developed packaging prototype recommendations the company could implement to ease the transition from industrial to experiential consumer packaging.
CASE STUDY FOCUS: DESIGN
A global office furnishings manufacturer sought help designing packaging for a new target market/demographic.
For years, the furnishings manufacturer’s primary sales channel had been dealers. Under this business model, the manufacturer fulfilled orders, packaged pieces for shipping, and contracted with a service provider to provide special care and attention while unpacking and building the furniture pieces on site upon delivery. The service provider also hauled away the leftover packaging once the process was complete. Customers only saw the assembled, ready to use furniture and didn’t have any view of the packaging or resulting dunnage.
When the manufacturer designed a product line aimed at individuals, startups and small businesses and opted to sell the product directly to consumers via its website, it needed to create new packaging that would not only be functional, but also visually appealing and reflective of its brand.
The manufacturer sought help from HAVI because they had the experiential packaging experience the manufacturer needed.
They also understood the importance of developing elegant, functional packaging that would emulate the values of the brand and deliver a positive first impression of the product for customers.
During the Discovery and Assessment phase of its engagement, HAVI met with members of the manufacturer’s marketing, packaging, product development and design teams to get a better understanding of the new product line and the group’s objectives.
They reviewed research the manufacturer had conducted on its target market and learned how the product would ship to customers, as well as the specific requirements of the shipping provider. The consultants also considered how the product would be received, how customers would get the pieces into their homes or businesses and how they would assemble the furniture.
When the consultants reviewed the manufacturer’s existing packaging, they determined that the brown cardboard boxes and tape they were using produced significant dunnage, or waste material, upon opening, and also appeared incongruous with the clean, thoughtful and uncomplicated design of its new furniture pieces. With this in mind, HAVI conferred with a universal packaging design and usability expert at Michigan State University on the topics of ergonomics and universal design principals. They also researched material alternatives that would promote sustainability, and they interviewed the manufacturer’s packaging suppliers and assemblers to gain their perspectives.
After assimilating and analyzing all of the information they had gathered, the consultants held an experiential packaging workshop at the manufacturer’s offices. Attendees included cross-functional team members from the manufacturer as well as its suppliers and assemblers. The workshop was key in communicating the shift in strategy from industrial packaging to consumer packaging and getting everyone to think about their own role in the context of experiential design. The group discussed the structure, shape and design of the packaging as well as the tactile and sensory experience of the customer.
They considered a number of variables and touch-points, including the way the packages would be grouped, how they would be shipped, the order in which they would be assembled, their weight and more.
Following the workshop, HAVI developed a series of recommendations and packaging prototypes. Among their recommendations: Make the packaging white and replace the tape with glue to give the packaging a clean, modern look; engineer the boxes so that when customers open them there are printed instructions inside the box and items are numbered in the order they should be removed and assembled; and label multiple box shipments in the order they should be opened. The consultants also provided a cost breakdown, complete with “must have” and “nice to have” lists.