Packaging, once a basic element of any product seems to be getting fancier, sleeker and even enticing if we may say, especially packaging of lingerie. What’s more, these days a product’s packaging also offers information about the lingerie such as sizes, colours, the fabric, etc., which is extremely useful for the customer. However, is packaging really that important and significant? And does it really drive sales? We decided to find out…
Communication, protection, convenience A product’s packaging is usually meant to communicate a purpose—what your brand stands for and what it means for your customer. Purchasing lingerie has increasingly become a luxurious and lifestyle experience more than just a quick buy of bare essentials. So, the packaging of lingerie it seems, is gaining prominence to not only attract customers but even to drive sales. Yet, it has to do its basic job as well…that of protecting the product itself. The packaging has to protect the contents from damage, dust, dirt, leakage, pilferage, evaporation, watering, contamination, etc. Besides, it helps in easy handling and storage of the products as well.
Convenience is another aspect of good packaging. The transportation, storage, and handling can be performed with ease and without wastage. In fact, neat and proper packaging has even known to bring down inventory and packaging costs, space and even time costs.
Still, much has changed in the sphere of how lingerie is displayed in Large Format Stores (EBOs) versus retail. Typically, LFS and Exclusive Brand Outlets (EBOs) display their lingerie for the customers to view, touch and feel whereas retail outlets store the packed products. Explains the Department Manager at a suburban mall’s LFS, “We display the products but it’s not necessary that every customer would buy it. Also, if she likes and chooses a particular product, we give her a packed one and not the one of display.”
According to a spokesperson at Zivame, “Many customers are very particular with their product packaging. For example, brands such as Jockey provide their products in pouches or boxes made of higher standards featuring a rich print quality, matt or gloss lamination. Few customers assume that open pieces, lingerie that is hung on display are used pieces; they assume products that are hung are tried and tested out by other customers and hence they prefer their products from a packaged box. So, we tackle that situation by providing the consumer with knowledge that hung products are fresh pieces.”
According to a spokesperson at Jockey, “Our products are available to customers on hangers and in boxes as well. MBOs, vendors and LFS have different visual displays of merchandising. Most customers prefer the touch and feel retail experience. They want to know the fabric quality. We can either sell them a product directly via say a box of three or give them the option to try the product out before making a purchase. Product availability in a store is most important. It all depends on the customer at the end of the day.”
All the stores believe that display goes a long way in attracting customers and at times even translating into sales. Says the spokesperson at the LFO at the mall, “Different brands have different strategies of display. For us, it’s all about visual merchandising. If a customer can feel and touch the product, which is not the case in regular retail stores, it is easier for her to choose. Yes, presentation does matter. If the packaging is attractive, then it certainly draws the customer.”
“In terms of apparel and lingerie, how does the product look, is the first appeal of a customer. So, if the lingerie is packed it is very time consuming, for we have to open it and show the product to the consumer. In apparels and lingerie hanging is the best way for if the customers see it and like it then only will they try it. The kind of packaging we receive from Zivame is plastic bags. So it wouldn’t look good if we stacked it on racks,” explains the spokesperson at Zivame.
According to a spokesperson at Wacoal, “As a customer point of view, if they view the product from outside the store, if the visual is appealing it attracts the customers to come inside the store and that is the whole reason behind hanging garments. If you see colour display, coordinates the customer is made aware that there are more options available. Visual display is a silent sale!”
Mr Dipankar Datta, Proprietor, Beyond Desire states, “Packaging plays a vital role in attracting customers and gives a sense of brand. And yes, packaging does drive sales as well, as after trail most customers ask for a fresh packed piece and also people are still a little embarrassed to carry lingerie, so it can be carried discretely. Lingerie is a very personalised item. Besides, a lot depends on the brand the lady is buying; for e.g., if she is purchasing a high-end brand, she may want to flaunt it, but someone chooses a regular brand, she may want to hide it.”
Mr Madhusudan, Partner, Cauvery, Pretty Woman, states, “Women want to see the brand displayed. They like to see the packs, look at the product and then ask for it. They don’t know about the product otherwise. Also, a product, which is expensive needs to be packed in a good way and customers get to see the product properly.
Display is important too
While packaging is important, the brands feel that displaying lingerie strategically is important as well and the after a customer chooses the product, the way they wrap and pack it also varies. Zivame’s spokesperson states, “At first glance, in apparels the look and feel of a product matters to the customer. Some brands follow a certain protocol and I don’t think the life span of a product is affected if it’s on a shelf stacked up in a box or hung on display. With us only our panties come in a box not our bras due to hygiene reasons. Zivame has various product packaging, one is a pack of three, and pack of two which comes in a plastic pouch and the singles come in a box with product information such as colours, price, and size and product name. Few customers are specific they want to know everything about a product, where as some customers care more about discretion so its a mix barrier and hence our bras are sold in a plastic bas with no information just the brands name.”
“We display some products, such as camisoles, panties, in packs as these come in a pack of two or three. Otherwise, all our lingerie is un4packed and on display for the customers. Also, we retain the packaging and give a packed product. But if someone chooses a product straight off the rack, then we give them that product itself in a bag. We don’t wrap it in butter paper or tissue, but simply put it in a paper bag as the tag is already there,” says the spokesperson at the mall.
At Wacoal, she says, “Boxes benefit those customers who are just walking through; ’cause those customers can directly view the sale purchase value and directly buy it, but to us visual is more appealing and attracts customers and hence our lingerie is not available in boxes. We use a tissue wrapping and directly put the product in the bag. On our price tags washing instructions, pricing, sizing everything is mentioned. Boxing and shelving products can be a little tricky as you may never know how long that product has been dumped and ignored on the shelve, It can end up being damaged cause there is no movement, due to dust or lack of touch or feel. The main focus for many customers is to not show what they have bought. Hence, here in Wacoal we wrap our products and put it in a bag. We value our customer’s discretion.”
Mr Madhududan says, “We display the boxes and customers see the model in the product on the box and they ask us for that particular product. Yes, packaging does attract customers and it is important. They see the product on the box and ask for it, making it easier for them.”
Well, it may seem that the brands and LFSs have their own reasons to retain the packaging or do away with it, but the retail owners too have a perspective on packaging. Mr Dipankar Datta, feels that some though should be put into the packaging aspect of lingerie as this can translate into more business. If the packaging is sleeker and concise, retailers will be able to keep more stocks and hence more business. “Also, even today the packaging boxes are bigger, especially the ones used for padded products. This has to be thought out as see how smartly they can be made smaller. The packaging is really good but the boxes should be redefined.”
As for how lingerie is displayed in his store, he says, “All lingerie in my shops is on display and not in boxes. The basic sizes, styles, all colours, etc. Are on display and products are put on walls with hangers. Its an open display and the stock is kept in packs in the store room. This way, it’s easier to give the lingerie for trial to the customers.”
Mr Dipankar packs the lingerie in a good quality plastic bag, which is not transparent and he says that sometimes customers do ask them to get rid of the boxes and even refuse the plastic bag, instead keep it in another shopping bag.
Mr Madhusudan too packs the lingerie it in a plastic bag with that has the company’s label on it. “Many customers also get their own jute bag and people who are travelling abroad ask us to get rid of the boxes for weight reasons,” he states.
Packaging in lingerie it seems has changed through time and the big stores prefer putting it on display for their customers to see and feel it. However, how it is wrapped at the checkout counter may differ from an EBO to an LFS. Some may give a packed product while others may simply wrap it in tissue and put it in a bag. Also, there are no set rules or laws about displaying lingerie and it seems that the packaging seems to attract the customer to at least have a look at the product even if they do not actually buy it, while also getting information and updating their knowledge about lingerie.