Week 7 of packaging design is complete (even if it is a bit late). In week seven we began work on Project 2 starting with market research. This week (or last week) took me a lot of time because I tried to conduct as much research as I could.
While week seven was challenging with the amount of investigation involved, having a sound knowledge of the current market assists in being able to create packaging that directly connects to the right market, and in turn consumer.
Our brief was to look at packaging that had bad accessibility (and legibility), or packaging unable to be opened without a tool. Given the category of garden, office or hardware I decided to go with the hardware group and selected screws in small packages of 100 pieces or less. This packaging is usually in clamshells which are hard to open, but made impracticable with a staple.
General Product Category: Fasteners
I started my research by looking at the general product category, which is fasteners. I observed six major retailers that sold screws (online). These included; Bunnings Warehouse, Mitre 10, Stratco, Big W, Kmart and Woolworths. Hardware stores such as Bunnings Warehouse, Mitre 10 and Stratco were more likely to have a larger number of screws for a greater variety or purposes. Other stores sold wood or general purpose screws in smaller quantities. For example, of the stores inspected Bunnings Warehouse sold 96% of fasteners while Woolworths only held 0.03%.
Specific Product Category: Screws
Next, I jumped right into the screw market. It was interesting to learn that screws not only had many different sizes, weights, head types, point types, thread types and materials, the usage also defined them. I know that probably sounds like a silly statement to make, but as someone who was not familiar with screws, it was interesting to learn and see how that difference reflected in the packaging. I conducted a lot of research here. Recording my findings in Numbers, I looked at three retailers, Bunnings Warehouse, Stratco and Big W and what brands the stores sold, the price range, usage types, and packaging attributes. It might sound easy, but when you look at Bunnings Warehouse that sold over 900 screws, it did take some time.
I found that Bunnings Warehouse sold the most screws of the three stores. These were usually packaged in hard to open clamshells and in the $2-$5 range. Wood was the most popular category for screw usage, and the brand with the largest presence was Zenith.
I then created image boards that compared the direct competitors, looked at both good and bad packaging and created visual matrixes where I examined communication, accessibility, price and sustainability.
After investigating the products in the market, it was time to understand who the target was, or who buys the products (consumer). I decided on two potential target markets that included a tradesperson, who was a sole trader and contractor who would buy screws for small jobs. The second was a labourer who was familiar with screws and needed them for small home renovations. I thought it was important that this second market was familiar with screws because they would know the weights, sizes, head types, etc. and required for their project. To gather the statistics for the markets I looked at census records, industry reports and journal articles.
Now that I had an understanding of the product category and the target market I investigated potential materials that could be applied to the packaging of screws. I looked at paperboard, plastic, fabric, tin, bioplastics, glass, wood and metal. Of these forms, I believed that timber and glass would be too impractical due to the weight and fragility. These would cause problems in transport and add additional costs.
Finally, I looked at the structure of potential packaging. These included paperboard boxes, plastic, bioplastic or fabric pouches, tubes, tubs, cups and containers. I decided that pouches would probably not be practical because of the removal of material when opened. If the target market needs to open the package, it should provide without the need to throw anything away. Even if that was one-time use, there needs to be the option for correct containment. Further process into week 8, I will decide which packaging structure will provide the greatest benefits.