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Value-based product development in the ever-evolving retail market


Apr 10th 2017, 09:05

New consumer trends are continuously emerging and the retail market is changing fast. More than ever, these factors are driving product and service providers to consider their offering and incessantly strive for product development and innovation.

Fastmoving recently got in touch with Mpact to gain insights into the dynamics of the product development landscape.

Understanding the dynamics

Few organisations successfully execute on product development as the understanding of the dynamics of product development is the first step that’s often missed.

Product development for the consumer is based on the product or user experience, while product development for the brand owner is based on beneficial changes to the product itself, its processes or services.

Different perspectives

The packaging manufacturing environment consists of the consumer, the brand owner, filler and the raw material converter. While every brand prides itself on meeting the customer's needs, this measure is not necessarily one of profit-leading product development. This is because both brand owner and consumer will state a potential solution based on their own frame of reference.

In a recent Harvard Business Review study, author and CEO of Strategyn, Anthony W. Ulwick, states: “Customers only know what they have experienced. They cannot imagine what they don’t know about emergent technologies, new materials, and the like.”

This ultimately results in developing packaging solutions that are confined to the current thinking of the brand owner and the consumer. For widely referenced market disruption, the development of solutions needs to be stretched horizontally, both backwards and forward into the business chain, including the raw material suppliers, the converter, the brand owner and the end-user.

Product development and stakeholder input

The Woolworths honey bottle is a good example of such local product development. Mpact developed the first inverted honey squeeze bottle for the South African retail market. Woolworths, the partner in this development, undertook to change the packaging for this product range from its aesthetically pleasing but non-functional cylindrical shape plastic bottle. The outcome was the new inverted, oval-ribbed bottle design that has proven to offer functional convenience to the consumer and brand presence benefit for the retailer.

Mpact, as the manufacturer of this pack, applied technical design principles that surpassed the brand owners’ frame of reference and delivered a customer-centric product packaging that offers benefits to all parties involved. This process merged the previously unmet need of the consumer with the capabilities of the converter, to deliver brand recognition for the retailer. The result is an easy-to-squeeze bottle that allows for maximum product consumption.

The redesign of the Glycol-Lemon shampoo range is another example of stretching product development horizontally by collaborating with both brand owner and consumer. The redesigned bottle delivers aesthetically pleasing packaging for the consumer and allows the full use of its content, while the improved filling speed and increased print area maximises the brand presence on the shelf.

A Third example is the IML labelling technology. Since its introduction in South Africa approximately a decade ago, in mould labelling (IML) technology has been offering reduced lead times and lower cost, as the secondary label application process is eliminated.

More before and after images:

With a multitude of design options and textures, the result is both aesthetically pleasing to the consumer and functionally beneficial for the brand owner. This innovative technology offered by Mpact provides the brand owner with the added benefit of fully managing its label stock with their packaging partner.

Driving sustainability

The benefits of design and functionality aren’t the be all and end all of product development. Development should also consider the environmental factors.

Mpact has launched its new rPET raw material, Savuka, in line with its values of commitment to sustainability. Making use of recycled PET material such as Savuka rPET offers both the brand and consumer a unique opportunity to contribute to a greater cause and should be a strong consideration in any packaging development process. Through initiatives such a Savuka, brands are given the opportunity to operate at a significant scale to ensure an increasingly positive impact on the environment by reducing landfill and CO2 emissions.

Ultimately, to achieve profitability-based product development for all stakeholders, the goals that underpin product development need to be fully understood. Product development lies within the product itself, user benefits to consumers, financial benefits to brand owners and converters alike while simultaneously considering a kind environmental element.

About Mpact

Mpact Plastics is a leading producer of rigid plastic packaging and cling film, producing a range of packaging and serving a multitude of blue-chip customers within various industries, including products for the food, beverage, personal care, home care, pharmaceutical, agricultural, industrial and retail markets.

Contact: Mpact Plastics

Tel: 021 577 1200


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