The customer's perception of your product starts long before they buy or eventually put it into use. Even at first sight – also known as "the first moment of truth" – the customer will assess the product's packaging and label – and decide whether to engage or not.

As we all know, first impressions are formed within a matter of seconds. That first moment of truth provides the customer with a foundation of expectations and is crucial to whether they will pick up the product – or not. By doing so, they move on to the second moment of truth – a crucial part of their decision-making process.

A.G. Lafley, Chairman, President and CEO of Procter & Gamble first coined the phrase "First Moment Of Truth" 2005, when they realized that the customer's eyes typically swept through a store shelf full of products; theirs and their competitors – with a very short attention span given to each product.

  1. The First Moment of Truth is when the customer is looking at a product. This can be in-store or online.
  2. The Second Moment of Truth is when the customer actually purchases the product and uses it.
  3. The Third Moment of Truth is when customers provide feedback about the product. They share it with the company as well as their friends, colleagues, family members – but we'll come back to this one.

According to research, product decoration can trigger sensory impressions linked to positive or negative sentiments, making the way your labels look, feel, communicate, function – even smell – stakeholders in that second moment of truth.

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Let's take a closer look at five ways to engage and communicate with your customer in both the first and second moment of truth, from your labels:

#1: The visual customer experience

Designing packaging

The visual expression is about attracting attention to create the first moment of truth. That's why adding elements to your label that your target audience will be visually drawn to should be top of mind when you're designing labels. Choice of colours, images and shapes play a vital role as well, but in terms of elements, you might want to consider the following:

  • Enhance contrasts with Matt & Gloss varnish
  • Create glitter and glow with Pearlescent effects
  • Create an impression of exclusivity with Hot or Cold foil embossing
  • Get a metallic glow with metallic ink on the label
  • Create the illusion of shimmer with metallic graphic elements
  • Control expectations by using colour matching ink on cosmetics and DIY paint

Read more: The psychology behind labels that sell

#2: The sensory customer experience

Sensory customer experience

When a potential customer finally picks up your product, you better preserve their interest in that second moment of truth. That's why appealing to a sensory – besides the visual – increases the chance of purchase.

Sensory experiences are created using textures, fragrances and decorations.

  • A tactile varnish allows you to raise and manipulate areas of the label to create a tactile illusion of everything from raindrops on a leaf to grains of sand on a beach.
  • A texture varnish can make the label feel like, e.g. leather, snakeskin or pineapple.
  • The Skanem Soft & Gentle varnish makes the label extra soft to the touch, making the product appear gentle, soothing, and smooth.

Read more: 5 things to consider before designing your new labels

#3: The interactive customer experience

Design uten navn (18)

Modern technology can be a powerful marketing tool. Both to engage customers and to understand them better.

The information provided on traditional labels and packaging can be pretty conventional and linear. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but by adding some competitive interaction to your labels, you'll also provide your customer with added value.

This can be solved in different ways, but the following three technologies and formats are particularly popular right now:

  • Gamification is about turning the label into a game that benefits the customer. Either in the shape of physical prizes, digital scores or challenges. This is not new, but Gamification is constantly evolving. For example, McDonald's continues to have great success with their collectable Monopoly promo labels on containers, which contains both physical awards (e.g., free side order) and digital codes. In addition, products with interactive labels (such as Smart Labels) can send the customer to a landing page, website or an app by scanning the label with their smartphone.

  • QR codes are powered by a relatively simple technology that connects your customers to the content of your web page. Instead of telling stories with words or pictures, you can, for example, tell your story with video or engage your customers with a contest. Simply by scanning the QR code with the camera function on their smartphone, the customer can discover new layers of your brand – perhaps with a film that shows how or where the product is made, the story behind the manufacturer or a video tutorial with tips and tricks. This helps you build your brand while your customers connect with the product.

  • Augmented Reality (AR) added to the label and packaging allows the consumer to interact with your products while still in the store or when using the product after purchase. By turning on the camera function on their smartphone and simply pointing it at your product, your chosen AR elements pop up. Perhaps a list of ingredients, stats or animation related to that particular product. And best of all – the consumer sees all this directly in their camera function viewer. Yes, just like in the Pokemon Go app.

#4: The secure customer experience

Show your customers that you're serious about security by using a security label. This communicates safety for both the end consumer and the buyer. For some industries, e.g. in pharmaceuticals, this is already a legal requirement.

labels with micro printA label can come with various security features such as:

  • Security Seal – a seal that indicates whether the product has been opened or not. If security has been breached, the seal will be visibly torn, damaged or completely removed.
  • Thermochromic Ink – an ink that changes its colour at different temperatures. That way, you'll know if the product has been exposed to a harmful environment in terms of temperature.
  • Microprint – creates an element that makes it much harder to counterfeit the product. Both text and patterns can be used for this.

#5: The practical customer experience

A label can – and often should – add to the consumer's practical experience of both the purchase and the product. There are several different types of labels that do just that:

Carry label Skanem

  • The Handle Label – where the label acts as a handle for easy carry.
  • The Bag Hanger – where the label makes it possible to hang flexible packaging on store shelves.
  • The Bottle Hanger – intended for the suspension of drip bottles, as in intravenous medication.
  • The Resealable labels ­– keeping moisture on the inside, allowing the consumer to easily open and close packaging for, e.g., wet wipes or food.
  • The Dry Reseal – labels that make it possible to close a flexible packaging to maintain the freshness of products such as coffee, chips, bread and snacks.

You'll never get a second chance to make a first impression

Using one or more features from the list above, you can enhance the experience, captivate your customers throughout their decision-making process, and increase the chances of selling your product.

Strengthening the customer journey and moments of truths, right from the start, is something your label supplier should have excellent knowledge of – along with the manufacturing abilities to follow through. Here at Skanem UK, we pride ourselves on providing you with the labelling solutions that do just that.

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