Subtle Form of Seduction

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By Axel HenselderMore from this author

"It's what's inside that counts," so the saying goes. However, the importance of packaging for watches and jewelry is often underestimated. Cutting corners with packaging is a false economy for jewelers and goldsmiths.

subtle form

Jewelry packaging which decorates, presents, reminds… by Arno Hoffmann

Romantic staging and packaging by Heinrich Woerner

A man recently visited a goldsmith's in search of a present for his wife. He wanted a unique piece, something truly special. After receiving a great deal of advice, the customer opted for a set with a five figure price tag. Then came the anti-climax: when asked to gift wrap the set, the goldsmith fetched two colorfully printed white metal boxes from under the desk containing the usual run-of-the-mill foam inserts. The packaging didn't match the product at all. It didn't reflect the value of the product and wasn't suited to the occasion. The customer was not happy about this. He would need to have the gift re-wrapped. In all likelihood, he would not return to this shop.

Frosted glass-design plastic boxes in the Futura S series from Leser shine in all colors of the rainbow

The Japanese-style packaging series Plain by Leser is characterized by a reduction to the most important elements

The message of the content

It's not just the product which needs to be convincing in order to ensure success. The presentation and packaging also need to communicate a message about the quality and design of the goods. Without an appropriate setting, no sophisticated item of jewelry or luxury watch is likely to seduce or convince the buyer. "Packaging is advertising" says Lars Valentin, head of the Communications Department at the Nestle headquarters in the Swiss town of Vevey. Today, experts estimate e that a fifth of the money invested in marketing communications worldwide is channeled into packaging. The packaging market as  a whole is vast: production of packaging worldwide accounts for approx. 430 billion US-$ with an annual growth rate of two to four percent. Some 27 percent of this relates to packaging for special items such as luxury goods. Cases, bags and boxes  for jewelry and watches only account for a fraction of this. Packaging is an indicator of a society's level of affluence. Three regions - Western Europe, North America and Japan - together account for 70 percent  of packaging used worldwide wide, i.e. 70 percent of packaging is used by ten percent of  the world's population. Paper and plastic are the most important packaging materials. While these figures would be cause for discussion in other sectors on the significance of this wasteful use of resources, environmental issues are of little importance when it comes to jewelry and watch packaging. This is because high quality cases are usually retained and therefore don't end up in the landfill. While per-capita consumption of attractive packaging in Western Europe and the USA stands at 314 and 341 US-$ per year, this figure is much higher for Japan at 527 US-$. Here, packaging is traditionally very important, especially when it comes to luxury goods. The art of high quality individualized packaging is known as 'Tsutsumi' in Japan. The packaging reflects the product message and incorporates the personality of the recipient and any particular characteristics of the target group.

These pyramid-shaped cardboard cases from E. Wilhelm were designed in collaboration with the Munich Technical College by communications design students

Creative jewelry housing by Petra Ohnmacht

Cases by E. Wilhelm in trendy pastel shades

You are what you wear

People want to differentiate themselves from one another when it comes to jewelry and watches. They identify with the design, the goldsmith's skilled craftsmanship or the image of the label. Buyers and recipients value the materials used and technical solutions applied. But what distinguishes a sophisticated timepiece from an everyday watch? How can consumers differentiate between designer jewelry and trendy mass produced goods? In addition to the expertise of the goldsmith who can tell the customer something about the materials, techniques and design used in each piece, the type of presentation and packaging are also important. The saying "you are what you wear" also applies to packaging for jewelry and watches. The cases strengthen the particular characteristics of the product. Sophisticated packaging can even serve to enhance the value of goods in the lower or mid price segments. Cheap packaging may result in the customer greatly underestimating the value of a product. The staging of a product can either convince or dissuade a customer from making a purchase. Not to mention that a well-packaged gift also results in the recipient placing  a higher value on the item. It is also more pleasing for the goldsmith to be able to present and sell his carefully prepared works in a suitably fitting settings.

The Clipbox by Jarnes is held together with a metal clip

Packaging ideas by the company ToBe Packing

Ten tips on the optimal packaging for watches and jewelry

  • Use key visuals and your company's colors and logos in the design. This will ensure the design is recognizable and will establish your business as a brand.
  • Reduce to the max: have the courage to reduce the message to the most important design elements to convey your message clearly and explicitly.
  • Be creative in your design: think about the detail and overall appearance to fit with your product range and business.
  • Packaging makes a product stand out from the others: do something different from your competitors. The industry also offers many individualized solutions.
  • Use packaging as a differentiating tool, for example for different price segments.
  • Choose packaging which is appropriate for the product. The packaging should serve as an honest ambassador for the content and promise no more and no less than the product can offer.
  • Don't skimp on the quality of the packaging; think about what the packaging says about the product.
  • Incorporate the packaging into your communications strategy. Use the packaging for promotions, posters etc.
  • It's not just jewelry and watch designs which are subject to fashion trends - packaging is too. There are trendy and amusing packaging designs to suit every time of year or occasion. Make sure your sales personnel receive regular training from experts in individual gift packaging solutions.
  • Ensure that packaging in your business is easy to handle and store.

A qualitative study carried out by the Munich market research institute Facit on the effectiveness of 'packaging' as a marketing factor highlighted the significance of packaging as an advertising medium. Consumers and experts from the communications sector were interviewed. When asked: "What is the best medium for acquiring information about a product?", 27 percent of consumers and 68 percent of experts answered with the packaging. When asked: "What medium prompts the consumer to buy a product again?", 45 percent of consumers and 65 percent of experts said: the packaging. There can therefore be no question about the increasing significance of packaging at the point of scale. Packaging is becoming an important selling point.

Most manufacturers offer retailers packaging and presentation systems specially designed for the product. This means that the products and their presentation merge together to form a single product message.

Paper packaging by Pica Design

Black wooden cases by Mon Decor

Packaging as a brand message

If a jeweler or goldsmith wants to present products to the customer using his own packaging solutions, specialist suppliers offer numerous options. This presents the business to the customer as an independent brand. The packaging design must convey the brand message. Brands require staging. "The most important thing is that the packaging and content correspond to one another," says packaging guru Packo Jansen, who runs a specialized business for Individualized gift packaging solutions in Frankfurt am Main. The retailer can only distinguish himself from the competition by consistently coordinating the window displays, shop displays, display cabinets and product cases with the product select on, expertise on offer and the shop fittings. This may involve, for example, a uniform color scheme. The cases have to match the jewelry and present a testimonial about the jeweler. This is particularly important given that attractive packaging is often retained for a of and advertisement for the business.

by Axel Henselder

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Axel Henselder

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