Beauty copywriting tips: how retail impacts packaging

All cosmetic packaging needs to meet certain requirements, but where you decide to sell your products – online, in-store, or omnichannel – will have an impact on your beauty product’s packaging. Getting your beauty copywriting for packaging right early in your production process might even save you from costly packaging redesigns in the future. Think about where and how your customer is discovering your product, and the opportunity your product packaging has to convince them to buy it.

Packaging for online products

When a customer purchases a product online, particularly from a direct-to-consumer (DTC) beauty brand, the journey is pretty much done. When the product reaches them, they won’t need much convincing to pick it up and use it. That’s because the copy for the online product description and related marketing has already done the heavy lifting.

The physical packaging that arrives in the mail doesn’t need to do more ‘selling’. It just needs to include functional information such as the product name, how to use instructions, ingredient list, size or weight, expiry, and manufacturing details. This leaves a nice opportunity to create branded moments using exciting copy on the box or bag products are sent in, and marketing inserts.

Customers who are buying beauty products may spend time researching their options, or quickly splurge because they’ve been convinced by something they’ve seen online. They probably have some time to spend on reading your beauty copywriting and considering their purchase, and they might be captivated by complementary visual elements such as gorgeous imagery or videos.

Key takeaway: online product packaging copy can be relatively sparse, as the website copy has done the ‘selling’.

Packaging for in-store products

Making customers stop, pick up a product, and purchase it relies on many factors. The visual branding, in-store promotion, price point, placement, and marketing strategy play a role in a beauty brand’s overall retail strategy. But another important factor, often overlooked and underappreciated, is the copy on a product. When a customer wants to learn about a product, they read what’s written on its packaging. Even a glance at the product name could tell them everything they need to know to make a purchase.

The copy on the physical packaging needs to hold a customer’s attention, but be succinct enough that they don’t feel like they’re reading an essay in the aisle. It needs to inform and inspire in equal measures. Compared to online-only brands, packaging copy for in-store products has a lot of responsibility.

Customers who are buying beauty products in person aren’t likely to spend too much time hanging around a store and reading information. They may come into the physical store with an idea of what they want, or they might be happy to be wooed into a purchase. In either case, the product packaging copy needs to be brief but bold. Show the product’s benefits and its overall value in as little time as possible through concise beauty copywriting.

Key takeaway: retail product copy needs to be short, sweet, and persuasive: it works hard to ‘sell’ the product.

Packaging for omnichannel products

Here’s where things can become tricky. When you’re selling your product via multiple retail channels – such as online and through physical retailers – the copy on the packaging needs to be consistent with your other marketing and retail strategies. The messaging on your product should complement the copy that appears at all points of sale, on all promotions, and across all campaigns.

If your brand plans to expand to physical retailers, it’s important to consider this during your packaging design process. Since online product packaging does less ‘selling’ than their in-store counterparts, you may need to redesign and recalibrate the copy on your packaging if you move into physical locations. On the other hand, if your brand plans to start selling its products online, you may need to adjust your marketing strategy to ensure it’s digital-ready. In either case, it’s important to consider these elements early and create copy that is effective for multiple retail channels.

Key takeaway: packaging for omnichannel retailing needs to be consistent and reflective of your brand’s marketing strategies.

Amy Hadley

Amy Hadley is a beauty copywriter with a background in print journalism, digital media, public relations, and eCommerce. As someone contributing to the beauty industry, she encourages her clients to use words creatively, sincerely, and responsibly. This is to promote more honest and thoughtful communication in the beauty industry, and better serve its consumers.

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