How custom printed coffee bags build brand loyalty

Holly Szakal
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January 22, 2024
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Building brand loyalty is an essential part of business growth. New customers who purchase your coffee consistently will evolve into repeat customers. More so, they’re likely to recommend it to others. Custom printed coffee bags have become an integral part of that process. 

Custom coffee packaging helps to strengthen a brand’s bond with existing customers. Additionally, it can initiate a compelling narrative that resonates with new and targeted audiences.

Custom printed coffee bags have transformed into a powerful brand communications tool. In the highly competitive landscape of specialty coffee, they double as a creative way to stand out on crowded shelves. 

To learn more about how brands can use custom printed coffee bags to boost loyalty among consumers, I spoke to Hugo James, owner of specialty coffee shop Profile Coffee, based in the quiet yet centrally located north-eastern borough of Highbury in London.

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Custom coffee packaging: Make your product an instant hit

Several studies indicate that packaging design can provide visual cues that‌ play an important role in influencing customer purchase behaviour. A recent poll found 72% of consumers say packaging design influences their purchasing decisions.

These figures show how essential custom packaging has become in setting a brand apart and boosting sales. 

As the owner of Profile Coffee, Hugo chooses to feature a ‘guest’ coffee roaster each week. A guest coffee is a certain bean brought in by cafe owners or head baristas which will only be served for a relatively short period. This consistent turnover means Hugo has seen custom coffee bags of all shapes, colours, and sizes come through.

“Elegance and simplicity are the name of the game at the moment,” he explains. “We have found that the simpler, more elegant packaging has resonated with our customers the most. Something about less is more seems to attract customers.”

Minimalist packaging designs tend to let the product speak for itself, giving very little away. However, Hugo has noted that coffee roasters are now using additional forms of packaging to convey product information. “Roasters are now including information about the coffee on their bags as well as boxes,” he says.

“We have seen consumers enjoy a bag that’s boxed. And, some of the best roasters in the world at the moment have their bags housed in very simple boxes that look beautiful on the shelf,” he adds. “Boxes tend to signify more care for transportation. They are also more elegant in terms of how they look on the shelf, and can help custom stickers or labels look more attractive.”

“In Profile, we feature a new roaster every few weeks, and we’ve seen customers respond really well and buy more coffee off the shelf when it’s aesthetically pleasing,” he adds. 

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Custom printed coffee bags help boost sales

Bain & Company and Harvard Business School report that “increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.” Additionally, research shows existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more, on average, compared to new customers.

Beyond this, studies show attractive and creative packaging design is the number one driver of impulse purchases. It is important to note customers tend to spend more on impulse purchases in-store than they do online. Notably, up to 40% of purchases made in supermarkets are impulse buys.

In the US, CPG Merchandising executives claim to have had a sales increase of 19% thanks to permanent displays in stores. Furthermore, they state they’ve seen a 23.8% increase from temporary product displays.

Clearly, custom packaging is a highly effective way to capture and maintain consumer attention. Becoming loyal to a brand requires emotional attachment, which will be based on the brand’s perceived trust, dependability, and consistency. A brand that offers loyal customers novel experiences can help maintain its attraction, provided it straddles the middle ground between “too familiar” and “too novel”.

Excess novelty can be off-putting for customers, often inducing stress and avoidant behaviour. Research suggests this is because the greater the novelty perceived in the stimulus, the greater the derived utility up to a point, after which further increase in perceived novelty diminishes utility because anxiety sets in. Once this happens, the brand may be seen as inconsistent, unreliable, and untrustworthy.

Therefore, coffee roasters want to ensure that their marketing messages and packaging remain somewhat familiar, allowing loyal customers to easily identify and purchase it. If packaging is inconsistent, customers may not recognise the brand. Alternatively, they may mistake it as a counterfeit, which can build negative consumer perceptions of the product.

With the number of counterfeit items on the rise, it is essential that a product’s packaging is accurate and consistent. Inconsistent packaging can come across as careless and messy – traits that coffee roasters want to avoid being associated with their products. 

When customers buy coffee, they expect every cup to be consistent and tasty. By achieving packaging consistency and a strong brand identity, coffee roasters can meet these high standards.

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Customising packaging for consumer preference

Custom packaging design should prioritise creating market value, serving individual and societal needs, and minimising environmental impact. Product packaging has been a major contributor to pollution and global warming for many years. By extension, a company’s packaging choices can either reduce or expand their product’s carbon footprint.

Predictions show the coffee packaging industry is anticipated to exceed $991.6 million by 2027. Notably, the paper and paperboard packaging segment is expected to dominate the market during that forecast period. Primary drivers behind this growth are consumption driven expansion of the coffee industry, increased consumer demand for sustainable packaging, and an uptick in the adoption of recyclables, especially paper.

Research shows overall trends in coffee packaging are shifting towards paper. A 2023 consumer survey from Two Sides Europe provides important insights into this trend. The survey questioned over 10,000 consumers in 16 countries across the world to “provide an assessment of consumers’ attitudes and beliefs towards the paper industry and its products.” 

The results compare consumer’s preferences for paper/cardboard, plastic, glass, and metal across a range of environmental, visual and physical attributes. The survey revealed consumers showed a preference for paper in 10 out of the 15 attributes in the survey. Notably, respondents favoured paper/cardboard for environmental factors such as home compostable (76%), better for the environment (55%) and easier to recycle (49%).  

At MTPak Coffee, we offer recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable coffee packaging solutions made from natural sources such as kraft paper, rice paper, and LDPE with an eco-friendly PLA lining. We also give you the freedom to personalise every detail of your packaging, and our design team is always ready to help when needed. 

For more information on custom coffee bags, contact our team

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