Sell it like it is! (Does Walgreens think I’m an idiot?)
I was bewildered to find that no matter what quantity of “Wal-itin” I wanted to purchase, Walgreens packaged them all in the same size pill bottle. This wasn’t so bad, but for some inexplicable reason, the product box packaging was three times the size of the pill bottle. And, why on earth should the same size pill bottle come in multiple box sizes depending on the quantity of pills in the bottle if the bottles were all the same size?
On one hand it’s genius:
Use the same size package (bottle) to hold different quantities of pills. This reduces overhead in package manufacturing because only one pill bottle size is needed. As anyone who has ever purchased or manufactured product packaging knows, most of the price is in the set-up, labor and processes, not in the actual materials needed to produce the product. So by using only one bottle size for multiple quantities a company/manufacturer can reduce their packaging costs dramatically. (And thereby pass on tremendous savings to consumers as well if they choose… but that’s another rambling for another day.) I’m quite okay with having a partially empty bottle stuffed with cotton, because I have read the box and know exactly how many pills I’ll be getting for my purchase.
On the other hand, where’s the genius in enlarging the box packaging?
When I opened the package box I found only 3/4 of it contained the pill bottle. There was a nifty little cardboard divider so the bottle couldn’t rattle around in the rest of the box, but wouldn’t a smaller box have sufficed? Granted, a larger box size allows for more advertising space on the packaging, and more retail shelf-space as well. But let’s be frank – there’s a lot of wasted space on this product package, and a lot of content that wouldn’t be necessary if the box were the actual size of the pill bottle. Perhaps it’s a new FDA requirement that pill bottle sizes must be included on product packaging? (Which, of course, could be avoided if companies weren’t trying to dupe consumers into thinking they’re getting more than they really are. But I digress…)
This doesn’t address the retail shelf-space issue I realize, (and not to diminish the multitude of retail sales strategies out there regarding shelf-space) but that’s really about product marketing competition and “keeping up with the Jones.” If everyone used smaller product packaging think how much smaller our shopping carts could be!
Ad space and retail space aside, I’m left with only two conclusions:
1) Someone thinks that consumers are idiots.
Some non-genius marketing firms or manufacturers are telling companies that consumers are more likely to think that a larger box – even with a clearly marked “actual size” image of the bottle printed on it – means that they’ll get more for their money.
2) Consumers truly are idiots.
Consumers really do think that a larger box – even with a clearly marked “actual size” image of the bottle printed on it – means that they’ll get more for their money.
Neither of those conclusions sit well with me.
Sure, advertising on product packaging and shelf-space real estate play a HUGE part in consumer purchasing, but ultimately most consumer purchasing decisions are based the product or company brand. Where’s the line between maximizing your marketing efforts and treating your consumers like idiots, Walgreens? Seriously, I ended up purchasing Walgreens’ “Wal-itin” despite all of the above, not because of it. In reality, had there been a better product for the same or less money, I would definitely have purchased that instead.
I believe (as a consumer myself!) that we’re way more intelligent than most companies give us credit for. There isn’t a single person I’ve personally spoken with who wouldn’t prefer smaller product packaging, and less packaging in general. Now-a-days, it seems everywhere you look the package is getting bigger, but the size of the product and/or product quantity is getting smaller!
And here’s the kicker – the 300 quantity of tablets I purchased didn’t even fill up the bottle size. And that was the largest quantity available! So clearly Walgreens could be using a much smaller sized bottle as well.
Come on Walgreens, and all you other companies out there selling over-packaged products — I dare you to take a stand and just simply “sell it like it is”.