The age of impulse: An interview with Richard Walzer of Mars Wrigley Confectionery

Ahead of his keynote presentation at E-PACK Europe 2019 this month, we spoke to Richard Walzer, Principal Designer EMEA at Mars Wrigley Confectionery, to get a sneak preview of his presentation on the age of impulse, the future of the industry, challenges faced by brand owners and much more.

Richard, in your keynote, you will discuss 'the new age of impulse' Can you give us a sneak peek of what you'll be presenting?

I will be presenting the challenge that is faced by businesses like Mars Wrigley Confectionary that relies on consumers’ impulsive buying behaviour that is part of in-store behaviours – you see something that you didn’t necessarily go into buy, but end up purchasing, and in the case of confectionary often eating almost instantaneously (after paying). How can we meet the impulsive needs of consumers to treat themselves? And how can we tap into new moments and new occasions like gifting to move away from reliance in impulse.

Why is this an important topic to discuss and what effect can it have on the industry?

Impulse purchasing is important for brand-owners and retailers alike, with consumers adding more items to their basket or trading up to more premium products. It is an important source of income and a behaviour that consumers and businesses have become accustomed to in physical stores. With more and more purchasing happening online how can we replicate some of these offline behaviours whilst also maximising the advantages the online channel offers?

What do you think the biggest hurdle in the industry is at the moment?

Impulsivity is instead being delivered in the digital space, via treating oneself to something like an app rather than with a physical item like a chocolate bar – consumers’ cravings for instantaneous gratification is standing in the way of the two worlds, offline and online / digital and physical, coming together to deliver a truly great experience.

Where do you foresee the packaging for e-commerce industry heading?

This is a really interesting question as you could foresee a world where packaging could be very stripped back and designed for consumers to navigate the kitchen cupboard and support online logistics (eg Amazon’s ‘Frustration Free Packaging’ programme), rather than stand-out amongst the thousands of SKUs in a supermarket. In general, however I would say that the packaging can be the same for online and offline, gaining efficiencies of scale and instead focussing on the key visuals that represent the SKU rather presenting the physical pack itself. There are different opportunities that online offers such as an over-trade in larger packs and also premium and gifting so we’ll see packs designed for online first vs store first like the traditional model.

What are you most looking forward to hearing about at E-Pack?

I’m looking forward to hear how like-minded businesses are facing similar challenges and how they’re innovating to overcome these obstacles.

Why do you feel it’s important for companies to attend E-PACK Europe 2019?

The future (and lots of the present in fact) is moving to e-commerce – it’s imperative that businesses like Mars engage with events like E-Pack Europe to ensure that our company has a relevant business model that’s fit for the future.


Richard will present as part of the retailers and brands perspectives - opportunities and challenges session, with other presentations including:

  • Future packaging: Connectivity and consumer engagement - Shameem Kazmi, Britvic
  • Online gifts: Gift worthiness through packaging personalisation - Roberta Fabretti, Mondelez International
  • Round table discussions with IKEA, RePack, Perfetti Van Melle, Mattel and Pernod Ricard

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