Despite the maxim, people do judge books by their covers. And likewise, we judge companies and their products by their packaging. Poorly thought out packaging can be enough to drive a customer away before they’ve even tried your product.
On the other hand, quality packaging – whether it’s beautifully designed, practical or environmentally friendly – can be enough to turn a window shopper into a regular customer.
Why is packaging important?
Packaging is a reflection of your brand, your company and your business philosophy. It projects a visual and very noticeable brand tone and goes a long way to shaping customer perceptions of your brand.
The wrapping or bags that you use can tell a customer whether you are a premium or discount brand, whether you’re eco-conscious and even what your target demographic might be.
Quality packaging needs to be as clear and effective as a well-written press release. It needs to embody your brand, make clear statements about your business, while also being eye-catching and memorable.
If you’re not paying attention to your packaging, you could be losing customers and losing money.
Help help you get the most out of your packaging, we’re going to run you through a few options for how you can optimise your product packaging to attract customers and save money.
First of all, you need to consider the purpose of your packaging. Does it just need to look great or does it need to provide protection as well? Delicate items like electronics or glass bottles require practical packaging that ensures your products reach your customers’ homes in one piece. The best looking packaging is worthless if it can’t protect your product
Work with a design engineer to produce packaging that efficiently and effectively looks after your merchandise. Only once this is sorted should you worry about how it looks.
If you ship products or sell online, it’s also worth considering how bulky your packaging is. Most couriers and shipping companies charge for freight based on weight and space. If your packaging takes up a lot of unnecessary space, you could end up paying more for shipping than you need to.
Make the design count
Do your market research. Find out what sells. Take this information and fit it to your brand. The end result should be a visual representation of your company that draws consumers in.
For instance, if your eco-friendly credentials are a major selling point, use natural colours and biodegradable materials, like soft greens and paper padding. If you believe in innovation through simplicity, use minimal packaging with few design elements, like black text and a single image on a white background.
Don’t forget to factor your budget into these design choices though. Packaging can be unnecessarily expensive if you get too caught up in creating a piece of art.
Regularly update your packaging
Even with this time and effort spent before the product hits the shelves, you can’t truly know how it will sell. There’s always room for improvement. Have room in your budget to revise your packaging.
As soon as your merchandise leaves the warehouse, gather consumer and seller data. What do they like? Where can you improve?
For consumers, find out why they chose your product over a competitor’s (or didn’t). Did they think the packaging created a lot of waste?
Return to your market research to understand why a customer might choose a competitor over you.
You may also need to return to your design engineer to strip back the packaging to bare necessities. Consumers may think negatively of your brand if there’s a lot of waste packaging. Using less materials also saves you money.
Space-efficiency is a big factor in packaging. You need to store your product in your warehouse until you ship it to sellers who then need to make space for it in their store. The bigger the product, the more space it needs. But clever packaging can make a product more space efficient without sacrificing the product’s safety.
Return to your design engineer and focus on reducing the size of the packaging. This should cut down on the warehouse and retail space needed, as well as shipping costs. Space-efficient packaging is more economical for everyone.
Invest in packaging machinery
You should also think about whether it’s practical to take your packing operations in-house. This could end up saving you a lot of money over time, rather than paying a third-party for packaging.
Look to invest in packaging machinery like portable bag sewing machines, box closers or bottle closers. These may cost a bit up front, but they will pay for themselves over time.
Remember to take care of the machines though. Set up regular routines and schedules for maintenance to avoid unnecessary production delays and repair costs. Few businesses can continue to operate if they can’t package their products.
Packaging should never be an afterthought for your company. Just as you allot time and money to marketing and development, you need to prioritise packaging. With the right packaging, you can surpass all your competitors.