Consider this: On average, sellers of consumer goods spend between seven and ten percent of the product’s production cost on packaging. Each year, sellers spend a whopping $150 billion on packaging. The obvious reason is that they view a custom package as an investment rather than a raw expense.
Consumers pay plenty of attention to packages, looking to them as a way to learn key facts about what they’re about to buy, make decisions about what to purchase, and more. Custom packaging is the very first thing prospective buyers see when they glance at a product on a shelf or in a photo at an e-commerce store. Can smart packaging add to your bottom line?
Truth be told, there are dozens of ways to boost your sales with one weapon: custom retail packaging. Why is this once-ignored piece of the marketing puzzle turning out to be such an integral element in how and what consumers purchase?
Because in today’s highly visual, depersonalized world of online and big-box chain-store marketing, consumers seem to seek out something that makes their purchases more personal, more tactile, and more intimate. They get all of that when you create a customized package for whatever it is you sell.
Plus, the magic of custom packaging works whether you sell online, from store shelves, in person, or any other way. The beauty of a physical package is that people can not only hold, touch, and explore it after purchase, but can also do so before purchasing your product.
In order to understand how powerful and cost-efficient packaging can be, it’s important to first examine the key benefits of customized product packaging.
The Multiple Benefits of Custom Packaging
For starters, ask yourself what a product package can do. Does it merely act as a container for an item? Of course not. It delivers several interesting, money-making benefits for sellers, including the following:
- Storytelling: You can leverage the space on a well-designed package to tell your company’s story or inform buyers about the history of the product. This technique is famously used in the food industry for specialty items like potato chips, gourmet coffee, wine, and high-end candies and sweets.
Buyers enjoy reading about what they just purchased. As well, they also like browsing at packages online or in stores to find out about where the product came from, how it’s manufactured, and why the company sells it. How many times have you sat contentedly as you read something on the back of a cereal box during breakfast?
- Decision-Making: When your prospective buyers ask themselves, “Should I buy this?”, your package can deliver an on-the-spot answer in the form of succinct list of reasons. For instance, one seller of women’s nail polish places a three-point list of why their polish is best, and they put it on the front of a small package so it’s visible in person and in online photos.
- Instructions: Do you sell something that people might find complicated to use? If so, custom packaging is ideal for including simple instructions so shoppers can see that the process really isn’t so challenging. For excellent examples of this technique in action, check the home-made pizza kits next time you’re at the grocery store. The custom packaging often explains that making a pizza on your own isn’t a hassle, but something you can do, “… in 3 easy steps: Mix. Heat. Eat.”
Of course, instructions differ widely based upon what it is that you sell. The point is that a package, when designed in the right way, can serve lots of purposes, and can demystify a seemingly complex product for potential buyers.
- Product Protection: The most obvious purpose of packaging is to protect the contents inside the box, bag, or container. Typical examples include fragile things like eggs, light bulbs, delicate bottles of perfume, glass items of all kinds, and high-end electronics. Consider how much and what type of packaging you might need to keep your product in one piece, fresh, and attractive when the consumer opens it.
- Additional Information Want to promote your website or social media pages? Packages are one of the fastest, least-costly ways of doing so. For example, most modern retailers place their website address and contact information somewhere on each package. Likewise, they often include special phone numbers consumers can call with questions or comments.
And, if you are running a promotion or contest, a package panel is the perfect place to get the word out. For decades, makers of breakfast cereal have used the back and sides of boxes to announce contests and let loyal customers know about incentive programs.
- Special Offers: Special offers can include anything you want, like free trips for buyers who solve a puzzle, rebates for multiple purchases, and more. The package is perfect for these types of offers because you can update them frequently and keep the offers different and fresh.
Essential Facts About Making Your Package Just Right
It’s not enough to know what the benefits of good packaging are. Sellers also need to understand how to make use of the popular “unboxing” phenomenon, use packaging as mini-billboard advertisements, figure out what needs to go on the outside and inside, and make note of dimensions and design elements.
- Leverage the Power of the “Unboxing” Trend: Unboxing videos play a big role in attracting attention to your brand. In fact, some of the more successful videos posted by customers have attracted many millions of views on popular platforms like Youtube.
- Packaging IS Advertising Never forget that your package is a form of advertisement. It’s not only designed to deliver information and facts but to serve as what might be the first ad a prospective customer ever sees. The founder of the world’s most famous U.S. chocolate company (you know the one), had a habit of picking up discarded wrappers from trash cans after sporting events, carefully straightening out the paper, and then placing the wrapper, face-up, back down on the ground so passers-by could see his company’s, and the chocolate bar’s name.
The odd strategy saved the company millions in paid advertising, according to its founder, Milton. S. Hershey. Packages are powerful investments, no matter how you measure their return.
- Inside and Out: When designing the outside of your package, don’t get so wrapped up in the process that your forget about the inside. Particularly in today’s e-commerce environment, it’s essential to consider what should go inside because consumers often read directions printed on interior flaps, looks for coupons and giveaways, and examine the entire container to see what they can find.
- D & D, Dimension and Design: Always make note of the exact dimensions of your product. Designers and packaging companies will often ask that question first because it determines many other factors. Additionally, make a list of what your ideal design would include, like logos, website addresses, ingredients, instructions, jokes, puzzles, photos, company history, etc. Use the list as a starting point, along with precise dimensions, when you sit down with the company that will be making your packages.
What Not To Do
Are there any no-no’s when it comes to using custom packaging? In other words, how can you avoid the most common pitfalls when it comes time to hire an expert to design and produce a custom package for your product? Here’s how.
Never assume that a more expensive package is better. The trick is to get the ideal package that tells the story you want to tell, protects the contents, included all legal warnings and notices, looks appealing to the potential buyer, has a unique appeal so that it stands out from nearby packages on retail and e-commerce shelves, and makes buyers want to keep it.
If you do everything right, customers will post unboxing videos online, keep your packages as collectors’ items, re-use them for storage and gifting, and show them off to others as proof that they use what you sell. Pricey bottles of wine are perhaps the best example of this phenomenon, as are jewelry boxes with stylized branding on top.
Make the Decision to Use the Power of Professional Packaging
As Will Rogers is reported to have said, “The toughest thing about getting started is getting started.” Whoever actually uttered the phrase, they were dead-on target. If you sell anything, the time to up your packaging game in now, as the most competitive season of the year begins.
At Mid-Atlantic Packaging, we work with companies of all sizes, helping them come up with the most suitable, budget-friendly, attractive packages possible for products of every size, shape, and weight.
Feel free to phone us with any questions you have about custom printing, packaging, prices, the design process, discounts for new customers, and more. Our direct customer service phone line is (800) 284-1332. Or, pay a visit to our website, look around, and chat with a staff member instantly. We look forward to helping you ramp up your sales with excellent packaging.