It’s a strange situation, when you stop to think about it. Companies of all sizes spend billions of dollars every year on things like logo design, new vehicles, smart locks for office doors, and furniture. But, when it comes to choosing the right kind of custom packaging design, they often cut corners in an attempt to save a few bucks.
What factors should you think about when selecting custom packaging for your products? This is the central question for anyone who sells any product, of any size, in any market. The best way to get a grip on answering that question, from your own perspective, is to begin by first taking a look at some key statistics, then understanding the core benefits of professional custom packaging, and finally examining the points to consider when choosing custom product packaging.
Numbers That Matter
In reality, what customers see when they look at your package, and how easy or difficult it is for them to open it, plays a much bigger role in your bottom line than almost anything else. That’s because packaging is often the central component of your branding, and is the first thing the majority of your buyers see and touch when deciding to buy your product.
According to Consumer Reports, of every dollar of product cost, about 10 percent of that expense is accounted for by packaging. And in all, sellers spend about $150 billion every year on product packaging alone.
With so much at stake, it’s obvious that the results of your company’s custom packaging decisions can have a profound impact on the bottom line, long-term brand identity, and the future of your business.
Benefits of Custom Packaging
Anybody can throw a product into a package, send it to a retailer, and hope it sells once it’s on the shelf. Likewise, for e-commerce merchants, it’s a simple enough task to wrap a product in generic packaging, shove it into a mailer, and wish for the best. Unfortunately, both of those techniques are recipes for financial disaster for any company.
Taking the time to decide on the right mix of factors in a custom packaging design can pay huge dividends. In fact, there are dozens of short-term and long-term rewards that flow directly from careful, planned packaging. Here are just a few of the most common ones:
- Better Branding: Design, color, materials, written content, sturdiness, size, shape, and weight are all components of custom packages. And, each one of those things contributes to the public perception of a product, namely its brand. A sloppy-looking design, clashing colors, cheap materials, and wording that does nothing to inform potential buyers about your product is a non-starter. Excellent packaging planning leads to rock-solid brand identity.
- Less Damage: Smart decisions about packaging can help prevent damage to items before, during, and after shipment to a retailer or directly to a buyer. Great-looking, well-designed packages can also be sturdy and act to protect what’s inside. In the long-run, that means you spend less on replacing damaged products and sending refunds to customers.
- Lower Shipping Costs: Choosing packages that don’t weigh too much is an instant way to chop shipping expenses down to where they should be. Even tiny amounts of packaging weight can make a significant difference in annual shipping expenses. This is one of those situations in which “every little bit” really counts.
- Stronger Sales Numbers: Packages that are appropriately sized, look good, and deliver worthwhile information to shoppers are a key element of a successful sale. Sleek, good looking packaging acts as you “silent sales agent” once the item is put on the shelf. Get this piece of the puzzle right, and it’s possible to boost sales right away.
The Right Way To Choose Custom Packaging
Here are some of the essential concepts that go into smart, customized packages:
- Image: Knowing your own company’s image is the first step in package customization. Do your buyers view you as a market leader, a money-saving brand, or as a high-quality selection in a crowded retail niche? Get this right and the rest of the packaging decisions are that much easier.
- Information: Be very careful about the written information you put on the package. It needs to meet legal requirements in most cases but also should carry your product message about quality, reliability, and customer service. Consider placing websites, phone numbers, and address on exterior labels.
- Location: If your items will sit on store shelves, they’ll need much more detailed design than if they go directly to e-commerce buyers in the mail. Shelf-placed products need to “sell themselves” with additional content and design elements. That’s not the case with direct-to-consumer goods.
- Graphic Design: Devote time, attention, and funding to graphic design. Consumers can spot cost-cutting a mile away and are usually drawn to sellers who invest in top-quality graphic design. Doing so is one way of sending a message to potential buyers: “We care enough to make our packages look good, which means we also care about the quality of what’s inside the package.”
- Size and Weight: Getting package size and weight right can save huge amounts of money on shipping, storage, and damage expenses. Packages that are too large or small, or too heavy or light have the potential to drain your budget and create a weak brand image.
- Materials: Use the best materials you can afford and the expense will eventually return to you in the form of profit. Top-grade materials, like boxes, bags, wrappers, and even packing paper, make an impression on buyers and help keep items fresh and in good shape.
- Target Audience: Know the typical characteristics and preferences of the people you sell to. Some demographics don’t like flashy-looking packages, while others gravitate toward such items. Understanding your target market is one of the early steps in custom package selection.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
It’s always helpful to know what to do. However, knowing what not to do can be equally beneficial. And when your company’s financial success is at stake, it’s more vital than ever to remember the common pitfalls of poorly thought out packaging decisions.
Take a leisurely stroll down the aisles of your favorite supermarket and make a few notes about what you see. Notice the budget-brand detergents in generic boxes, many of which are slightly damaged and feature written content that is barely readable. This is example one of what not to do with your own product’s package.
Using cheap materials, low-cost ink, and containers that are too large is a quick path to perpetually low sales numbers and awful brand identity.
Next, wander over to the cosmetics section and inspect the women’s nail polish displays. See those products with unreadable writing on them, typically bright-white ink on shiny glass bottles. That’s not a result of “going cheap” with ink and container materials, but of poor design and color selection.
It’s just as easy to make money-losing packaging decisions when you spend a lot as when you spend less. Top-quality materials like high-grade inks and sturdy, attractive glass containers go to waste when no thought is given to design.
Finally, examine the candy counter near the check-out stand very closely. Here’s where the marketing principles of custom packaging are of paramount importance. The snack and candy market is a multi-billion dollar enterprise, and has been for decades. Whether they’re willing to admit it or not, people love their sweets as much today as they did in past eras.
Inspect the boxes on the candy shelf that are nearly empty, the ones that are obviously the biggest sellers. Compare their packaging with the items that are clearly not moving out the door in droves. In most cases, those slow-selling sweets feature mediocre packaging. That often means odd-looking, unattractive designs, wrappers that feel cheap to the touch, and obviously broken or damaged contents.
It’s possible to take a short walk through the local grocery store and learn a lot of first-hand lessons about what to do, and what not to do, in terms of custom packaging.
Get It Right the First Time
Being careful about custom packaging is a wise move for any business manager or owner. By spending time in the earliest stages of package design, it’s possible to avoid all the common errors, add to your company’s branding solidity, reduce expenses related to damaged goods, and increase sales.
The professionals at Mid-Atlantic Packaging have been in the branded and stock packaging industry for four decades and take pride in delivering packaging solutions that are both cost-efficient and highly practical for companies of all sizes, even for individual sellers. As the go-to source for retail packaging supplies, we know what it takes to do custom packaging right.
Check out our website or give us a call at your convenience. Our direct number is toll-free:(800) 284-1332. We’re always happy to answer any packaging-related questions you have about your products and give you a price estimate over the phone or via email. And remember, custom packaging can make all the difference.